The Marvel Universe is set to finally introduce a new superhero that has been beset with controversy and legal issues in the real world.
They’ve owned their publishing rights for almost a decade now, but Marvel Comics is now doing something huge with the character of Miracleman. Fawcett’s British pastiche has been legally and creatively controversial, which makes his recent introduction to the Marvel Universe rather ironic.
Miracleman was created to replace another character in the 1950s, but Alan Moore ultimately gave him a deconstructive life. The result was blood, guts, and blood in the courtroom, with the hero’s branding issues ultimately finding him at Marvel Comics. Here is the story of how Micky Moran finally entered the House of Ideas universe.
The creation of Miracleman
Created by Mick Anglo in 1953, the British comic book hero who would become Miracleman started out as Marvelman. His beginnings came in confusion Marvelman # 25, which emphasized the rather loose character of his “creation”. Marvelman’s book started out as simple reprints of Fawcett Comics Captain marvel, whose distribution model ends following Fawcett’s trial with DC Comics. This stemmed from their Captain Marvel’s supposed similarities to DC’s Superman.
Instead of Billy Batson becoming Captain Marvel by saying the wizard Shazam’s name, the hero Marvelman, a boy named Micky Moran, took his form saying “kimota”, a backwards corruption of the word atomic. He and his Marvelman family would gain the same incredible cosmic powers of strength, flight, speed, and durability upon learning this word from a space wizard. Using their powers, they would fight the evil Gargunza as well as enemies like Young Nastyman, who were obviously based on Fawcett’s Doctor Sivana and Black Adam.
After being forgotten as a Relic of the Silver Age, Marvelman would be revived and heavily rebooted by Alan Moore. This version of the character learned that his old comic book adventures were just simulations and that he was part of a government experiment. What happened next was a series of increasingly gloomy and gloomy superhero comic book deconstructions, but Marvelman’s darker days had yet to see the light of day.
The legal issues surrounding Miracleman
Alan Moore reboot reportedly featured in anthology comic warrior, and the use of the name Marvelman, especially for such a dark book, has aroused the wrath of Marvel Comics. At the time of Marvelman’s creation, Marvel was known as Timely and wasn’t that big. Once the tables were turned, however, they quickly objected to another publisher having their own “Marvel” character, as DC would learn with its reintroduction of Fawcett’s Captain Marvel.
The material of warrior was eventually cleared to Eclipse Comics, which changed the character’s name in reprints and new material to Miracleman to avoid further scuffles with Marvel. They would also share ownership of the character with the current writer of the series, meaning that once Neil Gaiman took over from Alan Moore, he also owned the character. Image Comics founder Todd McFarlane didn’t realize this, however, when he purchased Eclipse Comics and their properties / assets in 1996. He assumed this included all of Miracleman’s rights, a mistake that Gaiman would insist on settling in court.
McFarlane briefly touched on the idea of introducing Miracleman to the pages of his popular Spawn comic, describing him as the shapeshifter man of miracles. Once legal issues made him realize the tenuous legality of this, however, the character was ditched. Through Neil Gaiman’s legal battles, it was revealed that Mick Anglo was the one who still held the rights to the character, rendering McFarlane’s alleged ownership illegitimate.
From there, Marvel Comics would end up buying the rights to the character in bulk, fixing any copyright issues or other issues with his nickname “Marvelman”. Its introduction into the Marvel Universe raises all kinds of questions and has huge potential, most importantly being that it could inspire Gaiman and Marvel to finally complete the original series before fleshing out what will certainly be a new take on the character. He will also likely interact with The Sentry, a character who is to him what he is to DC’s Captain Marvel, as well as several other immensely powerful beings in the Marvel Universe. It’s been a tumultuous road between the courtroom and the Marvel Universe, but Miracleman seems to have, in a way, come full circle.
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