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America's Captain 

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Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 12,139


Or MARVEL MAN if you prefer?

Here's the Wikipedia article, starting at the 1982 phase of the character's history, so as to be on topic here:
Miracleman from 1982

I love the look of the character. Always have. Unfortunately I haven't been a fan of the various attempts to darken fun characters like the original Captain Marvel or Golden/Silver/Bronze Age Superman.







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thuggernaut


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,435


Oh yes, big MM fan. The art by Totleben is next level museum quality transcendant.

It is the artistic equal and complement of Watchmen. While Watchmen is a (de)construction of superheroes as wholly human, MM is about the superhero as a living god.

Alan Moore makes Mickey Moran every middle-aged man walking around trying to remember his magic word from childhood. And when he finds it; realizes that everything he used to know was a lie.

Johnny Bates is the most abused innocent and terrifying villain of all time. A true illustration of a disturbed person with unstoppable power that makes him beyond punishment.

This is the ultimate Superman/CM archetype story taken to an apocalyptic conclusion. It is one of the reasons I cringe every time someone claims that Superman is really just a normal guy with powers. Or they claim that Captain Marvel is simply a kid's mind in a superpowered body.

It is such a shame that Alan Moore got on bad terms with DC and never had a Superman run. The man saw DEEPLY into the genre; and could fully express it's pure wonder and terror.


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America's Captain 

Maintainer

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 12,139



    Quote:
    Oh yes, big MM fan. The art by Totleben is next level museum quality transcendant.


I was always impressed by the art on the series.


    Quote:
    It is the artistic equal and complement of Watchmen. While Watchmen is about a construction of superheroes as wholly human, MM is about the superhero as a true god.


I wonder what a team-up of Miracleman with Doctor Manhattan would have been like, the latter being another Moore take on super power as godhood.


    Quote:
    Alan Moore makes Mickey Moran every middle-aged man walking around and trying to remember his magic word. And when he finds it; realizes that everything he used to know was a lie.


Do you interpret that as an allegory for midlife crisis? I think I could say that I tried to remember my magic word (allegorically speaking) but never succeeded. I then tried to help my daughters find theirs and there I was more successful. So maybe my magic word all along was "Dad."


    Quote:
    Johnny Bates is the most abused innocent and terrifying villain of all time. A true illustration of a disturbed person with the power of a train in their limbs who realizes that this makes them beyond punishment for any act no matter how heinous.


Even Miracleman couldn't hold Johnny Bates accountable in some way?

I often got the impression that Miracleman himself was the villain of the stories. Surely I'm oversimplifying, however. Would you say that, at least to some extent, Miracleman was a villain?


    Quote:
    This is the ultimate Superman/CM archetype story. It is one of the reasons I cringe every time someone claims that Superman is really just a normal guy with powers. Or they claim that Captain Marvel is simply Billy's mind in a superpowered body.


I never liked either of those interpretations. I especially dislike the notion of Captain Marvel having Billy's mind. The notion of Superman as really just a normal joe on the inside - the idea that Clark Kent is the true persona and Superman is the mask - never resonated with me. What does the Miracleman interpretation bring to these questions?


    Quote:
    It is such a shame that Alan Moore got on bad terms with DC and never had a Superman run.


I think Alan Moore could never have tolerated DC's editorial interference. Which I guess is why he and DC got on bad terms in the first place. Or was it more about royalties?






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Mikel Midnight


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,557



    Quote:
    I often got the impression that Miracleman himself was the villain of the stories. Surely I'm oversimplifying, however. Would you say that, at least to some extent, Miracleman was a villain?


I never saw him that way, although he's more the protagonist than the hero (everything he does in the first two books is for self-defense rather than to help anyone or improve the world).


    Quote:
    I never liked either of those interpretations. I especially dislike the notion of Captain Marvel having Billy's mind. The notion of Superman as really just a normal joe on the inside - the idea that Clark Kent is the true persona and Superman is the mask - never resonated with me. What does the Miracleman interpretation bring to these questions?


They have the same consciousness but different brains, so Marvelman is smarter. Likewise, even in the 1940s it was clear that the added age and the wisdom of Solomon made Captain Marvel a different person from Billy.



    Quote:
    I think Alan Moore could never have tolerated DC's editorial interference. Which I guess is why he and DC got on bad terms in the first place. Or was it more about royalties?


Moore can work under an editor. The split was about royalties, and the griping about interference came when they started to buy companies out from under him.



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thuggernaut


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,435



    Quote:
    I wonder what a team-up of Miracleman with Doctor Manhattan would have been like, the latter being another Moore take on super power as godhood.


I'm not sure what would come from such a story. There is some similarity between MM and DM (and also Swamp Thing), but they're different. MM is a god like Zeus or Apollo while DM is a detached, lost in time watchmaker deity.


    Quote:
    Do you interpret that as an allegory for midlife crisis?


Of course. The sad day comes for every man when he forgets his magic word and realizes everything he thought he knew about the past and the adults in it was WRONG.



    Quote:
    Even Miracleman couldn't hold Johnny Bates accountable in some way?


Only by killing him.


    Quote:
    I often got the impression that Miracleman himself was the villain of the stories. Surely I'm oversimplifying, however. Would you say that, at least to some extent, Miracleman was a villain?


No, not the villain. Gargunza was certainly a fully sinister personality. But the story showed that all heavens, revolutions, and utopias are built on a mountain of human skulls. And even if it seemed a better world had come, it wasn't quite clear if it was still human.



    Quote:
    I never liked either of those interpretations. I especially dislike the notion of Captain Marvel having Billy's mind. The notion of Superman as really just a normal joe on the inside - the idea that Clark Kent is the true persona and Superman is the mask - never resonated with me. What does the Miracleman interpretation bring to these questions?


Basically, that someone with the power in his limbs to stop a train is NOT human; wouldn't think human, or feel human. You can't walk around with that kind of power and simply be "just a guy." Superhuman on that scale means just that: SUPERhuman. It's why it was impossible for Moran's wife Liz to stay married and connected to Miracleman; he was so beyond her in every way. It's why there was a time when Superman was real and Kent the fiction and it was understood it wasn't possible or a very simple matter for him to be with let alone marry Lois.

In terms of Captain Marvel: he is NOT Billy Batson, but the two are intrinsically linked to one another with Billy informing the separate being with his innocence and humanity. CM is Billy's idealized idea of what being a grown up means. Their connection is ambiguous, complex and an exploration of identity. Their exact relationship isa mystery, and should be allowed to remain one.

Miller said DKR was his attempt to bring a sense of myth back to Batman and superheroes. He was tired of the simple and reductive attempts to utterly humanize them as just normal people who put on costumes.

Similarly, Miracleman is Moore's attempt to bring the mythic back to the Superman archetype. He takes on the full implications of such a creature; biological, philosophical, political, religious, etc.




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Mikel Midnight


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,557



    Quote:
    In terms of Captain Marvel: he is NOT Billy Batson, but the two are intrinsically linked to one another with Billy informing the separate being with his innocence and humanity. CM is Billy's idealized idea of what being a grown up means. Their connection is ambiguous, complex and an exploration of identity. Their exact relationship isa mystery, and should be allowed to remain one.


I ought to add: the stories set in the Golden Age are completely contradictory about the nature of their relationship. Not a criticism of them, simply saying that resorting to the original texts won't necessarily be helpful.


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Superman's Pal

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,731


I've never had the chance to read it. It sounds interesting. I wonder if it plays as well reading it now? By the time I read V For Vendetta it didn't have much effect on me because I had read so many derivative works that there were really no surprises in it.


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Mikel Midnight


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,557



    Quote:
    I've never had the chance to read it. It sounds interesting. I wonder if it plays as well reading it now? By the time I read V For Vendetta it didn't have much effect on me because I had read so many derivative works that there were really no surprises in it.


The material was produced around the same time as V. I think the quality of the storytelling makes it still worth reading, although of course it won't have the same degree of shock value.

People still listen to the Beatles, after all.


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