More information can be found here:

  • The Continuity Pages: Miracleman - summary of the character's post-revival publishing history.
  • Marvelman - a site on the original incarnation of the Marvelman Family.
  • Marvelman or Miracleman? - Italian history of the character.
  • The Origin of Marvelman - good illustrated history and bibliography of the character.
  • Robert Mayer's Superfolks - DC-influenced novel, very influential on Alan Moore and Mark Waid.
  • Project Zarathustra: Marvelman Archive - Warrior info, includes unreprinted "Yesterday Gambit"
  • Yahoo! Clubs: Marvelman/Miracleman

     

     

    "The Invaders from the Future," Miracleman #1

    p. 3: "Space rockets, just like in Dan Dare!" - Dan Dare, "pilot of the future," is the predominate British science fiction comics character, whose adventures date back to the 50's. This dialog (rewritten by Moore) clearly Anglicises the story, although the speakers do appear to be American farmers.

    p. 11: "Behold .. I teach you the Superman! He is this lightning, he is this madness" - A quote from Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, from "Thus Spake Zarathustra." Nietzsche was a theorist of self-actualisation, often referring to the actualised man as "the superman" or "the blond beast." The latter turn of phrase was unfortunate as it fit well into the Nazi's misuse of his work (Nietzsche was by no means an anti-Semite). This quote also served as the opening epigram for Robert Myers' novel Superfolks, which was a great influence on Moore's work on Marvelman as well as "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?"

     

    "Chapter 3", Warrior #2

    p. 5: "When I was 14 in 1954, I was working as a copy boy for a paper called the Daily Bugle" - The first appearance of the character was February '54, "Marvelman" #1

    p. 6: "She sees the boy cowering before the impossible spectre that had conjured itself from that night ...", "I am Guntag Borghelm! I am an astro-physicist whose studies have taken him far beyond the dull concerns of mere mortals" - Far beyond he may have been, but the impossible spectre conjured in Liz Moran's imagination bore no relation to the astro-physicist from the original Marvelman series, who was presented as a quite normal human scientist. He was also more commonly known by the surname Barghelt, though this was not consistent over the course of the series.

    p. 7: "Within a year I was joined by another young man with 'atomic powers' like mine. His name was Dicky Dauntless ... " - The first appearance of Young Marvelman, aka Dicky Dauntless, was February '54, "Young Marvelman" #1

    p. 7: "We fought crime together until 1956, when we were joined by Johnny Bates. He was a little kid of maybe seven or eight." - The first appearance of Kid Marvelman, aka Johnny Bates, was actually July '55, "Marvelman" #101, though he would more famously appear in October '56, "Marvelman Family " #1

    p. 7: "Villains like the Firebug and Young Nastyman ... and the freakish dwarf genius called Doctor Gargunza." - I have been unable so far to find original textual references to the Firebug. However, Young Nastyman may have been a member of a villainous family including an elder Nastyman, though this appears to have been ignored in Moore's version of the continuity. The original series also included Dr. Gargunza's progeny, Young Gargunza.

    p.8: "Even if all I've said so far sounds like a joke, what happened in '63 most definitely wasn't. It was one day in October when the Marvelman Family received the alert" - A curious six month gap, as the last published episode of the Marvelman Family was in February 1963 (according to Matt Gore, Marvelman went into reprint with #336, about January 1960).

     

    "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", Warrior #3

    p. 4: the title is from a Reconstruction-era song credited to the Union Army bandmaster, Patrick S. Gilmore.

    p. 5: The logo of Johnny Bates' corporation Sunburst Cybernetics is that of Captain Mar-Vell.

     

    "Dragons", Warrior #5

    p.4: "Dragons fight in the meadow, their blood is black and yellow" - from the I Ching; symbolically, it means that the powers of darkness will yield to the powers of light; however, both will suffer grave harm.

    p. 6: "Well, well ... the old man's said his magic word and turned into the Big Blue Banana." - The original Captain Marvel was, of course, referred to by his foes as the Big Red Cheese.

     

    "Fallen Angels, Forgotten Thunder," Warrior #6

    p. 7: "A can of worms called 'Project Zarathustra.'" - a reference to the Nietzsche text as above

    p. 9: "Me, Kid Marvelman!" - Bates accidentally speaks his magic word, transforming him back into his powerless human self. This event echoes both the defeat of Black Adam in the original Marvel Family story, as well as the defeat of Demonaic in Robert Myers' novel Superfolks.

    p. 10: "He was thirteen when he decided to remain a superhuman forever." - In fact he was sixteen, as previously stated.

     

    "Blue Murder", Warrior #8

    p.5: "Blue Murder" - from the phrase "screaming blue murder"; it's a very common mystery story title

    p. 8: "A D-notice?" - British government protocol which allows them to classify certain information and prevent the press from publishing information about it. In general the mainstream British press is more freely critical of its government than the American, although D-notices can be used more freely and easily than a 'Top Secret' national security classification in this country.

    p.9: "It's bloody Profumo all over a-bloody-gain." - Concisely described by A.S. Byatt in the preface to her novel Babel Tower:: "John Profumo was the Secretary of State for War in Harold Macmillan's government. In 1963 there were rumours that he had slept with a prostitute, Christine Keeler, who had also slept with a Soviet military attache, Eugene Ivanov. National security was thought to be threatened by this. Profumo made a personal statement to the House of Commons in March, denying the allegations, but resigned in June, confessing that his statement had been a lie. Also in June Christine Keeler and another young woman, Marilyn Rice-Davis, were inmvolved in the trial of Dr. Stephen Ward, osteopath and artist, who was convicted in August of living off their immoral earnings, but killed himself on the day of the verdict. The trial made public figures of the two composed and attractive young women, and aroused a swarm of rumours of sleaze and corruption in high places, which contributed to the fall of the Conservative government. Lord Denning, an eminent judge, wrote a report on the 'Profumo affair' dealing solemnly with, among other things, rumours that a government minister had attended sadistic orgies at Stephen Ward's house in 'a black leather mask which laces up the back,' and that there were parties where 'the man who serves dinner is nearly naked except for a small square lace apron round his waist such as a waitress might wear.'"

    p. 48: "Plus we've had the outlines written for three complete forty page epics, featuring Marvelman, V and Pressbutton." - Well? We're waiting Dez!

     

    "Out of the Dark", Warrior #9

    p. 10: "Big Ben." - Big Ben's convoluted history began when the character was designed by Dez Skinn (under the pseudonym Edgar Henry) and Ian Gibson in 1974 for a magazine to be titled "British Superhero." When Warrior first appeared in 1982, publisher Dez Skinn intended the character to be part of a team of characters he owned or had acquired the rights to (including Marvelman and Speedmaster), under the appelation "Challenger Force"; however as the series continued he abandoned that plan but asked the "Marvelman" team to feature the character in their strip. Alan Moore and Alan Davis redesigned the character, stripping away the white belt, Wolverine-like 'clock arms' and the Cobblepot-like flying technique of the hover brolly as well as casting the original 1974 adventure as a government-induced hallucination. Warrior fans were further confused by Dez Skinn's "Big Ben" strip which premiered several months later, which featured a shapechanging alien who wore the Big Ben costume ... and who sought to mislead government interrogators by inducing his own hallucinations of himself as a 1960's super-agent!

     

    "Inside Story", Warrior #10

    p. 4: "You read the untranslated novels of Colette and own an original Hockney." - Colette was a French novelist of the first half of the 20th century, author of the novels Claudine and Gigi among others, known for her interest in the natural world and her observations of women's lives. David Hockney is a contemporary British artist who was very influential on the Pop Art movement in the 60's.

    p. 4: "And yet you follow this white loa, this Marvelman who leaves a trail of dead and fisheyed fellows in his wake!" - the loa are angelic (or demonic) entities in voodoo theology, typically spirits of deceased family members, who act as intermediaries between humanity and God.

     

    "Zarathustra", Warrior #11

    p. 9: flashback is shown of Marvelman accompanying Robin Hood. original source?

    p. 11: "Luckily, Jack Ketch and Owlwoman, my colleagues from the Bulldog Brigade, arrived just in time ... " - this pair of hallucinated heroes are drawn from standard models Moore will use in other contexts. Jack Ketch resembles the MLJ hero the Hangman; the Hooded Justice from Watchmen is of the same type. Owlwoman utilises high-tech weaponry with a sleek, rounded look; her owlcar could easily have been built by the creator of Nite-Owl's owlship in Watchmen.

     

    "Saturday Morning Pictures," Marvelman Special #1

    p. 5: "Have they got 'Driller Killer'? I wouldn't mind seeing that again." - 70's horror film in which an artist becomes insane and slaughters innocents with the aid of a power drill. Public reaction against the film contributed to the "video nasty" hysteria of 1984 and the introduction of the video recordings act.

    p. 5: "Perhaps it'll be 'I Spit On Your Grave.' That was good. Wife 'ated it." - 70's horror film in which a rape victim seduces and then dismembers her attackers. The film was banned in the UK.

     

    "Nightmares", Warrior #15

    p. 1: "Through the garden of Baron Saturday he runs, with heavy legs and a carpet of insects that twists and thrashes beneath his naked feet" - Baron Saturday (or Samedi) is a voodoo figure representing death

     

    "Red King Syndrome", Warrior #17

    p. 12: "Hypnos, Deacon of Delirium" - I have been unable so far to find original textual references to this character.

    p. 16: "What happened to your costume?" - This story takes place in November '61, and explains among other things, the origin of the altered costume Marvelman wears in the modern series. Curiously, Moore does not take advantage of the six month gap he created between the last original published Marvelman comics (February '63) and the death of the Marvelman Family (October '63) to place the story at the beginning of the gap. Consequently, we have a minor but inexplicable contradiction -- a variation in costume -- between Moore's Marvelman continuity and the original texts.

     

    "I Heard Woodrow Wilson's Guns", Warrior #18

    p. 4: the title is from the Warren Zevon song, "Veracruz."

    p. 6: "Diaz fell in 1911 and President Taft sent his American soldiers in to keep the peace." - more information can be found in "The United States Marines in Nicaragua" and in "The Autobiography of Mother Jones", Chapter XVI.

    p. 8: "I met Martin Heidegger, the philosopher." - Heidegger was an existentialist, who gained notoriety for his support of Nazi causes.

     

    "A Little Piece of Heaven", Warrior #20

    p. 9: "One day, in the canteen, I chanced upon a flimsy, black and white children's paper left there by some semi-literate engineer. And then, Mrs. Moran, I laughed and laughed and laughed ... and went away and built my 'Marvel Family.'" - Gargunza is inspired to create the Marvelman Family by a British reprint of Fawcett's Marvel Family comic -- just as the the creation of the Marvelman character was inspired by the withdrawal of access to Fawcett reprints by the British publisher L. Miller & Sons. He also created fictional offspring for himself; Young Garganza appears in Young Marvelman #100, and Matt Gore informs me that "there is, if I remember correctly, also a Gargunza daughter in at least one Young Marvelman issue. ... Oh, I'm pretty sure that they were Gargunza's children but continuity wasn't exactly Mick Anglo's thing."

     

    "... And Every Dog Its Day", Warrior #21

    p. 8: "Abraxas." - Gargunza implanted this word as a fail-safe mechanism in Marvelman's trigger mechanism. It transforms him into Mike Moran and prevents him from disables the change implant for an hour. It is the name of a deity worshipped by a 2nd century Gnostic sect (which may have roots in ancient Egypt); it is also the name of the dual-natued god in Hermann Hesse's novel Demian. Consequently, I hope Marvelman never took to studying Gnostic philosophy after he decides in the future to leave his mortal identity behind.

    p. 9: "Steppenwolf." - the word Gargunza uses to turn his puppy, Pluto, into Marveldog; also the name of another Hermann Hesse novel. I wouldn't have figured Gargunza as a fan of Hesse, myself, but ...

     

    "Rough Justice", Daredevils #7

    p. 2: "Rick! Look! Miracleman! It shot Miracleman!" "B-but ... but that's impossible ... " - Alan Moore's and Alan Davis' pastiche of British heroes in the "Captain Britain" strip included Miracleman (Marvelman) and Rick (presumably Richard Dauntless, aka Young Marvelman). It was ironic that Moore later chose to rename the character for American publication "Miracleman", following threatened lawsuit from Marvel Comics against the continued use of the name Marvelman. Other appelative connections between the characters include Captain Miracle, a later Mick Anglo production which involved redrawing and relettering Marvelman stories into tales of a new hero.

     

    "All Heads Turn As The Hunt Goes By", Miracleman #6

    p. 3: the title is derived from a Norse legend of the hunt for dead souls; Moore may also have based it on the title of a 1977 horror novel by American author John Farris.

    p. 3: "I have followed this couple's progress for almost twenty years ... I have been waiting for them to produce a baby. That baby is the key to my immortality. Truly, all I ever wanted from Marvelman was his seed." - this strategy of Gargunza's is incomprehensible. If Liz Moran had become pregnant in the intervening years, it would have been Michael Moran's normal human baby, and thus useless to him. If Gargunza was simply waiting for Marvelman to return, he was running the risk that Moran could get struck by a car or suffer some other banal but fatal accident during that time, effectively destroying his only chance for immortality.

     

    "Mindgames", Miracleman #10

    p. 1: "This meat garment currently suffers from cyclic blood loss which is uncomfortable and distracting" - see below

    p. 1: "It has almost reached the five cuckoos" -- see below

     

    "Aphrodite", Miracleman #12

    p. 7: "Myself, a hideous altered dog, and Terrence Rebbeck, who became Young Nastyman..." - I don't know whether Young Nastyman's name was Terry Rebbeck in the original series, if it was even given (I suspect it is original with Moore).

    p. 7: "Naked, he was pitiful; a troll mounting a goddess while she slept." - Marvelman made Liz Moran pregnant after they'd slept together once. Yet Gargunza never impregnated Marvelwoman, and none of Marvelman's children which appear later in the series appear to be her's. Is Avril Lear's superhuman form infertile? Moore's original timeline for the series referred to Marvelman's and (presumably) Marvelwoman's son, though he may have abandoned that plotline.

    p. 11: "Later, retrieving those [Rebbeck's] remains, the Spookshow mistook them for Young Marvelman's" - Although, curiously, Dicky Dauntless' body retained traces in Infraspace, while Rebbeck's body did not. Thus Moore was able to conceal Rebbeck's existence from the reader by having a Qys refer to the bodies of 'five cuckoos' (Miracleman #10 p. 1) in Infraspace, rather than six.

    p. 14: "He seemed familiar. Something about snowflakes; young men fighting ... " - This is a residual memory Marvelman has of the events described in "The Yesterday Gambit", Warrior #4.

     

    "Hermes", Miracleman #13

    p. 4: "The Warpsmiths bring us to Qys, home of my race, where emergency summit is to be held." - 'Qys' is pronounced 'quiche' because, being shapechangers, they're not real men. Moore had used this name in a previous story of his own in Embryo 5.

    p. 10: "Unlike ourselves, these creatures are fertile, viable" - The Qys inability to breed is inexplicable to me. They are capable of producing a human female body which menstruates (Miracleman #10 p. 1). They are capable of producing bodies in general at their whim, so are not lacking in understanding of genetics. Given their flexibility of identity all that really seems to designate a Qys is thus socialisation, and cloned children can be socialised as well as any other kind.

     

    "Pantheon", Miracleman #14

    p. 18: "Save for those sightless shoals I worked alone, and built my house and named it Silence" - Totleben's depiction of Silence bears no relation to the earlier version drawn by Steve Dillon as depicted in "The Yesterday Gambit." Given how little the house appears in the series after this scene, I suspect Moore had changed his conception of the final book in such a way which rendered Silence unnecessary, and simply included this scene for continuity's sake.

     

    "Olympus," Miracleman #16

    p. 22: "Feeling his costume looked rather drab next to our own, he had a new one made, assuming a new name to match his clothes. He calls himself the British Bulldog now and has acquired a reputation truly Herculean." - or, more likely, feeling his costume and name were copyrighted by Dez Skinn, he had a new one made, assuming a new name which wouldn't result in a lawsuit. Note that the character believed himself to have been a member of a group, the Bulldog Brigade.

     

     

    Questions:
  • Can anyone provide verification that there was actually a Nastyman and/or a Kid Nastyman in addition to Young Nastyman? Any ideas regarding their real names and origins?
  • Are there any original accounts of the Firebug, or Hypnos, Deacon of Delirium, or the alien-looking creatures that the Marvelman Family is shown fighting in one of the early Moore episodes?