Thursday, December 13, 2018

MARVELMAN! It's a Miracle! The British Capt. Marvel rip-off! (Part 8 of the Blog History of ALL Captain Marvels)

This history makes reference to material that can be found in the following books:
       

As we have already seen, in 1953 Fawcett settled the lawsuit with the company now known as DC Comics and agreed to never publish Captain Marvel comics ever again.

It turns out, however, that L. Miller & Son had been publishing black-and-white versions of these stories in the United Kingdom for years. The material was supplied by Fawcett and the books were printed in the UK. When word reached these publishers of the imminent cessation of material, they realized they had to do something, because Captain Marvel was extremely popular!

So writer-artist Mick Anglo created Marvelman, a new superhero with remarkable similarities to the Big Red Cheese, not the least of which was his name. His alter ego was young Mickey Moran, a copy boy for the Daily Bugle (I have found no evidence that Stan Lee ever saw this comic before writing Spider-Man), who met the astrophysicist Guntag Barghelt, who gave him the super-scientific word "Kimota" ("atomic" misspelled backwards) which, upon utterance, would turn the boy into the mighty hero...Marvelman!

Marvelman was super-strong, invulnerable, and could fly. He wore a blue suit with no cape and had a blonde crew-cut with a superman-style spit-curl forelock. His face was a dead ringer for the World's Mightiest Mortal. Micky Moran, likewise was a carbon-copy of Billy Batson, but with the same blonde crew-cut and forelock as the hero into which he would transform.

Marvelman's debut was presaged by a brief promotional campaign in which Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr, in their respective L. Miller & Sons comics, stated that they were taking a break, but to watch for something new in the coming issues. After a few issues of this, the titles of these comics were changed to Marvelman and Young Marvelman, respectively, and thus were the names of the new heroes that appeared inside.

Young Marvelman was a uniformed messenger boy who gained the power to turn into a superhero version of himself by saying the name of Marvelman.

Marvelman's arch enemy was Dr. Emil Gargunza, who was essentially Dr. Sivana with hair. The stories followed the basic patterns of Captain Marvel stories, and even some covers and panels were direct copies of Captain Marvel pictures. However, being in Great Britain, it can safely be assumed that neither Fawcett nor DC noticed or cared.

In time there was even a Kid Marvelman and a Young Gargunza, and even supervillains named Nastyman and Kid Nastyman. A Marvelman Family comic contained stories of the whole team.

Original stories were written and drawn for most of the decade and enjoyed a great degree of popularity. Thwn, in 1959, certain laws were changed that allowed the full-color American comics to be imported to the UK. followed by a few years of reprints, until the line of Marvelman and family comics was cancelled in 1963. by this time original comics from the US were reaching the British markets, and there was no longer as much interest in this old hero.

 Marvelman stories were reprinted in Italy and Australia, and also in Brazil, where the hero had the name "Jack Marvel." The Brazilian reprints were printed in Marvel Magazine and the "MM" logo on the hero's chest was erased.


Some parts of this history are a bit confusing. Apparently, Mick Anglo also created a character named "Captain Universe," which existed in two issues of an eponymous comic published by Len Miller's son in 1954. Threat of a lawsuit (it is unclear from whom) shut it down.  Mick Anglo left Len Miller in 1960, and saw that some of his Marvelman stories were reprinted or redrawn with the character named "Captain Miracle" or "Miracle Man" with a different costume.

Then, in 1981, Warrior Magazine in the UK published a revival of the character, written by Alan Moore. We will cover this revival in the next chapter.

Note: this is a basic overview. A well-researched, lengthy, and detailed history of the character and many issues surrounding him at http://www.comicsbeat.com/poison-chalice-interlude-1953-1985-roundup-and-some-notes-on-copyright/

A lot more detail about the creation of Marvelman, with a focus on the ownership of the intellectual property rights, can be found at http://www.comicsbeat.com/poisoned-chalice-part-16-who-own-marvelman-part-ii/

Another, more brief history can be found at https://www.leylander.org/intercom/marvelman/


No comments: