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Marvelman

L.Miller & Son Titles

Marvelman was created when, as a result of legal action taken against the American publisher Fawcett Comics in 1953 which forced them to stop publishing Captain Marvel, the British publisher L.Miller and Son were forced to come up with a new series to replace their profitable line of Captain Marvel reprints. They hired Mick Anglo to create Marvelman, a character who was at first essentially just Captain Marvel under a different name and in a different costume, with the new character's first appearance being in Marvelman #25 (the numbering continued from Miller's Captain Marvel title) on 3rd February 1954. A companion series, Young Marvelman, launched at the same time (also from #25) as a replacement for Captain Marvel Jnr, and a third title, Marvelman Family (featuring Marvelman, Young Marvelman and Kid Marvelman) was launched in October 1956. Both Marvelman and Young Marvelman ran 346 issues (#25-370) and were published weekly aside from the last 36 issues of each (published monthly, and containing reprints). Marvelman Family was a monthly title which ran from October 1956-November 1959. A number of Marvelman Annual's, Marvelman Family Annual's and Young Marvelman Annual's (one of which was inexplicably titled Marvelman Jr. Annual) were also published from 1954-1963, with the comics line ending in February 1963 (Mick Anglo had left the books in 1960). The comics were also reprinted in Italy, Australia and (under the name Jack Marvel) Brazil.

Quality Communications Titles

Marvelman special

Marvelman Special 1

In March 1982, Marvelman was resurrected in the pages of Warrior magazine from Quality Comics, now written by Alan Moore (who gave the character a revised origin and a much harder edge) and drawn initially by Garry Leach and then Alan Davis. The series was critically acclaimed but Quality's decision to publish a Marvelman Special in 1984 (containing reprints of some of the Mick Anglo stories with a new framing sequence) unfortunately brought them to the attention of Marvel Comics who objected to their use of a named character who could be confused with their company (despite the fact that Marvelman actually predated Marvel Comics by several years) and threatened legal action. The Marvelman strip ended, unfinished, in Warrior #21, and the magazine folded a few issues later.

Miracleman

Marvelman3
In August 1985, the American publisher Eclipse Comics began reprinting the Warrior Marvelman series under the title Miracleman, the title changed and the characters' names relettered as Miracleman, Young Miracleman and Kid Miracleman in order to avoid legal complications. From Miracleman issue #6 onwards, having reprinted all the existing material (except for the strip from Warrior #4, which was set in the future) Eclipse began continuing the story with new material, Alan Moore continuing where he had left off, with the art now provided by first Chuck Austen and then Rick Veitch and John Totleben. Moore concluded his story (which also introduced the character of Miraclewoman) in Miracleman #16, after which the new creative team of Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham began a sprawling three volume epic which ran until issue #24. Unfortunately, the series ended prematurely due to the collapse of Eclipse, and the completed (but never coloured) issue #25 has never seen print. The story remains unfinished.

During this same period, Eclipse also published reprint several companion including Miracleman 3-D Special (which reprinted Quality's Marvelman Special) in 1985, and the limited series' Miracleman Family (two issues, May and September 1988), which contained Mick Anglo reprints, and Miracleman: The Apocrypha (three issues, November 1991-February 1992) which featured new stories further fleshing out Gaiman's ongoing narrative. In addition, the characters Miracleman and Miraclewoman appeared in the limited series Total Eclipse. Most of the Miracleman series was also collected together in a series of collected editions: A Dream of Flying (issues #1-3), The Red King Syndrome (issues #4-7, #9 and #10; issue #8 was omitted as it was all reprint), Olympus (issues #11-16), The Golden Age (issues #17-22) and Apocrypha (reprinting the mini-series). Issues #23 and #24 have never been reprinted.

American writer Todd McFarlane later purchased Eclipse's back catalogue and assumed that this meant he owned the rights to Miracleman, whom he attempted to bring back in his Hellspawn series as an American character. However, the rights issues surrounding ownership of both the character and the 1980s/90s stories featuring him proved rather more complicated than McFarlane had believed and led to a protracted legal battle between McFarlane and Gaiman which prevented Miracleman from ever appearing in a McFarlane publication (the character's civilian identity, Mike Moran, did, but McFarlane was eventually forced to rename his superheroic identity "Man of Miracles"). McFarlane still claims to own the trademark to the name "Miracleman", however.

Marvelman at Marvel Comics

MMP1

Since obtaining the rights to the original character, Marvel Comics in the U.S have begun reprinting the original 1950s stories. So far, they have published a one-shot Marvelman Classic Primer, a six issue limited series, Marvelman Family's Finest, and four hardcover books, Marvelman Classic #1 and #2 and Young Marvelman Classic #1 and #2. They have since begun reprinting the 1980s stories, but still under the name Miracleman (though with unretouched 1950s Marvelman back-up stories).

  • In a rather odd move, a story published several years ago claimed that Marvel's mystic character Dr. Druid once went by the alias Guntag Barghelt, the same name used by the dubious "astrophysicist" who originally empowered both Marvelman and Young Marvelman. At the time, Marvel did not actually own the rights to any of the characters.

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