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Topic: JB - What did you/do you think of Miracleman? (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Mark Cookson
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 6:28am | IP Logged | 1  

Having just picked up a huge haul of old Warrior mags I was reading through the original run of Marvelman (as was) and I know that you have had a few problems with Moore's writing in the past but I wondered what you thoughts were on this run and in general to the trend of heroes with feet of clay.

Personally, I like my heroes to be just that, heroes! Not sullied with endless amounts of angst.

What say you?

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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 7:35am | IP Logged | 2  

When I was a lad in England, the original MarvelMan was one of the comics I read, and one of my "favorite" characters. ("Favorite" for me in those days being defined as "what I am reading right this instant".) In fact, when I first saw Captain Marvel, knowing no better at the time, I thought he was a copy of MarvelMan.

Anyway, to answer your question, with fond memories of MarvelMan behind me, I did not much care for Moore's take on the character. The "everything you know is a lie" approach is a card that should be played with great caution, and usually works best as a story arc, with all things restored at the end, rather than as a "big reveal".

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Bill Dowling
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 10:04am | IP Logged | 3  

I had always heard great things about MarvelMan/Miracleman and I found the Neil Gaiman issues and snatched them up. Afterwards I thought "Meh, not as good as Sandman, not really a superhero book, it was ok. I liked some more than others, but it didn't really leave an impact." Later I met someone who had all of the Alan Moore issues in trade paperback form and I read those. I was expecting a magnum opus based on what I had heard. They weren't all that. It didn't seem really to be that much better than Moore's Captain Britain and definitely was not as good as his Swamp Thing, Watchmen, or more recently Promethea, From Hell, or Top Ten.

In short: I think they were overrated. Even from the standpoint of accepting the "everything you know is a lie" and feet of clay stuff.

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Brian Miller
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 10:15am | IP Logged | 4  

I've read the first 7 issues ( thanks, Paul!) and came away with, "it's ok". I think I was expecting something on a grander scale. maybe I need the whole thing to appreciate it. I certainly saw where M***** got their idea for the Sentry from this, though.
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Jason Schulman
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 11:31am | IP Logged | 5  

I'll be the contrarian yet again...I loved Miracleman and still do. For me it's only marred by the chapters with art by Chuck Beachum (today known as Chuck Austen) and Rick Veitch. Of all the revisionist superhero stories of the 80s, it's my favorite, at least conceptually, with its super-scientific take on the Billy Batson/Captain Marvel-type transformation. And the chapters with John Totleben's art, particularly the battle that destroys London and kills thousands, are astonishing and horrifying. And make me glad that superpeople only exist in fantasyland.

Admittedly, I don't have fond memories of Marvelman. Given that the character and his world were an imitation of the Marvel Family's, I can't really begrudge Moore for ripping that world to shreds.

By the way..."feet of clay"? I don't see what that concept has to do with Miracleman. Mike Moran is flawed, but not morally, and Moore's intent isn't to make Miracleman look bad/immoral. (Kid Miracleman is simply a case of absolute power corrupting absolutely.)

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Bob Simko
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 11:42am | IP Logged | 6  

Miracleman as well as Kid Miracleman are cases of power corrupting...KM does it through violence, MM does it through forcing his "good intentions" on a society, whether they want it or not.

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Jason Schulman
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 12:02pm | IP Logged | 7  

Fair point, Bob, but in MM's case he really does have good intentions -- he might be wrong, but "corrupt" isn't quite the right word. In KM's case he's utterly corrupt and revels in it.
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Jeremy Nichols
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 12:16pm | IP Logged | 8  

I have two issues of Miracleman... #1 and #3. Have no idea
where they came from, but I read them a lot as a kid, wishing I
had more. I liked the "everything you know is a lie" angle as a
kid. Haven't read them in forever, so they might not hold up as
well for me anymore.

"Forcing 'good intentions' on society." Well, that's what we
humans do. That's power. I mean, only by society's own forced
good intentions do we get that stealing, killing, etc. is wrong.
There is no REAL right and wrong. There is no REAL good and
evil. Just as there are no REAL unalienable rights to anything...
except maybe death. For now. We all act selflishly by what we
perceive as right. So, if someone had God-like powers, and he
thought society would benefit by forcing his intentions on it, I
couldn't really say that's a "corruption" of power. It's just the
natural employment of power.
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Darren De Vouge
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 12:26pm | IP Logged | 9  

I enjoyed Alan Moore's take on the character if for no other reason than it enabled comic traditionalists and revisionists to both have their cake and eat it too.  I can actually enjoy a revision that doesn't tear down what other writers have done but instead adds a new dimension to the story.  The fifties material is very neatly self-contained and intact inside the backstory that Moore was weaving.

Of course if anyone were attempting to do this story today, it would be absolutely mandatory to deny in anyway possible the "non-realistic" storytelling of the fifties, so all those wonderful stories that provide source material would go the way of the garbage bin. 

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Paul Greer
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 1:36pm | IP Logged | 10  

I read Miracleman, when I was younger and really enjoyed it. ( You're welcome for those issues Brian ) What stood out then was that it was one of the first heroes with clay feet. To me it seemed fresh with a new perspective on super heroes. It wasn't until years later that I knew there was a real Marvelman comic. I just thought Moore was just doing a take on Captain Marvel, like he did with the characters of Watchman. However, fast forward about twenty years later and it seems the "hero" with feet of clay has become the norm, and reading Miracleman now would seem like every other book being put out today. Plus to know that it and other comics have caused this bleak image of heroes we see today takes some of the luster off the book.
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Jeremy Nichols
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 2:14pm | IP Logged | 11  

It's all evolution. Comics produced a few "feet of clay" mutants,
and they thrived. So much so that they threatened the previous,
iconic comics... and have driven them almost to extinction.

I think, if you look back through comics history, one can see it
goes in phases. 30s-40s was pretty pulpy, mean... I mean,
BATMAN KILLED! 50s, 60s kinda silly and lighthearted
(Batman gives Superman a bomb as a joke)... etc, etc.

Something will replace the feet of clay when it starts to bottom
out. There's always a fittest. Just like biological evolution, it's
near-impossible to predict what it'll be, but we'll know it after it's
here!

(My prediction is it'll come from the independents, where the
edge is usually cut, and then sharpened by the big 2.)

I'm excited about it, actually. I think we'll be seeing a shift
soon... and I'm sure I'll miss the feet of clay then, too, like I miss
the early 80s books now... heh heh...
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Ted Downum
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 2:36pm | IP Logged | 12  

 Jason Schulman wrote:

...And the chapters with John Totleben's art, particularly the battle that destroys London and kills thousands, are astonishing and horrifying. And make me glad that superpeople only exist in fantasyland.

Totleben's work on this series was amazing. 

I have mixed feelings about this series as a whole...but issue 15, the one in which KM destroys London, is probably still the single most viscerally affecting comic book I've ever read. 

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Troy Nunis
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 3:27pm | IP Logged | 13  

I only read through borrowed copies once, I remember finding moore's issues kinda neat in a What If  (this was pre-elseworlds) kinda way . . when i reached the Gaiman issues, i stopped, finding them impenetrable with atrocious art.
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Leroy Douresseaux
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 5:47pm | IP Logged | 14  

Praise Alan Moore!  I loved his Marvel/MiracleMan.  However, I came upon some old (original) MarvelMan's on Ebay, and got one for less than ten bucks including postage.  I'm going to read it tonight or tomorrow.
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John Harris
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 6:22pm | IP Logged | 15  

I have the entire run of Miracle (Marvel)  Man and I consider Moore's run absolute genius not to mention John Totlebens artwork. Issue 15 "Nemesis" with Johnny Bates vs MM was unbelievable...easily one of the scariest moments in comic history. I would love to elaborate but I can tell it would be to spoiler filled and I don't want to distract future readers.

The only problem I have with the MM series is that it helped launch a "deconstructionist" movement away from the traditional comic hero. I would not mind IF the quality of Moore imitators was better but I think it has fallen far short.Either way ...I think MM should be required reading if you like the Super Hero genre. Enjoy

 

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John Harris
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 6:24pm | IP Logged | 16  

 Ted Downum wrote:
 Jason Schulman wrote:

...And the chapters with John Totleben's art, particularly the battle that destroys London and kills thousands, are astonishing and horrifying. And make me glad that superpeople only exist in fantasyland.

Totleben's work on this series was amazing. 

I have mixed feelings about this series as a whole...but issue 15, the one in which KM destroys London, is probably still the single most viscerally affecting comic book I've ever read. 

I agree completely

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Bob Simko
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Posted: 10 May 2005 at 10:52pm | IP Logged | 17  

As novel a concept as it might have been when it came out 20 some years ago, it seems to me that a story of supreme beings wielding their supreme power to excess is one of the easier tales to tell.  It's a one trick pony, and if you follow the series, by the time the MM forced utopia arrives, there's really not too many places left to go with the story.  Super powered ragnarok is a given...I would've, overall, much preferred some...restraint, I guess.  The first few issues were some great dynamics and there could have been a lot of neat stuff to dive in to deeper, but then it went the easy route (IMHO) and went to hell.

If it wasn't "first", as far as the deconstructionist/power corrupting/feet of clay angle, I really don't think it would be as well remembered as it is.  There's a degree of gloss that goes with being first, which sometimes is mistaken for being the best.

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Ian Evans
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Posted: 11 May 2005 at 4:17am | IP Logged | 18  

I had always understood 'feet of clay' to mean 'fallible', standing on shaky foundations, and not mean necessarily 'corrupt'.  If I have got this wrong, may I take this opportunity to thank the board once again for putting me straight on something I thought I knew (which is happening with alarming regularity....)

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Dave Rolls
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Posted: 11 May 2005 at 4:47am | IP Logged | 19  

 Bob Simko wrote:

As novel a concept as it might have been when it came out 20 some years ago, it seems to me that a story of supreme beings wielding their supreme power to excess is one of the easier tales to tell. 

I'm guessing that part of the problem for many readers here may be that they've read it 20 years after it was published. Looking at it now, nearly every aspect of the tale has been plundered and reused in comics and movies - I can see how a 21st century reader might regard it as tired. You have to remember that at the time (to a 16year old reader such as myself who'd been reading Marvel, DC and 2000ad for 10 years) it was more than a breath of fresh air. It was a revelation.

 Bob Simko wrote:

It's a one trick pony, and if you follow the series, by the time the MM forced utopia arrives, there's really not too many places left to go with the story.   

Which, I guess, is why Moore ended the story there. Even then though, there's a glimmer of doubt and uncertainty left hanging in the air at the end.

 Bob Simko wrote:

If it wasn't "first", as far as the deconstructionist/power corrupting/feet of clay angle, I really don't think it would be as well remembered as it is.  There's a degree of gloss that goes with being first, which sometimes is mistaken for being the best.

But isnt that the point, Bob? It was the first to tackle superheroes in a recognisably real world, run with it and take it to its logical (and extreme)conclusion.

I'm sure someone will point out some other title that was first, but like I said, at the time, to a teenage reader that loved comics but wasnt used to seeing anything really new, this was the best.

I still dig the Moore issues out every now and then and read them together. I think its a beautiful and intricate work, lessened only slightly by the guest/ artist slots in Volume 2.

Of course, this thread ties in perfectly with the whole 'books shipping on time' debate. Wasnt the publication gap between MM issues 15 & 16 over 2 years?

 

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Leroy Douresseaux
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Posted: 11 May 2005 at 7:05am | IP Logged | 20  

I look forward to the reprints (as I lost some of my issues), which would give me a chance to reexamine the series.  I don't think Alan planned on making his run with the character ongoing, or at least he decided that by the time he hooked up with Eclipse.  I think the imaginative Mr. Gaiman was going to take this concept (and hopefully will) many great places.
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Darragh Greene
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Posted: 11 May 2005 at 8:49am | IP Logged | 21  

 Bill Dowling wrote:

I had always heard great things about MarvelMan/Miracleman and I found the Neil Gaiman issues and snatched them up. Afterwards I thought "Meh, not as good as Sandman, not really a superhero book, it was ok. In short: I think they were overrated. Even from the standpoint of accepting the "everything you know is a lie" and feet of clay stuff.

Gaiman doesn't get superheroes; so he's never been strong on them. 1602 implicitly acknowledges that point; Gaiman would never be comfortable or successful writing a story in the actual Marvel Universe. Luckily, he usually plays to his strengths by staying away from superheroes when he deigns to grace the medium with his resplendent presence.

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Darragh Greene
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Posted: 11 May 2005 at 9:04am | IP Logged | 22  

 Jeremy Nichols wrote:

"Forcing 'good intentions' on society." Well, that's what we
humans do. That's power. I mean, only by society's own forced
good intentions do we get that stealing, killing, etc. is wrong.

I think someone like Superman tries to use his powers to make people play nice while all the time hoping that people will become moral...perhaps by his example; but he would never think to 'force good intentions on society'. He plays by society's rules and accepts the veracity and objectivity of the moral values and standards he was raised by and to.

Batman, on the other hand, is a character who can be written as above, or as Frank Miller has done at the end of Dark Knight Returns and throughout DK2 as a man who forces people to become moral individuals themselves. Miller's Batman, by his attitude, actions and example, forces people around him to wake up to their right to liberty, equality and fraternity, but also to their concomitant responsibility to become moral agents with a duty to take account of the moral character and effects of their choices and decisions.



 QUOTE:
There is no REAL right and wrong. There is no REAL good and
evil. Just as there are no REAL unalienable rights to anything...
except maybe death.

If there's a right to death, then there's a responsibilty to live well. And if there's a responsibilty to live well, then there's a standard against which to judge that. And if there's a standard against which to judge it, then there's an objective morality. Therefore, if there's a right to death, then there's an objective morality. Q.E.D. ;-)

 



Edited by Darragh Greene on 11 May 2005 at 9:05am
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Jason Schulman
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Posted: 11 May 2005 at 9:25am | IP Logged | 23  

What Dave said. For a 15-year old reader in the late 80s like me, Miracleman was extraordinary, utterly unlike any other superhero book out there. To read it today, after you've read, I dunno, let's say Supreme Power, it may not seem that special. But at the time, boy howdy, I was knocked out. Issue #15 made me cry. Comics don't usually do that.

I liked Gaiman's "Golden Age" issues too, though not as much.
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Jeremy Nichols
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Posted: 11 May 2005 at 12:13pm | IP Logged | 24  

 Darragh Greene wrote:
If there's a right to death, then
there's a responsibilty to live well. And if there's a responsibilty
to live well, then there's a standard against which to judge that.
And if there's a standard against which to judge it, then there's
an objective morality. Therefore, if there's a right to death, then
there's an objective morality. Q.E.D. ;-)




Unfortunately, the "responsibility to live well" does not logically
follow a (possible) right to death, so the rest is moot.
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Jeremy Nichols
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Posted: 11 May 2005 at 12:20pm | IP Logged | 25  

 Darragh Greene wrote:
]I think someone like Superman
tries to use his powers to make people play nice...


Using his powers to MAKE people PLAY NICE...

How is that not forcing his good intentions on society? True, it's
not bringing about a totalitarian regime... but it is forcing intent
and his Kansas-bred morality.

I'm not saying Superman's WRONG or EVIL to do this... but it's
not RIGHT or GOOD either. It's relative.
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