Delays are nothing new to comic books. In the 90s, readers of From Hell quickly grew accustomed to waiting several months for the next installment of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s historical opus. It took two years for the epilogue to surface. Less drastic, though still irregular was the final year of Sandman, during which I treated the release of a new issue as an unpredictable surprise. Neil Gaiman once observed that it took him three weeks to script a single issue of Sandman, which did leave me wondering how he had much time for the myriad other projects he was pursuing. (Still wish that Sweeny Todd adaptation he was planning with Michael Zulli had happened). Miracleman had already seen delays during the final Alan Moore arc Olympus, and this continued with Gaiman’s The Golden Age. One reader even wrote in saying that the series must be the “slowest comic ever”; editorial deflected by suggesting that Moore’s Big Numbers or “any Brian Bolland project” were much more protracted). However, as readers today also know, delays are often worth the wait. Olympus and The Golden Age are both outstanding storylines which rank amongst Moore and Gaiman’s best work. Also publisher Eclipse’s financial difficulties (bankruptcy would jarringly cut short Gaiman’s second arc The Silver Age after only two issues) should be taken into account as well. Regardless, Eclipse decided to put out a limited series that would help tide over fans between The Golden and Silver Age.
“I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild . . .”
-David Bowie , “Changes”
In 1982 a young British writer by the name of Alan Moore was tasked with revitalizing the dormant Marvelman property (now known as Miracleman). Over the course of the next several years, Moore would revamp Miracleman for contemporary times, explore the drive for survival and elevate the hero to the status of divinity. Coinciding with his iconic DC work of Swamp Thing, Watchmen and The Killing Joke, Miracleman remains one of Moore’s signature achievements. Moore departed the series on a breathtaking high note, in which Miracleman has become, for all intents and purpose, a god lording over humanity. And unlike Dr. Manhattan’s Enlightenment clockmaker deity, Miracleman had no qualms about employing a heavy hand to guide civilization. Truly, a new age had dawned.
If the Miracleman saga had ended there, it would have been deeply satisfying. Yet, publisher Eclipse preferred to continue the title. Once again, the series was given to an up-and-coming British scribe: Neil Gaiman. Teaming with artist Mark Buckingham, Gaiman began a six issue arc entitled The Golden Age. Despite the daunting task of following in the footsteps of Alan Moore at the height of his powers, Gaiman and Buckingham more than justify the continuation of the series. The Golden Age is a rich, deeply human take on the world. Most importantly it honors what Moore built, while still allowing Gaiman’s own voice to shine.