Wednesday Comments – Miracleman & Censorship

I remember being at last year’s NYCC and hearing rumblings that Marvel was going to announce the republishing of the mythical Miracleman run by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. I was thrilled because I’d wanted to hold those comics in my hands and read them for years. I missed out on them the first time around so the chance that I’d get to legally purchase them, for a reasonable price, was very enticing.

As I pointed out last year, I was worried about censorship. Miracleman is infamous for it’s adult nature. It’s a comic run that’s credited with starting both the deconstruction and mature readers trends that became popular in the industry.

There’s graphic violence. There’s frank depiction of human sexuality and anatomy. But that’s part of the tapestry of the book. Those are the things that make the book so groundbreaking and revolutionary. It’s no to say that those are the reasons why people are interested in Miracleman, but it’s part of the story that is Miracleman.

But Marvel assured everyone that we’d be getting uncut Marvelman. And I believed them. Sure there were some cosmetic changes, mostly updated coloring. And who really cares about minor changes like that, especially when we were getting all sorts of background and interstitial material that hadn’t seen the light of day in years.

And then Miracleman #4 was released. With that issue Marvel cast some serious doubt on the belief that they’d publish Mairacleman unmolested.

In a sequence narrated by a Black character, a certain six letter word was censored. The character refers to himself as a “crazy n——.“

At some point in the past I’d read digital scans of the original reprints, so I was pretty sure the issues actually used the word. And I completely get how powerful that word is, but it shouldn’t have been censored. And I say that as a Black man.

Knowing what’s coming in future issues, I’m genuinely worried about how Marvel is going to deal with what’s going to be depicted. I’ve read the birth issue (and had the awkwardness of trying to read it on a plane, with someone seated next to me) so I know how graphic it is. I also know about the destruction caused by Kid Miracleman and how graphic that is. And given how Marvel censored a word, no matter how divisive that word is, I’ve got zero faith that those future issues aren’t going to be altered.

And that’s a shame. Because I’m paying to read those issues. I’m fine with Alan Moore’s name being removed; I get it. I’m cool with the recoloring; why not utilize technological advances? But censoring, I’m not cool with. Especially not at the price I’m paying per issue.

But we’ll see. Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe Marvel will publish everything just as it was and everything will be kosher.

What do you think?

Well, it’s Wednesday so that means fresh new comics. Go out and buy some from your friendly local comic shop.

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