October 31, 2011
19 June 1916 (age 95) Bow, London (
Central Foundation Boys' School
Miracleman Book 1: A Dream of Flying
31 October 2011 (aged 95)
Nerdlocker Comic Book Review - Miracleman #1
Michael "Mick" Anglo (born Maurice Anglowitz, 19 June 1916 – 31 October 2011) was a British comic book writer, editor and artist, as well as an author. He is best known for creating the superhero Marvelman, later known as Miracleman.
Born in Bow, London, Mick Anglo was educated at the Central Foundation School and John Cass Art School, both in London. On leaving school he freelanced in fashion and commercial art until 1939, and first drew cartoons for SEAC, the official army newspaper for South East Asia Command in 1942, then for newspapers in Singapore in 1945. After completing his National Service, he became an author for a small publishing company, Martin & Reid, producing westerns, romance books and crime thrillers with titles such as "Guns & Gamblers", "My Gun Speaks For Me"/"Muscles For Hire" (1951), and "Broadway Glamour", under the pen-name Johnny Dekker. He also drew a small number of short humorous comic strips for the publisher John Matthew during 1946, and for two other companies, Rayburn and A. Solway in 1948. After illustrating the book jacket for one of his own novels, Martin and Reid suggested he developed strips for their comics line, and he worked on their comics imprint between 1948 and 1950; editing the line and writing and drawing western, adventure and science fiction strips and titles. He also produced a number of one-off stories contemporaneously with his Martin and Reid work for Paget Publications, one of the smaller British comics imprints of the day; producing short run, often single issue, titles containing a number of stories. Although contributing mainly short humor strips, Anglo's creations for Paget Publications included an early British superhero, Wonderman, who appeared for 24 issues in his own title from 1948–1951.
Between 1950–1952 Anglo produced a number of strips for publisher Arnold Miller's Arnold Book Company, on stories such as "Captain Valiant" (in Space Comics) and "Ace Malloy of the Special Squadron", while concurrently producing Space Commando Comics, featuring "Space Commander Kerry," for L. Miller and Son, a major British comics company run by Arnold Miller's father, Leonard Miller and still writing novels for Martin and Reid. Early in 1954 Anglo opened his own comics production company, Gower Studios, in Gower Street, London. As "an old school editorial packager", Anglo's studio created "packets" for various publishers, usually comprising the entire content of a publication; and Mick Anglo Limited was incorporated on 21 August 1954 for the purpose of Artistic and literary creation. Anglo and his staff of British artists, including Don Lawrence (who was given his first break in drawing comics by Anglo), Bob Monkhouse, Denis Gifford, Ron Embleton and George Stokes, had a hand in the creation of many British independent comic books and magazines between 1954 and 1963. "I employed a pretty large staff of freelancers: scriptwriters and artists. Most of the artists had just come out of the Forces, and were looking for something to do".
In 1954 Anglo created the character he is best known for, Marvelman. Since the mid-1940s L. Miller and Son had successfully reprinted American comic book company Fawcett Comics' Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel Jr stories in the U.K. However, in 1953 Fawcett were party to a protracted lawsuit brought by National Comics (now DC Comics) claiming plagiarism of their Superman character. Fawcett cancelled their Captain Marvel titles, leaving Leonard Miller without reprint material for their best-selling British titles. Miller approached Mick Anglo to create an replacement; "One day Leonard Miller phoned and said he wanted to see me urgently. His supply of the American material for the Captain Marvel series had suddenly been cut off. Had I any ideas? ... So I quickly told him I had plenty of ideas, and for my trouble I received a regular supply of work for the next six years." Anglo replaced the Captain Marvel family with almost identical characters, Marvelman, Young Marvelman, and Kid Marvelman. In the six years between the relaunch of Captain Marvel Adventures as Marvelman from issue #25 (February 3, 1954) and Anglo leaving L. Miller in 1960, he was responsible for scripting 736 issues of Marvelman, Marvelman Family and Young Marvelman the "best-loved and best-known British superhero" and the longest-running British superhero. Gaining further mileage from the Marvelman material, in 1954 Anglo wrote one issue of Captain Universe for Arnold Books, a near-identical character to Captain Marvel and Marvelman.
As well as the Marvelman family of titles, in the mid-1950s Anglo took over a number of L. Miller's established American reprint titles, continuing the series Jim Bowie, Annie Oakley, and Davy Crockett utilising both the English artists from his studios and a number of Spanish artists. In 1960 Anglo left Miller and the Marvelman and Young Marvelman titles went into reprint soon after for the last three years of their runs. He set up his own Anglo Comics imprint title from Gower Studios, launching Captain Miracle, a title which utilised Marvelman reprints with changes to the artwork; Battle, Gunhawks Western and TV Features, the last of which contained reprints of material produced by the Studio for L. Miller. None of the titles lasted more than 10 monthly issues between October 1960 and June 1961; after which Anglo Comics folded. Anglo next adapted three stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde and Wilkie Collins for the British Classics Illustrated imprint of publishers Thorpe and Porter, a company for which he also devised a number of 68-page hardback annuals based on television series The Avengers, Charles Rand, and Danger Man.
During 1965–1966, Anglo produced thirteen issues of Miracle Man for Top Sellers publishers – a further revamp of the Captain Miracle stories from 1960, which had in turn been altered Marvelman stories. Also in 1966, Anglo was approached by John Spencer & Co, a company that had produced crime and western books since the 1940s, latterly under the sobriquet Badger Books, to launch a series of comics. Four titles appeared in 1966, Fantasy Stories, Macabre Stories, Spectre Stories and Strange Stories, featuring, among other stories, a number of reworked strips by Gower Studios artists Ron Embleton and Bill Merrill, Spaceman (originally produced for Gould/Norman Light Publishing). With low production values, the John Spencer titles were not a success, and all folded within the year after six issues.
During 1967 Anglo edited City Magazines Ltd's TV series-based weekly comic TV Tornado, and contributed the short-run strips Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Green Hornet, before returning to Top Sellers and packaging reprints of DC Comics material, including Superman, Wonder Woman and the Batman newspaper strip, for their Super DC anthology series in 1969/1970. Anglo then worked on the weekly Look & Cook magazine in the late 1960s, co-wrote a small number of cookery books, and was a joke writer for comedian Tommy Cooper. He has also written a series of nostalgic books looking back at the decades from the 1930s–1950s, with a companion duo of quiz books, a book about Victorian magazines, "Penny Dreadfuls and other Victorian Horrors", and one on cannibalism, "Man Eats Man: The Story of Cannibalism", together with a small number of stories or features for Fleetway/IPC's war comics output between 1979–1983, before retiring during the 1980s.
Anglo had little to do with the revival of the Marvelman character in 1982 by Alan Moore for Quality Communications. Dez Skinn, the editor of Warrior, in which the revived series appeared, said "He wasn't crazy about our revamp, but he really didn't care either way." Eventually the Marvelman revival was terminated after legal threats from Marvel Comics over Quality Communications Marvelman Special (June 1984), which was composed of Marvelman reprints from the L. Miller days, and Eclipse Comics publishing of the stories, renamed Miracleman, for the American market. The character became "mired in a legal quagmire" for 25 years, preventing further reprint or new character development opportunities. The situation was not helped by ownership doubts, not clarified by Anglo's contractual relationship to L. Miller and Son and their status as a company.
Eventually, in 2009, Marvel Comics purchased the rights to Marvelman from Mick Anglo, together with the rights for the 1980s Miracleman revival. having established that Anglo owned the rights to the character. Alan Moore is on record as saying that "I'm very happy for this book to get published — because that means money will finally go to Marvelman’s creator, Mick Anglo, and to his wife ... The main thing is that I will feel happy to know that Mick Anglo is finally getting the recompense he so richly deserves."
Marvel Comics press release at the time quoted Marvel CEO and publisher Dan Buckley as saying "It is an honor to work with Mick Anglo to bring his creation to a larger audience than ever before." The press release quotes Mick Anglo as saying, "I did not think it would ever happen. It's a wonderful thing to see my creation finally back." Marvel have since announced that the first release of Marvelman material under their imprint is Marvelman Classic Primer #1 in June 2010, featuring an interview with Mick Anglo at 93, and a cover drawn by him; which will be followed by reprints of the L. Miller Marvelman stories in chronological order.