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More Miracleman fun


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Sam Lowry
20:04 / 24.10.01
Check out this Marvel press release at Newsarama...

quote:Neil Gaiman and Marvel Comics have reached an agreement to publish a new project by the New York Times best-selling author. In addition, Marvel will donate all profits from the project to Neil Gaiman's Marvels and Miracles, LLC. Gaiman created the Marvels and Miracles, LLC. to clarify the legal rights to the critically acclaimed Miracleman property.

What do yo think? is Marvel entering the fray at last?

[ 24-10-2001: Message edited by: Sam Lowry ]
20:29 / 24.10.01
Hmm, anyone care to speculate on the story?

It is nice to hear that Marvel is finally throwing its glove into the ring. It's about the only way that this is going to get settled. Speaking which though, anyone know anything about the post in that thread about Todd's MM thing in Hellspawn being cancelled?

Oh, and does anyone else wonder if MM is really going to live up to all the hype? I mean I'm sure it's an amazing book. But, it's being thrown around as some kind of holy grail. I've got a sneeking suspicion that when the books finally come out, some people are going to be dissapointed.
Captain Zoom
20:47 / 24.10.01
I've managed to read one or two of Moore's issues and taken in a greater context I'm sure they're going to be amazing. Just by themselves they're amazing.


The Damned Yankee
21:09 / 24.10.01
I'm lucky enough to own both the "A Dream of Flying" and "The Red King Syndrome" TPB's, and I kick myself daily for not grabbing "The Golden Age" when I had the chance (and that was ten years ago!). I'd just like to confirm for the record that yes, the Miracleman series lives up to the hype, and I am semi-patiently waiting for the legal mess to be cleared up so that FINALLY I can finish reading the story!
21:24 / 24.10.01
I have the whole series (including the Apocrypha and a few issues of Warrior...)

Like all works of art Miracleman has its flaws but It is something that demands to be read and easily qualifies as a classic
of the form.

Intreastingly enough I'd say that my two favourite MM trades are Olympus (moore's last) and the Golden age (gaiman's first) - the Gaiman issues in particular rank up there as some of the best work that he and Buckingham have ever done.
Dr. Vital
22:20 / 24.10.01
Miracleman reads like what it is, an amazing work that had a bumpy ride to completion, but it begins and ends (with olympus) marvelously.

When Gaiman took over it continued heading in the lyrical direction that had begun in the last book, taking the powers of it's heroes to new heights, and putting a nice coda on the eighties rediscovery of the comics medium that began when the floronic man made his autopsy of a certain swamp creature who wasn't quite as human as originally believed...

In some ways MM was actually the precursor of the big bad hero stuff like "The Authority" rather then the gritty "reboots" that plagued us through the mid nineties.

There were missed deadlines, stolen art, controversial issues, too many artists, but when MM kisses Gargunza goodbye, hell, I still get chills.
Sam Lowry
22:51 / 24.10.01
"Behold! I teach you the Superman. He is this lighting. He is this madness"

That Nietzche quote after the seemingly golden age-silly prologue still gives me the chills...

One of the things I like best about Moore's run is that it has IMO, the best origin story ever. I haven't seen any other writer take any other old character and so througly, flawlessly rework it into something that is truly magnificent...
06:53 / 25.10.01
Gaiman does not, and never has, owned a majority share in Miracleman. Neither has Moore or any other artist that has worked on the comic since its resurrection in the 80's. Todd McFarlane legally owns a majority of Miracleman, whether we like it or not.

Not that Gaiman doesn't have a leg to stand on. After all, this all began again when he and Todd were talking about a trade-off for characters. When Todd upped the ante, Gaiman called foul, then stated that Todd had given him ownership. Although the full story hasn't come out, Gaiman seems to think that ongoing negotiations constitutes a meeting of the minds. It probably won't look that way in court unless Gaiman offers up solid written documentation.

The other option available to him is that since he and Buckingham do own a part of the rights to Miracleman (approx. 30%), Gaiman could possibly print the older stories. Todd could print his own version, and Gaiman may be able to continue the adventures of Miracleman so long as they stay close to the source material and aren't copying Todd's stories (and what are the odds of that). The only thing he'd have to do is change Miracleman's name to satisfy trademark laws, and judging by the article, that looks like the avenue they're exploring.

The only other thing is that Todd is entitled to a part of the proceeds of any reprints, and possibly any further adventures of the characters. Gaiman's statement that all profits will go to the original creator's and to charity seems like a way to shame Todd into giving up his fair share of the loot.

[ 25-10-2001: Message edited by: moriarty ]
10:05 / 25.10.01
Don't know if I agree, to be honest, Moriarty; the fact that Gaiman's got any share at all (and doesn't Mark Buckingham have a bit too) of the character should surely allow him some kind of voting rights in it. If it was a company, 30% would give you a voice.
Add in the reported volte-face about Gaimain being given the rights as a swap for Angela, and I think McFarlane's position looks quite doubtful.
I have to say, I like the idea of the old stories being reprinted, by Marvel, under the proper name - and with the colouring sorted out for the first book.

Sam Lowry
20:41 / 25.10.01
Alan Moore working for Marvel too?

quote:As Gaiman said during the press conference, Moore, who, prior to Joe Quesada coming on as Editor-in-Chief, had a long-standing, dislike of Marvel due to the publisher’s UK branch essentially not allowing the publication of Marvelman as “Marvelman,” has been so far, pleased with Marvel’s behavior in the Miracleman-related proceedings. Moore is so pleased in fact, that if things continue going well, he forsees the long-shut Marvel door opening again.

Moore's comments

Things keep getting interesting...
Our Lady of The Two Towers
09:55 / 26.10.01
I know Moore's not happy with DC but what is his beef with Marvel?
10:43 / 26.10.01
Marvel US reprinted Moore and Davis' run on Capt. Britain (work done for the seperate company Marvel UK) without paying them for their work - Moore since vowed never to work for them again- but since pretty much everyone on staff at Marvel and behind it has changed since then- the stage could be set for Moore to work with them...
10:43 / 26.10.01
Er, I thought it was for different reasons :

Marvel US reprinted one of the strips Alan had written (possibly Cap Britain, I’m not certain) in the Dr Who comic, without getting his permission – the work in the UK was done under different contracts from the usual ‘work for hire’ and it turns out that they actually needed the creators’ permission to reprint it. As they hadn’t sought it, Alan said no, and did so until a couple of years ago, when the Captain Britain stories were reprinted (“X-Men Archives Featuring Captain Britain”, due to be a TPB early 2002, IIIRC) – I think Alan capitulated because he realised that other creators involved (Dave Thorpe and Alan Davis) were missing out on money they could be getting there.

Plus, during the period of the strip’s original black-and-white run, Marvel had been in contact about the use of the name Marvelman, applying legal pressure.

That was my understanding… but I’ve been wrong before.

10:43 / 26.10.01
no, i think you are right here dave-- i knew it was over an issue of non-payment for the right to reprint Capt. Britain Material material but didn't realise that Marvel UK and US contracts were different at that time-- makes sense [/LIST]
Tracheotomy Man
09:23 / 27.10.01
What is Moore's beef with DC? I heard it was something to do with an anniversary edition of Watchmen.

Why doesn't McFarlane just reprint the Miracleman issues? Has he ever publicly commented about the whole matter?

If you could pick the character and artist for Gaiman's Marvel project, what would it be? I'm thinking Silver Surfer w/ Chris Bachalo.
10:00 / 29.10.01
I think Alan has a couple of objections to DC policies, but the prime one which saw him vowing not to work for them again came in the late 1980s, when DC announced plans to institute a rating system (’for mature readers,’etc). Along with other writers (Chaykin, Wolfman and Miller, IIRC), he said he wouldn’t work for them – though he did fulfil his contractual obligations (which, at the time, meant things like the completion of V for Vendetta).

As regards Watchmen, I think there was a recent suggestion that Alan was likely to give his blessing to an anniversary edition of it, and be involved in okaying action figure designs and the like, but then there was a falling-out (over a Splash Brannigan story for Tomorrow Stories, I think, although I think there was a disagreement about a Cobweb story as well), and Alan decided he didn’t want to get involved in the Watchmen reissue.

…I think.

Tracheotomy Man
15:11 / 29.10.01
Ah, yes. I remember a dispute about the Cobweb story. Moore and Gebbie (I believe that's the artist/co-creator's name) are supposed to publish the tale, albeit with different names for the characters, for some indie company.

do you know what made DC object to the Splash Brannigan story? just curious.

What makes me mad is that DC doesn't need Moore's permission to release the toys & HC (although it would be nice to get an intro by Moore for the HC) and they still won't release the toys. Oh well. who gives a damn, really. Well, me, obviously, and i'm sure some other people would like to have some watchmen merchandise.

anyway, this is way off topic, so i'll shut up now.
16:04 / 29.10.01
I think the Splash Brannigan story featured some old comic characters which, though now in the public domain, DC had problems with using for fear of litigation.

And I think they wanted Alan on-side for the anniversary edition because there was a plan to add some supplementary material (background and preparatory work and the like), and I think they would have needed Alan’s help on this. As for the action figures, I think that they wanted to have both Alan and Dave willing to approve these – publicly as well as in terms of designs etc – and if it had just been Dave I guess they thought people might have come to the inevitable conclusions….

You’re right, though, this is way off the MM topic !

Kirk Insectoid
09:47 / 30.10.01
So . . . does this mean that Miracle Man is just being reprinted . . . or is Neil Gaiman actually going to finish it?
10:13 / 30.10.01
well, at the moment, neither.

Gaiman has just announced some work that he is going to do to finance a legal battle to ascertain who owns what rights.

While gaiman may well return and finish the stories he started there is many a slip twixt cup and lip- especially where lawyers are concerned- and even if the case is found in gaiman's favour the legal battle could take years.
17:02 / 05.11.01
latest statement from Alan Davis

It appears that the ownership of the actual pages of art at least from the pre - eclipse issues remained with the original authors and the eclispe people didn't all pay the creators their dues ...
18:26 / 05.11.01
What really surprises me is that no one's scanned the series and thrown it up somewhere on the 'net. I mean they've done Zoids and Transformers. Why not Miracle Man?

I know there would be an issue of bandwidth, but there are ways around that.
07:00 / 07.11.01
quote:Originally posted by DaveBCooper:
Add in the reported volte-face about Gaimain being given the rights as a swap for Angela, and I think McFarlane's position looks quite doubtful.

Sorry it took so long to respond, but the computer which held all my sources on Miracleman burned out. However, you may find my original position, including the below, here.

According to the Neil Gaiman, “Todd promised, in writing, that he would give me all his rights to Miracleman, pay me for his use of Angela, Medieval Spawn and Cogliostro, pay for the reprints of the stories I'd written in graphic novel form in the U.S. and all over the world and so forth. I was relieved there was some kind of agreement.”
The writer says he still has the written agreement. “He sent the film for all the Miracleman graphic novels over," Gaiman said. "I put it in the basement, and sent him a fax asking for a transfer of rights in writing and for him to clarify that he held clear title to Miracleman through Eclipse, so I could do something with it. I never heard anything from him. And I should have figured out something was wrong when the payments stopped.
”In February of 1999 I got a letter from him out of the blue saying he'd thought better of the agreement and would give me the rights to Miracleman in exchange for me giving him all the rights for Angela. This seemed kind of weird, as he'd already given me the rights to Miracleman. Either way, he's never replied to any other letters from me or from my lawyers trying to get to the bottom of any of this.”
As far as Gaiman is concerned, the agreements are still in effect even though McFarlane has not responded to requests for clarification.
“Yes, I have agreements on this from Todd, and yes, I have the film in the basement. Whether these are worth anything is anybody's guess."

Gaiman would later state that "He gave me his share of the rights in exchange for all my share in the Cogliostro character in 1997."

Nowhere has anyone involved in this mess said that Gaiman gave Angela for Miracleman. According to Gaiman, he received Miracleman, Angela, Medieval Spawn and all payments for them in trade for some character or another called Cogliostro. Does that sound odd to anyone else? I think there was some kind of serious miscommunication going on. This sounds like the absolute worst deal on the planet, and if Todd is one thing, he's a half decent businessman. Why would he give up all that for practically nothing?

So, in short, no, Gaiman did not agree to trading Angela for Miracleman.

[ 07-11-2001: Message edited by: moriarty ]
11:26 / 07.11.01
Ah, looks as if I probably oversimplified things in my own mind (an all too frequent occurrence, I fear) and missed some vital info – thanks for putting me straight.

You’re quite right, the deal as proposed is very odd indeed – I half-wonder if it’s because the Cogliostro character appears in the Spawn film (I think), maybe Todd felt he had to make moves to get clear ownership of that character, which is more likely to rake in the cash (maybe after Marvel’s problems with Blade onscreen) ?

The open letter from Alan Davis is interesting, don’t you think ? I seem to recall at the time that there were comments about the MM stories using copies of his art taken from photocopies (for some reason the phrase ‘tear-sheets’ comes to mind, but I’m no artist, so that may be a red herring), and though I haven’t dug out my MM issues to check, I seem to recall the copyright line for Quality et al being along the sides of the pages. Anyway, if Alan’s comments are accurate, this would seem – to me – to intersect with things at a far earlier stage than the whole McFarlane issue, to the extent that Todd may still have a share but it’s further diluted. And if Alan D gave Garry his shares back, that would seem to suggest that the current holders are … who ?

Alan D, Neil G (and Mark Buckingham), Garry L and Todd M (with Eclipse’s share) ? And Moriarty, as you’re clearly very informed on this whole subject, would you venture to say what percentages you’d say everyone had ? It just rather looks as if Todd’s share is actually more akin to the previous notions of what Neil G held, which would make things very interesting… a wistful dreamer part of me can almost imagine the brits involved in this whole thing exerting their majority control here !

11:26 / 07.11.01
I think its useful to remember that what alan davis is talking about is very different (although linked) to the rights issue between gaiman and mcFarlane.

Davis is talking solely about rights to reprint his work where as Mcfarlane et al are in dispute over this but more importantly the right to use the the character miracleman...
14:36 / 07.11.01
This whole thing is pretty much fucked up completely. What a goddamned mess. The only hope I can see for the situation is if Mcfarlane relents for PR purposes, or, more likely, they both be allowed to use the character. It's happened before. So long as the two characters had different names (which looks to be happening anyway) and did not derive any ideas from the other version, then some sort of uneasy peace could be sorted out. And we could see which version was better (ha!). But what's the likelihood of that happening?

I just can't see Gaiman winning the whole shebang. Todd did legally purchase 70% of the fucker. In fact, he claims that Eclipse screwed him too, since he believed he was getting the whole thing (not likely, considering the original purchase order specified that he would have to give first option to Gaiman and Buckingham for Miracleman work).

Anyways, I don't own Kimota yet, but I'm dying to. This Alan Davis thing is stunning. Hell, I don't even give a damn about the comic. I just like the scrap.

More info here.

[ 07-11-2001: Message edited by: moriarty ]
15:10 / 07.11.01
Ah. Looks as if I may be a fool… I expect Mr T to pity me.

However, I'm rather bemused by the idea that the copyright can in some way be fragmented to cover reprint rights and the actual property itself. Would this be explicit in the documents which Alan D refers to ? I was under the impression that british copyright is one single entity, and to separate it in that way would seem to need specific paperwork...

And Moriarty, thanks for that link - it seems to give the percentage thing I was bleating on about (though I think that, unfortunately, some of the names are wrong in places ?) ... though it'll have to be revised to take Alan D's comments into account, though it may not necessarily have any effect on the amounts. Just where they lay before going to Eclipse, from the sound of it.


(Childish) PS – I coulda sworn that I once saw Cat Yronwode’s homepage listed on the website…
15:40 / 07.11.01
You wouldn't believe how long I was under the impression that Gaiman and McFarlane did a trade. It came as quite a shock to me that this wasn't true. And, to be honest, with all the crazinees surrounding this thing, if it turned out to be true I wouldn't be surprised. It's fascinating.

Also, any summary, like the one I posted, should be taken with a grian of salt. I tried to piece together what was going on based solely on actual statements by the people involved, and most of that has been contradicted by the same people who first made the statement. So, who knows? Summaries based on other sources are bound to be even more confused.
16:12 / 07.11.01
unless its made explicit otherwise in the contract copyright on any piece of writing must be treaded as at least this is the rule of thumb all companies i have worked for go by. To avoid any kind of copyright issues later on many publishers specify that the writer is handingover full rights to them in the comissioning contract.

Warrior contracts did not specify perpetual ownership of comissioned work since their credo was offering creators a stake in their creations for a reduced page rate.[/LIST]
16:13 / 07.11.01
Kind of relieved that you said that, to be honest, as some of the stuff on the Collector times stuff doesn’t quite sit with what I recall from previous reading (such as the old Speakeasy articles published at the time of the whole US reprint hoo-ha)… I’ll have to look at my copy of Kimota, but I wasn’t under the impression that the percentage held by Dez/ Quality was as high as it was made out to be in Jamie Colville’s article.
I think it’s a bit odd that at the point of Eclipse entering the picture, it appears that Quality/Dez held the lion’s share of the votes (40%, apparently)… but I’ve been wrong before.

Anyway, the madness of the whole thing aside, I agree it would be good to see it all resolved; in an ideal situation, I guess we’d see the backhistory reprinted in TPBs using decent paper, with the colouring sorted out (Garry Leach’s frankly gorgeous linework was all but lost under the colours in the reprints), and then the material from Gaiman and Buckingham published as planned, up to the end of the Dark Age… with the character with the real name.

Ah, the stuff of a madman’s dream…

Sam Lowry
12:51 / 13.11.01
Todd makes his move... (as if things weren't muddled enough)

quote:Todd McFarlane Productions, Inc. has moved closer to gaining US federal registration for the "Miracleman" trademark, as the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) scheduled McFarlane's application to be published for opposition beginning November 13, 2001.
Publication for opposition is the final step before registration is granted--a thirty day period where anyone who believes the proposed trademark conflicts with, or dilutes, their rights may file an application to oppose granting the mark. If no party files a Notice of Opposition against McFarlane application during that period, Todd McFarlane Productions (TMP) would normally be awarded rights to the "Miracleman" mark without further action.

Ugh. Legalese...

Link to Newsarama News...
12:51 / 13.11.01
Actually this is better news than I thought- I figured that Todd already had the rights to the miracleman name... now there's a chance that it might not be so...

and at least confirms that While Todd micght be able to get the miracleman name- he is unlikely to gain control of any of the already published work (without which the miracleman name is useless anyway.)
12:51 / 13.11.01
I have this theory. It's been bubbling around for quite awhile now.

Todd McFarlane isn't out to grab the reprints.

It wouldn't make sense for him to try. There are altogether too many egos to soothe to pull off a complete reprint. Even Gaiman is going to have a tough time convincing everyone. That's why I think Todd gave back the original film for Miracleman. He didn't want to bother with the reprints in the first place. Hence the confusion. Gaiman believed Todd was giving him full rights to the character, when really Todd was only giving back the reprint material, which Todd realized he would never get to publish. In return, I'm sure Todd was hoping for some sort of leniency in any upcoming lawsuits. Gaiman, on the other hand, believed Todd gave him the whoe kit and kaboodle. And who really believes Todd would do something like that? Classic miscommunication.

Regardless of whether you think Miracleman would be useless without the rights to reprint the older stories (and I strongly disagree with that thinking) Todd purchased a huge share of a property he felt he could exploit. He wants to use it. No matter what. After all, he paid for the damn thing. And there's a better than good chance that all the hype (both old and new)will result in an increase in sales of Todd's Miracleman comics and merchandise, whether we like it or not.
12:51 / 13.11.01
you really think there's a market for McFarlane's miracleman?- another superman clone with a 3rd rate creative team? those are a dime a dozen-
Unlike the characters from marvel and DC U's Miracleman has never been more important than the people creating him-- ie people would go and buy miracleman only for Moore, gaiman et al.'s work. Unless McFarlane pays some topnotch creators to work on the title or does the comic himself I don't see why anyone would want to read his version.
17:23 / 13.11.01
Look at it from McFarlane's perspective. He paid good money (approx. 40 grand) for a number of characters. And he's being told that he not only isn't the full owner of one of those characters, but also isn't allowed to use him. McFarlane. Being told what to do.

I see it as a natural progression. Moore, Gaiman, et al got to muck around with an established character, and now it's time to pass it along. Will it be garbage? Probably. Look what he did with the Heap (which I would trade ten Miraclemans for).

To top things off, concerning the profitability of Miracleman done via Todd McFarlane, most people who would boycott Todd don't read his comics in the first place. And a whole lot of people who slow down for car crashes will probably pick it up out of morbid curiousity. In the end, Todd probably would want the old comics reprinted. After all, it would just be more exposure for the "new, improved, McFarlane Miracleman."

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