Having just finished reading the Tom King and Mitch Gerads masterpiece comic series – Mister Miracle for the third time, I reasoned it was be about time for an impassioned plea as to why (if you haven’t already, of course) you should rush out to your local comic-book emporium right now and scream at your local comic shop employee until they hand over a copy of the collected version of this stunning story (please don’t actually scream at them, that was just hyperbole on my part, and screaming at someone is very, very bad and could end up with you – getting kicked out the shop, derided by your peers, or even locked in a padded cell, and you aren’t a super escape artist like Mr Miracle… so it’s probably best not to!)
You may be thinking to yourself that this post’s title is a tad controversial considering how many fantastic comic-book tales have been rendered over the decades since Alan Moore’s seminal opus ‘Watchmen’ released in 1986. Of course all views are subjective, and opinions are just that – opinions, but I am definitely not alone in my view that Moore’s daring and controversial take on the popular Superhero medium was (and still is) the greatest literary take on costumed vigilantism of all time, and despite all the stunning storylines and thrilling tales that have been wrought upon the spandex loving comic-book populace over the years, for me, Tom King’s recent 12 issue series for DC Comics ‘Mister Miracle’ is the greatest piece of comic-book fiction since Moore’s superlative scope.
Tom King and fellow master of the miraculous – artist Mitch Gerads’ Mister Miracle monthly maxi-series was unleashed unto the fans in August of 2017, in honour of the literal King of Comics – Jack Kirby’s 100th anniversary since birth. Jack Kirby was an American comic-book writer and artist, who is widely regarded as the most influential and innovative creator of the medium, ever!
Kirby has created some of the most famous heroes and villains in comic history, aside from our eponymous protagonist Mr Miracle, King also created The New Gods for DC Comics (which is currently being turned into a movie by director Ava Du Vernay, with a script co-written by Tom King) but it’s his work for Marvel Comics that really brought his genius to the forefront for most fans. King ushered into virtual life well loved characters such as Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, Captain America and many, many others for DC’s rival comic book giant. Yet the bubble eventually burst for the Marvel stalwart, after creating, illustrating and writing a plethora of characters, with his books always in high demand, and critically praised by both fellow peers and fans, behind the scenes things were very different for Kirby during his long tenure at Marvel.
Kirby ultimately (and quite rightly) felt he was being unfairly treated by Marvel, his perception was that he was being treated as a mere writer/artist for hire by the company as opposed to what should of been his status as it’s foremost creator having given the company the majority of their most beloved and best selling creations, so, in response to Marvel’s apathy on the subject, he left the company in 1970 to join it’s rival, DC Comics.
Initially signing a three year contract with DC, Kirby went on to create some of his most memorable heroes and villains, from the aforementioned New Gods, plus Etrigan the Demon, The Forever People, Morgaine Le Fay, through DC’s biggest SuperVillain – Darkseid, and of course the titular star of this post, one Scott Free, better known by his costumed moniker Mister Miracle, a super escape artist, whose creation (as I have posited once before) could be seen as the perfect allegory for Kirby’s flight from Marvel to DC, breaking the shackles of his previous employment to forge new horizons.
Phew! after that exhausting (yet hopefully entertaining ) look into the initial creation of Scott Free by his cosmically compelling creator, let’s move on to the latest (and also prodigiously talented) creative team charged with bringing his fans, the next chapter in Miracle’s convoluted life as a super escape artist and costumed hero – Tom King and fellow comic conspirator, Mitch Gerads. King and Gerads’ awe inspiring take on Kirby’s esteemed creation has been an absolute delight from the premier issue onwards, returning us to the daedalian, poignant and ultimately tragic life of the fourth world paragon.
Miracle has always been an immensely popular second tier character for DC, with a myriad of mini-series and ongoing monthly titles. He was also a welcome addition to the ranks of the Justice League (alongside his wife – Big Barda) in the mid to late eighties version of the team by the excellent Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis. The much anticipated return of Scott Free has, thankfully, not only exceeded all expectation but has, quite frankly, blown said expectations out of the water, the torturous wait for Miracle’s heralded return is worthy of it’s Kirby heritage, of that there is no doubt.
Mister Miracle is a masterfully woven tale of anxiety, depression, ardour and ultimately family, it is an uplifting fable that eschews the atypical and familiar Superhero tropes to deliver an inspirational and enlightening chronicle about a man ill at ease with the world, searching for meaning beyond what is. King and Gerads’ Miracle is wholly different beast from what many people believe that godlike heroes are, it’s a story about subsistence. Throughout this tour de force of mental dissonance, Scott is represented as just a man, not a new god (as he is) or a Superhero, just a person attempting to make sense of existing, it’s a startling and ultra realistic take on mental health instability, written with a knowing authority yet, compassionate and impassioned to the cognitive disability. In fact the very first chapter begins with Scott (apparently) surviving an attempt to take his own life, the renowned super-escape artist, cheating death itself (possibly)
As Scott’s beleaguered chronicles continue, his depression becomes more pronounced, with it’s effects on his nearest and dearest, especially devoted wife Barda explored profoundly by the creative duo of King and Gerads. It’s not just the narrative of Miracle though that strays from the well worn path of Superhero fiction but also its astonishing artwork, Gerads experimental illustrations are phenomenal throughout, with my favourite being the distorted panels occasionally punctuated through the story representing Scott’s reality being called into question. In fact fourth wall breaking is brilliantly played in Miracle with at one point in the narrative, Scott literally touching the hand of his own creator as he encounters Jack Kirby’s Hollywood star on the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard.
Emotional, poignant, groundbreaking are well deserved superlatives to describe this narrative work of absolute genius, from the exemplary talents of Tom King and Mitch Gerads, an unreserved masterpiece and a must have in any ones literary collection… THE greatest piece of comic-book fiction since Watchmen!
Welcome fellow Agents of Precinct1313, and thanks so much for joining us in the malefic mansion of mystery’s infamous Halls of Quaffing for our regular yearly round up of geeky goodness from the space year 2018. So why not pull up a chair, grab a flagon of your favourite beverage and re-live some of our favourite nerdy necessities in comic-book form, from the past twelves months…
Precinct1313’s Favourite Comic-Book Series Of 2018…
And hoo boy has it been a stand out year for stunning storylines, in fact there have been so many amazing comic-books released this year that picking just three was almost impossible, yet we have managed to do just that with these particularly cool, compelling and consummate creations…
Scintillating scribe – Tom King was without a doubt the finest choice for taking one of DC Comics’ most beloved Superheroes, expert escapologist Mister Miracle, not only because Tom is one of the very best writers in comics today, but also because his surname ably pairs him with Miracle’s genius and legendary creator – Jack ‘The King’ Kirby!
To honour the 100th anniversary since acclaimed creator (and in our humble opinion – most important figure in comics, ever!) Jack Kirby’s birth, DC Comics alongside writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads reunited us with one of Kirby’s most captivating and heralded heroes – super escape artist Mister Miracle, through a 12 issue series that also featured The New Gods from DC’s classic Fourth World Saga.
Miraculous is most definitely the word to describe Tom King and Mitch Gerad’s superlative take on Scott Free’s convoluted life, emotional, poignant and groundbreaking also come to mind when describing the extraordinary genius that this series has been. An unreserved masterpiece, and an emotionally charged, breathtakingly brilliant read every single issue. BUY… IT… NOW!
If you’ve been following Precinct1313 for awhile now, you probably realise that Watchmen is unreservedly our favourite comic book of all time. When I first encountered Alan Moore’s trailblazing series in 1986 I was blown away, it was a unique and contemporary take on the Superhero genre, a treatise on social anxiety and a complete deconstruction of Superhero conceptualisation. It was different to everything that came before it, and is almost single-handedly responsible for transforming the face of the comic-book medium for both future creators and readers… a veritable masterpiece!
Thirty two years later and writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Franks effortlessly transport us back to the wonderfully dark and grimy world set up by Moore, through DC’s 12 issue maxi-series Doomsday Clock. Stylistically the comic evokes the original material perfectly from the dialogue set through to the originals nine panel layout, both visually and tone wise this feels perfectly at home with its peerless predecessor.
If you’re a fan of Watchmen and can get past the apparent controversy that a sequel to the seminal original exists, then this is a must buy. Johns and Franks have presented an excessively well written, dark but at times amusing sequel to the originals world of masked vigilantes, chaos and deep rooted fears and anxiety, and I for one have enjoyed every moment of my stay in its fatalistic presence.
Supergirl: Being Super…
(Ok, Ok, this technically came out in 2017 – but I didn’t personally experience it until the beginning of 2018, hence its place on this list)
Origin Tales have been, let’s be honest, spectacularly overused in both the comic-book scene and their spin off movie counterparts, I mean how many times do we really need to witness Batman losing his parents to the gun barrel of Joe Chill or Spiderman being bitten by a radioactive arachnid, these characters are now so iconic that even non comic-book fans are overly familiar with their backstories.
With that said, you may feel slightly bemused by my inclusion of a series that dynamically delves into the past of Superman’s famous cousin, Kara Zor-El, but there is a genuinely good reason for that… because it’s fantastic!! In fact, it’s not only one of the greatest Supergirl comics to have ever released, but, one of the greatest comic-book series ever published… period!
Supergirl: Being Super is the Mariko Tamaki penned opus that transcends Kara’s origins by offering us a fresh take that focuses more upon her relationships, trials and tribulations of everyday life as a teenage girl growing up in a small american town. It’s a slower burn as a comic, with less super heroics but more angst, sass and quirky dialogue, as we follow Kara in an engaging and fantastically well written coming of age tale.
If you approach the series with atypical expectations of copious amounts of explosions, super speed and heat vision, you’re going to leave disappointed, this is a tale that spotlights the person behind the iconic “S” symbol and it’s all the better for it. Supergirl: Being Super is another stunning revelation in Superhero story telling, and my favourite iteration of the classic character thus far.
Precinct1313’s Most Popular Posts Of 2018…
Phew, what a year huh… I have to say that we haven’t output as many posts this year as we did in 2017, but, unfortunately, sometimes life just gets in the way right? That said, 2018 has been the year where the Precinct’s readership and followers have increased exponentially more than any other year thus far. By far the most viewed posts emanating from the majestic mansion of mystery have been the World’s Finest interview series, which, by the way are also my absolute faves to write! We also dipped our creative toes into the oceanic depths of YouTube unboxing videos with the Vlog1313 vids, where we endeavoured to share with you our unparalleled love for the stunningly realised physical forms of our beloved heroes and villains.
The most popular and perused of our World’s Finest posts this year was the Death interview, starring Morpheus’ soul guiding sister – Didi. Which I’m sure you are all dying to relive right here: World’s Finest: An Exclusive Interview With Death
My personal favourite to write was the Circe interview, an amazing and in my opinion underutilised Wonder Woman foe with a marvellous mythologically rich backstory and a power set that easily rivals her titular foe. Delight in her damnation of our hapless interviewer right here: World’s Finest: An Exclusive Interview With Circe
The most viewed of our V-Log1313 videos also has my favourite statue I have yet procured for my collection, the remarkable recreation of Amanda Conner’s stunning Starfire #1 cover from the fantastic 2015 12-issue maxi series. You can view my amateurish first steps to video authoring right here: V-Log1313: Amanda Conner Starfire Statue Unboxing
And with that, all that’s really left to say is Happy New Year to all of the Precinct’s followers, readers and fellow bloggers, as ever it is you that makes this entire endeavour worthwhile! Oh, and as always… Make Mine DC!
Ah, welcome fellow agents, you’re probably wondering why I’ve called you down here through the interminable depths of the malefic mansion of mystery known as Precinct1313, why you have had to negotiate it’s herculean hallways and cavernous crypts, wending your way past such iconic areas as the astonishing Amphitheatre of Awards, and the Movie Mausoleum, whilst taking in the majestic sights of the Comic Crypts and the Ancient Amazon Archives.
It is often said that Precinct1313 is a dilemma within a mystery contained in an enigma, it’s been three and a half years since this entity first welcomed us into it’s dark ceaseless corridors and herculean hallways and today we are making our way through it’s unending profundity to a room we haven’t visited for close to a year – The Scrying Chamber, within this portentous room sits a single stone table upon which resides an ominous black crystal ball, which not only has the power to decipher the future, but also recreate the past in vivid memories. So please, make yourselves comfortable, as we gaze deep into it’s sanguine depths and relive the Precinct’s favourite moments from 2017.
Wonder Woman’s Cinematic Debut Is A Triumph In All Kinds Of Ways…
Forget Disney and it’s vision on what a Princess is, Diana successfully schools them in every way possible on how to portray a strong forceful female warrior with the strength and fortitude to turn the tide of a great war, yet also the compassion and love to convert the hearts of the most staunch human soul… Wonder Woman has been empowering her fans for over 75 years in comic-book, animation and television, and this summer received her long overdue silver screen outing, and it was… outstanding!
Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins brought William Marston’s much loved Superheroine to life magnificently, finally giving the much loved Amazon the attention and adoration she deserves, delighting fans both new and old with a tale that encompasses a gamut of emotions and emancipation. This film is important on so many levels – firstly proving to the world that female led comic-book movies can easily match their male counterparts, approaching the now staid Superhero movie franchises with a new high in how to tell a canonical origin story with a real emotive centre and a poignant yet impassioned and powerful tale that encompasses everything we love about the Themysciran Titan. This film turned out even more magnificent than we could have ever imagined, and for us, is the stand out best movie of 2017… in fact ever!
Comic Book Writer Tom King Blew Us All Away!!
Phew, what a year for comic books 2017 has been, notable mentions need to go to Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott for their sterling work on the astounding Wonder Woman Rebirth series, Gerard Way’s (yes the front man for My Chemical Romance, now a wildly successful comic book author for DC Comics!) Young Animal imprint, and, more recently, Geoff Johns’ sequel to Alan Moore’s opus Watchmen with Doomsday Clock. Yet one man has decided to top all of these, with his literary genius abounding in the two greatest comic-book offerings of 2017 – Batman Rebirth and Mister Miracle – the elaborate and intricate tales woven by master creator Tom King have sat at the head of this particular DC fans table, and I for one cannot wait to see what other spectacles of fantastic fiction he has in store for us in 2018.
The Precinct’s Head Agent Was Almost… Beaten To A Pulp By A Giant Mallet, Schooled On Venerable Verbosity By A Vaudevillian Vigilante, And Eaten By A Ferocious Feline!!!
2017 was the year that the Precinct threw open its doors to the villainous, the vigilant, and the Superheroic (and their Super-Pets) when we deigned to interview some of Comicdom’s most treasured Superheroes, Supervillains, Costumed Crimefighters and Dimension Dwelling Demons, when we premiered our “World’s Finest – An Interview With A Superhero” series.
And it’s proven to be huge hit, with more views than any article or post we have ever put out, though our hapless interviewer has really been put through his paces with his erstwhile attempt to extract those interesting facts and truths from the variety of costume clad individuals invited onto the show each week… he has been – in an alliteration battle with a master, dodged getting smushed by the giant mallet of hellacious Harley Quinn, and almost the main course for feline Supervillain Cheetah, yet he comes back each and every time, ready to once again verbally duel whatever guest is invited onto the Precinct (so he’s obviously an idiot!)
So which of these exceptionally excessive episodes were the most popular? unsurprisingly the Harley Quinn instalment has easily garnered the most views of them all to date. The most fun to write was without a doubt the V episode, and my personal favourite? absolutely the Cheetah one, I unreservedly adore the character, so it was fun channeling her ferocious feline awesomeness!
The Justice League United…
2017 was a particularly great year if you’re a DC Comics fanatic, not only did we get the long awaited cinematic debut of the Worlds first, and greatest female Superhero, we were also lucky enough to bask in the glory of the premier team of iconic costume clad crimefighters – The Justice League!
Now then, as expected, the critics apparently hated it… but (like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad before it) the movie going audiences loved it! The ongoing debate about whether ‘professional critics’ are ruining the cinema experience by damning movies so much that they are ostensibly stopping viewers from going to see films doesn’t necessarily seem to be true, to date the critic score on Rotten Tomatoes is 40%, yet the audience verdict stands at a much more impressive 78%.
You know what? ignore critics, Justice League was a fantastic and fun romp from start to finish, the Amazon battle segment at the start was phenomenal, and the sequence where a disorientated Superman took on the entire League was just a blast, especially the super-speed fight between the Man of Steel and The Flash. If you’re still on the fence about seeing the film due to low scores I have two things to tell you – 1. Don’t be, it’s a great movie full of sterling action scenes and plenty of laughs (plus it gives you even more Wonder Woman!) 2. Get off that fence, it wasn’t designed to be sat on! (I mean, wouldn’t a chair be more comfortable!)
Happy New Year to all our Special Agents, readers and everyone else who visits the Precinct, 2018 brings more DC Comics cinematic greatness in the form of the ocean dwelling King of Atlantis – Aquaman, plus the production begins on three new DC movies, Wonder Woman 2, Shazam, and Flashpoint, so lots of things to get overtly excited about and geek over. Until then, as always… Make Mine DC!
Tom King is without a doubt the most fitting writer currently working in comics today to take on the legend that is Mister Miracle, not just because he’s a scribe of almost unparalleled talent, but his surname ably pairs him with Miracle’s genius creator – Jack ‘The King’ Kirby!
To honour the the 100th anniversary since Jack Kirby’s birth, DC Comics along with aforementioned writer Tom King, and artist Mitch Gerads are reuniting us with one of Kirby’s most beloved and successful creations – super escape artist Mister Miracle, in a 12 part maxi-series that also features The New Gods from DC’s Fourth World Saga – which is widely hailed as being one of the sources that classic sci-fi movie Star Wars was inspired by.
Jack Kirby was an American comic book artist and writer who is one of the most influential and innovative personalities in the medium. Aside from Mister Miracle and The New Gods for DC Comics, Kirby also created such iconic characters as – Silver Surfer, The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Captain America, X Men and many, many other too numerous to mention.
Kirby initially was a Marvel stalwart, creating, illustrating and writing a myriad of storylines for the publishing giant, his titles always had high sales and even higher praise, but behind the scenes a different picture was being painted. Kirby felt he was being unfairly treated by Marvel, his perception was that he was seen more as a writer/artist for hire by the company as opposed to one of it’s foremost creators and innovators, and in response in 1970, he left Marvel and joined its arch-rival DC Comics.
Signing a three year contract with DC Comics Kirby created some of his most memorable characters, from The New Gods, Etrigan and The Forever People, through DC’s big bad – Darkseid and of course – Scott Free (the perfect moniker, let’s be honest) better known as Mister Miracle, the super escape artist whose creation could almost be seen as the perfect allegory for Kirby’s flight from Marvel to DC, breaking the shackles of previous employment to forge new horizons.
Miracle has been a popular character for DC since his inception, with a slew of ongoing and mini-series, and was an exceedingly welcome addition to the ranks of The Justice League (alongside his wife – Big Barda, which is a whole other post we can’t wait to get to!), during the excellent Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis late eighties entry of the World’s Greatest Superhero team-up.
The much anticipated return of Scott Free is, thankfully, not only been worth the torturous wait but manages to exceed all expectations with a fantastically written tale that gives us a very much grounded portrait of a Superhero, a quirky yet flawed individual who is ultimately struggling to find his raison d’etre.
As fantastic as the writing is, the art by Gerads is definitely no slouch in comparison, in fact it’s superb! Gerads is an extremely flexible penciller which shines through in his art in this first issue, which at times evokes an almost pitch perfect Kirby-esque feel in the art style.
Mister Miracle #1 is a must buy, featuring one of Jack Kirby’s (definitely my favourite) greatest creations,and a first rate creative team who bring us a powerfully emotional tale that entices you in and holds you entranced until the final page… dammit why isn’t issue 2 out yet!?