British superhero character Marvelman is a character that had become mired in a legal quagmire for years, his modern re-telling and reinvention by Alan Moore and others forcing a name change to Miracle Man thanks to Marvel legal concerns. It seemed that in the ongoing confusion over rights to material and who exactly owned the 1950s hero created by Mick Anglo, there would never be a Marvelman adventure. Until now...
Incredibly, those problems (quickly revisited here and in more detail here by Rich Johnston) have now been solved with a solution no-one expected - Marvel has bought the character and made him their own and the 1980s Miracleman adventures written by Neil Gaiman and drawn by Mark Buckingham look set to soon be back in print. Whether this also means Alan Moore's original re-invention stories will also be republished has yet to be confirmed but it seems a safe bet.
T-shirts featuring the original 1950s Marvelman logo are already available from the online Marvel Comics shop, and a Marvelman poster drawn by Marvel's Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada (above) - will be released in September. Quesada says that in designing it he had to keep in mind that there would be other pieces that connected to it, but what those are we’ll just have to wait and see.
"Very few things in all my years as Editor-in-Chief and all my years in comics has thrilled me to the point that this has," says Quesada. "[Marvelman] has finally found a home where it can get published and we can see new stories.
"What sort of incarnation he will take within Marvel publishing? That's stuff that we'll discuss in the future."
"I did not think it would ever happen," says Mick Anglo of the news. "It's a wonderful thing to see my creation finally back."
downthetubes is as stunned as others by this news, although given the number of people contacting us recently to try and locate Mick Anglo, our news senses must have been set to "duh" for not realizing something was up.
"Obviously, for Neil and I this is a wonderful opportunity for us to finally get the material that we were doing back in the early 1990s back in print again because it's been 16 years since our last issue hit the stands," Mark Buckingham told US comic news site CBR moments after the announcement by Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada at the San Diego Comic Con, where he also revealed his first new official art for the character (above). "Beyond anything else, we can get that stuff back in print now. There's material that was produced that's never been published, so from a fan's point of view that's fantastic. There's more Gaiman and Buckingham just waiting for printing already."
Trawling through the legal tangles surrounding the character cannot have been easy but Marvel's lawyers have done it, cutting a deal with the character's 93-year-old creator Mick Anglo and Anglo's representatives, Emotiv Records, a Glasgow-based company who, Steve Holland explains on his Bear Alley blog, purchased Mick Anglo Limited, a company incorporated by Anglo on 21 August 1954 for the purpose of "Artistic and literary creation", possibly around the time that Emotiv Records and Products Limited was incorporated (11 February 2009).
Steve also notes that that, according to UK Data, an application to have the company struck from the register was made on 16 July. Emotiv's involvement with Anglo dates back to at least 2006 when Jon Campbell of Emotiv was involved in putting together the documentary about Marvelman. A website was set up in 2007 which still announces that Who Stole Marvelman a.k.a. Miracleman? is "coming soon" to DVD: we imagine that will soon be re-directing to the Marvel Comics site.
"It is an honour to work with Mick Anglo to bring his creation to a larger audience than ever before," says Dan Buckley, CEO & Publisher, Print, Animation & Digital Media, Marvel Entertainment Inc. "Fans are in for something special as they discover just what makes Marvelman such an important character in comic book history.
"I'm pretty sure if you go on the internet right now, within the next five minutes you'll hear every rumour associated with this character from the 1950s through the '80s to the '90s,: Buckley said during the ComicCon panel where the deal was announced. Describing the process behind the purchase he revealed Marvel started talking to Mick Anglo's people in 2007 "and it was a very exciting prospect.
"I first became aware of it through our relationship with Neil Gaiman," CBR reports. "I really didn't know much about Marvelman at that time, but the conversation started about how we could get involved with the character and bring him back. Mick Anglo and his folks are great to work with."
Buckley also said Marvel was "reaching out" to all the creators involved in the 1980s reinvention of Marvelman, said new publishing connected with the character would begin next year.
"The impact of this story that the character had on the industry is akin to what happened with Watchmen, and we're very excited about it," he commented. "We'll have a lot more details in the near future."
• To find out what’s next for Mick Anglo’s legendary creation, link to this Marvel.Com news thread (http://www.marvel.com/news/comicstories.8869) for all the news on Marvelman
• Joe Quesada on creating the new Marvelman poster: visit the Marvel Shop to purchase limited edition Marvelman t-shirts
• Mark Buckingham on Marvelman
• Bear Alley: I'm Marvelman - And I'm Back!
• Marvelman © Marvel Entertainment. Like Steve Holland we never expected to write that!