Welcome to the regular column where I answer your comic book questions. This aims to be a place where there’s no stupid questions and answers readers’ burning questions. In this edition I answer questions about Miracleman comics being released by Marvel and the reading order of the recent Superman: Savage Dawn crossover.
The first question comes from Artemiy, who asks…
Q: Marvel released a number one issue of Miracleman by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham. I have never heard of this series before, and as it is issue 1, I thought this is a new title. As it turns out, it is pretty old and has a lot of backstory to it, and I found this all a bit too confusing. Do you have any knowledge/advice about how to approach this series? I am really curious.
A: Miracleman has a had a bit of confusing past over the past 60 years. It’s a British comic that was originally known as Marvelman that ran in the 50s/60s which was very much a rip-off of Shazam (who has had his own confusing past when it comes to naming) who was quite popular at the time. I’ve read little bits and pieces of it and hasn’t aged well at all.
In the early/mid 1980’s the character was brought back and new comics were published again. This time very much intended for an adult audience. These comics were written by Alan Moore, who’s best known for work like Watchman and V for Vendetta, and was set 20 years after the original 50s/60s series in which the character was suffering amnesia only to rediscover that he was a superhero. Over the 16 issues Moore wrote, he set it up that his former sidekick was the villain and abused his power with a gruesome climax to end the run. It’s quite graphic in some points and there’s even a birth scene that shows pretty much everything.
Once Alan Moore’s finished his story Neil Gaiman, who was unknown at the time, took over the title and moved it in his own direction. Which is what is being reprinted now, with new colouring. Originally, Gaiman’s Miracleman run started with issue #17 but I think Marvel are trying to capitalise off his name with a new #1 issue. Interestingly enough, his run was never finished and Marvel have convinced the the creative team to come back and finish the story they intended to tell. This begins in March called Miracleman by Gaiman and Buckingham: The Silver Age.
As to why Marvel are printing it is sort of a long story. Let’s just say that there was a long and complicated battle as to who actually owned the rights the character and stories, which was only resolved about 2 years ago.
If the series interests you I suggest checking out Alan Moore’s work on the character as it’s pretty solid work. Although, he didn’t like having his name on it so he is credited as “The Original Writer”. Everything is collected in 3 hardcovers and worth checking out and filled with lots of extra, although I find your mileage will vary on those as I found some of it difficult to read. So maybe if you see it on sale pick it up.
The other question comes from Anthony on Facebook. He asks…
Q: Hi just wondering if there is a checklist for Superman Savage Dawn?
A: This is a great question! I haven’t been keeping up with the Superman comics the past few months and didn’t even realise a crossover was happening. Doing a bit of digging, the reading order for Superman: Savage Dawn is the following:
- Superman Annual #3
- Action Comics #48
- Superman/Wonder Woman #25
- Superman #48
- Action Comics #49
- Superman/Wonder Woman #26
- Superman #49
- Action Comics #50
- Superman/Wonder Woman #27
- Superman #50
Savage Dawn will lead into one final crossover before the Superman comics are relaunched as part of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative. This begins in a few weeks time and I will make sure to have a reading order checklist for it!