Jump to content
Hondo's Bar



Recommended Posts



Another topic lost in the storm....long story short: This was a project from the now-defunct Eclipse comics, that revived a golden age charcater "Marvel Man" that got shut down legally cause of DC's claim it infringed on Superman.


It was hokey, like any other title of its time. But in the early 80's, Eisner-award winners Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Neil Gaiman (Sandman, 1602) took it upon themselves (mostly Moore, i think) to modernize the character, before Dark Knight Returns or any of it, if im not mistaken. It became a damn interestin tale of superheroes, duality, government super-soldiers, and varios psycho-therapy to explain golden age hokeyness, to boot. Ive read a chunk of it, and really enjoyed it, was years beyond what superhero books were doing. Decades, i would venture.


Sadly, there's a legal battle over this as well, as Todd McFarlane (Spawn...) claims he owns some share of the creative rights, and its been said that everyone from the CBLDF to Quesada himself have offered help to get Gaimain back the rights to what should be his creator-owned character, in hopes that Marvel can one day finally put this impossible-to-find story into trade. Here's the latest...






The never-dying Todd McFarlane/Neil Gaiman controversy over Miracleman got a little fuel via an interview with McFarlane at UGO.com, by regular Newsarama contributor Daniel Robert Epstein.


When asked about Mircaleman, here's what McFarlane said:


UGO: Has the Miracleman film gone back to Neil Gaiman or wherever it is supposed to go?


TODD: With the lawsuit, Gaiman walked away from Miracleman. I have the trademark for Miracleman. No one wants to say it out loud, but that's what happened with the lawsuit. Everyone was like "Hah hah, he killed Todd," but unfortunately -- or fortunately, depending on where you are standing -- he had to pick some copyrights to some Spawn characters or pick Miracleman. He didn't pick Miracleman.


UGO: Did he take Angela?


TODD: Yeah, he took some of the Spawn stuff. For whatever reason he walked away from Miracleman, so now Miracleman will be in the Image 10th Anniversary book.


(Newsarama Note: According to other reports, the Image Anniversary book, re-titled simply, Image Comics #1, will see print in mid to fourth quarter 2005. In the interview, McFarlane said he is currently finishing his Spawn story)


McFarlane acquired the films (from which comic books can/could be printed) of the Eclipse editions of the Miracleman comics when he purchased the assets at the Eclipse bankruptcy auction. The sale, reportedly, included none of the publishing rights to the Miracleman character, as they had lapsed.


The films were sent to Gaiman, as part of the payment requested in return for writing Gaiman did for issues of McFarlane's Spawn series, as well as the Angela miniseries. In October of 1997, McFarlane then applied for the trademark to Mircaleman, and a subsequent indication of his intent to use the character.


As could be expected with this issue, McFarlane's comments don't exactly jibe with what Gaiman wrote in his blog on February 25th of last year, after he won the case against McFarlane.


Gaiman wrote:


I used to think that McFarlane actually had some rights in Miracleman. He told me he had, after all -- he'd bought what was left of Eclipse from a bankruptcy court -- and that he very much wanted to swap those rights for my rights in Cogliostro and Medieval Spawn. He never sent me any of the papers, though, after I agreed to the 97 character swap, although he sent me the film for several issues of Miracleman. Then, a month after sending me the film, and having told me that he had transferred his rights in Miracleman to me, he sneakily filed an application for the trademark on Miracleman. Then a year or so later, he abandoned that trademark application. (This was something I didn't know, but that came out in the run-up to the court case.)


During the legal case, the one thing that no-one was confused about was that I, and Mark Buckingham, and Alan Moore, owned the copyright to our work in Miracleman. That was straightforward and obvious. We owned our copyright on our material; the bankruptcy of Eclipse didn't affect our rights.


Actually that's not quite true. Todd said in some interview online before that he owned all rights to Miracleman and if anyone said different, he'd see them in court. Well, he saw me in court...


As part of the court case, we finally got to see the Miracleman paperwork. It turned out the entire paperwork that Todd hadn't sent me consisted of an expired Eclipse Trademark registration for the MM logo. From another source I also got to see the original contract, under which Eclipse had obtained their part share in the Miracleman character, and it was explicit in saying that in case of Eclipse folding, or even substantially changing directors, that Eclipse's share in the rights to Miracleman would revert.


So one thing that the court case did establish was that Todd obviously didn't, as he had been claiming, own all of Miracleman. As far as I can tell, or any of the lawyers working with us on the case could tell, Todd probably doesn't actually own any share of Miracleman. He certainly has no copyright in any of the existing work.


Currently (as of late 2001) Todd has another trademark application in on Miracleman, on the grounds that it was an abandoned trademark, which we've opposed. [it is apparently this trademark that McFarlane referred to in the interview]


There may well need to be a final court case to tie up some of the last loose ends on Miracleman, which may wind up going to some very fun places indeed. At least with 1602, there's the money there to fight it. And there are a lot of places that want to republish the work that's been done on Miracleman, and the new work that Mark and I hope to do.


The shares or the copyrights to Miracleman that Gaiman, Buckingham and Moore own are now owned by Marvels & Miracles, LLC, a company created by Gaiman to clarify the legal standing of the Miracleman rights.


Regardless of the current standing of the rights, both McFarlane and Gaiman have used them in the production of Miracleman merchandise, that is, two statues, one by McFarlane, of an updated design of the character released in 2003, and one in more classic form, produced by Randy Bowen and Neil Gaiman.


A quick check of the US Patent and Trademark Office shows that currently, the only live trademark for Miracleman is the one referred to by Gaiman, filed July 11th, 2001. The filing is for the trademark to apply to comics, toys, and clothing. Opposition to the filing (presumably by Gaiman) was filed February 13th, 2002. The opposition is still pending.


Previously, McFarlane had filed for three seperate trademarks, one for comics, one for toys, and one for clothing, on October 27th, 1997. All three were abandonded by McFarlane in February of 2000.


Developing, obviously…


The interview also touched on Joe Quesada's standing offer for a Spider-Man/Spawn team up. McFarlane replied: "I know he bugged me for Spidey and Spawn so maybe someday I will do it. I told Joe that the concept was short term stuff. A one hit wonder. So we do Spidey and Spawn, it comes out, it sells a lot of copies and everyone makes some money. But what about next month? Now what? Whatever.


"If I'm going to come back and draw, it would be for two reasons. One because I want to sustain something and two because I just want to draw and I don't care if anyone buys it. I have lots of those options to make money so there has to be a bigger reason than that."


Click the top link for the full interview.


Update: Gaiman updated his blog about the matter, posting:


"Good old Todd. This was the same kind of thing he was doing in the fan press before the legal case. Charitably, I think it's fair to say that he's telling huge and easily disprovable fibs. No, he doesn't (whatever he says in the interview) have a trademark on Miracleman. The shared trademark that Eclipse had was found to have expired in the mid 90s, before Todd bought the remains of Eclipse. (Todd put in a new Miracleman trademark application back in 2001, before the legal case, which we opposed as soon as we found out about it, and which hasn't been granted.)


"Beyond that, he's also distancing himself from the reality-based community in his description of the result of the legal case. (I'm not sure what to say about that, other than it's all been pretty extensively recorded.) If Todd actually owned a share of Miracleman (something that became more and more unlikely as we finally saw the actual documentation he had on it, which consisted only of: a contract that said that Eclipse's rights to the character automatically reverted if someone other than Dean Mullaney owned Eclipse, and an expired Trademark notice for a Trademark shared with me, Mark Buckingham and Eclipse) then, yes, he kept that share at the end of the trial. Meanwhile, Mark Buckingham and my share of Miracleman isn't in any doubt at all. I didn't walk away from what Todd had; Todd simply couldn't demonstrate that he owned anything that I was walking away from.


"We're in the concluding stages of talks to bring the Alan Moore Miracleman stories and the stories I wrote and Mark Buckingham drew back into print. (The stories are copyright Alan and me, the art is copyright by the artists who did it.)


"Currently, I'm also one of the largest creditors of Todd's comic company.


"I used to get hate mail from Image Fans accusing me of delaying the Image 10th anniversary book (which was due out in 2002) because, following the trial, I now co-owned the Cogliostro character, and people from Image were at one point, apparently, telling people that I was stopping the comic coming out, which came as rather a surprise to me, because it was the first I'd heard of it (and was also nonsense). Cynically, I can't help wondering if Todd claiming he's now putting Miracleman into the just-a-little-bit-late comic is just a way to put off actually publishing the comic for a few more years."



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

The fact that Bowen put out a Miracleman statue(Which I own by the way and it kicks ass) could mean that Gaiman won the lawsuit. Macfarland has a to big of a ego and won't go to somebodyelse to make a statue. Oh, and cowboy one thing you got wrong. Marvel was the one who claim the name infringeed on the companys name. I mean his name is MARVELMAN and the companys name is MARVEL. DC was sueing over captain marvel a.ka. shazam because it infringed on Superman.Your slipping cowboy you should know better.

Edited by newtype
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

I just want to say that McFarlane is scum. He legitimately believes he deserves the rights to that character, and all he would be able to do with his oafish inferiority is sully the name. It's like if the Mona Lisa was unfinished, Davinci was still alive, and some retarded kid was allowed to wrap it up because he bought the company that made the canvas.


Book 3: Olympus is one of the best comic books ever written (and the sterling prize of my collection), Gaiman's run wasn't as good, but it was very acceptable. The only problem is that it never ends, all I have is a few rough pages from an unpublished book concerning Young Miracleman. I'd love to see it finished, but since it looks like that prob'ly won't happen the next thing I want is to not let anyone else fuck with it, ever. Todd: Leave it alone you knuckle dragging monster.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...
didnt they already do this with that early new avengers Sentry arc?


Took the words from my brain. Since I never quite cottoned to the Sentry I'm kinda hoping Miracleman will simply take his place & he'll fuck off back to the dark recesses of Jenkins brain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not exactly thrilled, but I guess I'd rather see it go to Marvel than McFarlane.

Not sure how cool MM would be in a world heavily populated by super powered folk i.e. 616. I guess the history of the original Marvelman could be pretty easily shoe-horned into the continuity, then the current universe could just be considered an elaborate dream sequence. I don't think Miracleman post-Moore revamp would believe any of it for a second. It would kind of be like having Dr. Manhattan in the Justice League, it would just seem...weird.

Plus, he's really not all that cool when you have the powerhouses in 616 to compare him to, essentially you've got a Captain Marvel clone. Unless they give him

John Bates

level of power, which is totally feasible, then he'd be quite a force.

Here's what I hope happens: Quesada and Gaiman seem to have a pretty chummy relationship (more than any previous EiC at least), they need to get Gaiman on to finish the Miracleman story that he's been fiendishly teasing me with for damn near 20 years.

I really hope they reprint these cheaply soon, I want more people I know to read it but it's too expensive a collection to just lend out willy-nilly. I will gladly take the devalue that will follow to spread the word (not like I was gonna sell 'em anyway).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really hope they reprint these cheaply soon, I want more people I know to read it but it's too expensive a collection to just lend out willy-nilly. I will gladly take the devalue that will follow to spread the word (not like I was gonna sell 'em anyway).



Why, hello there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It doesn't stop on a cliffhanger or anything, so it has an ending of a sort. It could really end right after Olympus.

The Golden Age was meant to be the first of a 3 story arc, followed by The Silver Age and The Dark Age. As is, the

story ends on an upnote. The world is a wonderful place and all is well, any threats are insignificant or imagined for entertainment. It was intended to be the high point in a downward spiral culminating in some sort of series ending battle with Bates.


I believe there were 2 issues of The Silver Age published and a handful of rough pages of a 3rd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

comitted to reading this book before the year's end, prolly knock it out this month - starting all over and im on issue 2 currently. its a lot to read at times but i cant recall why i put it down.


remind me: should i read Apocrypha afterwards?


also: from the back of issue # 2, had to share:






early issue # 3 impressions - Big Ben looking like a juiced-up Spirit isn't an accident, is it?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

just finished # 12, gonna have to stop here for my weekend.



boy that issue was particularly dark..Miracle woman's origin starts off playing a bit with the bondage/golden-age Wonder Woman stuff and very quickly becomes a great deal rape-ier.

looking back, Gargunza's death was already great but it's up there with watching Jody die in Preacher as far as "people who most had it comin'", i mean holy macaroni.


the part with the prometheus aliens coming back for their fire was good too - speaking of, there's bits in here that are already stronger than some movies today, and it's crazy what matrix/more specifically inception stuff was going on in this old book.


his wife is so gonna end up in a refrigerator, but possibly because of the mindgames the baby's (subconsciously?) playing.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hang on to your butt.




speaking of, there's bits in here that are already stronger than some movies today, and it's crazy what matrix/more specifically inception stuff was going on in this old book.





This is kind of one of the reasons why the book is so important to me. I can trace a substantial chunk of modern books I enjoy back to it. Those writers may not have been inspired directly by it, but they were inspired by guys who were inspired by guys who were. There was nothing like this before Miracleman. It changed everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

speaking of changing everything: just finished issue #15




Ellis, Ennis, Millar, and sometimes Bendis: you - and countless lesser-knowns at dynamite & such labels - have basically tried to have that issue.

read it well before trying again

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...