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Comic Book / Miracleman

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Miracleman (originally Marvelman) refers to two separate, yet related, creations, the second based on the first, with one of the comics industry's more complicated legal histories.

The origin of Marvelman is convoluted. In the early fifties, the similarities between Superman and Captain Marvel led to a famous legal battle between Fawcett Comics and DC Comics. L. Miller held the rights to reprint the American Comic Book Captain Marvel in the UK but the legal hurdles in America meant the end of material for them to reprint and distribute to the local market. Since the comics were highly popular, they decided to commission a Captain Ersatz of Captain Marvel. Mick Anglo developed Marvelman, his supporting cast and villains in the course of his adventures, which lasted 350 weekly issues, between 1954 to 1963. Marvelman became popular as young men's reading material and its bright colour adventures were considered refreshing in England during The '50s.

A young Alan Moore was one of the readers of the original Mick Anglo run and in one of his first interviews, he stated a desire to write the long-discontinued title, hoping to do a fresh spin for modern audiences. Word of Moore's intentions reached Dez Skinn, publisher of Warrior magazine. Skinn had gained the rights to Marvelman and had entertained ideas to bring it back into print. Moore's deconstructionist story made the books his Breakthrough Hit (particularly in the US once DC Comics noticed him) and Miracleman started selling well. Sadly, Warrior stopped publication about one-third through his run; the series would have remained lost and unfinished if not for Eclipse Comics, who offered to buy the US rights to the property and let Moore finish the series. Marvel Comics was not exactly thrilled with Moore and the fact that his character was called Marvelman, though. As Moore pointed out, the original Marvelman (and its inspiration Captain Marvel) dated before Timely Comics started calling itself Marvel and became a major brand. Despite this, Eclipse Comics' lack of legal muscle led to the character's rename as Miracleman. Miracleman debuted in 1984 to rave reviews, though there would be many problems to come in the course of its publication history: Eclipse Comics had its corporate headquarters destroyed in a flood and Alan Davis (the original artist for the series) left over the fact that Moore's antagonistic relationship with Marvel Comics threatened to get Davis blacklisted from working stateside.

Several artists were called in to draw the rest of Moore's run (along with an issue that reprinted classic Miracleman stories, something that the book's editor replied was only being done because of the aforementioned flood), among them Steve Bissette and Rick Veitch of Swamp Thing fame and Chuck Austen (under his birth name, Chuck Beckum). Alan Moore's run ended with Olympus which was regarded by many as a Fully Absorbed Finale to the series and an epic conclusion. It was followed by Neil Gaiman, who sought to write a trilogy of story arcs beginning with The Golden Age, continuing on with The Silver Age and ending with The Dark Age. Though The Golden Age arc was concluded, the book was cancelled again shortly after the commencement of The Silver Age with the collapse of Eclipse Comics. As of December 2022 Gaiman's story is currently unfinished but, well, read on.

With the collapse of Eclipse Comics, the rights to the series fell into legal limbo, made worse with Todd Mc Farlane buying up ownership of Eclipse Comics assets when the company went down. McFarlane drew much controversy by incorporating Miracleman into the Spawn universe as the "Man of Miracles/Mother of Existence" and holding usage of the character and the chance to finish his story as blackmail material to force Neil Gaiman (who, thanks to Alan Moore, had partial legal ownership claim to the character) to give up his long-standing legal fight over ownership of popular Spawn character Angela, along with claims to royalties that were being withheld by Todd. This remained the tenuous status quo for a few years, until it was revealed that the real rights were still held by Mick Anglo, who, due to the vagaries of the British copyright system, had never really signed away his rights to the characters at all — thus the deal with Alan Moore for usage of the character for Warrior and Eclipse Comics had been invalid all along. This allowed, ironically, Marvel Comics to cut a deal to buy the rights to the entire franchise from Anglo (as well as the scripts to the '80s comic series, as the artwork has to be renegotiated since Gaiman still owned the rights to the Miracleman scripts).

As part of their deal and as a means to help out Anglo (who never saw a penny for his character in the years after Moore revitalized him and was terminally ill), Marvel republished several trade paperbacks of the original 1950s Miracleman series (now Marvelman again) in hardcover and mini-series format. This in turn brought back into the spotlight many characters that Anglo created that were abandoned by Moore in his revival, most notably Nastyman and Young Nastyman, a pair of Black Adam Expies. Thanks to the myriad copyright controversies, physical copies of Marvelman/Miracleman were for many years extremely hard to find. An online archive of all the Moore/Gaiman stories, however, can be found here.

In 2013 Marvel announced that they had acquired full rights to Miracleman and in 2014 they began to reprint Alan Moore’s issues, reissuing them with extras including Moore and Leach's Warpsmiths stories, a variety of production material and some previously unpublished stories (including one by a young Grant Morrison).

This was followed in 2015 by a reprint of Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham's Golden Age arc, retitled as Miracleman by Gaiman & Buckingham.

The first part of Gaiman and Buckingham's Miracleman: The Silver Age was reprinted by Marvel in October 2022, with all art completely revised by Buckingham. After releasing new versions of the two chapters published by Eclipse, the series has continued the Silver Age arc with unpublished scripts.

Marvel have also stated that there will be some sort of celebration for the character's 40th anniversary later in 2022 - the Miracleman logo has reappeared in the Marvel Universe comic Timeless and Miracleman will be appearing on a large number of alternate covers for other Marvel titles.

Version One

A 1950s homegrown British Captain Ersatz of superhero Captain Marvel (himself an Expy of Superman), created by Mick Anglo, published by L. Miller and Son, Ltd.

Michael Moran, Johnny Bates and Dicky Dauntless were three young boys who on saying a particular "magic word" became Marvelman, Kid Marvelman and Young Marvelman respectively. Like Captain Marvel, they had a series of adventures with often fantastic and absurd settings with Dr. Gargunza being their arch-enemy (Gargunza is an Expy of Dr. Sivana, Captain Marvel's recurring arch-enemy).

Version Two

"Behold... I teach you the superman: He is this lightning... He is this madness!"
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

The Alan Moore version, from the 1980s, later continued by Neil Gaiman.

The Alan Moore stories

  • Book One: A Dream of Flying — It was with Miracleman that Moore started what became part of his Signature Style. Take a previously unknown character, Retcon its origins and submit its premise to a Genre Deconstruction. His work with Marvelman attracted a great deal of attention and this later led to work with DC on titles like Swamp Thing which also radically changed the character from the ground-up. The first arc is largely an "origin" story dealing with a grown-up, Happily Married Michael Moran who works as a reporter and has dreams of life as a "superhero" but has forgotten his magic word. He rediscovers it ("Kimota") at an atomic power plant and becomes a superhero in the grim 80s of Thatcher's Britain. The Driving Question of the first story is the circumstances of Michael Moran's existence, the tension in his marriage caused by having two different identities in a single body and his reunion with childhood acquaintances Johnny Bates ("Kid Miracleman") as well as Arch-Enemy Dr. Emil Gargunza.
  • Book Two: The Red King Syndrome — The second arc dealt with his final confrontation with his effective creator Gargunza, intertwined with the birth of his child. This was the arc that Warrior folded part-way through; it would take several years for Eclipse to pick the series back up (rebranding it Miracleman in the process) and finish it with new artists, most notably Rick Veitch and Stephen Bissette.
  • Book Three: Olympus — The third (and arguably most famous) part of the series, drawn by John Totleben. This celebrated arc led the series to undertake a Genre Shift into science fiction and Cosmic Horror as Moore introduced Miracleman to a mysterious Distaff Counterpart, sent them to outer space to meet the extraterrestrial sources of their powers, and ultimately examined their drift from humanity. Moore capped it all off with the final two issues of 15 and 16, memorable for the hitherto unseen levels of violence depicted in superhero comics.

The Neil Gaiman stories

  • The Golden Age — A Rotating Protagonist arc dealing with Muggles in the Miracleman world (including a Mind Screw issue that features Andy Warhol)
  • The Silver Age — This story was interrupted midway by the rights issues. It featured a Time Skip and reintroduced Young Miracleman (Dicky Dauntless) back into the lives of a very changed Miracle Family, before being Cut Short.
  • The Dark Age — The last book of Gaiman's run will finally see print in the reissued Marvel volumes.

Other stories

  • Miracleman: The Apocrypha was an Anthology Comic miniseries published by Eclipse, containing short stories by other creators linked to the Miracleman setting. Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham provided framing sequences which introduced them, positioning them as comics created within Miracleman's world which weren't to be considered canon.
  • Miracleman #0, published by Marvel before the start of the Silver Age series, is effectively an extension of The Apocrypha. The framing sequence is actually one of the same ones used for that series, but completely redrawn by Buckingham, and with Gaiman's captions rewritten to reflect the new set of stories and remove some sexual references.

Miracleman provides examples of:

  • Alien Geometries: When Gargunza first sees an alien spacecraft, in flashback, it obviously has a very strange shape, but it's also rendered in a hazy, almost pointillistic fashion, as if normal pencil-and-ink comic art couldn't convey just how bizarre it really was.
  • All Just a Dream: In just the first few issues of the Alan Moore run it's revealed that the entire 1950s-60s run of Miracleman was just an elaborate dream induced simulation created by Miracleman's government handlers. Invoked in-story, too, by Gargunza in order to cleverly stop the Miracleman family from waking up in the real world.
  • Alternate Universe: It was Like Reality, Unless Noted until the final two issues of Alan Moore's stories bid a sad farewell to the status quo. Neil Gaiman's story takes place in The Unmasqued World.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Originally, Marvelman transformed by saying a formula for the "key harmonic of the universe," whatever that might mean, that just happened to be "atomic" spelled backwards and with a K.
  • Art Shift: Happens between (and sometimes within) every issue of the Golden Age arc. And all of those styles were the work of one artist, Mark Buckingham.
  • Artificial Afterlife: After Miracleman takes over, one of the alien Qys uses technology to store the spirits of the recently deceased, upload them into android bodies, and house them in a beautiful garden beneath the palace in London. It seems like the procedure is only reserved for especially famous or interesting people who had died within the last 18 months (at time of publication), including John Belushi, Salvador Dalí, and Andy Warhol.
  • Author Appeal: Invoked and deconstructed. Because Gargunza was left completely to his own devices with Miraclewoman and Young Nastyman, the pulp fantasies he devised for them slowly became more sexual, violent and depraved, both to stimulate their future breeding and for his own kicks. Miraclewoman considers him an impotent little creep for it, too pathetic to bother hating; meanwhile, the inconsistency of Young Nastyman's cruel, hedonist reality renders him completely insane and unable to discern if actions have consequences.
  • Back from the Dead: At the end of the Olympus Arc, the Miracle Family discovers technology to bring people back from the dead. Neil Gaiman's story introduces us to a newly revived Andy Warhol who has A Day in the Limelight. Dr. Gargunza is also revived briefly but there are several copies of him, because in his case he doesn't quite adjust to the new Miracle world and can't leave his Mad Scientist days, and his rampant homophobia, behind. Evelyn Cream is also back, and lastly Young Miracleman.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Subverted horribly by Kid Miracleman. Upon his escape from the hospital, he spares the only nurse who was kind to him during his stay. He then returns and obliterates her head while she is still smiling in relief at being spared. He actually seems a bit regretful about it, but considers it necessary lest anybody get the idea that he went soft for a moment.
  • Benevolent Alien Invasion: The warpsmiths entrance into Earth society and politics initiates a Golden Age ruled by Miracleman at the price of all free will and the urge to dissent removed.
  • Beware the Superman: "He is this lightning... He is this madness!" Indeed, Miracleman and his superpowered compatriots eventually see themselves as above humanity, operating on Blue-and-Orange Morality and taking over the world.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Alan Moore's run ends with this. Kid Miracleman destroys half of London and kills millions of people in unthinkably horrible ways. Miracleman finally defeats Kid Miracleman but it comes at the cost of young, innocent Johnny Bates's life. In the aftermath, Miracleman and his team of superbeings become as gods, and remake the world anew as a benevolent dictatorship. Miracleman falls in love with Miraclewoman and they become sexual partners. Miracleman begins humanity's "apotheosis", instituting at Miraclewoman's suggestion a eugenics program to make everyone into godlike beings and producing more superbabies like Winter. However, Liz has left Miracleman for good and when he tries to convince her to become a superhuman like him, she rejects him and tells him never to speak to her again. Miracleman wonders if he has done the right thing as he looks out over the city of London and the audience is left to wonder with him.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Though self-evidently much more "good" than his antagonist, Miracleman neither acts according to merely human ethics or morality nor gives lip services to it.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Once Miracleman fully becomes convinced that he is a god among men, expect him to compare himself to the Abrahamic God.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Miracleman starts out with Black-and-White Morality when he regains his powers, then moves to Black-and-Gray Morality and finally arrives at this, seeing himself as the Übermensch and beyond human morality.
    • This is most apparent when Miracleman warmly agrees to help a woman with her capacity to draw the images in her head, stating everyone has a right to art but coldly turns down a father's plea to help his daughter who's been in a coma since Miracleman's battle with Kid Miracleman in London.
  • Body Horror: Aside from some of the atrocities Kid Miracleman performs, such as flaying people and hanging their skin on a laundry line, Young Miracleman, Young Nastyman, and the alien who crashed to Earth in the 50s all die in such a way that their dual bodies collide, leaving a corpse of two bodies perfectly merged together, down to a cellular level.
  • Bowdlerise: The Marvel digital remasters of the Moore series keep all the graphic violence, but edited the art to add underwear to a scene in which Liz was previously naked, and asterisk out the comic's two uses of the word "nigger" (once during Evelyn Cream's worries about whether he's falling into primitive superstition, and once when Bates insults Huey Moon during the final battle).
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Perhaps surprisingly, used less than one would expect in Miracleman's utopia. Only Big Ben (who was already a victim of brainwashing by the government and was arguably made saner by Miracleman's allies) and Miracledog (a non-sapient) undergo this in the traditional sense. In the Gaiman run, Mors keeps trying this with Dr. Gargunza, or rather his clone-bodies, but the bad doctor's misanthropic instincts are just too much to unprogram.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Issue #8 has a set-up completely different from the other issues: Picking up immediately after having killed Dr. Gargunza, Miracleman begins to reflect on his false memories of his past "adventures"... only for editor Cat Yronwode to abruptly show up, interrupt the scene, and stop writing the issue in order to be honest with the readers. Namely, admitting that this issue is reprinting two of the original 1950s comic because, as a result of the Eclipse offices being flooded, the schedule for the Miracleman comic got shot to shit. "We're not running these 1955 Mick Anglo stories 'because you demanded it, pilgrim!' We're running them because we desperately need the time to get back on schedule. Too honest?"
  • Bus Full of Innocents: Quite literally, but subverted in that Miracleman himself throws it.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Miracleman's "Kimota!" and Kid Miracleman's "Miracleman!" Gargunza also programs them with a de-powering word, "Abraxas."
  • Canon Discontinuity: The earlier Marvelman adventures happened only in a kind of Lotus-Eater Machine.
  • Canon Welding: After the series was bought by Marvel Comicsnote , it was retroactively established as part of the Marvel multiverse, being given the designation Earth-18.
  • Cerebus Retcon: The entire 1950s Marvelman run was just a childish fantasy made up in order to train the Miracleman family to be powerful living superweapons.
  • City of Spies: Features in a short story later in the series, during Gaiman's run.
  • City with No Name: The aforementioned City of Spies is a literal instance of this - the first sign, to the protagonist, that something's not kosher...
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Miraclewoman is based on Marilyn Monroe, while Miracleman is Paul Newman (which can be easier to see when he is Mike Moran).
  • Continuity Reboot: Moore's version of Miracleman shows that Moran's previous adventures were all part of an elaborate attempt by Dr. Gargunza to control him.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Downplayed. Prior to Miracleman's return, Kid Miracleman had a career as one, but not much detail is put into how he runs his company from day to day. That said, he does casually murder his secretary as his first Kick the Dog moment (of many)...
  • Crapsaccharine World: The "Age of Miracles" as portrayed in Moore's final issue and in Neil Gaiman's run. It's a perfect world but there is just something off about it, mostly because it's cold, vapid and built on authoritarian power.
  • Creepy Child: Winter. She mentions that she participated in an orgy with the Qys (by Earth standards she's four years old), laughing off her father's shock, then casually asks if he "decided to leave the sky that color."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The final fight between Kid Miracleman and the rest of the superhumans starts off as this. They throw everything they have at him and accomplish absolutely nothing as he trashes them left and right. Finally Aza Chorn gets creative.
  • Darker and Edgier: Moore's interpretation turned what had originally started out as a British Captain Marvel rip-off into a gritty, Total Recall (1990)-ish, what-is-real head trip, that even turned his Freddy Freeman-esque sidekick Kid Marvelman into a sadistic psychopath, with graphic violence that was unprecedented in the genre at the time and is still shocking today.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Moore developed a lot of the themes of Watchmen first in his run of Miracleman and indeed the former was described by him as the last word in his interest in superhero deconstructions, which properly began with this series. In Miracleman he tackles the conflict between boring civilian identity and the superhero identity, the wider social effect superheroes can have on the world and the Ascended Fridge Horror of a superhero-supervillain dust-up, likewise the Blue-and-Orange Morality that develops from the mere fact of having superpowers.
    • The final issue of course is a parody of Crystal Spires and Togas utopia portraying that such a world can amount to mere Ethical Hedonism and a false paradise without any real authenticity and feeling. It's also much harder to resist than any dystopian reality since opponents would come across as either Luddites or regressive and reactionary people.
    • Young Miracleman/Dicky Dauntless also explores the Captain America caught in time warp arc. He's still mentally a teenager of the Fifties and the newly changed world of the Miracles is deeply strange and upsetting, and he's not able to adjust the shock, and Miracleman and Miraclewoman are not willing to help him adjust.
  • Derivative Differentiation: Moore's run aged Michael Moran in real time from the '50s one and created a character who was in many ways the prototypical '90s Anti-Hero, while Billy Batson keeps getting rebooted to age 10-14 and remains very much a kid in a man's body in superpowered form.
  • Deus ex Nukina: There's no real reason why the A-bomb the government launched on the Miracleman family should instantly kill one, do no real harm to another, and inflict the third with semi-serious injuries plus amnesia, besides setting all the pieces in place for the story Moore (and later Gaiman) wanted to tell.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: A rare instance of it played for drama; after 18 years of remaining as the increasingly powerful Kid Miracleman and becoming untethered from his human form, the sociopathic adult "Johnny" can't clearly remember, among other things, what it was like to change back. When he carelessly says "Miracleman" for the first time in decades, he's horrified.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Given who wrote the most famous run, this is inevitable. One instance in particular stands out: While comforting the human boy Johnny Bates after his alter ego Kid Miracleman's rampage, just before snapping his neck Miracleman uses an interesting turn of phrase (while patting him on the head, no less.)
    Miracleman: Good kid, Johnny. Good kid.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Invoked in canon during Neil Gaiman's issues, with the introduction of the "Bateses", a punk-style subculture who idolise the psychotic, sadistic mass murderer Johnny Bates because they think Miracleman's utopia is too much of a Sugar Bowl.
  • Dreams of Flying: The first volume is called, "A Dream of Flying" and starts with Mike Moran having the dream.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Magnificently lampshaded after Dr. Gargunza's death. "I threw him at a planet."
  • Dude, Not Funny!: After Miracleman first reappears, he tries to explain the situation to Liz. The sheer weird absurdity of the adventures he describes causes her to laugh and crack jokes, until he angrily yells "You're laughing at my life!" and punches a hole in the hardwood floor.
  • Dying Dream: In "Notes From the Underground", Gargunza's clone discusses how a minor contingent of Miracleman's subjects believe in this - that Mike Moran actually keeled over from a stroke the day he "returned" as Miracleman, and everything afterward is just an elaborate fantasy in a dying man's brain. Neither he nor his conversant believe it.
  • Enemy Mine: The threat of Miracleman overseeing the planet as a "god" is enough that both Christian and Muslim fundamentalists join together in its wake. However, there's not really much they can do about it.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When Michael recognizes that Johnny Bates has been still super all along, Bates incinerates his secretary's head with his Eye Beams just to show that he can.
  • Everyone Is a Super: After taking over the world, Miracleman plans to make super-bodies available to any Muggle who wants one (though it's mentioned there is a waiting list). This is only briefly touched on during the Moore run, and the as-yet-uncompleted Gaiman run hasn't really explored it... yet.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Discussed in-universe; after Miracleman has taken over the world, he allows the tapes of his "fake" life in Gargunza's para-reality chamber to be freely circulated as entertainment. Many of his worshipers look for allegories and symbolism in every second of these childish stories, which Miracleman reacts to with mild amusement.
  • Expy:
    • Big Ben is a superpowered version of John Steed from The Avengers (1960s). Lampshaded within the story, when a Greek Chorus type "little man" character points out the resemblance.
    • All the Miracleman characters are intentional Expy of Captain Marvel and his Family, though in Moore's version, Mike Moran/Miracleman is closer to Clark Kent/Superman while Kid Miracleman is closer to the original Billy Batson/Captain Marvel. Liz Moran likewise is based on Lois Lane and Miraclewoman is a combination of Mary Marvel and Supergirl.
  • Eye Beams: Johnny Bates has this ability, while Miracleman and others like him do not. Something which is not explained but is suspected to stem from the fact that Bates was in his super body the longest and has had more time to learn the extent of its power.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Arguably a Trope Codifier in superhero comics. Between the Anglo and Moore periods, Kid Miracleman turns from a Kid Sidekick to a colossal psychopathic murderer who massacres/mutilates half of London.
  • Flock of Wolves: The "City" in The Golden Age is a holding zone for former spies who were too essentially paranoid and untrustworthy to handle Utopia. Everybody in the City is a spy involved in some kind of pointless intrigue, but they all think that most of the other citizens are innocent bystanders.
  • Flying Brick: Miracleman, Young Miracleman, Kid Miracleman, etc., in both versions.
  • Free-Love Future: One of the most... distinctive aspects of the "Golden Age" that Miracleman and his allies bring to the world. It's a lot more embraced by superhumans than by Muggles, though, and a key reason Liz Moran refuses to be converted into a super.
  • Gender Flip: If Miracleman is Captain Marvel and Kid Miracleman is Captain Marvel Jr., that means Young Miracleman must be based on Mary Marvel.
    • Alternatively, at least one article describing the Expy relationship between the two families has Young Marvelman as corresponding to CM Junior and Kid Marvelman as a replacement for Mary Marvel because British boys of the 50s and early 60s didn't want to read about girls — according to the editors/publishers, anyway. This agrees with the order of introduction of the characters: Junior was introduced a year before Mary, and YM pre-dates KM by slightly more than that.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Miracleman's body is the product of genetic engineering, and the U.K. is mentioned as having developed the technology as a counter to the larger powers' nuclear weapons.
  • Genre Deconstruction: With Alan Moore, it's par for the course.
    • Among the issues he tackles are how Miracleman's existence wreaks havoc on Michael Moran's personal life and sense of self; what sort of collateral damage would occur in a realistic superhero battle; and what the impact on society would be if Miracleman took over the world as a benevolent dictator. More gently, he also points out (through Liz) how the traditional Flying Brick powerset would be completely nonsensical under the laws of (Earth) physics, and suggests more reasonable-sounding workarounds, such as Miracleman's Nigh-Invulnerability really being a skintight force-field.note 
    • Kid Miracleman is also a deconstruction of the Dark Phoenix Fallen Hero story, where in the X-Men original, the noble Cyclops is not able to make the choice to kill the equally genocidal Dark Phoenix because of the decent alter-ego Jean Grey, here Miracleman very gently comforts poor Johnny Bates before snapping his neck.
  • God-Emperor: Miracleman and his fellow superhumans eventually come to see themselves as gods and at the end of Moore's run proceed to take over the world in a benevolent dictatorship where humanity worships them, living in a high mountain explicitly called Olympus. In the first issue of Gaiman's run, it's revealed that those wishing to ask Miracleman for favors must take a pilgrimage up a long tower, which the pilgrims may or may not survive or remain sane.
  • Gorn. Behold. In Neil Gaiman's run, Stanley Kubrick, who really did reside in England during The '80s, made a documentary about the aftermath.
  • Government Conspiracy: Entirely responsible for Miracleman's (retconned) origins, being the ones who brought Dr. Gargunza to the Qys' crashed UFO and financed his experiments. The chap in charge, Sir Dennis Archer, grows guiltier and guiltier at what he unleashed on the world, and eventually commits suicide during Kid Miracleman's massacre of London.
  • Grand Theft Me: Gargunza's true objective is to achieve immortality by transferring his mind into the body of Miracleman's newborn child.
  • How We Got Here: The framing device to every single chapter in "Olympus", the last leg of the Moore run, which begins with Miracleman having already brought "Utopia" to the world.
  • I Lied: Cream interrogates (via notepad) a man who saw Miracleman's transformation (and was burned and deafened as a result), promising he won't kill the man if he answers all his questions. When he's done, he holds up a note that says, "Oh... and you remember how I promised not to kill you? I was lying, Steve."
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Responsible for the creation of the super-humans in the modern version (but not the original).
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Invoked by Evelyn Cream. When he sets about capturing Mike Moran, he has a woman hand Moran her baby. Then he sticks a gun in Moran's face and tells him not to say his magic word, since the flash of power would probably kill the baby.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: An extremely dark example: "Star Light, Star Bright" is recited as Miracleman pitches Dr. Gargunza's body from the stratosphere back down to Earth, and the air resistance burns the good doctor into nothing but a charred pelvis resembling a shooting star.
  • Last Kiss: An extremely twisted one between Miracleman and Gargunza, right before the former kills the latter.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Gargunza and his government backers developed one for the Miracleman "family" - a place where they could enjoy and experiment with their powers with no "real" danger attached. Things go horribly wrong when Gargunza continues this habit with Young Nastyman...
  • Lower-Deck Episode: The beginning of Neil Gaiman's run is filled with these.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Gargunza, in both the '50s comics and the Alan Moore version.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: An interesting case with the Moore run's rarely-reprinted fourth installment, "The Yesterday Gambit" - which was mostly cooked up to buy regular artist Garry Leach some extra time. The events it depicts are given proper context during Olympus, but by then Moore's vision for the series had changed so much that he describes it as one of several possible events that happened during the final battle against Kid Miracleman.
    • Speaking of which - this is the Framing Device for all six chapters of Olympus, with all the present-day events book-ended by a scenes of a victorious Miracleman reflecting on them years after the fact.
  • Mercy Kill: Miracleman gives one to Johnny Bates to prevent Kid Miracleman from ever killing anyone again.
  • Mistaken for Granite: The doors to the room housing the kingqueen of the Qys is guarded by two guards whom Miracleman/Marvelman mistakes for statues, due to their immobility and size.
  • Mood Whiplash: Perhaps the most notable is the issue where Liz gives birth to Winter, when Miracleman's sense of awe at the baby being born takes a sharp left turn into Surreal Horror in the last panel when the newborn speaks.
  • New Super Power: Kid Miracleman is able to develop powers he didn't originally have over the course of his life, and Miracleman alters his uniform while still in Gargunza's Lotus-Eater Machine. His child, Winter, has inherited her father's ability to fly and has a forcefield, but also can read and influence minds.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Neil Gaiman's stories deal with how people react to a totally different and changed world, where people come back from the dead, where consciousness is not really tied to one's body. Spies who spent their lives in duplicity can no longer fit into a new reality and instead are coralled to a fake city of spies where they can live out their fantasies of importance. Young Miracleman then gets revived and since he was a teenager when he died, the newly changed reality is a huge shock.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Poor Johnny Bates is abandoned to one after Miracleman exposes and defeats his sociopathic alter-ego, until... well, just look under the spoiler tags.
  • Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous: The alien Warpsmiths are multi-dimensional, and ultimately genderless beings, who have sex in ways that defy anything resembling biology on Earth.
  • Override Command: Gargunza has an override word ("Abraxas") which forces Miracleman to change back to Mike for one hour. Miracleman does not allow Gargunza to say it a second time.
  • Posthumous Narration: A borderline case with Evelyn Cream after he's decapitated by Miracledog. He narrates several hours' worth of story in his head, all in the second before his body and mind stop functioning.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Kid Miracleman and Young Nastyman.
  • Put Their Heads Together: What Miracleman does to two of Dr. Gargunza's lackeys as soon as he can transform again.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Both played straight and later inverted as much as possible. On the one hand, Gargunza, Miracleman's creator, strangely, never capitalizes on his biotechnological brilliance. After Kid Miracleman destroys London, however, Miracleman and his friends "go public," which changes every human society on every level.
  • Refusing Paradise: Liz Moran in her final meeting with Miracleman does this. She refuses Miracleman's "everyone's-a-super" offer of acquiring powers and chooses to simply be herself.
  • Ret-Gone: Todd McFarlane's version of Miracleman, the Man of Miracles/Mother of Existence, who played a significant role in Spawn for several years, was more-or-less removed from his comics' continuity following the revelation that his claims of ownership were invalid.
  • Re Vision: The modern version.
  • Scary Black Man: Evelyn Cream starts out as this, complete with unflappable personality, Scary Shiny Glasses, and a perpetual Slasher Smile (inlaid with sapphire-plated teeth, no less). Deconstructed as the story goes along, and chapters told from his perspective reveal him to be, in his own way, as scared of Miracleman as everyone else is.
  • Scenery Gorn: Kid Miracleman's attack on London, along with just plain Gorn.
  • Serial Escalation: One suspects that Kid Miracleman has the power to make up superpowers as he goes along like the Silver Age Superman, except instead of super-ventriloquism and super-knitting he invents things like super-murder or super-genocide. Example of just how hard he went: while not fully shown or detailed how he accomplished this somehow Kid Miracleman manages (once his darker alter-ego is fully unleashed) to elaborately mutilate, torture, rape, kill and arrange into morbidly artistic ornaments half the population of London in one or two hours.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The first issue of Neil Gaiman's run, in a nutshell. Four pilgrims travel up Miracleman's great golden palace, an exhausting and days-long journey that drives one of them insane halfway through. Of the remaining three, one apparently went to kill Miracleman (or perhaps just defy him), and immediately turns the gun on himself once Miracleman's bulletproof skin does its job. The third is a little girl who wants to be an artist; Miracleman agrees to help her (though what this actually entails isn't shown). The last pilgrim is our Narrator and easily the most sympathetic of the bunch - a father whose girl is on life support, thanks to the battle between Miracleman and Kid Miracleman. When Miracleman's asked to heal the girl? He doesn't even think about it before saying no and leaving.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The final battle against Kid Miracleman features the Warpsmiths teleporting a bank on top of his head, which he No Sells while flying through a falling pile of coins and bills. This is easily the most direct reference to Superduperman in the story, where the titular character attempts to defeat Captain Marbles by smashing a safe, then an entire skyscraper over his head, causing nothing but a similar shower of bills as Marbles just counts his money.
    • In "Spy Story", the resurrected Evelyn Cream refers to himself as the "Number One" of the City (a prison camp for former spies), which is a reference to The Prisoner (1967). He giggles after the line, suggesting that it's meant to be a Shout Out in-universe on his part.
  • The Singularity: The final issue of Moore's run, Issue 16, displays a post-Singularity world and its implications on humanity. Neil Gaiman's run explores the new, altered, world and the place of humanity within it.
  • The Sociopath: Kid Miracleman.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Completely averted by the Moore run, where Kid Miracleman is the first villain and remains the most dangerous in both physical abilities and ambitions all the way up to the end. Gargunza needs an army of Mooks and special gimmicks to put Miracleman on the ropes, while the Qys - though able to keep up physically - are still beaten handily when Miracleman (and Miraclewoman) find a weak spot in their armored forms.
  • Space Cold War: One exists between the Qys and the Warpsmiths. They later make some kind of "peace" when Miraclewoman convinces them to allow their cultures to interact in a more positive, creative way via earth.
  • Spy Speak: All over the place, natch, in "Spy Story". To the point where the main character wonders if every single conversation she hears is part of some secret code. Given the nature of her city, she's probably right.
  • Stable Time Loop: In one of the original Warrior comics, and hinted at in issue #15, Miracleman and a Warpsmith travel back in time twice to battle his earlier self in order to steal kinetic force from their blows. After each battle, the Warpsmith erases his earlier double's memory.
  • Stronger with Age: Johnny Bates A.K.A Kid Miracle Man. Of all of the superhumans, he has spent the most time in his superhuman body and thus has had more time to develope his strengths and learn new abilities. It shows as he can single-handedly defeat all of the other superhumans and superaliens combined with almost no harm done to himself.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: More-or-less inverted. Emil Gargunza is a Brazilian street-kid whose scientific skills take him out of Brazil to Germany where he worked for the Nazis, but he never built superweapons for Hitler. Rather, he reverse engineered the fallen Warpsmith technology and created the superheroes after the war.
  • Super Family Team: Totally deconstructed. Like a real family, there is the Black Sheep and Dysfunction Junction, and plain weirdness.
  • Superhero Speciation:
    • The super-humans created by Gargunza have the same Flying Brick power set. Apparently, they all have Psychic Powers, that's just how they manifested.
    • Also, the Warpsmiths are all teleporters, and Firedrakes are pyrokinetic.
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: The nurse who gets spared by Kid Miracleman begins thanking God that she wasn't killed. Kid Miracleman then returns, tells her how he didn't want people to think he was going soft, and smashes her head against the wall.
  • Take That!:
    • In explaining to the readers why the eighth issue is going to just be reprinting two of the 1955 comic stories, one of the writers uses the following as a lead-in:
      Writer: Remember that period during the mid-1970s when it seemed like every third Marvel comic was an unannounced reprint? I resented 'em, of course... but I hated it more when they tried to pretend the reprints were "flashbacks". [...] Didn't fool me one bit. I knew deadline doom when I saw it.
    • After Miracleman effectively takes over the world, there is no power structure anymore. All the former tyrants of the world meet in group therapy to deal with the reversal. One of the members is a gray-haired white guy who tells the rest he got aroused from a dream where he ordered soldiers to kill rabbits and give him money. The group's therapist then thanks "George" for his trust, and asks "Moamar" if he'd like to comment.
    • Similarly, when Miracleman announces that the global economy will be rebuilt from the ground up, Margaret Thatcher insists that "we cannot allow this sort of interference in the market". Miracleman looks at her nonchalantly and responds, "'Allow?'" Thatcher looks absolutely shattered and later requests to leave.
  • Tele-Frag: How Kid Miracleman is ultimately defeated.
  • Three-Month-Old Newborn: Averted, surprisingly. The team used actual reference books for Winter's birth, and the result is a very accurately gross-looking baby. Some readers even sent in mail asking what was wrong with the baby.
  • Time Skip: Neil Gaiman's run skipped ahead of the mid-80s in which Moore's run was finished. The Silver Age takes an even bigger Time Skip going forward nearly twenty years after Moore's last issue.
  • Twisted Echo Cut: As is typical of Moore's works, stuffed to the brim with these.
  • Übermensch: The quote from Friedrich Nietzsche that serves as an epigraph for the booknote  sets this up as a central theme, the desire for man to be more than human and its disturbing implications. In an introduction, Alan Moore noted that Marvelman/Miracleman is unique for actually resembling the Nazi ideal of the blonde, blue-eyed Aryan more closely than Superman and Captain Marvel themselves and he deliberately sought to explore the fascist connections with his character.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Pretty much Miracleman's entire pantheon believes in this, but Huey "Firedrake" Moon gives one of the most encapsulating quotes:
    Firedrake: You see some little kid about to drink Clorox, you gonna take away his free will or he ain't gonna get no destiny.
  • The 'Verse: Intended by editor Dez Skinn to be part of a "Warrior Universe", which it shared with Moore and Leach's Warpsmiths stories, Skinn's own Big Ben series and an early, short-lived Grant Morrison series called The Liberators.
    • Eclipse Comics - especially after its acquisition by Todd McFarlane - also tried to link the series to its other properties, with equally abortive results. Now that the series is owned lock-stock-and-barrel by Marvel, they’ve hinted at a third attempt.
  • What the Romans Have Done for Us: After taking over the world in the finale, the Miracles unleash a Golden Age of world peace, an end to crime, a post-scarcity society, superpowers for ordinary people so that they can become like the Gods they admire, and begin making inroads into raising the dead. It's a utopia under a benevolent kindly dictator, and almost nobody wants to go back to the bad old days.
  • Whole-Plot Reference:
    • The conflict between Miracleman and Kid Miracleman is a Darker and Edgier take of Harvey Kurtzman's more humorous Superduperman (which Moore always stated was his all time favorite comic) which pointed out how pathetic the secret identities of superheroes actually are as a concept, and likewise showed, in greater detail than comics at the time, a conflict between two super-powered beings in a populated city area. Likewise the antagonist in the Kurtzman comic actually has a civillian front as a businessman much like Johnny Bates in the earlier issues.
    • Kid Miracleman's Fallen Hero story, the drastic contrast between the innocent Johnny alter-ego and the Superpowered Evil Side as well as the scale of devastation he could unleash also recalls The Dark Phoenix Saga where Jean Grey/Phoenix threatened the whole universe after shattering a star system populated by billions of lives. That story went into Executive Meddling and subject to later retcons but Moore and Totleben take it to the absolute logical conclusion.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Kid Miracleman, inarguably. More arguably, Miracleman and Miraclewoman are subject to this themselves by the end of Moore's run.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Young Nastyman and the human alter ego of Kid Miracleman.
  • You Are Already Dead: The final fate of Evelyn Cream.

Alternative Title(s): Marvelman, Miracleman Alan Moore