Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In Praise of: MiracleMan #15 by Moore & Totleben

Among the great debates over the last 20 years has been over Alan Moore's signature work: which would be annointed the most moving, most innovative, most influential? Saga of the Swamp Thing, Watchmen, Lost girls, From Hell, 1963, Promethea? just typing those names all in the same line puts Moore in a different space from literally every comic writer ever. A Frank Miller might have two pieces to put on the same level, but I can't think of many other names that might even stay in the same room as the works from that prior sentence.

My catagory tonight: most disturbing, most cathartic, most brutal. Miracleman, which has sadly been moved into the purple realm of gossip due, to non-reprinting and rights issues. The issues, read straight through are uneven in art, which is jarring, as Alan's writing is consistantly innovative and powerful. And by the time john totleben takes over the last chapter, we just know that it will all end in someone's tears, but we never, not for a minute, believe that it will culminate in the most horrific comic ever committed to paper.

"Nemesis" gives us all that we thought we would never see: the true horrible savage tale of what a true superhero battle between supermen would be like: one the noble hero of folklore, the other the bizarro reflection, "hating life, shitting skulls." They destroy half of London and more humans than we can possibly ever begin to dream of, and yet John draws it all, never panning away from the butality of the conflict.

The modern mythology of Moore and Warrior magazine, much to Dez Skinn's eventual chagrin, is pulled together with the Miracle family, Warpsmiths and a Firestarter all together in the pitched combat. In the world of Supermen, Moore correctly concludes, we don't stand a chance. It must take a supreme degree of control to get to write a superman annual and not think that things must always end thusly. The uberman takes over, we are insects to them. Miracleman will always have his doubts, but he notes that there is no god to wish to, since he, alone, is god. In the final moments of the conflict, it is a warpsmith, with,
"...eyes gone somewhere cold, somewhere beyond the pain, faced death like some albino samurai and insolently stared it down for just one vital instant longer."
who saves us by taking care of Kid Miracleman. A creature not of, never having seen, this earth who takes the last final step to win.

It's cost is something that once read, those of us who live a vital life of 4 color fun and escapism never can quite retreat from. Those moments of believing that if our fantasies were to take life and breath of this warm, real planet, that they would unerringly end up on the path to this one horrible place.

My catagory tonight: most disturbing, most cathartic, most brutal.

6 comments:

Kid Sis said...

Okay, I'm borrowing!

Neil Patel said...

Hi ive recently started to pick up the Miracleman stuff Where did you find that issue? Its really hard to get....

inkdestroyedmybrush said...

neil -

hate to tell you this, but I was buying these off the stands with baited breath when they came out. There was almost a year between #14 and #15 due to john totleben's eye condition, but the wait didn't matter. Track the series down if you can, it is astonishing. only the long drawn out and completely buggered legal hassles over the ownership of the character have prevented it from being collected and reprinted for posterity. sad. can't we just declare it a lawsuit free zone, pay the creators some royalties and print it back up?

no?

didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

I've heard recently that Marvel Comics (now a subsidiary of the Disney Nation) had actually aquired the true rights to the Miracleman series. So perhaps we'll see some reprints. Maybe even get Neil Gaiman in to finish the story where he left off.

inkdestroyedmybrush said...

If you type "Miracleman" in to the search box at the top of the blog, you'll get follow up posts as they happen! There are at least 3 others to read.

Neil Patel said...

I recently bought the AM storyline as a trade it cost quite a lot but i think its worth it in the end..