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Comics' Lost Classic Finally Finds A Home?

Illustration for article titled Comics Lost Classic Finally Finds A Home?

The big news from Marvel at San Diego this year is that they've purchased the rights to the long-lost legendary character Miracleman, home of some of Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman's earliest published work.

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The rights to the series have been in dispute since the collapse of publisher Eclipse in 1994, in part because rights were believed to be shared between all creators, Eclipse - whose intellectual property was bought by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane shortly after Eclipse declared bankruptcy - and original creator Mick Anglo. As the first major superhero work by Watchmen's Moore, with later writing from Sandman's Gaiman and Fables artist Mark Buckingham, the series had a good reputation even before it fell out of print for more than 15 years.

This isn't the first announcement of a return for the character; Todd McFarlane brought the hero's alter-ego Mike Moran back in a 2001 issue of Hellspawn, but copyright challenges caused that storyline to be truncated prematurely.

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It's unclear from Marvel's announcement whether their new ownership includes the Moore/Gaiman work. Marvel's announcement talks about Anglo's involvement in the purchase, but it's possible that the new agreement only covers new stories done with the character, as the rights to the classic Moore and Gaiman runs were previously believed to be at least partially held by the creators themselves. Most tellingly, Marvel are reviving the character under his original name, Marvelman, which was previously changed in 1985 due to - ironically - concern over legal action from Marvel Comics; the famous Moore and Gaiman stories appeared under the Miracleman title. Marvel promise more information on the deal soon, but we can't help but wonder if they're not explaining all right now because the specifics may make the announcement less exciting. Time will tell; here's hoping we won't have to wait another fifteen years to see Miracle - or Marvel - man again.

Many thanks to Carla Hoffman.

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DISCUSSION

Notice that they are also using the original logo both in that picture and in the t-shirt they are selling on the online marvel store. This tells me that they are trying to avoid a lawsuit. I think they will fail. McFarlane will almost certainly sue.

For those that don't know the history of the character, hit up wikipedia [en.wikipedia.org]

Moore's work is really great. I tend to prefer his earlier less flowery work to his more recent stuff and this is really great. Gaiman's work on it is also pretty good. I'm worried that if he does return it won't hold up since I haven't liked anything Gaiman's done since Sandman ended (actually the Brief Lives story arc was the last one I really liked).

How long before the movie is announced? The Wachowskis clearly like the comic as some scenes of Agent Smith in the last Matrix film are pretty direct "homages" to Kid Miracleman's first fight against Miracleman. (Calling the character Marvelman will take some getting used to. I guess I know how people in the UK felt!)