Make Me Shout "Kimota!"
A couple weeks ago on the podcast, Fanboy Planet Editor-in-Chief Derek McCaw repeated my concern from the last time we talked about Miracleman, that when it finally was re-presented, today's audience might be disinterested.
My theory has been that modern comic book readers have read so many gritty "superheroes in the real world" scenarios that Miracleman would seem derivative instead of coming across as the mind-blowing meta-retcon it was when I first read it in the 1980s and '90s. Heck, the British TV series Being Human used one of the saga's most powerful scenes verbatim.
Well, a week later, my shops have sold out of a healthy order and I have to concede the point: Miracleman is back.
If you haven't read it, this is Alan Moore's meta-take on the Shazam Family mythos. Imagine a kid reporter grows up with no memory of his colorful past as the world's greatest superhero. As a middle-aged married man, he remembers his magic word, regains his superhuman powers but also discovers that the fantastic adventures of his youth may not have all been innocent romps and may actually be part of a grander conspiracy.
If you're revisiting it, the re-mastering of the original stories is impressive. The British comics were published in black and white and the American coloring technology decades ago was less than masterful. The vibrancy of the new coloring helps Garry Leach's beautiful art compete in the modern marketplace.
I'm not sure it is necessary from an artistic point of view to supplement the (uncredited) Alan Moore reboot with black and white Marvelman stories from 1950s. The material is not very good and pales in comparison with the original Fawcett Captain Marvel yarns (by such greats as Otto Binder and C.C. Beck) that it was aping.
Ironically, in the years since Miracleman originally saw print, DC has moved the Billy Batson character away from his lighthearted roots toward a darker, mystical path. I am curious how Miracleman reads to an audience that didn't grow up like Moore and I did, with a Shazam! comic book in the 70s and 100 Page Super Spectaculars filled with goofy tales of heroes who battled genius worms, evil scientists and a ridiculous army of villains that could only be called the Monster Society of Evil.
Maybe that's why those Mick Anglo back-ups are there, to establish that Golden Age tone?
If Miracleman continues to sell this way, it will be on par with Avengers and Daredevil for us. That would be cool enough to make me shout, "Kimota!"
Find this book and, of course, any comics you like at your local comics shop. We recommend Earth-2 Comics in Northridge, Earth-2 Comics in Sherman Oaks, Illusive Comics & Games, Hijinx Comics and The Comic Bug -- and many, many more in a neighborhood near you.