- Posted by Johanna on January 30, 2014 at 9:20 pm
- Category: Comic News
For decades, Miracleman has been one of the great lost works, a foundational comic by an acclaimed genius writer (and some snazzy artists) kept out of print for legal reasons. Now, after four years of teasing customers, Marvel finally started reprinting the good stuff, with two issues released in two weeks.
Yet no one seems to care. Did Marvel wait too long? I found hints of it being discussed eight years ago, which is an eternity in both fandom and the internet.
Has everyone already read it, through file-sharing? Even devout anti-pirates sometimes made an exception in this title’s case, since it was so important and so pricey to acquire in back issues.
Or is it the stupidity of the format, with a too-high price driven by unnecessary filler material, including old reprints of stories readers attracted to Alan Moore work don’t care about? As retailer Mike Sterling wrote,
So basically I just went ahead and did Marvel’s job for them, trying to at least try to get new readers to give this Miracleman release a shot, by offering the ridiculously-priced $5.99 debut issue at a significant discount at our shop. We’re not going to sell future issues if we can’t get people to at least pick up this first one, so it’s in our interest to get customers looking at this book any way we can. I’ve written before about how a six-freaking-dollar first issue is a hurdle too high for casual readers who might have a slight interest in this 25-year-old comic book story they’d heard about, starring a character they don’t know. As it was, even with the discounting, it’s been a bit of an uphill battle to move copies.
Then there’s the ridiculous number of variant covers, plus it doesn’t even come with a free digital copy. (The differences the editor refer to apparently include covering up a bare bottom with drawn-in underpants.)
Alan David Doane was the one I first saw pointing this out, by this way. He has more thoughts on the topic.
Has the market just moved on? Is history less important when there are so many exciting new works to follow? Is another Alan-Moore-pushing-boundaries-in-1982 story just old news these days, when you can publish and sell anything in comic format? (Although maybe not for digital distribution, thanks to Apple.) Many more shocking and revisionist and graphic tales have been told in the 30 years since, and reworking superheroes in “adult” fashion is passe.
Is Marvel the wrong company to bring an indy classic back into print? Or should they have done more publicity instead of coasting on the memories of 50-year-old-plus fans?