Anybody who was following the news out of last year’s San Diego Comic Con might recall that Marvel’s big announcement was that it somehow acquired the rights to Marvelman. You might also recall that Marvel didn’t really say much else. It wasn’t clear if they’d be producing new adventures of the British superhero or if they had just gotten the rights to reprint his older stories. And, if it was the later, which stories would be reprinted?
Today, we received a press release finally elaborating on that, almost a year after the first announcement. The first publication of this new endeavor will be the MARVELMAN CLASSIC PRIMER in June. As the name implies, the book is both a handbook-style magazine to get new readers up to speed, as well as retrospective on the character. Written by John Rhett Thomas, it contains interviews with talent who’ve worked on Marvelman over the years like Neil Gaiman and Mike Anglo (his creator) and character pin-ups by Mike Perkins, Doug Braithwaite, Miguel Angel Sepulveda, Jae Lee, Khoi Pham and Ben Oliver. What’s more, there will be two variant covers – one by Anglo and one by Joe Queseda, who you might've heard of.
The month after that, we’ll get the ongoing MARVELMAN FAMILY’S FINEST, which will reprint some the character’s greatest adventures in America for the first time. Around the same time, the MARVELMAN CLASSIC VOL. 1 hardcover will also hit, reprinting the character’s stories in the order they were first published.
Some of you might be confused as to what the hullaballoo is about. You may not have even heard of this character, either.
Basically, Marvelman began as a UK publisher's replacement for Captain Marvel. The big reason most people are excited about this is that Alan Moore and Alan Davis redefined the character in the 80s and did some pretty daring work during the “deconstructionist” superhero era that included WATCHMEN and DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. A lot of legal battles have kept the character in limbo over the years. At one point, his name had to be changed to Miracleman to avoid confusion with Marvel, and, most recently, the rights to the character were tied up with Todd McFarlane. Thus, the Moore/Davis issues are rare and highly priced collectibles, these days. There’s no mention of those stories in this press release, so perhaps Marvel doesn’t have the specific rights to them.
-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this March - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.