I don't remember if I had previously mentioned this, but I used to be an avid Silver Age comic collector. Among my prized gems were every issue of Incredible Hulk, Tales of Suspense 39-99, Fantastic Four 4,12, 25&26, Spiderman 2, and so on....... Like others in the past, life caught up with me and I ended up selling my collection at 2 different times for different reasons. I then decided to give up on collecting comics and just concentrate on tradebacks and graphic novels. It would eliminate some of the more tedious aspects of collecting. That and trades seem to be a little more appealing on the bookshelf if placed. Anyhow that how it has been for the last couple of years, until Mr. Alan Moore's Miracleman stepped into the picture.........
A couple of weeks ago, I received a phone message from a good friend of mine, Bill Gladman. Now you may know Bill by his other name he uses on this site. He is known as "The G-man" and he is a regularly contributing writer and part of the Comic Related Staff. The message left informed that East Main Street Comics(the local comic store in Springfield, Ohio owned by Scott Riley) had bought Miracleman 1-16 which was written by Alan Moore and he was wondering if I would be interested in buying them. Think that is an odd question for a friend of mine to ask me if I want to purchase part of a comic run when I no longer collect comics? Lets do a quick historical synopsis:
Miracleman was a character created in the 1950's by Mick Anglo. He basically was Captain Marvel after Fawcett Comics were sued by DC to discontinue the Captain Marvel title. Marvelman was created to closely resemble Captain Marvel in almost every comic aspect in order to keep their comic fanbase without any more interference from DC. The Marvelman stories were continued until around 1963. In 1982 Alan Moore wrote a darker version of the character as a black&white story in "Warrior" anthology comic. It addressed issues in comics that was basically unheard of before that time. The adult theme resonates to this day, it was the 1st time that a golden age type character was written in modern form and theme, and this was 6 years before "Watchmen" and "The Dark Knight Returns". The story was reprinted and colorized in 1985 by Eclipse comic with Moore writing until issue 16. The name Marvelman was changed to Miracleman d/t pressure from Marvel Comics. Moore left after issue 16 giving his shares to Neil Gaman(Sandman anybody?) Gaman continue until issue #23 then the series stopped d/t to the collapse of Eclipse Comics with issues 24&25 being sent into oblivion. In a nutshell, Miracleman remains one of the most litigated characters in comic history with as many as 4-6 parties fighting over the rights to the character. Further explanation should be given at another time in another article.
One of the odder things because of all this litigation is that the trades are harder(and more expensive) then the actual comics. The trades were put out before legal issues were resolved, thus they were quickly taken off the shelves. Their are 4 trades total. Trades 1,2,&4 go for roughly $75-$100 online and number 3 can go for a whopping $300! So here I am, with a chance to purchase something that I have never had before. What to do, what to do? So I exhaled slowly, went down to the shop and made the purchase.
To say I did the right thing was an understatement! Moore's work on this title was astounding! I was totally blown away on his version of a forgotten golden age hero. He basically took a 3rd tier hero and made him a viable character and a great story. Moore took modern and scientific explanations for the "magical abilities" that were never explained back in the day. For example, when Michael Moran says the magic word-Kimota(Atomic spelled backwards), his body is teleported away to a holding chamber and is replaced by the 2nd being-Miracleman. We take these stories for granted because all we see is modern interpretation of heroes, but this was 27 years ago! The story definitely holds up well! I devoured the books wholeheartedly and instantly fell in love with them.
In short, what did I learn from this? Was I weak? Does this mean that I will go back to collecting comics full time? I would like to think that I did the right thing to purchase something of quality that I have never owned before. In fact, it was cheaper then to buy the harder to find the trade book versions. There is something else that buying Moore's work has shown me, how good independent comics can be. It's easy to stick with the normal big gun publishers. I have groaned at times when I looked at the Indie sections in comic stores. As years have gone by, the increase in talent pool has led to more and more satisfying independent titles that comic fans should be bold enough to venture out to. It was a lesson that I was joyfully reminded of.
Thank you Mr. Moore:}