The superhero character called Miracleman has always had a troubled existence.
Born in the UK in 1954 as Marvelman due to an American lawsuit, revived in 1983 in revolutionary fashion by Alan Moore, threatened by Marvel Comics, necessitating a change of name when licensed in the USA, discontinued due to bankruptcy of publisher and complicated ownership disputes. The character remained in limbo for 20 odd years before being acquired by Marvel Comics!
Which brings us to the present day, where Miracleman Book Three: Olympus completes Alan Moore’s (credited as ‘The Original Writer’) critically acclaimed run on the character. As with the other Miracleman collections, the actual reprints make up less than half of the hardcover book with the remainder being ‘bonus’ features (e.g. original artwork and scripts) with the hefty US$39.99 price tag being somewhat unjustified.
Worst still, Marvel has elected to incorporate two stories that have no place being in the same book as this storyline. Seriously, what is the relevance? No wonder Moore is pissed off with Marvel. This is almost as atrocious behaviour as DC’s cash-grab with Before Watchmen. What. The. Fuck.
In the final analysis, Olympus is probably next to Watchmen, the finest superhero story ever told – never to be surpassed (not forgetting artist John Totleben’s amazing work). Narrated from Miracleman’s perspective, it is the logical response to the question – “What if Superman really existed” and also the perfect ending to the Miracleman story. But of course, due to commercial considerations, it is not.
But aside from these objections, if you have never read Olympus, then I highly recommend you pick up this book. Just do me a favour and put the book down once you have finished with the story itself and ignore the ‘bonus’ features. Or better yet, read the story all over again.
The Generation Gap! The stuff of endless arguments about who’s music was better etc etc etc. What about comic books? I personally believe that after the Marvel Age of the 60s with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, the finest era of comic books is the Eighties, when writer Alan Moore was changing the industry.
MAGIC WORDS: THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF ALAN MOORE (by Lance Parkin)
It’s difficult for me to be objective about the writer Alan Moore. After all, the man had been responsible for many of my favourite all-time comic book stories viz. Watchmen, From Hell, Marvelman/Miracleman, Vfor Vendetta, Top Ten, Saga of the Swamp Thing and so on. Apart from Philip K Dick, Alan Moore is my favourite writer. Period.