Big Ben was a character created by Dez Skin spirit Ian Gibson as The Man With no Time For Crime for first on the cover of Dez Skinn’s Warrior Magazine Summr Special #4 published by Quality Communications back in 1982, although the planned strip didn’t appear in the comic.
The character, a superheroic version of John Steed from the Avengers, was integrated into Marvelman continuity in Warrior #9 as the UK government’s attempt to use the technology of Dr Garguanza to create some post-Miracleman superhero agents…
… with all of his Avengers-style adventures as illusions to justify his existence.
The originally planned story by Skinn and Ian Gibson would run in 1984’s Marvelman Summer Special, seen as one of implanted memories delivered by Garguanza-and-related technologies..
It was also the publication of the Marvelman Summer Special, with Marvel in the actual title, that saw Marvel Comics sue Quality over its publication, and for Marvel UK to also begin publishing reprints of the Thing comic book as the Big Ben weekly comic, scuppering any plans Dez Skinn might have had to publish a spinoff Big Ben comic book.
In the Eclipse continuation of Marvelman as Miracleman, away from Dez Skinn, Big Ben was rebranded as British Bulldog seemingly to potentially avoid any future issues with Skinn, but also at that stage, Alan Moore had fallen out badly with Skinn, so this may have just been a psychologically more comfortable switch for Moore.
Today’s Miracle Man #0 sees Marvel Comics finally moving forward with new Miracleman content, after finally dealing with all the legal issues, paying everyone off, getting everything signed, and moving on with what, one day, could be a major franchise for Marvel Comics. Can you imagine the Zack Snyder-directed movie?
But we also get a new story written and drawn by Ryan Stegmanoriginally meant to be written by Donny Cates, that features a blast from the past, in a Miracleman Saturday Morning Cartoon-style adventure.
The return of Big Ben, not British Bulldog, in a Marvel comic book. Still with the bowler hat and received pronunciation, but now turned into some kind of massive cyborg reminiscent of Todd McFarlane spirit Rob Liefeld‘s Overkill. I am presuming those contracts with Dez Skinn and Ian Gibson are all signed off, numbered and ship shape…
Or who knows what might happen?
MIRACLE MAN #0
(W) Neil Gaiman, Various (A) Mark Buckingham, Various (CA) Alan Davis
Forty years ago, Miracleman’s modern era began and changed the world of comics as we know it. Now, on the cusp of a new era of Miracleman, we celebrate all things Kimota with a who’s who of the best talent in the industry! Plus, Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham set up this issue and their return to MIRACLEMAN: THE SILVER AGE! Rated T+In Shops: Oct 05, 2022 SRP: $5.99