Real Name: Michael “Mickey” Moran
Occupation: Newspaper Reporter, former newspaper copy boy
Legal Status: Citizen of the United Kingdom on another alternate earth with no known criminal record
Other Aliases: Captain Marvel, Marvel Man
Marital Status: Married
Place of Birth: Unrevealed
Place of Death: London, England
Known Relatives: Elizabeth (wife)
Group Affiliation: ally of the Anti-Fury Resistance Squad
Base of Operations: London, England (Crooked Earth)
First Appearance: (historical) Captain Marvel Adventures #19 (L. Miller Comics), (modern) Miracle Man #1 (Eclipse Comments), (recent) Marvel Super-Heroes #387 (Marvel)
Final Appearance: Daredevils#7 (UK) (Marvel)
History: Mickey Moran is a native of the parallel earth of Crooked Earth whose history was very much like that of Earth until modern times when different superhuman champions appeared to defend it. Young Mickey was a young orphan in wartime London, England during World War II. Nothing is known about where he came from or who were his parents were, but he managed to earn a meager yet capable income as a newspaper copy boy for the local Daily Bugle publication. He eventually encountered a mysterious person who identified himself as Guntag Barghelm, an astro-physicist. (Some speculation is that Barghelm, or Guntag Barghelt, was actually a Celtic mystic named Anthony Ludgate, the Crooked Earth counterpart of the mainstream Dr. Druid.) Barghelm claimed to be dying and offered Mickey a chance to inherit superhuman powers to defend the earth against dangerous forces.
In reality, Barghelm worked for an unidentified government agency that sought to use scientific means to create a positive force for good. Moran was subjected to a special machine and formulas to make him a perfect physical specimen. Other boys who had been chosen to become such superhuman champions included Young Richard “Dickey” Dauntless, who had served as a delivery boy for the Transatlantic Messenger Service, young Johnathan “Johnny” Bates, all chosen to be the subject for these government experiments in creating superhuman champions. Barghelm, however, preferred Mickey to be the chosen champion for being pure in spirit and allegedly invoked mystical spells to make him superior over the other two youths in the experiments. According to him, all Moran had to do was call upon the mystical word “Kimota” could call upon his power. (Barghelm had actually derived the word “Kimota” by spelling “atomic” backwards.) In order to control the superhumans, the project director, Doctor Gargunza, used mind control devices to create illusions to lull the boys under his control. The boys likewise had dreams of fighting evil as superhuman adventurers against the Stasi (the East German Secret Police), their evil counterpart named Nastyman and other menaces. In these adventures, Moran called himself at first Captain Marvel, later Marvel Man. Dauntless meanwhile called himself Young Marvel to keep from being confused with Moran’s alter ego and Bates likewise called himself Kid Marvel. Gargunza also appeared as their enemy in these illusions, but eventually Moran and Dauntless began rejecting their powers. In their illusory world, they had merely asked Barghelm to remove their powers so they could live their lives as normal people. Both Moran and Dauntless left the project and were released to the real world unaware their adventures had been illusions.
Moran returned to his job at the newspaper and gradually became a reporter for the Daily Bugle in the years after the war, believing his superhuman career was over. As an adult, he married a girl named Elizabeth who had worked with him there and lived a regular life. However, when the time came that he realized his should tell Elizabeth about his former other identity, she told him that there had never been anyone calling himself by that name. The realization came as a shock to him as he tried to prove Marvel Man had existed and he tried to track down Dauntless to no avail to prove it. Bates meanwhile had become a captain of industry, and Moran went to confront him over their past together. Bates revealed their adventures had all been illusions, but that he still had his powers from the experiments, brutally attacking Moran as proof. Perhaps due to the spells Barghelm had imbued in him, Moran once again called the word, “Kimota,” and regained his power in the real world. He defeated Bates and revealed himself to the world as Miracle Man rather than trying to return as a hero his world never knew had existed.
In this world, Miracle Man worked alongside many of his reality’s native heroes including Captain UK, Gaath, The Arachnid and others. However, the demagogue James Jaspers persuaded the British government that superhumans (or meta-humans as he called them) presented a danger to the public. Jaspers persuaded the British government to clamp down on all superhumans to restrict their activities, most ostensibly to keep them from interfering in his own selfish plans for domination. For his own part, Jaspers created the armored battle construct called the Fury and sent it to destroy all the costumed heroes and their allies of his world. Miracle Man and the combined heroes of this earth joined together to destroy the Fury, several superhuman heroes were killed or destroyed in the bloodshed. Joining with the last few superhumans to face the Fury, Miracle Man held his own until the very end, subsequently dying in battle.
Height: 6’ 4”
Weight: 310 lbs.
Strength Level: Miracle Man possessed Class 100 strength enabling him to lift (press) over 100 tons under optimal conditions.
Known Superhuman Powers: Miracle Man possessed superhuman strength, stamina, endurance and resistance to injury on a cosmic level. Virtually inexhaustible, he was equal in power to such beings as Superman, Hercules and Thor in power. All his physical abilities were charged on a cosmic level that was constantly being replenished, but he did become weakened when he used up too much of his energies before they could be restored. He could move at incredible speeds and even will himself to fly through the air.
The source of Miracle Man’s powers were obviously imbued in him by various unidentified biochemical and scientific means then increased upon or stabilized by mystical spells. In order to call upon them and transform to his superhuman appearance, he was required to mention the word “kimota” which mystically transformed him into Miracle Man by adding another hundred and fifty pounds of cosmically-charged muscle and sinew to his frame. Whether he was actually dependent on this word to change form is unrevealed.
Comments: (Captain Marvel) Created by C.C. Beck, (Marvel Man) Adapted by Mick Anglo, (Miracle Man) Adapted by Alan Moore and Alan Davis
The story behind Miracle Man goes back to the British published reprints of the Fawcett Captain Marvel comics. In Captain Marvel#19 (December 23, 1953), on the "Club Page", British readers of L. Miller and Sons reprints of the Captain Marvel stories found a surprise. Billy Batson and Freddy Freeman, the erstwhile Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. respectively, wanted to live normal lives, and so they gave back their powers to the Wizard Shazam; such events did not occur in any published story in Fawcett’s Captain Marvel comics. Rather, what happened was that DC Comics had successfully sued Fawcett, arguing that Captain Marvel infringed on Superman’s copyright, and Fawcett folded its comic book line. The announcement continued to state that, due to this development, the magazine would switch over to telling the exploits of Marvel-man. Marvel-man made his first actual appearance in Marvelman#25 (Feb 3, 1954).
Marvel-man, with his cohorts Young Marvel-man and Kid Marvel-man, lasted till Marvelman#370 (Feb 1953). Along the way, they frequently faced the rogue scientist Doctor Gargunza-- mirroring how Captain Marvel faced the rogue scientist Doctor Sivana. Despite the cessation of publication of the Marvel-man stories, one reader remembered him in the following years -- Alan Moore. Once, while browsing through a Yarmouth bookstore and finding a Marvel-man collection, it occurred to him that Marvel-man had not been published for some years. Wondering what happened to him, Moore got struck by the image of Marvel-man as a middle-aged man unable to remember his magic word.
Years later, Moore made good on this idea. In March 1982, Moore revived Marvel-man in the present day. Moran was presented as having suffered amnesia in 1962, only after 19 years remembering his past as Marvel-man -- yet his wife, Liz, whom he had only met after what he remembered as his last adventure as Marvel-man, and had no knowledge of a Marvel-man ever having existed in the 1950’s. This presented a perplexing situation, as many of the adventures Moran remembered having as Marvel-man presented situations where Marvel-man was sighted by the public, drew much attention, had his exploits extensively covered in the news media, and so on. Certainly, his exploits would at least have made it into the history books, so how could Liz not have heard of Marvel-man?
However, compelling evidence that confirmed part of Moran’s memories of having had adventures as Marvel-man presented itself when Johnny Bates--Kid Marvel-man--called him. Bates confirmed Moran’s story of their last adventures together as Kid Marvel-man and Marvel-man, and revealed that he had become a captain of industry in the years since that time. Bates claimed that he had lost his powers as Kid Miracle-man as a result of that last adventure. However, Moran felt something suspicious about Bates -- and to his horror he discovered that not only had Bates not lost the ability to turn into Kid Marvel-man, in 1962 he had turned into Kid Marvelman and had not turned back into a human being since! A pitched battle resulted in which Bates was defeated after impulsively gloating and boasting, "I defeated you! Me… Kid Marvelman!" Oops…
Further on in his revival, Moore established that Marvel-man’s 1950’s adventures had actually never happened, explaining why his wife had never heard of Marvel-man, but rather that Mickey Moran was an orphan boy who had been chosen to be the subject for government experiments in creating superhumans. In order to control the superhumans, the project director, Hispanic scientist Doctor Gargunza, had used mind control devices to create illusions to lull the superhumans. Grappling with the problem of creating a semi-logical way to explain to the superhumans how they gained their superpowers, he had the good fortune of finding an L. Miller and Sons reprint of the American Captain Marvel comic books! (Moran, subconsciously to some degree aware of what really happened to him, incorporated Doctor Gargunza into the fantasies he experienced.)
In 1983, while working on Captain Britain for Marvel UK, Moore introduced Earth-238, meant to contain counterparts of British comic book heroes of the 1940’s to 1960’s -- including Marvel-man. Much as the British comic book character the Spider had an Earth-238 counterpart called the Arachnid, Marvel-man’s Earth-238 counterpart was Miracle-man. Ironically, when Moore’s Marvel-man stories were reprinted in the United States by Eclipse, Marvel objected to the name of the character. As a result Marvel-man was renamed for the U.S. market -- as Miracle-man! Miracleman#1 came out in August 1985. A name that Moore had first used as a euphemism for Marvel-man became the name by which many know him by better today.
Additionally, "The Encyclopedia of Superheroes" by Jeff Rovin contributes info that Marvel-man was revived in 1984 in "Warrior" under the Quality Banner. Except for the story, which explained his absence, the rest of the stories were reprints.
There were a few subtle changes in his costume on the magazine covers. In 1985, Eclipse Comics brought the character to the US. For this entry, it is presumed that Miracle-man of Earth-238’s adventures more or less mirrored the adventures that Marvel-man had in his 1950’s to 1960’s comic books. Thus, in contrast to what Moore revealed in his Marvel-man stories of the 1980’s, for the Miracle-man of Earth-238, these adventures did take place, and were not just illusions. However, one bit of deception may have occurred with the Miracle-man of Earth-238’s origin -- in Secret Defenders#18, Doctor Druid, Anthony Ludgate of Earth-616, revealed that he had at some point used the alias "Guntag Barghelm". This is a name that one should recognize from the history of Miracle-man in this entry. (In the original stories of Marvel-man in the 1950’s, the entity that gave Marvel-man his powers was usually referred to as "Guntag Barghelt." However, Moore usually used the "Barghelm" spelling.) One could extrapolate that this Barghelm was, in fact, the Earth-238 counterpart of Dr. Druid.
The Marvel-man stories in the 1950’s frequently used Communists as villains, especially the East Germans, given England’s proximity to Germany, hence, the listing of the Stasi (East Germany’s secret police) as enemies of the Miracle-man of Earth-238. The Stasi continued till the fall of the Berlin wall, its activities in the 1970’s included training or assisting terrorists such as the Red Army Faction, Black September, the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Red Brigade and so forth. (Admittedly, Marvel’s sliding timescale probably applies to Earth-238, but since Earth-238’s history differed dramatically from Earth-616’s and the real world, the Stasi’s longer continued existence would be allowable.)
There are some legal concerns, and Alan Moore is seeking to regain the rights to his Marvel-man. Marvel owns ZERO rights to Miracle-man, but they are helping to fund Neil Gaiman in a legal battle against Todd McFarlane, who bought the stable of Eclipse characters when they folded. Basically, Gaiman inherited Alan Moore and Gary Leach's creator rights, while McFarlane bought up the publisher's rights to the character, and they each technically own about half. There is an implicit understanding that if Gaiman does win his case, Marvel will have first crack at reprinting them, but that's all for Marvel's involvement.
Moore and Davis did the Captain Britain series featuring the Fury. While no background is given on the character Miracle-man of Earth-238, who appears for a panel being blown to bits, I think it's a pretty fair assumption that Moore obviously meant him to be, at least, homage to the classic character. This bio gives his most “probable” history.
Profile by: John McDonagh and William Uchtman
Clarifications: Miracle-man should not be confused with:
· Captain Marvel, William Batson, member of the JLA, @ Whiz Comics #1
· Captain Marvel Jr, Frederick Freeman, ally of Captain Marvel, @ Whiz Comics #25
· Captain Marvel, Roger Winkle, other-dimensional adventure from another Earth, @ Captain Marvel #1
· Miracle Man, criminal hypnotist killed by the Scourge, @ Fantastic Four I #3
· Marvel Man, brief alias of Quasar, @ Captain America I #217