Miracleman Remastered
October 11, 2015 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Gaiman and Buckingham return to finish their saga - "Many comics legends have worked on Miracleman, but no run on the series is as fondly remembered as Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham's, cut short before its time. But now Marvel isn't just remastering Gaiman and Buckingham's original comics, but letting them finish the story they began 25 years ago." [previously: 1,2,3; also btw...] (via/via)
posted by kliuless (33 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
I sometimes allow myself to wonder what would have happened if Todd MacFarlane had been allowed to keep the Miracleman copyright, and what would have happened if he had actually decided to "reinvent" it. MacFarlane reminds me a bit of Kid Miracleman in some ways; an adult outer shell, but some seriously stunted growth and a lot of rage roiling around in there.
posted by Shepherd at 9:59 AM on October 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Of all the comics that ruined comics for all time, I'd say Miracleman 15 ruined them the most.

That was Moore though. TBH the Gainan ones were okay but lift little impression on me - something about clone Andy Warhols?
posted by Artw at 10:06 AM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


... Watchmen got a prequel. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen became an infamously bad movie, as did Hellblazer, From Hell and Watchmen. Superman, Batman, Spider-man... They've all had their publicly embarassing reinventions and poor film adaptations. The Flash and The Green Arrow are now crappy CW teenybopper shows.

As much as I've wondered where Miracleman could have gone, and as happy as I am that McFarlane didn't win the rights, to be honest I feel like the legal issues have protected it from what could have been done to it all this time. These are the people who figured it'd be great to make the devil erase the whole history of Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane, kill Peter, have Doctor Octopus take over Peter's body and continue on as Spider-man in his place by using an army of spider robots to keep tabs on everything that happens in NYC.

I can't wait for the rest of Gaiman's run. But I also don't want to see what the next writer does when Quesada or Alonso assigns him yet another god awful storyline.

Unless the next writer is Matt Fraction.
posted by shmegegge at 10:48 AM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not so worried about Marvel putting out more and more issues of dubious quality for the same reason the whole Before Watchmen thing didn't - if they turn out to be crap I'll pretend it ended where it did. I only read a bit of the Before Watchmen stuff but don't remember any of it.

The Silver Age looked like it was going in an interesting direction so I'll be reading thar arc at the very least.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:10 AM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I sometimes allow myself to wonder what would have happened if Todd MacFarlane had been allowed to keep the Miracleman copyright, and what would have happened if he had actually decided to "reinvent" it.

Absolutely nothing interesting or of lasting value, like just about anything that McFarlane has done, fading nostalgia for Spawn on the part of a few fanboys aside. It's interesting to put the current status of the Image founders in perspective: Jim Lee has managed to wedge himself into DC's corporate structure pretty firmly; Rob Liefeld managed to revive his brand by putting some of his characters in the hands of superior creators; Erik Larsen is apparently still doing Savage Dragon, although that may be more "in theory" at this point; Image Comics itself has become a respected publisher of alternative creator-owned titles. McFarlane is known now mostly for losing the lawsuit to Gaiman and for paying seven figures for a now-worthless home run ball hit by an admitted steroid cheat. I guess he's still got various business ventures in place.

Of all the comics that ruined comics for all time, I'd say Miracleman 15 ruined them the most.

I'm assuming that you're exaggerating for, er, comic effect. All that that comic did was spell out visually what would really happen to a major city if a Superman-class villain visited it. Like a lot of Moore's ideas, it's deceptively simple at the heart of it, although that hasn't prevented numerous other creators from trying to reheat that souffle, most notably recently in the Man of Steel movie.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:33 AM on October 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I think the thing that ruined a lot of comics was the desire to Be Taken Seriously. A lot of imitators took Miracleman as a template, and emulated, not the relatively original, well-executed idea, but the cruelty, gore, grimness, and excess.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:58 AM on October 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


most notably recently in the Man of Steel movie.
Also notable for doing it without any of the people.
posted by fullerine at 11:58 AM on October 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, all of the comics that ruined comics forever are good comics, but unfortunate lessons were drawn which indeed eventually lead to Man of Steel.
posted by Artw at 12:23 PM on October 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Miracleman. Isn't that the comic where Moore conceded that the only way to enact the ideals of the 1960s hippy movement was through an uber-powerful fascist autocracy? "We'll get my wonderful utopia, as long as we have the RIGHT dictator."

Also, is it possible for Moore to write any comic where women don't get sexually assaulted?
posted by happyroach at 12:48 PM on October 11, 2015


Miracleman. Isn't that the comic where Moore conceded that the only way to enact the ideals of the 1960s hippy movement was through an uber-powerful fascist autocracy? "We'll get my wonderful utopia, as long as we have the RIGHT dictator."

I always had read it more as "If this is how you aim for utopia, this is the 'utopia' you'll get." Moore says he's an anarchist, and I think most of his work is an exploration of the corrupting nature of power and authority. I don't read Miracleman as an endorsement of Fascism, even though the "hero" is/becomes a fascist.
posted by DGStieber at 1:29 PM on October 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


At least Buckingham will do something interesting after the long, messy trainwreck of Fables.
posted by benzenedream at 2:25 PM on October 11, 2015


Did Bill W go full Bill W in the end?
posted by Artw at 2:28 PM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


no he waited til panel discussions. fables ended ok
posted by Morvran Avagddu at 3:31 PM on October 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Artw, I owe you something. Praise, certainly. Something else, too, though: Miracleman #15 just changed everything.
posted by Mike Mongo at 3:47 PM on October 11, 2015


These are the people who figured it'd be great to make the devil erase the whole history of Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane, kill Peter, have Doctor Octopus take over Peter's body and continue on as Spider-man in his place by using an army of spider robots to keep tabs on everything that happens in NYC.

Did you read The Superior Spider-Man? I assumed it was going to be a contination of the dumbassery that was Quesada's juvenile swingin' single reboot, but it was quite good. The pretense of Doc Ock's takeover was nutty as hell but I can't argue with the results. It shook a number of characters out of multi-decade ruts, introduced some awesome new ones, and managed to bring up some interesting (though admittedly not novel) philosophical and ethical questions along the way. It was the only Spider-related titled I followed in years. Of course, they had to return to the status quo because Comics Can Never Change and now I'm back to ignoring Spider-Man save when he's around to drop snarky one-liners in other titles.
posted by schroedinger at 4:40 PM on October 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Miles Morales is a good man to know if you need a burger.
posted by Artw at 5:00 PM on October 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


In some respects, Miracleman #15 changed *nothing*.
posted by Slothrup at 6:37 PM on October 11, 2015


I have to admit, I am interested in where they will go with it, as opposed to the original.
posted by Samizdata at 10:06 PM on October 11, 2015


Did you read The Superior Spider-Man?

Some of it. Hated everything I read. Stayed away from spidey for years because of it. Turns out that the new stuff now that he's peter parker again is also garbage, but I just... don't think Dan Slott is a very good writer, so that's why.
posted by shmegegge at 10:19 PM on October 11, 2015


shmegegge: "Did you read The Superior Spider-Man?

Some of it. Hated everything I read. Stayed away from spidey for years because of it. Turns out that the new stuff now that he's peter parker again is also garbage, but I just... don't think Dan Slott is a very good writer, so that's why.
"

Not been the biggest fan of Spidey in the books. There's been some decent games, I've mostly enjoyed the movies, and it is fun when he cameos just to snark, but that's about it.
posted by Samizdata at 10:34 PM on October 11, 2015


Gaiman's scripts are, I think, the work of a writer just discovering his powers. So it's interesting to consider his return to the story now. It's a little like a band recording half an album in its garage, and then -- over two decades later, in the wake of unimaginable success -- coming back to finish the last half dozen songs. Will the book continue as '90s Gaiman intended? Does 2015 Gaiman even remember how he intended to continue it?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:39 PM on October 11, 2015


That fragmentation seems to be in the nature of Marvelman, though - first of all as a Captain Marvel knockoff (necessitated by the cancellation of the U.S. comic) leading into the original Warrior run, then the Eclipse reprints, which had in between the very fine Garry Leach and Alan Davis work of the original run and the Totleben of the climax an issue featuring drawing so crude it made one yearn for the sophistications of Herb Trimpe. The story is similarly fragmented. Rather than a flawed masterpiece, it's a bundle of flaws held together by a remarkable imagination in the same way that fishnet tights are a bundle of holes held together by string.

Which of course makes it a perfect candidate for what Gaiman did to it - essentially doing an Alan Moore on Alan Moore, turning the world he has inherited to different different angles, teasing new meanings out of things. I'm very interested in seeing what he makes of it now, after the long hiatus.

The history of the book is so tangled up in rights issues and unapproved appropriations all down the line, it's almost a part of the text. I suppose the fact that Marvel now owns the character means that it's unlikely that anyone will have the chance to get stroppy in public over the fact that Moore nicked the fundamental conceit (body-swapping between dimensions) from the Marvel Captain Marvel of the late 60s and early 70s.

(I suppose it could have been an intentional desire to unify all the characters called Captain Marvel into one coherent canon, but that would be bonkers.)
posted by Grangousier at 1:00 AM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


One thing that kind of bothers me about TFA: I am jazzed for the rest of this story as anyone, but stating Gaiman and Buckingham's stint is the most fondly remembered run on the book is like saying that everyone's favorite version of "Satisfaction" is the Devo cover. Let us not descend too deeply into Gaiman hagiography here -- most people didn't even know who Neil Gaiman was when he started to write Miracleman, and my guess is the huge majority of his readers are not even aware that he ever did. And those who wanted to read it later couldn't, at least not without paying a lot for the relatively scarce back issues (okay, so I have heard rumors that those comics may have been otherwise available? but I would certainly not credit these preposterous fabrications).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:32 AM on October 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, that's clear nonsense.
posted by Artw at 8:38 AM on October 12, 2015


the Eclipse reprints, which had in between the very fine Garry Leach and Alan Davis work of the original run and the Totleben of the climax an issue featuring drawing so crude it made one yearn for the sophistications of Herb Trimpe.

I'm not sure if you're talking about Chuck Beckum or Rick Veitch there. Veitch has been a mixed bag throughout his career; sometimes he shows remarkable imagination and even a sort of beauty in his work, while at others, he draws ostensibly normal-looking characters as if their faces have been used by Batman as a speed bag. (In recent years, he's also gone 9/11 truther, but that's something else.) The choice of Chuck Beckum to be the artist that would not only follow Alan Davis on the title (!) but also herald the revival of the book after a several-year hiatus has always puzzled me; as with his art elsewhere, he was competent but pretty stiff, and nowhere near Veitch's class, let alone the other artists that had been on the book. (Beckum, of course, would change his name to Chuck Austen, and eventually write what seems to be generally considered the worst run on X-Men in the subfranchise's history.)

stating Gaiman and Buckingham's stint is the most fondly remembered run on the book is like saying that everyone's favorite version of "Satisfaction" is the Devo cover.

That's a great way of putting it, and I wonder how much of that sentiment is due to the backlash against Moore following his comments about Before Watchmen and the Green Lantern Blackest Night storyline. A lot of people, Jason Aaron most notably, didn't seem able to be able to put Moore's comments in the context of some very specific (and justified, IMO) grievances against DC.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:05 AM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's mainly down to io9 not knowing their shit, TBH.
posted by Artw at 9:12 AM on October 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


It must have been Chuck Beckum / Austen, as I knew who Rick Veitch was. I literally know nothing about him, other than that issue of Miracleman, which I thought was the worst thing I'd ever seen in a comic book. My period of paying attention to comics was about 1973-1980, so I'd seen a lot of dodgy drawing (hence the Trimpe remark - shouldn't speak ill of the deceased, but he was referred to in one critical letter to an early issue of Captain Britain as "drawing with his feet", though I still preferred him to Pablo Marcos). By the time his issue of Miracleman came out I was only buying a few regular things and anything Alison from Rainbow's End on the Cowley Road recommended. These were usually b&w independents done by enthusiastic amateurs, and I was still shocked by Beckum's drawings for Miracleman.
posted by Grangousier at 10:51 AM on October 12, 2015


how much of that sentiment is due to the backlash against Moore

I find it hard to take much recent critical discussion of Moore seriously because of this. Everyone seems to be posing to show how much they hate Moore for cool points. You see it in this very thread:

Miracleman. Isn't that the comic where Moore conceded that the only way to enact the ideals of the 1960s hippy movement was through an uber-powerful fascist autocracy? "We'll get my wonderful utopia, as long as we have the RIGHT dictator."

This is not a possible good-faith reading of Miracleman. The only way you could read Moore's run and conclude that he supports what Miracleman did is if you come in looking to discredit him.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:44 PM on October 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


his is not a possible good-faith reading of Miracleman. The only way you could read Moore's run and conclude that he supports what Miracleman did is if you come in looking to discredit him.

Nope, I own the series, have read it several times, and I stand by what I say. Miracleman is basically saying that the only way a 60s style counterculture revolution could take place, is if it was imposed by an irresistable dictatorship. And he includes the note that it works.

Not worshipping the ground Moore walks on is not discrediting him. If I really wanted to discredit him, I'd talk about his later stuff.
posted by happyroach at 2:15 PM on October 12, 2015


Nope, I own the series, have read it several times, and I stand by what I say. Miracleman is basically saying that the only way a 60s style counterculture revolution could take place, is if it was imposed by an irresistable dictatorship. And he includes the note that it works.

I also disagree with your analysis, here. Yes, it says that the only way a hippie counterculture could work is through dictatorship, but I don't see it as saying that's a good thing. It seems, more than anything, to draw parallels to colonialism and globalization, and specifically to the idea that a more civilized superpower can determine what's best for indigenous people simply because it has the power to impose its will. It's a commentary on the impossibility of the peace movement, not an endorsement of fascism to accomplish it. The closest parallel I can draw is with Banks's Culture books. Just because a civilization lives in relative ease under their superiors doesn't mean that the best reading of the book is that it's all gravy and nothing's wrong.
posted by shmegegge at 2:58 PM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I will fourth this or whatever as a Nice Try, but No reading of Miracleman. There is no reason to believe Moore is saying the "utopia" Miracleman (the character, that is) arrives at could only be achieved by establishing a dictatorship. The question Moore implicitly poses is whether a utopia is worth the cost of a dictatorship -- do the ends justify the means? An essentially similar question is posed at the end of Watchmen, which not coincidentally Moore must have been writing around the same time.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:54 PM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wait a second, Mark Buckingham the artist of Miracleman is not the same as Bill Willingham, the writer of Fables, right!?!

I would be more sure of this except I had no idea that Chuck Beckum and Chuck Austen were the same person until this thread, so maybe there are limits to my knowledge!
posted by nequalsone at 10:53 AM on October 13, 2015


Those are different people, yes.
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on October 13, 2015


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