Best Practices, my Marvelman/Miracleman Experience

I did mention that I’m a computer enthusiast, as well, did I not? Well, I came up with this list of DOs and DO NOTs this morning…then we’ll get back to some fun comic stuff.

Best Practices
- Ensuring A Safer Computing Experience

As the story goes, the safest computer is one not connected
to the internet, has never been powered on, and resides in a safe. Of course,
this is not a realistic approach to keeping one’s personal computer free of
infections and malware; but there are steps one can take to mitigate the
occurrences of such negative experiences.

1.
BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP! This is the most
important thing one can do to safeguard their files. If you are writing a
dissertation, why would you not make a backup? Said backup should also be saved
to a remote location (USB drive, online storage, etc.)

2.
NEVER work on a document from email! This one is
a real heartbreaker – you’ve just finished the hardest paper of your life – you’ve
“saved” it numerous times during your finalizations…and now you go to print it
out…wait…WHERE IS IT?!? OH NO! Here’s the news: that document was being “saved”
in a temporary file location…upon your closing of said document, the document…GOES
AWAY. In certain instances, the document will save a copy in the temporary
location, but why leave something so important to the whims of chance? When you
are working on anything from email, SAVE IT FIRST TO a) your desktop; b) your My
Documents folder; c) any external writable device (USB, online storage, etc.)

3.
JUST BECAUSE YOU AREN’T UTILIZING YOUR INTERNET
CONNECTION, THAT DOESN’T MEAN SOMEONE ELSE ISN’T!
Be mindful that leaving your
internet connections on while not utilizing them is akin to purchasing the best
security system in the world, and then leaving one’s door unlocked as your exit
your domicile. Own your internet connection – turn your wireless off when it’s
not needed.

4.
KEEP YOUR ANTI-VIRUS/ANTI-MALWARE SOFTWARE UP TO
DATE!
Standard anti-virus software will perform an update no more than once a
day. New infections crop up on the internet every hour (and that may be a low
estimate); so it is incumbent upon you to be vigilant in regards to protecting
your operating system and your files. If you can take the time to watch a YouTube
video, you can take the extra seconds involved in running (for example, the
Symantec Endpoint Protection suite offered by Columbia University) Live Update –
this will not interfere with other tasks being performed.  The process will continue and you can enjoy
your browsing experience. As far as anti-malware programs go, I swear by Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware. It is simply the best thing out there – I encourage everyone to purchase the full version and have the program run much like your anti-virus software.

These simple steps will increase the time that you have to
enjoy the time you spend with your computer. Happy surfing!

Okay…that’s enough of that…let’s talk about the character that is mired in a bit of a morass. Yes, I’m referring to Marvelman/Miracleman.

My first experience to MM was a copy of MM2 – When Gods Make War! Written by Alan Moore, illustrated by Garry Leach and Alan Davis, this book stood out from many of the other books I had been reading at the time.  I quickly completed the run of the series, thanks to Scott of Midtown Comics (blatant plug – someone tell him I said hi!), even going so far as to get some of the original Warrior material.

Marvelman was created by Mick Anglo, as an analogue to Shazam!/Captain Marvel by Fawcett. As the Marvel Family changed identities by calling out the name of the wizard Shazam,  the Marvelman Family changed from their human identities to their superpowered bodies by calling out a name (in Marvelman’s case, the word was KIMOTA, or ATOMIC spelled backwards; Young Miracleman and Kid Miracleman would call out MARVELMAN to effect the change).

The sales for Marvelman rivaled the sales of Captain Marvel, and a number of lawsuits eventually gave way to Marvelman ceasing publication (this may not be correct; there are plenty of sites in which this information can be correctly found). Alan Moore was a fan of the character, however, and he once mentioned bringing back the character if he were able.

Enter Dez Skinn.

After going through the motions to procuring the rights, he approached Moore with the idea of bringing the character back. Warrior Magazine was the venue in which Marvelman was re-introduced to the world. Joined by Garry Leach and Alan Moore on the art, the series was well-received. Unfortunately, at some point, a Marvelman Special was released that caught the attention of Marvel Comics, and a further lawsuit forced the name change from Marvelman to Miracleman (you can see this in an issue of Moore and Davis’ Captain Britain series).

The characters possess immense power, unrivaled by anything else on Earth. They were created by Dr. Emil Gargunza, a man from humble beginnings but with a fantastic intellect and yearn for understanding, who worked under German and then British intelligence. He was present in 1947 when a Qys spaceship crashed, and, upon discovering the mangled and joined bodies, reverse-engineered a method of created a clone imbued with meta-abilities, controllable by the same mind.

The three beings thus created were kept asleep for eight years, while their dreams were monitored. At one point, the scenarios became too ridiculous for them to accept, and they began to awaken. That prompted Gargunza to instill a fail-safe code word to reverse the change for an hour.

It was then decided by the Spookshow (British Intelligence) that the beings were too powerful to be kept alive, and they were then sent on a mission – their first and last, as it was. A floating fortress was disguising an atomic bomb, and it was detonated as the trio approached.

Miracleman was hit full on by the blast, and landed miles away, as Michael Moran, without a memory of his alter-ego. This would persist for over eighteen years.

Young Miracleman called out his mentor’s name in desperation. His two selves merged and were destroyed by the blast.

Kid Miracleman, sensing something amiss, rode out the shockwave. He secretly recovered, changed to his superpowered body, and pretended to be a human for eighteen years. He amassed a fortune and founded a business. All was well until Michael Moran was able to recover his “magic word”.

The two fought, and as KM finally had taken the advantage, he made the error of uttering his “magic word”, which changed him back to his human identity of Johnny Bates.

He couldn’t change back. At least, not immediately.

MM went on to learn about his powers. but the world wasn’t content to leave him be. The Spookshow hired an assassin, Evelyn Cream, to take him out.

Cream had other ideas.

He used a tranquilizer, and eventually won MM over to his side. Together, they learn of MM’s true origins, and went after Gargunza.

Gargunza was busy with further pursuits.

When they arrived at the compound, MM and Cream were assured of victory…until the clever fellow spoke the word, “ABRAXAS”.

MM changed back into Michael Moran.

He then directed his attention to a small, fluffy dog, and spoke the word “STEPPENWOLF”.

The dog changed into a six-foot tall lizard-like being with huge plates gliding over supple muscles.

It was…MIRACLEDOG.

Gargunza sent the beast after MM and Cream. Creram was the first to encounter the animal, and was devoured. Moran was able to recall the change word, and lost only two fingers for his efforts. He then exacted his revenge upon Gargunza, and took away his pregnant wife, who was kidnapped, back home, just in time for his daughter to be born.

Gargunza had kidnapped his wife in order to take possession of the child, who he correctly guessed would replicate MMs’ powers naturally.

Winter Moran could speak right after exiting the womb.

Winter’s birth proved essential for the preservation of the planet, which was to be razed prior to the discovery of her birth.

We were also privy to the discovery of another creation by Gargunza – MIRACLEWOMAN.

Avril Lear was forced into revealing her alternate identity by the Qys, who were searching for the “cuckoos”, as Gargunza’s creations were termed. It turns out that there was a sixth, Terrence Rebbeck, also known as Young Nastyman. YN met his end in a volcano, and his remains were initially discovered in the bunker where MM learned of his origin.

Of course, Johnny Bates had, by this time, recovered from his coma, and was enrolled into a boys’ school – a not-very-kind boys’ school, as it turned out. The attacks escalated to the point of a group of them attempting to rape Bates, whereupon, he uttered, “MIRACLEMAN”.

Kid Miracleman was back, and he proceeded to destroy London.

It took the combined efforts of MM, the Warpsmiths and a Firedrake to finally vanquish the warped Johnny Bates.

MM decided that the world was owed…UTOPIA.

But – who maintains UTOPIA after you’re gone?

So…I found to my chagrin after reading MM #24, that there was NO #25! You gotta be kidding me?!? The cliffhanger we are left with is mindboggling. MM was passed onto Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham, and they took Alan Moore and John Totleben’s Olympus and continued on…because what happens to an utopia? Does it persevere…or do cracks appear in paradise? This is the central theme of The Golden Age, MM #17-22. The next chapter began The Silver Age, of which we currently have two issues, #23 & 24, with an incomplete #25 in the wings. So let’s go back to some of the earlier adventures. The MM Family consisted of MM (Michael “Micky” Moran), Young MM (Richard “Dicky” Dauntless) and Kid MM (Jonathan Bates). In an adventure drawn by John Ridgway, YM clearly shows an affection for the fairer sex. In MM #12, when MW is introduced to the MM Family, YM does seem to show some disdain for her presence…but is that due to jealousy…or does he portend something more sinister?

In MM #24, MW informs MM that YM is…how should I say this…”gay” for him. So what does MM do? He goes to YM’s room. Before I tell you what happens next, let’s quickly get into YM’s backstory. YM hasn’t been present in the entire series until MM #22. In MM #1, we are shown the MM Family being annihilated by “Dragonslayer”, an atom bomb disguised as Emil Gargunza’s flying spider-like fortress. We see MM struck directly by the blast – he tumbles through the air, and changes back to Micky Moran, who then forgets about his alter-ego for eighteen years. Kid M has an idea that the fortress is not what it seems, and escapes the brunt of the blast. Young M is the least fortunate of the trio – he inadvertently calls out his mentor’s name, which is the trigger for the transformation between bodies. The blast merges the two forms, and YM dies a horrible death. In The Golden Age, there was a serial running at the end of every issue, called Retrieval. This involved Mors (Qy) sending a retrieval unit to obtain clean cell samples from both of YM’s bodies and recreating his persona. he returns in the first chapter of The Silver Age, and awakens in a world of super-beings all about him. So…back to the cliffhanger.

MM uncomfortably explains to YM what he believes might be his feelings, and then sits down and kisses him full on the mouth.

YM has quite the look – we then see MM being punched through the wall of the bedroom. We see YM spout off about whether he did this same thing to Johnny Bates, and if this is why he went “bad”. YM then flies off. The last page begins a confrontation between MM and MW…and therein lies the conundrum…is YM gay? Did MW make the whole bloody thing up out of whole cloth…and if so, why?

Hopefully, we will have a resolution to this ages-old mystery, as Marvel has acquired the rights to publish MM, and Neil has expressed an interest in finishing The Silver Age.

One can only hope…

Update (10/16/2013): According to Tom Brevoort, not only will Marvel reprint the entire series, Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham will get to finish the Silver Age!

What a glorious day.

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