This just in via the streaming live blog coverage of the San Diego Comic Con, Marvel Comics now owns the rights to the ground-breaking UK superhero series by Alan Moore and later Neil Gaimian… Marvel Man (AKA Miracle Man).
Almost unknown in the US, Marvelman was a British answer to Captain Marvel of Fawcett Comics fame (and was even initially named Captain Marvel!) published by Mick Anglo. Young Micky Moran received atomic powers from a strange physicist (but aren’t they all?). By reciting the magical word ‘Kimota!’ he would transform into the superpowered being called Marvelman. Later teaming up with Young Marvelman and Kid Marvelman (you can see why they got sued by Fawcett), the series ran with some success but is known today thanks to the intervention of the king of post-modern comics.
Brought back to life for Warrior Magazine by Alan Moore (who would later gain critical acclaim for writing V for Vendetta, the Watchmen, From Hell and Swamp Thing), the new version of the superhero was a more sophisticated take on the genre than readers had ever seen before. Finding new meaning in the original ideas the new Marvelman comics used the fusion of alien and human biology as the basis of its hero rather than magic or atomic energy. Utilizing the innocent original comics as a fake memory implanted in Micky Moran’s mind, the hero discovered the truth and even encountered a socipoathic killer Kid Marvelman as a nemesis. On the flipside of things, the comic also featured the first graphic depiction of childbirth I have ever seen as the first superhuman baby was born.
After Alan Moore left the character, relative newcomer Neil Gaiman took the reigns with artist Mark Buckingham. Reprinted in the US as Miracleman by Pacific and Eclipse Comics, the series fell out of print as the many publishers that held these adventures went out of business.
The rights of the material have kept these hard-to-find comics from seeing the light of day. A brutal legal battle errupted in 1996 between Neil Gaiman (who owned a ‘portion’ of the character through a gentleman’s agreement with the publisher) and Todd McFarlane who had visions of action figures and battles with Spawn in his head. Nothing much came of it and the Marvelman comics remained a kind of cult comic book that only a select few had read… until now.
At the 2009 San Diego Comiccon today, Editor-in-chief Joe Quesada revealed a hidden Marvelman T-Shirt and announced that Marvel now had the rights to Marvelman. Marvel Comics has apparently come to an agreement with Mick Anglo and are planning some earth shattering comic books, hopefully including the reprints of these classic comics.
Make no mistake, this is huge news that has been coming for many years.