Friday, July 31, 2009

A Marvel Universe Marvelman is inevitable

Now that Marvel owns the rights to Marvelman I think that it's inevitable that there will eventually be a Marvel Universe version of the character. It is just a question of sooner or later.

The benefits to Marvel of such a move are obvious - it immediately generates some attention and makes it easier for them to leverage their biggest asset - the "Marvel Universe" continuity - in exploiting the character. Against that there are very few reasons not do it, negative fan reaction being the main one, and that can always be managed.

Remember that Marvelman is not Watchmen. Alan Moore did not create him, he merely wrote his version of a pre-existing character. Indeed Alan Moore actually introduced a version into the Marvel Universe himself in the mid-1980s, the character "Miracleman" from his Captain Britain run, so it's unlikely that he would object to this especially now that Mick Anglo has been properly compensated.

Even if the current management at Marvel is dead set against the idea- which I don't think is a given at all - the essential economic logic of the move will eventually mean that it will be tried at some point by some future administration. They might as well do it now and try and do it properly rather than let some future writer of, say Exiles vol. 7, use the character as a gimmick guest star.

Marvel have had other properties in the past that they initially planned not to include in the regular Marvel Universe - the New Universe, Star-Lord, Marvel Boy etc - but they were all eventually tied in to their existing mythology. Even the Ultimate Comics "universe" has been connected to the regular Marvel line, via the Marvel Zombies books.

I imagine Marvel's immediate priority with Marvelman is to sort out the rights issues so they can republish the sought after Moore/Gaiman material. They will want to get Gaiman and Buckingham to finish their story, which both creators have expressed interest in doing in the past. If possible, they will probably try to continue the story after Gaiman is finished - probably with some extremely prestigious talent, someone of the order of a Michael Chabon or a Jonathan Lethem if they can get them. But talent like that is slow and cant be rushed, and in the meantime a Marvel Universe Marvelman series could make use of the character.

I don't think that debuting such a version of the character necessarily detracts from continuing the Moore/ Gaiman story, as long as it was a separate continuity. The general comics consumer is pretty sophisticated, and assuming all the rights issues are resolved, Marvel could even differentiate between the two versions by continuing the Moore/Gaiman series under the "Miracleman" label. That's the title that most of these stories were originally published under after all, and the name most people associate with this version.

Obviously, a Marvel Universe Marvelman series would have to be handled delicately, and Marvel would be anxious to preserve the prestige that the concept currently has. I'd imagine that people like Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, Mark Millar or Brian K. Vaughan would be their top choices to handle something like this, if they can interest them.


  1. very nice, solid work and some thoughtful writing. Looks like you've found your niche.

  2. Unfortunately it'll probably be Bendis that gets to 'play' with him (a Sentry & Marvelman tag-team, anyone?).

    Does Marvel own the rights to (the name) "Miracleman"? I thought they only had the name "Marvelman".

    Anyhoo, doesn't an alternate version of Young Miracleman (Rick Dauntless) still exist somewhere in the Marvel multiverse? He went off with Captain UK some years ago. It would be interesting if he reappeared.

  3. If Marvel can get Gaiman to finish the story, I'm OK with whatever nightmare scenario you can throw at me.