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Balthazar

Marvel Owns Marvelman

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I actually came here just to see if anyone had posted this today! So fucking great. I guess Gaiman's "alliance" with Marvel to challenge McFarlane in all of this paid off. Can't wait to have these in hardcovers and to finally see Gaiman's run completed.

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Wake me up when they actually have the rights to the only stories which make Marvelman in any way significant as a character. Because so far as I can tell, all they have right now are the rights to reprint some largely- (and, for the most part, justifiably-) forgotten '50s-'60s comics featuring a second-rate Captain Marvel knockoff, and the right to tell exciting new stories where said Captain Marvel knock-off gets to have sex with Gwen Stacey or fight the Sentry or some such shit, and frankly, who the fuck cares?

 

The Moore/Gaiman stuff is still tied up in legal negotiations, and until that's no longer the case, there's no reason for anyone but Mick Anglo to get properly excited about this. It's a definite step in the right direction, but there've been so many false alarms over the years that I'm not allowing myself to get worked up about this one.

 

Also, Joe Quesada's "(Marvelman) is arguably the J.D. Salinger of comic book characters" just might be the single stupidest sentence I've seen uttered by a human being so far this year, and it's up against some stiff competition.

 

Good to see you back, though.

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Isn't the kerfuffle about the '80s stuff mostly down to the question about who owns the rights to the character, though?

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Not entirely, no - I'm fairly sure that part of the whole ghastly mess was more-or-less sorted a couple of years ago when someone noticed that, hang on, Mick Anglo actually had the rights all along.

 

They're negotiating with Moore, Buckingham, Gaiman, et al right now, and are in a stronger position to do so than anyone has been in a very long time, but as yet, they don't have the rights to reprint the '80s/'90s Marvel/Miracleman material. We can be 100% certain that this isn't the case, because if they did have those rights you can be damn sure that we'd have heard about it by now, and thus far Marvel have very pointedly avoided saying anything even close to "we've got the rights to reprint the Alan Moore and/or Neil Gaiman version of Miracleman!"

 

A degree of very cautious optimism may be warranted, but nothing more just yet.

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Fair enough. I was under the impression that part of the reason there was all of this mess about the rights was due to the fact that Dez Skinn had decided Moore and Leach owned them, not Mick Anglo, and most of the fuss with Tod McFarlane buying out Eclipse's intellectual property had followed on from that.

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That was certainly a large part of it, and that's the part which was resolved a while back when it was discovered that, through either maliciousness (unlikely) or ignorance (a lot more likely), Dez had actually been completely wrong about that all along. Sadly, my (limited) understanding is that, even with that sorted out, there are still a number of significant hurdles to jump through before there can be any real chance of the Moore/Gaiman material being reprinted. The precise nature of those hurdles is a mystery to me, though, partly because it's been a while since I read up on the case, and partly because the whole mess seems so absurdly, reason-confoundingly complicated that my brain revolts whenever I try to think about it too hard.

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Probably a healthy attitude. Whenever I look at any of this stuff, I find it astonishing that McFarlane hasn't been laughed out of court, to be honest. I'd have thought the whole thing has been running on precedents, and if it being legally established that Anglo still owns the character hasn't kicked the foundations out from under that, then him selling the rights on to Marvel will have.

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Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley had this to say about the character's future, "We are talking to all the people involved in the '80s/'90s material. Alan (Moore), Neil (Gaiman), Mark Buckingham."

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One thing that seemed to be clear was that the creators (Moore, Gaiman et al) owned their reprint rights from the start (most all of the conflicting accounts agree on the basically socialistic way that Moore sliced up the rights to the work) but because the actual ownership of the character has been up in the air for 25 years no publisher in their right mind wanted to touch it, now Marvel has the shit tied down I don't feel as sceptical as Mark that trades are round the corner.

 

The whole point of 1602 and The Eternals was so Gaiman could make some money out of the massive demand for Miracleman reprints and as he's on good terms (as far as I know) with all the creators involved with the character since Warrior the conclusion of the series can't be far off at all.

 

Fun facts:

 

*Dez Skinn recently admitted that's he was full of shit about the rights (he is after all a confused and belligerent old man), He never even secured the rights from Angelo in the first place, the early 80's was a much simpler time.

*Gaiman and Buckingham's share is actually a share of Moore's share, Gary Leach and Alan Davis (not that one the other one) probably have the most to gain out of all of this and they didn't really give a fuck.

*My individual issues will now never be worth even what I paid for them, that includes the signed issue #15.

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One thing that seemed to be clear was that the creators (Moore, Gaiman et al) owned their reprint rights from the start (most all of the conflicting accounts agree on the basically socialistic way that Moore sliced up the rights to the work) but because the actual ownership of the character has been up in the air for 25 years no publisher in their right mind wanted to touch it, now Marvel has the shit tied down I don't feel as sceptical as Mark that trades are round the corner.

 

Oh, I'm not entirely sceptical. I'm just not letting myself get excited about it until we've heard something a bit more concrete. This is certainly a step in the right direction, it just troubles me slightly that Quesada et al have placed such emphasis on the potential for new stories featuring the Miracleman character, which to me is the least interesting thing about the entire business. It's understandable from their perspective, of course, but since I'm about as interested in seeing current-day Marvel's take on Miracleman as I would be in, say, Dean Koontz' version of Frankenstein (or, for that matter, Bendis' version of Watchmen), it makes it that little bit harder for me to get excited by this news.

 

As soon as there's any solid announcement about the prospects of the series either being concluded properly or even just reprinted, I'll be freaking out with joy right alongside the rest of you. In the meantime, I simply don't want to get my hopes up too high, because we've been disappointed before.

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Oh agreed, I could give less of a shit about bringing Miracleman into Marvel continuity, but then I could give less of a shit about mainstream comics continuity, it's a disease that takes our best and brightest away from creator owned greatness.

 

Bendis, Hickman, Millar, Ellis, Rucka to name just a few, would rather play with the spandex brigade than finish Fell, do another Nightly News, write more Queen & Country, do another goldfish, stop being a twat ect ect.

 

It's like paying Ian M. Banks 10x his usual rate to write Battlestar Galatica fanfic.

 

I think i need to go to bed now, I'm coming off the rails.

 

 

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I know that's just you being you chief but I don't think you're being entirely fair - those guys have to pay the bills just like everyone else, so can't really fault them for following the money. Most of them work on their own properties alongside the company stuff too.

 

Anyway, as long as get a Jeph Loeb penned Marvelmen Vs Red Hulk mini out of this, then I'll be happy.

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Fuck, all I want are the Moore and Gaiman runs collected and Gaiman's run finished. The idea of new Marvelman stories put out by Marvel is yawn-inducing at least and absolutely terrifying at worst. I'm hopeful that with an entity as "big" as Marvel stepping into this issue it will help sort things out, especially since they've been so chummy with Gaiman in recent years.

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"Matt - Best - Alan Moore"

 

brings a tear to my eye.

 

I know that's just you being you chief but I don't think you're being entirely fair - those guys have to pay the bills just like everyone else, so can't really fault them for following the money. Most of them work on their own properties alongside the company stuff too.

 

That's the back end of the argument, the front end is why is all the money in the company owned characters? JK Rowling didn't get her money from writing about company characters, Stephen King isn't a millionaire because he wrote company characters, so why is all the money in comics in the company Universes.

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...because the direct market has shrunk the available audience to one that'll only really support company owned characters.

 

There are exceptions - Mark Millar, of all people, has spoken about how his big bucks now come from his own properties but that's down more to movie licensing than anything (and his stuff sells very well indeed).

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I also want to point out that while money is certainly a big issue, we really don't know what's in these creators' heads.

For some writers, getting to work on a Big Two mega-book is something special. Let's not forget that most comic creators grew up reading mainstream comics, and for many a character like Spider Man is iconic.

After all, I don't think we can say that Brian Bendis isn't enjoying what he's doing now. Anyone who makes it a point to beat a Lee/Kirby milestone is a damn big comic nerd to begin with. The fact that his recent comic work has been shite, notwithstanding.

We can lament that these writers aren't fulfilling what we see as the best of their abilities, but it doesn't mean that their work isn't something they actually enjoy and want to do.

 

Also, adding to John McMahon's post, while this doesn't always apply (Harry Potter being an exception), we can make the argument that the name of Stephen King has been mass-marketed, rather than his novels. Marvel and DC have no interest in mass-marketing names who can jump from company to company (certain writers are exceptions here also, such as Moore or Gaiman), they're interested in mass-marketing characters.

Remember, for every King or Rice who are making millions off their creative ventures, there are millions of writers who aren't making that kind of money with their novels. I'm sure these writers can make far more money if they opt to "sell out" and write for the Star Wars novel line (for example) rather than trying to make it solely with their own creations.

And, no, I'm not saying that all the Star Wars franchise novelists are more talented than a King, but people like Kim Newman have also done franchise work in the past, and there are plenty of writers far more talented than King that almost no one has heard of.

 

As far as Miracleman, yeah, him being written as just another part of the Marvel Universe, which seems to be all Marvel is introduced in today, as they only care about marketing the Marvel Universe outside of comics, probably won't be anything impressive. Especially seeing as how they already created a character that fits the niche of a character like Miracleman (a talented, reclusive writer of a select few fine novels and short stories, apparently?) in the Sentry.

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It's been so long I cannot believe that it will turn out anything like it would have.

 

I have mixed feelings about the completion of the series now. Is it worth it? Will the result be any good?

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Also, since they switched the name to Miracleman when Gaiman took over (ifI'm not mistaken), I seem to recall bits of his Golden Age series being about "miracles", which, though similar to marvels, mean that the conversion back might not be such a smooth thing after all.

 

 

Also, wasn't there a Miracleman anthology miniseries with a framing story by Gaiman?

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Yes. It was the only affordable Miracleman comics we could get over on these shores for anything remotely reasonable.

It was called Miracleman:Apocrypha. I remember not being impressed with any of the short stories, but it had an early Kurt Busiek story.

 

I'm pretty sure the book was titled Miracleman from the time it came back due to legal pressure from Marvel Comics.

I think only the original series was called Marvelman.

Oh, no. I'm wrong. I looked it up. The strip was called Marvelman in Warrior, but when Eclipse bought the rights and reprinted the Warrior series, they had to rename it Miracleman. They edited the reprints to read "Miracleman" even, which is why I didn't realize when the change happened.

 

Wasn't the Silver Age story-line already plotted out, and a couple of the issues were fully written by Gaiman, but never saw print?

I forget all the details now.

If so, I'd expect the Silver Age to be ok, but yeah, Gaiman is quite a different writer today than he was in 1990.

I'm sure it'll still sell really well, and that's what Marvel cares about.

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Wasn't the Silver Age story-line already plotted out, and a couple of the issues were fully written by Gaiman, but never saw print?

Yeah, one or two issues of the Silver age were published, one was with the slightly awkward sexual advances by Miracleman towards his young sidekick, who was in love with him all these years, but couldn't get over his denial, so the advances were rejected and had in fact traumatized him, pushing him over to the dark side or something.

 

There was an issue after that that was fully pencilled without the lettering, available online I believe, but that's as far as that goes.

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