In “By the Numbers,” ROBOT 6 takes a look back at the events of the past five days … in numbers.
With Thursday’s announcement that Neil Gaiman is returning to the Marvel Universe and bringing with him Angela, the character at the center of his eight-year legal battle with Todd McFarlane, we’re left to wonder about the whereabouts of Marvelman. We also look at the surprise departures at DC Comics, and what the right price is when you name your own.
Marvel’s turning over a new leaf, so to speak, as it enters the Marvel NOW! era. But in that amid the flurry of new titles, new line-ups and new creators, we’re finding some notable absences — notable to us at least. While some missed heroes like Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Mockingbird have popped up in cameos here and there, there are still a significant number of popular players waiting to be brought onto the field. In this installment of “Six by 6,” we suss out six such characters and zero in on their last whereabouts, and where some of them might show up next.
This is going to be another “we liked it the old way” type of post. I take no particular pleasure in these, because there are only so many ways to rail against change, especially changes involving decades-old characters and concepts.
Nevertheless, the latest charges of Crimes Against Tradition are against the new Earth 2 and “Shazam!” features. The original Earth-Two came to represent generations of superheroes active since the late 1930s, but the current one is apparently “five years of supers, give or take”; and the new don’t-say-the-M-word “Shazam” is apparently also something called the Third Sinner. So yes, DC, I try to be open-minded, I will give these things reasonable chances to win me over, and no one has destroyed my treasured old comics — but wow, you don’t make it easy.
Therefore, today I want to look at why the old versions might still matter, but just as importantly why they still matter to fogeys like me.
Legal | An Egyptian court on Saturday officially banned Metro, considered that country’s first graphic novel, and found author Magdy al Shafee and publisher Mohammed al Sharqawi guilty of printing and distributing a publication infringing public decency. The two were fined the equivalent of about $916; they could have received up to two years in prison. Shafee has vowed to fight the ruling.
Shafee and Sharqawi were arrested in April 2008 after police raided the publisher’s offices and confiscated all copies of Metro, which centers on a young software designer in a modern and corrupt Cairo who turns to bank robbery to repay underworld loan sharks. Retailers were immediately ordered to remove the book from their shelves. You can read a translated excerpt of Metro here. [Zawya]
Legal | President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines last week signed into law the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, which bans real and “virtual” child pornography, including comic-book depictions. [Anime News Network]
While currently this is nothing more than pure conjecture, a quick Google search has led this part-time blogger to believe that the much-hyped, super-secret, forthcoming Mark Millar/Steve McNiven project for Marvel is in fact a Marvelman series.
Millar announced Friday that he and McNiven – his collaborator on Civil War and “Old Man Logan” – are joining forces on Nemesis for the House of Ideas with an expected launch date of March 2010.
“Nemesis” just so happens to be the subtitle of Miracleman #15 , written by Alan Moore and penciled by John T. Totleben.
Considered by many to be the most “shocking,” “disturbing” and “sought-after” appearance of the Mick Anglo creation, the issue features an epic battle between Miracleman and his “nemesis” Kid Miracleman.
Did Millar land the ultimate gig to be the man responsible for folding the classic British hero into the Marvel Universe?
Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada has apparently been listening to pitches since the publisher announced at Comic-Con International that it had purchased the rights to the property. Who better than the Glaswegian scribe to reintroduce Marvelman?
Again, nothing but a late-night musing here, but what do you think?
In an interview with Kurt Amacker for Mania, Alan Moore discussed in detail his feelings towards Marvel’s purchase of the Marvelman character and the chance of ever seeing his own version of the character in print again. In a nutshell: He’s fine with it all as long as his name is kept off the credits and the character’s original creator, Mick Anglo, gets to keep all the money:
After being initially informed by Neil’s lawyer, I had to think about it for a couple of days. I decided that while I’m very happy for this book to get published—because that means money will finally go to Marvelman’s creator, Mick Anglo, and to his wife. Mick is very, very old, and his wife, I believe, is suffering from Alzheimer’s. The actual Marvelman story is such a grim and ugly one that I would probably rather that the work was published without my name on it, and that all of the money went to Mick. The decision about my name was largely based upon my history with Marvel—my desire to really have nothing to do with them, and my increasing desire to have nothing to do with the American comics industry. I mean, they’re probably are enough books out there with my name on them to keep the comics industry afloat for a little bit longer. I left a message to that effect with Neil. I’ve since heard back from the lawyer upon another issue, and he said that he was certain that would be the case—that Marvel would accede to my request. That looks like the way it will be emerging. And, Neil will be able to finish his Marvelman story because he has a completely different relationship with Marvel than I have with them—or rather, don’t have. The main thing is that I will feel happy to know that Mick Anglo is finally getting the recompense he so richly deserves. And, I will have distanced myself from a lot of the deceit and ugliness that surrounded the relaunching of Marvelman as a character.
Moore also has a few nasty words for former Warrior editor Dez Skinn and Eclipse Comics, and goes into great detail about how he came up with his own unique take on the character. Go read the whole thing.
We’ve noticed some confusion surrounding Marvel’s big announcement about its acquisition of Marvelman. Namely, some are wondering why this is big news, or asking who this Marvelman is anyway.
Fear not, we can help. After the break you’ll find a guide to the whys and wherefores of Marvelman and why this really, truly is a really, really big deal.
Note: Parts of this article originally appeared here, as part of the “Collect This Now!”feature. It’s been refurbished quite a bit, though.
Of course, as with Flex Mentallo, there’s little chance this series will ever see print, at least for the nonce. Neil Gaiman, Todd McFarlane and a host of other lesser mortals have been arguing in court and other areas over who owns the character for over a decade now, and resolution seems as distant as the Orion belt.
The fact that the original Eclipse Comics trades and pamphlets are either a) tough to find or b) very expensive only makes the absence of a new collection only more irksome, as Miracleman still holds up remarkably well, despite having to constantly live in the shadow of its bigger and more popular brother, Watchmen.
After almost 20 years, it looked like the first two issues of Big Numbers were the only issues we’d ever see. But last week the third issue miraculously surfaced on the internet.
Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz’s aborted epic is one of those series that, even 20 years later, still gets people talking and wondering about what might have been. On his blog, Eddie Campbell remembers talking to Kevin Eastman about why the third issue was never published, even though it was finished: “I recall asking publisher Kevin Eastman at the time why, even though the 12-issue series was abandoned, he couldn’t put out the existing third issue,” Campbell writes. “He looked at me as though I was daft. Who would want a third issue if they knew there wouldn’t be any after that?”
Big Numbers is far from the only series that ever fell into comic limbo. In honor of Pádraig O Méalóid’s eBay purchase, here are six other comics that I’d like to see more of. Note that for the purpose of this list, I avoided titles that were officially canceled for sales reasons (like Blue Beetle, Aztek or Chase … that’s another list for another day) and instead focused on comics that we expected to see one day, but for some reason or another, they were never published (at least not yet, anyway). Books where I feel I could use some closure. Like last week, I received a little help from my fellow Robot 6 bloggers, so thanks to Kevin Melrose, Tim O’Shea and Michael May for their suggestions.
1. Miracleman: I would consider three comic titles the “holy trinity” of stories lost to comic book limbo — three books that were created but never saw print for one reason or another. One would be the previously mentioned Big Numbers #3, while another would be Miracleman #25. Written by Neil Gaiman and drawn by Mark Buckingham, the 25th issue of this epic series was never published.