Neil Gaiman back at Marvel for ‘Ultron’ — what about Miracleman?

March 21, 2013 | 2:13 p.m.

The prolific Neil Gaiman is well known for his work in fantasy. His writing has won many awards including the Newbery Medal, the Nebula Award and the Carnegie Medal in Literature. (Jennifer S. Altman/Los Angeles Times)

Gaiman's first book was his 1984 biography of the British band Duran Duran. (Proteus)

In addition to writing for many British magazines (sometimes under pseudonyms), Gaiman wrote "Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion" about the books by Douglas Adams. (Simon & Schuster)

In the late 1980s and early '90s, Gaiman collaborated with illustrator Dave McKean on three graphic novels. "Violent Cases," about a young boy's experience being treated by an osteopath, was released in 1987. "Signal to Noise," about a filmmaker suffering from terminal illness, was first serialized in a British magazine, then released as a graphic novel in 1992. And in 1994, "The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch" was published. The graphic novels paved the way for Gaiman to work on "Black Orchid" for DC Comics. (Escape Books; Dark Horse Comics; and Vertigo)

Gaiman made his mark in fantasy with "The Sandman" comics, which ran from 1988 to 1996. The stories chronicle the adventures of Dream, who goes by many names, including Morpheus, and rules the world of dreams. (Vertigo/DC Comics)

Gaiman's first novel was "Good Omens," published in 1990. The comedy was a collaboration with fantasy novelist Terry Pratchett. (Guild Publications)

In the four-part series "The Books of Magic," first published in 1990, Neil Gaiman explores the magical places and elements in the DC Universe through a young character who has the potential to be the greatest magician in the world. (DC Comics)

Gaiman picked up writing the Marvelman comics (released as Miracleman in the U.S.) after Alan Moore finished his run, but the publisher folded before Gaiman could finish his planned storyline. (Eclipse Comics)

Gaiman's 1993 comic book miniseries "Death: The High Cost of Living" was a spinoff of his Sandman series. The books followed Dream's older sister, Death. A film version is in the works, with Guillermo del Toro reportedly attached to the project. (Vertigo Comics)

Gaiman wrote the teleplay for the 1996 BBC Two television series "Neverwhere," set in a magical realm called London Below. He also wrote a novelization. (BBC Books)

In 1998, Gaiman and Charles Vess release the storybook "Stardust." The tale was then released as a traditional prose hardcover in 1999. It was then adapted for the big screen in 2007. (Avon Books; Paramount Pictures)

Gaiman's "American Gods," published in 2001, became a bestseller and earned Hugo and Nebula awards. The story followed mythical gods from across the globe who were transplanted to America when their believers immigrated. "Anansi Boys," a spinoff of "American Gods," was published in 2005, debuting at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. An HBO series based on "American Gods" has been announced for 2013. (William Morrow)

Gaiman's Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker award-winning 2002 novella "Coraline," about a girl who finds a secret doorway to another world in her new house, was made into a stop-motion film in 2009. The film was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe. (Harper Collins; LAIKA)

Gaiman and his friend Dave McKean cowrote the screenplay for the 2005 film "MirrorMask," about a young girl from a circus family who finds herself trapped in a fantasy world. (Jim Henson Company)

Gaiman and Roger Avary cowrote the script for the Robert Zemeckis film "Beowulf." (Paramount Pictures)

In "The Graveyard Book," published in 2008, Gaiman told his own version of "The Jungle Book." The story follows an orphaned boy who grows up in a cemetery, raised by the ghouls and beasts there. (Harper Collins)

Gaiman's two-part Batman story "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" was published in 2009. (DC Comics)

Gaiman wrote an episode of the long-running time travel series "Doctor Who" titled "The Doctor's Wife," about the Doctor's relationship with his only steady companion. The episode ran in the show's sixth season, starring Matt Smith as the titular character, and was well-received by fans and critics. (BBC)

Celebrated novelist and children’s book author Neil Gaiman will return to the medium that launched his career: comics. Marvel announced Thursday that Gaiman will contribute to the final issue of the “Age of Ultron” storyline and co-write “Guardians of the Galaxy” No. 5 with Brian Michael Bendis.

This marks the first time Gaiman has worked with Marvel since 2007.  Perhaps his best known writing for comics was with the “Sandman” series published by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint.

The final entry of “Age of Ultron,” scheduled for release in June, has been hyped by Marvel as an unpredictable, universe-changing event. But the company is doing its best to avoid spoilers.

Marvel also announced the popular character Angela, which Gaiman created with artist Todd McFarlane for Image Comics’ “Spawn” series in 1993, would make an appearance in “Age of Ultron.”  It may seem like a strange entry point for Angela — the angel was among characters that sparked a legal battle over ownership between Gaiman and McFarlane.

But Marvel thinks it’s a good fit.  And this is no spoiler, Axel Alonso, editor in chief at Marvel, told the New York Times.  He compared it to the teaser sequences Marvel runs following the credits in its films.

Of course, Gaiman’s reintroduction to the Marvel universe brings anticipation that he may once again tackle Miracleman. The largely obscure British superhero, known both as Marvelman and Miracleman, was successfully resurrected by Alan Moore in the 1980s, and Gaiman rose to prominence writing “Miracleman” in 1990, before his run came to an end after just eight issues.

After the bankruptcy of Eclipse Comics in 1994, McFarlane bought the rights to the company’s characters, though ownership of Miracleman was up in the air. The character was included in Gaiman’s lawsuit against McFarlane. Then in 2009, Marvel announced that it had purchased the full rights to the character, though beyond a one-shot issue and some reprints, little has been done with Miracleman.

But Marvel’s lips are sealed as to whether Gaiman’s involvement in Marvel could reunite him with Miracleman — or if Gaiman’s relationship with the publisher could extend to additional titles.

– Morgan Little | @mlittledc

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