Marvel, Neil Gaiman Say Eff You To McFarlane, Bring SPAWN Character Into Marvel U

Marvel's new AGE OF ULTRON event brings a non-Marvel character into the universe, and Todd McFarlane's gonna be steaming about it.

Marvel Comics has another event coming up, this time called Age of Ultron. I've enjoyed their recent event stories, so I'll likely give this one a shot. But I already know something about the end of the event, because Marvel has spoiled it in the press*. They're bringing a non-Marvel Universe character into the Marvel Universe.

Spoilers, of course, follow.

The character is Angela, who Spawn readers might recognize. She's one of Spawn's enemies, a bounty hunter from Heaven who... okay, I'm already bored talking about her. The pertinent information is this: Neil Gaiman created the character in Spawn #9, and then he got into a big long legal battle with Todd McFarlane over who owned her. When Gaiman created Angela (and some other Spawn characters) he signed a deal giving McFarlane rights in exchange for McFarlane's ownership over the legendarily awesome and legally fucked English superhero Miracleman (nee Marvelman). But it turned out that McFarlane misrepresented his stake in Miracleman, and the courts ruled in favor of Gaiman. 

But here's the thing: why is it Angela coming into the Marvel Universe? Nobody cares about her. In 2009 Marvel announced they had bought the rights to Miracleman and reprinted some older material (not the stuff from the 80s written by Alan Moore. This material is often considered the best revisionist superhero stuff ever done - yes, as good as, maybe better than, Watchmen). But that's been it. Since Angela was tied up with Marvelman rights, could she be a smokescreen? Could Marvel actually be bringing Miracleman into their universe?

I do hope that's the case. According to Marvel, Neil Gaiman is going to be involved in writing comics that have Angela appearances, notably Guardians of the Galaxy #5. He's been deeply involved in the project to free Miracleman, going so far as to give all his profits from a Marvel What If? series, 1602, to a legal fund to clear up the MIracleman rights longterm. It's worth noting that Gaiman wrote Miracleman after Alan Moore left. 

Miracleman: that's a big deal. Angela: that's a kick-me sign on Todd McFarlane's back. Also, she's a shitty character - an angel in a metal bikini. Absolute shit, if you ask me. 

UPDATED TO ADD: If it really is Angela entering the Marvel Universe, I'm willing to bet all proceeds from her will go towards the fund to clear up the rights to 80s MIracleman stories. The collapse of the publisher left everything in super crazy limbo, and that's what Gaiman has been trying to fix forever. Marvel would be PSYCHED to get that 80s stuff into reprint as soon as possible. 

And now, for those who don't know Miracleman, the shortest rundown ever:

The character was created by Mick Anglo in 1953 to replace Captain Marvel (aka Shazam) in the UK. He's pretty much the same character - a kid (Michael Moran instead of Billy Batson) who has a magic word (Kimota, in this case) that makes him a superman. He was originally called Marvelman, had a whole Marvel Family, and his comics ran until the early 60s. He was revived in the 80s by Alan Moore. Moore had Moran all grown up, and his take on the character was decidedly darker and more violent. Moore's run climaxed in a battle between Miracleman (his name by now having been changed after legal threats by Marvel Comics) and his former sidekick, Kid Miracleman. The battle was, for it's time, unbelievably violent and over the top, a complete and bloody massacre in the streets of London. In the aftermath Miracleman and his friends institute a totalitarian regime on Earth, with Miracleman himself being the king of the world. 

Neil Gaiman took over at that point, and the series was still very, very excellent, but it never quite hit that stunning, breathtaking peak to which Moore brought it. The collapsing comic market of the 90s took Miracleman with it, right in the middle of a Neil Gaiman storyline. The story was never finished. 

* I always see people wondering why comic companies spoil deaths and big events in the press. This story is the reason why. Nobody in the non-comic world will cover the death of Peter Parker in Ultimate unless Marvel tells everybody Peter Parker is dying. That's why Damien Wayne's death was announced before the book shipped - the companies want non-comic readers to become aware of the event before the book is in stores.