Unknitting Marvelman – A Look At Possible Remaining Issues

mmSo Marvel own Marvelman. Wonderful. A deal has been made with Emotiv Records of Glasgow, and one John Campbell who has been representing Marvelman creator Mick Anglo. Enough to see Mick and his wife in comfort for the rest of their lives.

This leaves Marvel free to publish the original Marvelman series from the fifties and to create new Marvelman work if they so wish.

However the big news will always be around the reprinting and continuation of the Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman runs on the title. As one of the first deconstructionist superhero comics, it still holds up wonderfully. But what will make this possible? All creators on that run own their work on the Marvelman and Miracleman series. However this may be more comples than the credits might suggest.

Well, I kind of understand that Moore washed his hands of the project, and allowed Campbell to sell on his rights if it will benefit Mick Anglo, and was offered a 10% of cover price on all uses of his material.

While Alan Davis has spoken harshly about the series in the past, specifically that he never approved of his work being reprinted by Eclipse, I understand that earlier this year he came to terms with Marvel over the rights.

Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham have always been in favour of Marvel progressing with the series. And Chuck Austen, John Totleben and Rick Veitch would probably be in favour as well.

Garry Leach may need a little persuading. He was an uncredited co-writer on the initial first series, contributing the visual reinterpretations of the characters as well as co-creating the Warpsmiths, which he owns with Moore and now solely controls. Something that accomodates that may be necessary, and I understand it was those concerns that prevented Marvel from announcing that they were to republish the run at San Diego.

But there may be unaddressed issues. Dez Skinn, editor on the initial run when it was first serialised by Warrior, created and owns the character Big Ben (The Man With No Time For Crime), though inserted in the comic against Moore’s wishes, and also Dez owns the worldwide rights to the lettering on the series produced by Annie Parkhouse. And I understand that, as of today, Dez Skinn hasn’t been approached by Marvel.

And there are other characters to consider, such as Kid Marvelman, created not by Mick Anglo, but by Don Lawrence for Marvelman Family #1. His widow, Elizabeth Lawrence may be interested if Marvel reprint the series.

And of course Todd McFarlane Productions may not agree with Marvel’s assessment of their rights to the character.

So yes, there are still potential complications. But we’re still in a remarkable position that many could not have conceived of five years ago. Marvelman was born of a lawyer’s nightmare, the DC/Fawcett Superman/Captain Marvel case – could it finally be finding closure?

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