Now that Miracleman/Marvelman has finally landed at Marvel it seems that they might be attempting to put out some definitive editions, the first one being this: Book One: A Dream of Flying. There are 176 pages, the first 117 being concerned with reprint material and the rest preparatory sketches, cover art, etc. There are no text articles which I suppose isn’t really necessary because you can find all the info you want online- check out Wikipedia and some of the reviews here for example.
So what have we got here? I remember reading Marvelman when it first appeared in the Warrior anthology title. This was something new, something different, something bold and something sadistic as you were dripfed six pages or so of this brilliant storytelling and artwork once a month only. The bar was well and truly lifted when it came to superhero storytelling.
Now in this edition published by Marvel we have what looks like most of the Warrior material including some hardcore science fiction featuring the Warpsmiths. Granted, they are difficult to read as another reviewer pointed out, but the impression given is of a huge back story which perhaps can be delved into at a future date.
As for this edition… unusually, it is a printed hardcover rather than the plain cover with the paper wrap around. The original stories were printed in black and white in a large magazine format. They’ve been coloured and crammed into the American comic book size format. I’ve seen other attempts to do this, notably with stories from 2000AD and it can be disastrous. It’s not so bad here though. I’ve no problem with the colouring but it might have been nice if Marvel could have kept the original dimensions. A quibble perhaps, but on reading it there was a constant sense of it being too small.
As for reading it now, as another reviewer pointed out, it has lost nothing. It is as shocking and as terrifying and as beautiful as it was then. Moore (or The Original Artist (what’s that about!)) takes a juvenile derivative superhero and plonks him into a bleak British social context and explores the implications that this entails. And he does so compellingly.
I look forward to future volumes in the series.
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