Friday, February 22, 2008
Why is it so hard to keep a Mister Miracle series going?
In 1971, Jack Kirby launched Mister Miracle, a comic starring the titlular character of his own creation, as part of the legendary creator's ambitious Fourth World mini-line at DC. It lasted just 25 issues, the last handful of issues coming courtesy of other creators (Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, Stever Gerber, Michael Golden and others).
In 1989, DC tried again with a second Mister Miracle monthly, this one more in keeping with the humorous heroics spirit of the character's adventures with the Justice League of the time. Justice League writer J.M. DeMatteis was joined by artist Ian Gibson for this take on the character, and their effort lasted slightly longer. It made it to 28 issues, with Dough Moench and Joe Phillps dragging it to the finish line, before cancellation.
In 1996, DC tried it a third time. Writer Kevin Dooley and penciller Steve Crespo kept this one going for just seven issues, so I guess it must have been cancelled around the time the second or third issue hit the stands.
Mister Miracle has been involved in most of the New Gods and Fourth World-related stories since, and a lot of the Justice League stories and various crises, but 28 issues remains the record for a solo ongoing.
I've never understood why it's been so hard to keep a book starring the character going, beyond the obvious reason that people who aren't Jack Kirby often have difficulty making a Kirby character work for long.
I mean, Mister Miracle is a super escape artist (Look, it says so right there on the cover of the first issue of his first series). That means he has the same vocation as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Wolverine. Except that in his day job, instead of being a newspaper reporter, or idle millionaire playboy, or part-time photographer or surly Canadian drifter, he's an escape artist. And not just any escape artist, but the kind who wriggles out of handcuffs while chained to missles. He's one-part Evil Knievel, one-part Houdini.
Obviously, comics about superheroes, particularly DC or Marvel superheroes, do okay in the comics market. And I've noticed that comics about escape artists
tend to be totally awesome.
So why isn't there a totally awesome Mister Miracle ongoing monthly at the moment?