Beard: Marvel Reprints Controversial 1980s ComicWritten by Jim Beard | | email@example.com
A hotly-debated comic series with a strange history, a murky legal past, and controversial subject matter returns to print thanks to a company that at one time added to its woes. This month, Marvel Comics offers Miracleman #1, featuring early work by such comic luminaries as Alan Moore (Watchmen) and Neil Gaiman (Sandman).
In the 1940s, Fawcett Comics’ mega-popular Captain Marvel character enjoyed additional sales in British reprints, but when DC Comics sued Fawcett and put an end to the Captain in 1953, he became “Marvelman” in England and lived on in new stories. His series ran until 1963, but the character was revived in 1982 by Alan Moore and morphed into an edgy, razor-sharp treatise on what super heroes might be like in a more realistic world. Marvel Comics raised objections in 1985 to the use of the term “Marvel,” so the hero transformed once again, that time into “Miracleman,” and picked up future star Neil Gaiman to pen his adventures into the 1990s.
After that, Miracleman/Marvelman fell into a morass of legal issues, with more than one claimant to his copyrights. At one time, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane believed he was the sole owner of the character, only to be challenged on that point by Gaiman himself. Recently, Marvel Comics, the company that once forced a name change on the prickly punisher of perps, acquired the rights and is finally bringing the original British stories back into print, as well as roping in Gaiman to finish the tale he’d begun in the 90s.
“The idea of portraying super heroes in real world terms and situations was essentially started with this material,” notes Monarch Cards & Comics’ chief bottlewasher Ed Katschke. “I hope that younger audiences can still connect with it considering how many times the core concept has been used and abused by other creators over the last twenty-five years. For my own part, I have been waiting decades for this comic to once again see the light of day and I am thrilled that Moore and Marvel Comics have finally been able to come to an accommodation over the reprint rights, even if part of that deal included stripping Moore’s name off the credits to the book. I’ll just have to work extra hard reminding my customers of its acclaimed pedigree!”