I haven’t been a serious comic fan in a long time. It’s nothing against the form–graphic, visual storytelling is as valid as the novel, the short story or the TV series–but my own life changed in such a way that the tales being told in the medium stopped speaking to me somewhere in the 1990s.
But when I read that Miracleman was coming back, I felt a stirring of that old enthusiasm. Because Miracleman (or Marvelman as he was known in his native UK) was the best comic series I ever read.
Brief history: In the 1980s, writer Alan Moore (Watchmen, Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta) resurrected the British version of Captain Marvel, a light kids’ hero comic, as a dark commentary on the Britain of his day. He also, because he’s brilliant, used it as a way to show what the then-real world would become if a character as omnipotent as Superman really did appear in our midst. He didn’t shy from depicting the horrible things men, and supermen, could do to each other, and to the rest of us. But through it all were rays of hope, and love, and a belief in the future.
One of the things that made Miracleman so noteworthy was that the company producing it, Eclipse, couldn’t seem to make it appear on a regular schedule. The gap between the cliffhanger at the end of issue 6 and its resolution in issue 7 was months. And this was all prior to the internet, so there was no reliable source of information for fans like me, attending college in Tennessee and dependent on the whims of the local shop owner (a teenage whiz kind indulged by his parents with a comic shop nestled inside their antiques store). We could only show up every week and hope for the best.
But it was all worthwhile for the story Moore was telling.
When you mention Miracleman today, you often get blank looks: fans know the name, but few people younger than me have ever read it. The series, including the graphic novel issue collections, have been out of print for probably twenty years, due to a rights tangle than has only now been resolved (thanks to Neil Gaiman’s artistic and socio-economic muscle). Gaiman took over for Moore as the series writer, and had the thankless task of continuing a story that had effectively ended, much like Twin Peaks after they solved the murder of Laura Palmer. And as part of the new run, Gaiman will “conclude” the series, with new issues once the old ones have been reprinted.
Of course, all that is marketing, and that’s fine. You have to attract attention. But the true story of Miracleman finished with Alan Moore’s issue #16, and to have that story back in print after all this time is nothing but good news.
So if you don’t know what KIMOTA! means…soon, you will.