Poisoned Chalice Part 9: The Dawn of Eclipse

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[Previous chapters: 1 to 8 – 1953 – 1985 Roundup] Although Marvelman last appeared in Warrior #21 in August 1984, and the last issue of the magazine, #26, appeared in February 1985, this wasn’t the end of the Marvelman strip. From the beginning Dez Skinn had wanted to sell the Warrior strips further afield, with […]

Poison Chalice Interlude: 1953 – 1985 Roundup and Some Notes on Copyright

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So far, this history of Marvelman – more correctly called Poisoned Chalice: The Extremely Long and Incredibly Complex Story of Marvelman – has taken nine chapters – well, eight chapters plus an introduction – to tell the story of the events that led up to the creation of Marvelman; the story of the actual creation […]

Iain Banks is Unwell

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On the morning of Wednesday the 3rd of April a personal statement from Scottish author Iain Banks appeared on both his own website and the Orbit Books website which stunned everyone in the literary world in Britain. He has cancer, and is unlikely to live beyond another 12 months. You could feel the shockwaves from […]

Kickstarter: Tim Pilcher’s Comic Book Babylon: A Cautionary Tale of Sex, Drugs & Comics in old London Town

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As of midnight last night – my midnight, here in Western Europe, not your midnight, in one of America’s many time zones – Tim Pilcher’s Kickstarter for Comic Book Babylon: A Cautionary Tale of Sex, Drugs & Comics went live. It is, as the blurb says, a ‘The shocking, revealing and completely unofficial memoir of […]

Who Owns Marvelman – An April Fool’s Day Speculation

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I’m breaking continuity on Poisoned Chalice, my history of Marvelman, to say something about the current disposition of the character, and particularly to speculate on whether Marvel Comics are actually getting any closer to being able to publish it, as is being suggested around the Internet this past while.

Poisoned Chalice Part 8: A Warrior Falls

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[Previous chapters: Introduction, 1 – Prehistory, 2 – Marvelman Rises, 3 – Marvelman Falls, 4 – Intermission: 1963 to 1982, 5 – Prologue to Warrior, 6 – A Warrior is Born, 7 – A Warrior Stumbles] By 1984, things were starting to fall apart at Warrior. Alan Moore’s Marvelman is threatened by Dez Skinn’s Big […]

Poisoned Chalice Part 7: A Warrior Stumbles

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[Previous chapters: Introduction, 1 – Prehistory, 2 – Marvelman Rises, 3 – Marvelman Falls, 4 – Intermission: 1963 to 1982, 5 – Prologue to Warrior, 6 – A Warrior is Born] When Dez Skinn had started Warrior, he wanted the creators to own their own creations, which they all did, more or less. Marvelman was […]

Interview: Eddie Campbell — “My theory is that we cannot stand the idea that the universe is random…”

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In May Top Shelf in the US and Knockabout in the UK will be co-publishing The From Hell Companion. The Top Shelf website describes it as An astonishing selection of Alan Moore‘s original scripts and sketches for the landmark graphic novel, with copious annotations, commentary, and illustrations by Eddie Campbell. Here for the first time […]

Poisoned Chalice Part 6: A Warrior is Born

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[Previous chapters: Introduction, 1 – Prehistory, 2 – Marvelman Rises, 3 – Marvelman Falls, 4 – Intermission: 1963 to 1982, 5 – Prologue to Warrior] Warrior took nearly a year from its original inception in the spring of 1981 to finally reaching the shelves in March 1982. The contents of that first issue were, in […]

Poisoned Chalice Part 5: Prologue to Warrior

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[Previous chapters: Introduction, 1 – Prehistory, 2 – Marvelman Rises, 3 – Marvelman Falls, 4 – Intermission: 1963 to 1982] Born in Goole in Yorkshire on the 4th February 1951, by 1982 Derek ‘Dez’ Skinn already had a long and successful history working in British comics. He had started producing the comics fanzine Derinn Comicollector […]

Poisoned Chalice Part 4: Intermission – 1963 to 1982

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[Previous chapters: Introduction, 1 – Prehistory, 2 – Marvelman Rises, 3 – Marvelman Falls] In the nineteen-year gap between L Miller and Co Ltd‘s publication of Marvelman #370 in 1963 and Dez Skinn’s Quality Communications Ltd revitalisation of the character in the pages of Warrior #1 in 1982, a number of the parties involved in […]

WHAAM! – Rian Hughes, Roy Lichtenstein, and IMAGE DUPLICATOR

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London’s Tate Gallery are running an exhibition of work by Roy Lichtenstein, who is famous for stealing ‘appropriating’ panels from comics and representing them as works of high art. The exhibition runs until the 27th of May, if you’re interested.

Poisoned Chalice Part 3: Marvelman Falls

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Poisoned Chalice Part 3: Marvelman Falls [Previous chapters: Introduction, 1: Prehistory, 2: Marvelman Rises] The actual work on the Marvelman titles was done by various artists, and Mick Anglo goes into quite a bit of detail about them and their different styles in Nostalgia: Spotlight on the Fifties. The outstanding Marvelman artist amongst all of […]

Poisoned Chalice Part 2: Marvelman Rises

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Poisoned Chalice Part 2: Marvelman – The Miller Years I [Previous chapters: Introduction, 1: Prehistory] If American comics can be said to have begun with the publication of Famous Funnies: A Carnival of Comics in 1933, their British equivalent began half a century earlier with Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday, first published on May 3rd 1884. […]

Poisoned Chalice Part 1: From the Start of Superman to the End of Captain Marvel

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Action Comics 1 Superman, co-created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, first appeared in Action Comics #1 in June 1938, published by Detective Comics Inc, a fore-runner of National Periodical Publications and DC Comics. Virtually overnight it became a huge seller, and is running to this day, with uninterrupted publication for well over seventy years. A vast amount has been written over the years on the history of Superman, and by people substantially more qualified than I, but one claim, that Superman was based on the character of Hugo Danner, from Philip Wylie’s novel Gladiator, (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1930), has some relevance to the larger story of Marvelman and, although I decided that it might be too far back to start this series of articles, if you’re interested in reading what I have to say about it, you should go read this article, and then meet us back here.

Poisoned Chalice: The Extremely Long and Incredibly Complex Story of Marvelman – Introduction

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The comic character Marvelman has a fascinating – and probably unique – history in the field of comics. His extended origin goes all the way back to the very beginnings of the American superhero comics industry, and it seems likely that his ongoing story will stretch on well into the future. It involves some of the biggest names in comics. It’s a story of good versus evil, of heroes and villains, and of any number of acts of plagiarism and casual breaches of copyright.