Published on October 13th, 2012 | by Cosmic Comix and Toys0
Last week, I read The Manhattan Projects, which was an over-the-top science fiction story that was just amazing. As I was getting ready to pick a book this week, I realized that this is my 200th post for Cosmic Comix. Wow! That’s a lot of posts. But the actual number is a bit higher. Long ago, before the store was at its current location, and before Rusty knew how to operate the internet, I did a post for him called The Back Issue Bin. Instead of talking about new books, I trolled through the long boxes looking for overlooked gems available in the store. So, in honor of that long defunct column, I read back issues this week! Specifically, I read MIRACLEMAN #1-9, written by Alan Moore, illustrated by Garry Leach, Alan Davis, and Chuck Austen (yes, that Chuck Austen), published by Eclipse Comics from August 1985- July 1986.
Miracleman was one of the earliest deconstructions of a superhero. In the first seven issues Miracleman rediscovers his powers after having lost them, along with his memories, for years. His happiness at having returned is short lived as he has a brief yet brutal encounter with his former sidekick, since gone bad. Moore rounded out the first arc by updating MM’s origin. Issue #8 is filler and fun if you like reading British GA stories, but a pass otherwise. Issue #9… is… wow #9 is. Umm, #9 is the birth issue. If you’ve never seen a birthing picture well look no further because it’s shown in all its glory here. Issue #9 contains a highly graphic birth scene, based on medical illustrations of the process, and even carried a parental warning on the cover.
So how was it? This is Alan Moore at his peak and it doesn’t get any better than this. You can make the argument that Alan Moore’s output from ‘82-‘86 is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, by a writer ever. During this time, Moore wrote MM, V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing and Watchmen. These are series and characters that we still talk about 25 years later. The only other person who even remotely comes close to this level of sustained greatness is Stan Lee from ’61-’64. But you can argue the artists were as much the writers as Lee was.
This is Moore stretching the idea of superheroes as far as he could. It has solid characterization, brutal action sequences and some really warped ideas on the origin of heroes. The art in the series is very good too. How can it not be good with Alan Davis on art chores? The one weak spot is Chuck Austen’s work. It’s good but Leech and Davis were great so it suffers by comparison.
Miracleman is pure superhero deconstruction goodness. It is just great! It’s kinda forgotten these days because it’s caught up in litigation and hasn’t been reprinted but it’s worth hunting down the back issues. If you are looking through the back issue boxes then this is one series to look for.
- David Lee