MIRACLEMAN (Earth-238)

Real Name: Michael Moran

Identity/Class: Extradimensional/Alternate Earth (Earth-238) human enhanced by magic/cosmic forces

Occupation: Newspaper copy-boy, later reporter

Affiliations: ally of most Earth-238 heroes, including Android Andy, Arachnid, Captain UK, Gaath, Iron Tallon, Kid Miracleman, Puppetman, Captain Roy Risk, Tom Rosetta, Colonel Tusker, and Rick

Enemies: Earth-238 counterparts of Dr. Gargunza, Young Nastyman, Philip II, the Spainish Armada, the Stasi, James Jaspers, the Fury

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: London, England of Earth-238

First Appearance: (mentioned) Marvel Super-Heroes#387 (UK); (name seen on tombstone) Marvel Super-Heroes#388 (UK) (August, 1982);
(full) Daredevils#7 (UK) (July, 1983)

Powers: By saying the "key harmonic of the universe", Moran turned into an adult with the powers of flight, speed and durability.

History: Micky Moran, newspaper copy-boy for the Daily Bugle, encountered an entity who claimed to be "Guntag Barghelt" or "Guntag Barghelm", an "astro-psychicist". Barghelm, claiming to be dying, subjected Moran to a special machine and gave him the key word "Kimota" to transform into the champion Miracleman due to Moran’s being "completely honest, studious, and of such integrity that he would only use it for good".

Moran encountered other boys who had received power from Barghelm: Young Miracleman--true name Dickey Dauntless, who served as a delivery boy for the Transatlantic Messenger Service, and transformed by saying "Miracleman" -- as did Kid Miracleman--Johnny Bates. The three boys faced the machinations of rogue scientist Doctor Gargunza, his nephew Young Gargunza, the Stasi (the East German secret police), their evil counterpart Young Nastyman, (in a time travel trip) Philip II’s Spainish Armada, and other menaces.

However, the demagogue James Jaspers persuaded the British government that metahumans presented a danger to the public. Jaspers persuaded the British government to clamp down on all superhumans. For his own part, Jaspers created the metahuman-hunting construct the Fury.

(Daredevils#7 (fb))- Joining with other superhumans to face the Fury, Miracleman died in battle.










Comments: Created by Alan Moore and Alan Davis; based on the character created by Mick Anglo.

The story behind Miracleman goes back to the British published reprints of the Fawcett Captain Marvel comics. In Captain Marvel#19 (December 23, 1953), on the "Club Page", British readers of L. Miller and Sons reprints of the Captain Marvel stories found a surprise. Billy Batson and Freddy Freeman, the erstwhile Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. respectively, wanted to live normal lives, and so they gave back their powers to the Wizard Shazam; such events did not occur in any published story in Fawcett’s Captain Marvel comics. Rather, what happened was that DC Comics had successfully sued Fawcett, arguing that Captain Marvel infringed on Superman’s copyright, and Fawcett folded its comic book line. The announcement continued to state that, due to this development, the magazine would switch over to telling the exploits of Marvelman. Marvelman made his first actual appearance in Marvelman#25 (Feb 3, 1954).

Marvelman, with his cohorts Young Marvelman and Kid Marvelman, lasted till Marvelman#370 (Feb 1953). Along the way, they frequently faced the rogue scientist Doctor Gargunza-- mirroring how Captain Marvel faced the rogue scientist Doctor Sivana. Despite the cessation of publication of the Marvelman stories, one reader remembered him in the following years -- Alan Moore. Once, while browsing through a Yarmouth bookstore and finding a Marvelman collection, it occurred to him that Marvelman had not been published for some years. Wondering what happened to him, Moore got struck by the image of Marvelman as a middle-aged man unable to remember his magic word.

Years later, Moore made good on this idea. In March, 1982, Moore revived Marvelman in the present day. Moran was presented as having suffered amnesia in 1962, only after 19 years remembering his past as Marvelman -- yet his wife, Liz, whom he had only met after what he remembered as his last adventure as Marvelman, and had no knowledge of a Marvelman ever having existed in the 1950’s. This presented a perplexing situation, as many of the adventures Moran remembered having as Marvelman presented situations where Marvelman was sighted by the public, drew much attention, had his exploits extensively covered in the newsmedia, and so on. Certainly, his exploits would at least have made it into the history books, so how could Liz not have heard of Marvelman?

However, compelling evidence that confirmed part of Moran’s memories of having had adventures as Marvelman presented itself when Johnny Bates--Kid Marvelman--called him. Bates confirmed Moran’s story of their last adventures together as Kid Marvelman and Marvelman, and revealed that he had become a captain of industry in the years since that time. Bates claimed that he had lost his powers as Kid Miracleman as a result of that last adventure. However, Moran felt something suspicious about Bates -- and to his horror he discovered that not only had Bates not lost the ability to turn into Kid Marvelman, in 1962 he had turned into Kid Marvelman and had not turned back into a human being since! A pitched battle resulted, in which Bates was defeated, when, while impulsively gloating, he boasted "I defeated you! Me-- Kid Marvelman!" ..oops.

Further on in his revival, Moore established that Marvelman’s 1950’s adventures had actually never happened, explaining why his wife had never heard of Marvelman, but rather that Micky Moran was an orphan boy who had been chosen to be the subject for government experiments in creating superhumans. In order to control the superhumans, the project director, Hispanic scientist Doctor Gargunza, had used mind control devices to create illusions to lull the superhumans. Grappling with the problem of creating a semi-logical way to explain to the superhumans how they gained their superpowers, he had the good fortune of finding an L. Miller and Sons reprint of the American Captain Marvel comic books! (Moran, subconcsiously to some degee aware of what really happened to him, incorporated Doctor Gargunza into the fantasies he experienced.)

In 1983, while working on Captain Britain for Marvel UK, Moore introduced Earth-238, meant to contain counterparts of British comic book heroes of the 1940’s to 1960’s -- including Marvelman. Much as the British comic book character the Spider had an Earth-238 counterpart called the Arachnid, Marvelman’s Earth-238 counterpart was Miracleman. Ironically, when Moore’s Marvelman stories were reprinted in the United States by Eclipse, Marvel objected to the name of the character. As a result Marvelman was renamed for the U.S. market -- as Miracleman! Miracleman#1 came out in August 1985. A name that Moore had first used as a euphemism for Marvelman became the name by which many know him by better today.

Additionally, Will U contributes (based on info from "The Encyclopedia of Superheroes" by Jeff Rovin)
Marvelman was revived in 1984 in "Warrior" under the Quality Banner. Except for the story which explained his absence, the rest of the stories were reprints. There were a few subtle changes in his costume on the magazine covers. In 1985, the character was brought to the US by Eclipse Comics.

For this entry, I have presumed that Miracleman of Earth-238’s adventures more or less mirrored the adventures that Marvelman had in his 1950’s to 1960’s comic books. Thus, in contrast to what Moore revealed in his Marvelman stories of the 1980’s, for the Miracleman of Earth-238, these adventures did take place, and were not just illusions. However, I do allow one bit of deception may have occurred with the Miracleman of Earth-238’s origin -- in Secret Defenders#18, Doctor Druid, Anthony Ludgate of Earth-616, revealed that he had at some point used the alias "Guntag Barghelm". This is a name that one should recognize from the history of Miracleman in this entry. (In the original stories of Marvelman in the 1950’s, the entity that gave Marvelman his powers was usually referred to as "Guntag BarghelT". However, Moore usually used the "Barghelm" spelling.) One could extrapolate that this Barghelm was, in fact, the Earth-238 counterpart of Dr. Druid.

For more on the history of Marvelman and Miracleman, visit the following pages: Earth-238 Timeline Marvelman Annotated Marvelman and The Origin of Miracleman

The Marvelman stories in the 1950’s frequently used Communists as villains, especially the East Germans, given England’s proximity to Germany. Hence, my listing of the Stasi (East Germany’s secret police) as enemies of the Miracleman of Earth-238. The Stasi continued till the fall of the Berlin wall, its activities in the 1970’s included training or assisting terrorists such as the Red Army Faction, Black September, the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Red Brigade, and so forth.

(Admittedly, Marvel’s sliding timescale probably applies to Earth-238, but since Earth-238’s history differed dramatically from Earth-616’s and the realworld, the Stasi’s longer continued existance would be allowable.)

There are some legal concerns, and Alan Moore is seeking to regain the rights to his Marvelman
caliban: "Marvel owns ZERO rights to miracleman, but they are helping to fund Neil Gaiman in a legal battle against Todd McFarlane, who bought the stable of Eclipse characters when they folded.  Basically, Gaiman inherited Alan Moore and Gary Leach's creator rights, while McFarlane bought up the publisher's rights to the character, and they each technically own about half.  There is an implicit understanding that if Gaiman does win his case, Marvel will have first crack at reprinting them, but that's all for Marvel's involvement."

In addition, I don't have any of Fawcett or Moore Marvelman/Miracleman issues--only the Captain Britain stories, and their color reprints, in X-Men Archives Featuring Captain Britain.
Moore and Davis did the Captain Britain series featuring the Fury (
Highest Possible Recommendation!!!). While no background is given on the character Miracleman of Earth-238, who appears for a panel being blown to bits, I think it's a pretty fair assumption that Moore obviously meant him to be, at least, a homage to the classic character. Anyway, (as Joey says), it's a moot point, and I think John's extrapolation is perfectly reasonable.

Will U came up with some ideas about this alternate Miracleman on his website.

by John McDonagh

Clarifications: Miracleman should not be confused with:

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Last updated: 08/27/02

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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