Friday, 17 February 2017

Minifigures - The Miracleman Family

Ah, Miracleman. The greatest comic of the eighties, possibly ever, before the collapse of publisher Eclipse started a rights fiasco which took the book out of publication for more than twenty years. Marvel finally secured the rights in 2009 and set out at undermining buyer confidence by releasing sealed hardcovers containing chintzy vintage material than did little to hide its' origins as a knock-off of the original Fawcett Captain Marvel rather than the seminal update but since 2013 the good stuff has gradually leaked back into print; at the time of writing the first genuine new material from the proper creative team is due in a couple of months. Naturally despite being back in print the series has little to offer Bob Iger in terms of limp CGI blockbusters and so there have been no official Lego Minifigures; however, expert customiser Penzora has tackled most of the principal players in the saga.


The main guy himself. The figure uses the 1980s updated costume with the neat stacked "MM" that would serve as part of the comic's logo and would later inspire a faintly daft story explaining how the character's clothes could change while he apparently spent the time between his old Miller & Sons adventures and the new strips in Dez Skinn's fantastic Warrior apparently in suspended animation. Elsewhere the paint apps are sharp and really pop out the details in what - with Garry Leach's refinements - was one of the best superhero costumes of the time, which still stands out nicely. There's been no detail skipped, including the distinctive studded collar and the red/yellow boots while the blonde slicked back hair tops the figure off nicely; I've played around with some yellow hairpieces for dot-printed accuracy but it looks too cartoony.


Young Marvelman was the first attempt by Miller & Sons to add another character to their bow and his solo series lasted as long as the parent title. Alan Moore's version however was much more rarely glimpsed as he spent the majority of the English writer's material believed dead, only appearing in flashbacks (including a silent solo fill-in strip). Moore's successor Neil Gaiman brought him back across his first arc however and the character is a key player in the semi-published Silver Age. The custom is again a brilliant barrage of primary colours, complete with vintage logo (Young Miracleman's costume having not been updated) and the right mix of clear relation to Miracleman himself but just enough differences, like the larger collar and varied belt and boot designs.


The third addition to the Miller stories, Kid Marvelman had inverted fortunes to Young Marvelman. In the original material he only appeared in the Marvelman Family team book but comes the eighties he became the villain of the piece, having spend all the time Miracleman was an amnesiac and Young Miracleman an exploded thing using his abilities to build an empire. The first version is based on his original appearance, only glimpsed in flashbacks and then in internal conversations with alter-ego Johnny Bates, complete with the jaunty logo. Again the figure is well painted with variation in the template rather than just being a palette swap; my only slight quibble - and it's a pedantic impossible wish - is that while the adult version did occasionally wear this costume it'd have been cool to have a short-legged version as the fifties K.M. was always shown as considerably smaller and younger than his team-mates. However, Penzora prides themselves on printing only on official Lego parts and there have yet to be official yellow short legs; come to think of it the bootleggers don't seem to have made any either. Maybe one day Lego will use them (we could do with a Toad too) and the figure will get an update.


Introduced in the epic third arc "Olympus", Miraclewoman was technically an all-new Alan Moore creation, though the inspiration was clearly Mary Marvel, replaced by Fawcett with the male Kid Marvelman. Penzora once again gets the character's sleek costume, a female equivalent of Miracleman, absolutely perfectly, right down to the similar boots and eighties "MW" logo on the belt. The hair proved a bit of a challenge, however; the custom originally came with the trendy fringe piece in yellow. The problem is Avril's hair in the comic's was basically the same as Miracleman's with just a tad more length and texture to give an air of androgyny and as much visible overlap with her male counterpart as possible. I played around with a few different pieces before settling on the one pictured, which is maybe a touch too styled and voluminous but works nicely as a part of the display.


A fifties villain from Young Marvelman, Young Nastyman was broadly analogous to Black Adam from the Captain Marvel series. In the eighties material he was barely glimpsed but still important, breaking loose after Emil Gargunza's abuse of the fictional universe used to keep his creations in check caused a mental breakdown and dying in Iceland combatting Miraclewoman. His figure is close to a palette swap with Young Miracleman but it works nicely and he still has his distinctive individual badge on the front and a nicely unhinged face. While Penzora's original figure had the same slicked-back hair as the Kid Miracleman figures I went for a more ruffled piece both for variety and to depict him in his only significant appearance as a dishevelled mess.


Kid Miracleman made a full return in the "Olympus" arc and famously killed London; while he started out in the same business suit he had worn in "A Dream of Flying" as it disintegrated is revealed a black version of his suit, corrupted by his total degeneration (the darkness having spread ominously as he gained strength inside the juvenile Bates' head). Like Miracleman's suit the style also changed to something more modern and the revised chest log and boot design are nicely replicated here on the striking figure.


This one is a simple home-made mashup; the eighties adult version of Kid Miracleman spent most of his time in his day job business attire from running Sunburst Electronics and keeping to it while he kicked Miracleman around London twice before it was burned off him battling Huey Moon and Aza Chorn. The Jonah Jameson figure provided a close enough if not spot-on version of the waistcoat and shirtsleeves, topped off with the same head and hair as the Penzora figure.

No comments:

Post a Comment