There’s been a bit of news this week, about a certain Miracleman chappie. After much toing and froing, after lots of high profile legal meetings, and reportedly a lot of talking to everyone involved with the character’s complicated copyright history, the inevitable has happened and Marvel Comics officially announced that yes, they would be republishing the Miracleman stories by Alan Moore, Garry Leach, Alan Davis, Chuck Bechum, Rick Veitch, John Ridgeway and John Totleben, before moving on to not only republish The Golden Age by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham, but to finally complete the series with Gaiman and Buckingham’s Silver and Dark Ages.
It’s not a surprise, but many of us thought it would have been a few years before we got to this stage. There’s a full press release over at The Beat here, and more details on the first couple of issues here.
But essentially it boils down to this:
Marvel will start republishing Miracleman in comic form from January 2014, but part of the deal obviously includes an agreement with Alan Moore, which is why the first issue’s solicitation reads “The Original Writer and Mick Anglo“. Over the months they’ll reprint the entire series and then start with the unpublished Gaiman & Buckingham material. All complete with totally restored artwork and completely re-lettered.
Lots of questions still to answer of course, is the decision to keep the Miracleman name merely a ploy on Marvel’s part to spin the Marvelman brand off into separate stories whilst keeping the Miracleman brand self-contained? Will the reprinting include everything Marvelman/Miracleman? all the weird little tales? all the various little stories from here and there that don’t directly fit into the main story? What about Moore and Leach’s Warpsmith tales? Will they reprint the Moore and Davis bookends that were part of the Marvelman special, or the looking to the future ‘Yesterday Gambit‘ story originally in Warrior #4 showing us events that Moore would later rework as part of the finale drawn by John Totleben?
The thing is, after spending all this time, and a not inconsiderable amount of money to get to this stage I cant see Marvel messing this up. I think we’ll see the material presented in pretty much the way we all want it, comics first, and then the eagerly anticipated collections. I may make space on the shelf now for a nice set of deluxe hardcovers now.
The only real downside… being Marvel, you’re going to get loads of variant covers. Loads. Here’s just three.. Alan Davis, Mark Buckingham, Mike McKone…
Anyway, all of this made me think back to The Uncollecteds, a series of posts we did back in 2008, looking at those works that just weren’t available to us, the works we wanted collected and on our bookshelves.
Well, since then, there’s been a slow erosion of the list of Uncollecteds, and the announcement of Marvel’s plan to reprint/republish/complete Miracleman seemed as good a reason as any to revisit and see just what has been reprinted, and what still eludes us….
As we’ve just crossed Miracleman off the list, lets start with the Alan Moore Uncollecteds special we did… and we can straight away cross off another major title, one that a lot of Moore fans think is better than Miracleman: Top Shelf are finally scheduling the quite wonderfully weird Bojeffries Saga by Moore and Steve Parkhouse. It’s been talked about for years now, and Top Shelf have had it on their site as unscheduled for so very long, but it’s a pleasure to finally see it has a release date – Febuary 2014.
I did bemoan the lack of a coollection including one of my favourite Moore tales; the melancholic and sentimentally wistful “Last Night I Dreamed Of Dr Cobra” from Spirit The New Adventures with art by Daniel Torres. Well, it may be expensive, and it may only have a couple of Moore stories, but it’s now available, published in a huge hardback collection by dark Horse in 2009.
But that’s about it for Moore, with no sign of many of the titles requested, especially those sought after by Padraig; 1963 will never be published as far as anyone can work out, although Steve Bissette does have plans for publishing his characters from the series, a complete Moore Songbook looks unlikely at this stage, and unless someone were feeling particularly brave and adventurous I can’t see many of the smaller works seeing a collection any time soon. So little chance of Pictopia, The Bowing Machine, Maxwell The Magic Cat, Outbreaks of Violets, From Hell Major Arcanna, Myra or any of the others Padraig mentioned.
Onwards, to the other Uncollecteds Special we did, the Grant Morrison Special….
Obviously the big deal here is the fact we’ve seen a complete Zenith published this year. Okay, granted the whole incredibly limited nature of The Complete Zenith means a lot of people are still waiting to get their hands on it, but after no lawsuit coming from Morrison with this limited edition, I can’t see Rebellion resisting the temptation to produce some more readily available editions in the coming months.
But that’s it for the good news. On the bad news side, as time slips by there’s probably less and less chance of seeing some of his minor (yet rather excellent) works. I’d certainly pay good money for a deluxe, expanded version of St Swithin’s Day, the ’89/90 comic from Morrison and Paul Grist. I’d also love to see two comics from Crisis; Bible John: A Forensic Meditation (Morrison & Daniel Valley, 1991), and New Adventures Of Hitler (Morrison & Steve Yeowell 1989/1990).
There’s certainly a lot still to collect; Kirby’s 20001, Wagner, Grant & Smith’s Bogie Man, Warren Ellis’ Marvel stuff, a huge collection of DC Thompson material, all of the great Leo Baxendale’s work, a best of Escape (maybe one for the newly reformed Escape Books?). No Laser Eraser & Pressbutton collection, no ‘Mazing Man, no Misty collection…. the list goes on and on and on. But there’s also been lot to cross off our wish list as well….
A1 has returned in a big way in a series of comics and collections from Titan, although it’s not a complete reprint, and there’s a lot of material still unavailable from the original run. And proving the old adage of you can get what you want and still not be happy, I did get a Fish Police collection – but it really didn’t live up to the memories!
The Rocketeer has been on the receiving end of a few collections, including one of those gorgeous Artist Editions from IDW.
Joe Gordon should be very happy – all his beloved John Wagner and Ian Gibson Robo-Hunter is now available and although The Shadow did get a collection, it was just the first Howard Chaykin series, not the all important follow-up series by Helfer, Sienkiewicz and Baker. Oh, maybe one day?
Shade The Changing Man is now up to a third volume from the acclaimed Peter Milligan and Chris Bacchelo run, and still with Peter Milligan, we’ve just seen the collection of a LOT of excellent Milligan and McCarthy material (including Skin) in The Best Of Milligan And McCarthy. The sublime McKinnon, Wiley, Kermode collaboration that is Sleaze Castle Etcetera received its incomplete collection. And finally, I’m looking forward to Matt Wagner’s Demon collected early in 2014.
Right, that’s it. We’re definitely lucky comic readers, living in a time when more and more of the things we genuinely thought lost forever are appearing every week on the shelves of your local comics shop. Consider yourselves lucky!