"The biggest news of Comic Con International in San Diego was revealed moments ago and jaws are still on the floor—the world-renowned super hero MARVELMAN is now part of the Marvel Comics family."
So reads the Marvel Comics press release posted at around 9 o'clock last (Friday) night. Someone, somewhere has finally waded through the legal tangles surrounding the character and nailed down with some confidence who actually owns the rights. As it turns out, Marvel have struck a deal with Mick Anglo, now 93, and Anglo's representatives, Emotiv Records, a Glasgow-based company who purchased Mick Anglo Limited, a company incorporated by Anglo on 21 August 1954 for the purpose of "Artistic and literary creation", possibly around the time that Emotiv Records and Products Limited was incorporated (11 February 2009). Interesting to note that, according to UK Data, an application to have the company struck from the register (not as sinister as it sounds) was made on 16 July. Emotiv's involvement with Anglo dates back to at least 2006 when Jon Campbell of Emotiv was involved in putting together the documentary about Marvelman. A website was set up in 2007 which still announces that Who Stole Marvelman a.k.a. Miracleman? is "coming soon" to DVD.
"It is an honor to work with Mick Anglo to bring his creation to a larger audience than ever before," says Dan Buckley, CEO & Publisher, Print, Animation & Digital Media, Marvel Entertainment Inc. "Fans are in for something special as they discover just what makes Marvelman such an important character in comic book history."
The press release quotes Mick Anglo as saying, "I did not think it would ever happen. It's a wonderful thing to see my creation finally back."
At present, Marvel have officially announced the release of a Marvelman poster drawn by Joe Quesada (above) and limited edition Marvelman t-shirts. All the product announced so far has the old-style 1950s Marvelman logo.
What happens next will likely be revealed over weeks and months rather than days. "This is day one," Joe Quesada told CBR.
"Very few things in all my years as Editor-in-Chief and all my years in comics has thrilled me to the point that this has," says Quesada. "[Marvelman] has finally found a home where it can get published and we can see new stories... What sort of incarnation he will take within Marvel publishing? That's stuff that we'll discuss in the future."
Update: Sunday 26 July
It seems clear from comments made by Mark Buckingham that not all of the creators of the Eclipse era Miracleman issues knew of the deal prior to the announcement by Marvel. "Let me put it like this: I was just told, 'It would be a good idea if you came along to the Cup O Joe panel,' and that's about as much as I knew," Buckingham is quoted as saying.
However, the artist is as excited by the new opportunity as many fans are. "Obviously, for Neil and I this is a wonderful opportunity for us to finally get the material that we were doing back in the early '90s back in print again because it's been 16 years since our last issue hit the stands. Beyond anything else, we can get that stuff back in print now. There's material that was produced that's never been published, so from a fan's point of view that's fantastic. There's more Gaiman and Buckingham just waiting for printing already."
(* Marvelman © Marvel Entertainment—something I thought I'd never write.)