The first two issues of Marvel’s Miracleman reprint are out, and it’s inspired another round of random thoughts. I didn’t read the Eclipse release from the beginning back in the day, but I picked it up near the end of Moore’s run (annoyingly, I missed getting issues 12, 14 and 16 when they were affordable, but I have the rest). As such, it’s hard not to read the early chapters through the filter of revisiting the familiar in a new form (at least until issue #2). With that in mind…
- It’s nice to see the art being handled with modern coloring techniques. The Eclipse release did their best, but the combination of old manual coloring being used on art that was originally intended for B&W and shrunk from its original size wound up coming out kind of fugly. (There’s a panel with an open-mouthed baby that wound up with the mouth colored pink–it looks really alarming.) Although it meant a shift in artists (no one really holds up Chuck Austen as the essential MM artist) it was a bit of a relief when they got to the new material. (V for Vendetta also wound up with kind of muddy colors, but they fit the feel of the series better.)
- Not surprised but interested to see that they reprinted the Mick Anglo story from Eclipse’s MM #1. Part of what’s interesting about it is that some of the dialogue is altered–the date of the story was actually moved earlier, presumably to accentuate the “naive vision of the future” aspect. The line from Kid Miracleman about “I’ve broken this one’s jaw!” is new–it might be intended as foreshadowing, but it also does kind of fit the artwork.
- The reason I can compare the dialogue in that story is that it was originally reprinted in the Marvelman Special, which had three Anglo stories and a new framing sequence. Eclipse used the framing story for Miracleman 3-D but used a different story. (As an interesting aside, one of the rarest MM titles is the 2-D version of the 3-D issue.) I’m curious if Marvel will reprint that, and in what form; they’re already reprinting classic stories, so they don’t need the excuse, but the framing sequence does have some story-relevant material and is worth including.
- On that note, I’m super-pumped that they’re reprinting all the Warrior material, including the side bits and Warpsmith stories that Eclipse didn’t reprint (such as the future chapter that was reprinted in Marvel’s #2). The comics store of my youth had issues of Warrior and I’ve always regretted not buying them when I had the chance. I’m looking forward to having a better context for the Warpsmiths once they become part of the story. (I’ll also be interested to see if they reprint any Big Ben stories, though in that case the character’s first publication was in MM.)
- The storytelling in the Marvelman origin that was reprinted in Marvel’s #2 was a bit odd. First, we started with a framing sequence of MM’s origin being told on film. I’m not clear at this point if he was supposed to have a secret identity or not (something that was also vague with Captain Marvel–his connection to Billy Batson seemed to be known, and the Sivanas seemed to know it, but I don’t know if the general public knew the details) but, either way, the idea of having his secrets revealed on film doesn’t fit with my general superhero expectations. (There was a Golden Age Superman story that played with this idea as a joke, with Clark having to distract Lois any time his secret identity might be revealed, but that was explicitly out of continuity.)
It was also distracting to start with a framing sequence but not end with it–we didn’t see Micky leave the theatre, which is a minor breach of storytelling structure. But I’m probably overthinking this–these stories were done quickly and weren’t intended as high art.
- I’m guessing that Marvel won’t be reprinting Eclipse’s #8, which was a collection of Anglo reprints due to their flood. The disclaimers on the reprint of Eclipse’s #9 should also be interesting–will they feel obliged to put the “explicit scenes of childbirth” warning on the cover, or just figure that the mature readers rating will cover it? On the one hand it’s a sad commentary on society that scenes of childbirth need more warnings than scenes of violence, and all that, but at the same time it does present an issue for a parent/guardian that they probably wouldn’t be expecting from a superhero comic. (I’m not a parent or likely to be one, but I’d rather have to deal with a child who might not be ready seeing the birth scene in #9 than the ultraviolence of #15. My sister and I grew up with books of the “Where did I come from?” variety, so I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know the process of pregnancy and birth in at least the broad outlines.)
- I’ll also be interested to see if they reprint Miracleman Apocrypha, the series of non-continuity short stories by a variety of creators. It probably depends in part on the terms under which Eclipse purchased the stories–the 3 issues of that miniseries probably has more creators to deal with than the 24 issues of the main series does. I’m guessing we won’t see Miracleman: Triumphant or his appearances in Total Eclipse, apart from the Gaiman story that wound up in the main title.
I see that this has mostly turned into speculation about what they’ll reprint, but then there isn’t much new material to comment on at this time; it’s more a matter of “How will it play out this time?”. I suspect Marvel won’t self-destruct to the degree Eclipse did before the series finishes this time; fingers crossed!
Until next time, the Woggle-Bug says, “Thing about Arsenal is, they always try and walk it in.”