Monday, July 19, 2010

Marvelman Family's Finest #1

So yes, I bought Marvelman Family's Finest #1. Point of fact, I bought it twice. If you'll check out the GCD cover gallery for that issue, I am now the owner of copies with the first two covers. I could have bought the third one too, but I elected to pass. Not that it's not good, but I figured my comic shop might only get a sale to somebody with that "collector's variant". They still had plenty of copies of the regular cover when I showed up.

I alluded to the Marvelman/Miracleman situation a bit in our discussion of Power Comics last month. Marvel is currently claiming the rights and have reverted the character to his original moniker. This is, naturally, not even close to the end. Seems the stories authored by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman (the ones most people actually want) are still in dispute. I have a feeling that Marvel has only gone ahead with their current publishing plans for Marvelman to get him back into the market and to demonstrate good faith in their dealings with original creator Mick Angelo. I can't imagine they are reprinting the 1950s stories of the MM characters because of any perceived overwhelming demand, that's for sure.

This comic is the first shot across the bow for Marvel's revival of Marvelman. And, uh, it's kind of amazing. Just probably not the way you would hope. See, beneath those glossy covers promising unbridled coolness, you find 40 black and white newsprint pages of a bizarro offbrand clone of the original Captain Marvel and his family. There's such thrilling storytelling as this :

(It's not much better in context, by the way.)

(It's not much better in context, by the way.)

It's not as if any of this should be a surprise. Just, I find it remarkable that it's happening in 2010, and it's ostensibly Marvel's centerpiece for this property. I'm not going to tax my noggin or yours by going through a laundry list of how these stories aren't even classics of their era. They have a certain primitive charm to them, though, and they made ME smile. I just don't see them winning new converts to this property. That's why I think this is just a placeholder until they can roll out the stuff that made Marvelman and company one of the hottest legal issues in recent comics memory.

Is Marvelman Family's Finest #1 a huge waste of Marvel's assets? Oh, I don't know. I liked it, but I'm not going out of way to make sure I get every issue. Only the long-term fortunes of the character will show us if it was one of Marvel's biggest publishing goofs or not. Besides :

Well said, gentlemen.  Well said.<br />

Well said, gentlemen. Well said.


  1. I rather liked the "feuding farmers" story; the fact that they were arguing over such blatantly phallic vegetables just made it all the better. (And of course, the resolution, wherein it's shown that - perhaps unsurprisingly - Marvelman's is the biggest of all.)

    Plus, the villain was "the King of Vegetable Land," which is awesome, and his servants all had that distinctively British sort of off-kilter creepiness to them.

    All the other stories were kind of forgettable, though. In particular the first one; I don't really get why Marvel decided to go with such a nothing story as the lead-in for not only this issue, but the "Marvelman revival" on the whole.

  2. I tend to agree. Part of why the only panels that I scanned were from the Vegetable People story is because it was the only one flat out bonkers enough to get my attention. The rest didn't even manage to register that much.

    I dunno, I know there are more intriguing stories from the vaults. I remember some of them from the Miracleman days.