Poisoned Chalice – the extremely long and incredibly complex story of Marvelman (and Miracleman) by Padraig O Mealoid has been ten years in the making and it will be hard to find a more definitive book about the history and legal issues surrounding Marvelman or Miracleman.
The book explains in a clear and concise way the influences that inspired Superman, the development of Captain Marvel, how the character became to be know as Marvelman and available in the UK, the fall and rise of the character into the 80s comic anthology Warrior and the interest in the character by US publishers and subsequent legal debates of U.K. and US law that dogged the appearance of the character over the last forty years.
At times the books foot notes become more interesting than the book itself with witty notes from the author and an attempt to unravel thoughts on gaps in the story for which no one will officially go on record or there is no evidence to support idle gossip and general opinion.
With a recently reported resolution to the legal issues surrounding the character, possibly recently more to do with supporting characters created for the Warrior Marvelman then anything else, one wonders if it’s all been worth it! More importantly will the continuing adventures meet expectations of fans, publishers and creators who have spent so much time and energy on the character. I hope so.