Miracleman 3D cover, art by Mick Austin

Miracleman 3D #1
Eclipse Comics

Story:
Alan Moore (framing sequence), Mick Anglo (reprints)
Art: Alan Davis (framing sequence), Roy Parker (Reprints 1 & 2), Don Lawrence (Reprint 3)


Part of the deal Dez Skinn struck with Mick Anglo was that the latter's work from the 1950s would be showcased in a Quality comic, with the money going to Anglo. And thus was born the Marvelman Special, consisting of four old stories, with a framing sequence from Alan Moore and Alan Davis tacking it neatly onto the end of Book 1, which had just concluded in the pages of Warrior.

Sadly, the ostentatious title attracted the wrath of Marvel, who effectively caused the Marvelman serial in Warrior onto hiatus. The rights were picked up by Eclipse, who began publishing the series as Miracleman. The third issue of Miracleman concluded the reprint of Book 1, and the Canadian company decided it would be a nice little earner to bring out the Special as well. As well as giving a home to Miracleman, The Rocketeer and... erm, Airboy, Eclipse specialised in taking old comics (preferably public domain stuff, or at least material they could claim was public domain) and used stereoscopy technology to make them 3D, and they decided the Marvelman Special material deserved this treatment. The first strip from the Special, "Marvelman Family and the Invaders from the Future", had already been reworked and used in Miracleman #1, so so that left three stories and the framing sequence, as well as a different cover - Mick Austin's painting from the cover of Warrior #7 being modified in favour of the same artist's cover for the Special. More sensibly, the Big Ben strip was dropped.

It might sound a little unfair comparing Moore/Davis to Anglo/Parker, but basically the framing sequences are the only thing going for this. It ties into Book 1 nicely, revolving around a couple of cleaners sorting out the mess of the Zarathustra bunker. It's amusing enough, if pretty lightweight and inessential. However, it comes across as Watchmen compared to the reprints. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the Gower Street Studios material just isn't all that good at all. The art has a certain charm to it, I'll admit, but the stories are, at best, nonsense.

There's no difference here. "Miracleman and the Dreams" features Gargunza, who's come up with a machine that makes people act out naughty acts in their sleep. So far, so average. But then Miracleman has an atomic leap of logic, realising it's Gargunza because, well, he was one of only a couple of recurring villains. And thankfully, like all villains, Gargunza has made a simple mistake - he's left a forwarding address at an old hideout. That old classic. "Young Miracleman and the Moon of Doom" is probably the best (or least stupid) of the trio of reprints. The YM material, based on what I've read anyway, always seemed a notch better for some reason. Anyway, in this one a group of amusingly dog-faced aliens decide Earth's a bit of a threat when a runaway warhead wrecks one of their ships/ They send a moon-shaped missile (you see?) to destroy Earth, but Young Miracleman intercepts this and then persuades the aliens to call the whole thing off, having promised to teach the humans not to muck around with weapons. An explanation for the sudden ending might have been that he planned to do nothing of the sort... "Miracleman and the Foam Fanatic" is silly even compared to the other Miller-era stuff, basically concerning a publicity stunt for a detergent powder going wrong. Honestly.

On top of this, the 3D effects don't add much beyond making the comic unreadable without the glasses, which is pretty annoying and pointless. The framing sequence is nice, but not really worth shelling out for. In this case, I'd recommend going for the Marvelman Special, which tends to be a lot cheaper, includes the extra Marvelman Family strip (even if you have Miracleman #1, it's interesting to see just how many dialogue tweaks Moore made), plus it's a lot more readable (the paper stock seems a lot better). Overall, it's inessential, though the framing sequence makes it a better package than Miracleman #8 if you feel like sampling the vintage stuff.