New Miracleman Stories Coming From Morrison, Quesada, Milligan And Allred
Marvel has announced plans to publish a Miracleman Annual this New Year's Eve that feature the publisher's first original Miracleman story, by the X-Statix team of Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, and a long-lost Johnny Bates story by Grant Morrison, illustrated by Joe Quesada. The book also features a cover by Gabriele Dell'Otto and a variant cover by Bone's Jeff Smith.
Miracleman, originally called Marvelman, was created by Mick Anglo in 1954 as a British analog of Fawcett's Captain Marvel (now Shazam). The character was revived in the early 1980s by Alan Moore as part of the era's deconstruction of the superhero motif, but ownership of the character later fell into a protracted dispute.
When Todd McFarlane asserted ownership of the character in 2001 following his acquisition of the assets of former Miracleman publisher Eclipse, Marvel teamed up with writer Neil Gaiman to mount a legal challenge that ended with Marvel's acquisition of the Miracleman rights in 2009.
Marvel started reprinting Mick Anglo's stories in 2010. In January of this year they began reprints of the Alan Moore era, albeit with Moore's name removed from the book at his own request. These reprints will continue into the Neil Gaiman era, with plans for Neil Gaiman to conclude the previously unfinished series.
When or whether Marvel would also publish other original Miracleman stories has been an open question, which the announcement of this end-of-year annual finally answers. The Milligan/Allred story is a truly new work that pays nostalgic homage to the more innocent Mick Anglo era of the character, while the Morrison story, about Miracleman's former sidekick-turned-nemesis, fits into the 1980s continuity -- because it was written for the 1980s continuity.
As Joe Quesada told Vulture, which broke the exclusive announcement, the Morrison story is a script that he wrote in the mid-80s that was spiked when Morrison couldn't get Alan Moore's blessing for the project. Where this fits into the timeline of the lengthy Moore/Morrison feud, we will have to leave to better historians to work out.
When Marvel chief creative officer Joe Quesada heard about the lost script, he reached out to Morrison, who it seems no longer requires Alan Moore's blessing. Morrison's only condition for handing over the script was that Quesada draw the story himself. And so another weird chapter is added to the long, convoluted story of Miracleman.