Monday, August 03, 2009

Marvel and MarvelMan

So Marvel owns Marvelman now. Oh shit. An insanely convoluted intellectual rights situation just got a whole hell of a lot crazier, and I'm sure this will all go just as smoothly as, say, the aftermath of Michael Jackson's death.



I’m not sure what, if anything was accomplished by Marvel’s deal with Mick Anglo, but it almost certainly had nothing to do with moving forward the reprinting of Miracleman. The list of people that may need to be placated in order to get those stories to print includes, but isn’t necessarily limited to: Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Garry Leach, Dez Skinn, Alan Davis, Chuck Austen, John Totleben, Rick Veitch, Mark Buckingham, and Todd McFarlane. That’s a lot of money to throw around, and some of those folks are going to be difficult no matter what.



But lets be optimistic and suppose Marvel throws money in all the right directions. Everyone buys off, and they get all the Marvelman and Miracleman rights, and even Alan Moore just basically washes his hands of it. Everything’s hunky-dory, right? Not so fast. Just because Marvel has caught this fish doesn’t mean they know how to gut it, clean it, and cook it.

Let’s say Marvel gets it together somehow to get a deluxe edition Miracleman collection into bookstores: $150 deluxe multi- volume set collecting books 1-4 . Regardless of format, rest assured that “MARVEL” will take up approximately 40% of the spine. In BIG RED LETTERS. They will fuck up the presentation somehow, I assure you. Do you think this one will be a big enough deal to call in Arthur Suydam to do the Zombie Variant cover? Because there will be one.

Then there’s the innards. In all the rush to get this treasured classic, how many of the higher ups at Marvel have actually read Miracleman recently? I have, and it’s full of interesting things that they might recoil at when the rubber hits the road, and the book goes to press. For example, I can’t imagine Marvel Comics leaving the unflinchingly realistic four-page birth scene from Miracleman #9 intact, at least not in any mass-market printing. In the context of the story, Miracleman has just rescued his very pregnant wife Liz from Doctor Gargunza, when she realizes that its time to have the baby. They are far from any hospital, so Miracleman has to help her deliver right then and there, and Rick Veitch drew the whole graphic birth sequence, front and center. And why not? There are sure enough graphic deaths in comics. But I can't imagine Marvel printing the sequence uncut, especially in any mass-market edition. Imagine the howls of outrage then! It's the next big tempest in a teapot, I'm telling ya!

15 comments:

joe bloke said...

I can't think of ANY situation, at all, where Marvel's buying Marvelman is going to be a good thing. remember: it was Gaiman who brokered the deal, and he wasn't going to do that unless there was ( a whole lot of ) money in it for him. at best, we'll get the heavily censored reprints ( & even those are in doubt - Moore's never been one to be swayed by a few extra bob, so what could they possibly offer him? ), followed by Gaiman taking up the story where he left it off. &, let's face it, Gaiman had absolutely no idea how to deal with the character. frankly, I'm just not interested in Marvelman beyond the original Moore run.

you're right, Brian. this one's gonna be a big old can of upset for a lot of people. me included, probably.

Grebo said...

Negative Nellies everywhere. Aiieeee!!

Although you're both probably right, I'm still holding out a tiny spark of hope that Moore's Miracleman gets reprinted -- under either the Max or Icon imprints -- so that this ultra-classic can finally see the light of day again.

I too am scarcely interested in anything after (or before, remember this is an old character) Moore's run. Still, I'll follow his escapades in the Marvel U with interest. Albeit probably from afar...

Brian Hughes said...

That would be MISTER Negative CORNELL to you, sir.

Mego Thor said...

I think DC will get it's two cents in, as well. In all the "Marvel owns Marvelman!" brouhaha (Brouhaha? Ha Ha Ha!), no-one's yet mentioned the fact the Marvelman was England's Captain Marvel rip-off.

Brian Hughes said...

That’s right, MegoThor! Before Marvelman, British publisher Len Miller held the license to reprint Captain Marvel comics in England, and a profitable license it was. Then DC Comics successfully sued Fawcett out of Publishing Captain Marvel comics, claiming the Big Red Cheese infringed on Superman. As a result, original Captain Marvel material stopped coming in to Miller’s company, and the Marvel family gravy train came to a screeching halt. Miller cast about for new strips to replace the popular series, and eventually Mick Anglo’s studio was hired to create a Captain Marvel knock-off. Marvelman was born, replete with a copycat Marvelman Family, and duplicating the style and tone of the Marvel Family stories. Before long, Marvelman surpassed the Big Red Cheese in sales and popularity in England, and all was well, for a time. Of course, nothing lasts forever, and Marvelman disappeared in 1963 when his publisher finally went under. Then Warrior came along with Alan Moore’s legendary revamp of the character, and things got EVEN MORE complicated.

(I actually cut that from the original post. Good thing I saved it, eh?)

Mego Thor said...

I never should have doubted you, my master. I'm sure you know the whole story, but to any of my fellow padawans who don't, a few years back TwoMorrows publishing released Kitoma!: the Miracleman Companion. It's outrageously expensive now, but I was sent two copies by mistake. I could probably be persuaded to part with one, if you wanted to have the first-ever Again with the Comics lottery.

Brian Hughes said...

Kimota! is a great read. Compiled by George Khoury, it's basically a collection of interviews with everyone involved in the MM saga to date. Fascinating stuff, and the only thing everyone can seem to agree on is that no one can actually produce a legal document verifying their ownership of Miracleman!

Mego Thor said...

TwoMorrows in general is a class act. I can't recall reading anything of theirs that wasn't fascinating; often more so than the actual comics in question.

demoncat said...

its now marvels red tape to sort out not to mention Todd Mcfarlan is sure to still make a claim of having the rights we just have to be patient and wait a little longer for mircle man which no doubt marvel will edit the birthing scene and the scene where kid mircleman goes total pycho on three bullies that will be the first edited in a trade

Brian Hughes said...

Johnny Bates' pants are redrawn to stay up in Marvel's version, most likely.

The Seditionist said...

Please. Remaining problems are few, minor, irksome, annoying. That is, all that's left are, at most, the rights to specific stories if they are to be reprinted and characters created in same. Maybe not even that much as they were created in the context of a story written utilizing another's characters. (OTOH, all this World Without Superman New Krypton crap may DC's fallback if they can't get the Superman license in 2013.)

And why the deal? How about if no other reason that Anglo can join the precious small number of creators to actually get a little more wealth out of a creation than work-for-hire pittance? And, really, it's so damn cool Marvel having a character named Marvelman (if he gets integrated into the MU, which I believe may be the plan, in which case reprints of the 80s stuff is irrelevant).

demoncat said...

no doubt the over all plan is to have marvel man part of the mu and its the eighties stuff mostly the unfished run by neil gainman that fans really want to see reprinted the most espically the legendary issue 25 seeing print finaly

Anonymous said...

Pfft! The Scarlet Witch will have a menstrual cramp and all of the history will be erased...then the character will be chopped up, ran thru the mutant factory with a new name, new costume and new cast. The best you can hope for is that Marvel bought the rights and will turn it over to their movie people to bastardize.

Bruce said...

Now let's have Marvelman at his egocentric worst (or the adult Kid Marvelman) take on Irredemable's Plutonian!!!

Like putting the humidifier and dehumidifier in the same room and letting them duke it out.

hANOVER fIST said...

"Gaiman had absolutely no idea how to deal with the character"

You're kidding, yes?

Gaiman wants to finish his tale - the money will come, and the funds will be justified. The return of Kid Miracle/MarvelMan must be told.

As for the trade - easy...just release two versions...I mean, do you think that the majority of #15 can be printed?

How about the scenes of Johnny Bates almost being buggered?

These scenes are a lot worse than the birth scene.