MISTER MIRACLEMedium: Comic Books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1971
Creator: Jack Kirby
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Marvel Comics to DC. Shortly afterward, DC's publicity department let out information that following the decade in which he'd been instrumental in the success of The Fantastic Four, X-Men, Thor and many other successful superheroes, Kirby would be striking out in new directions.
And shortly after that, they announced Kirby's initial set of releases — aside from taking over one of the Superman titles, he'd launch three inter-related series full of super-powered people who wear costumes and fight evil. Of a very superhero-like bunch, the most superhero-like of all was Mister Miracle.
The first issue of Kirby's Mister Miracle was dated April, 1971. It began the story of a man with the improbable name of Scott Free, a fresh arrival from the planet Apokolips. There, he'd escaped from an institution where he was being trained as cannon fodder for Darkseid, the despotic ruler of Apokolips. Here on Earth, Scott made friends with a retired escape artist named Thaddeus Brown, who was planning a comeback. Before he could make it, Brown was killed by gangsters. Scott assumed Brown's stage name (Mister Miracle) and his costume, and, using Apokolipsian technology, avenged the murder. In the superhero tradition, he then kept both the name and the costume, along with the "super escape artist" motif, for use in a career of evil-bashing.
It later transpired that Scott was the son of Darkseid's greatest enemy, Izaya, aka Highfather, ruler of the planet New Genesis. As part of a peace agreement that included high-ranking hostages, he'd been exchanged at birth with Darkseid's son, Orion, hero of New Gods (one of Kirby's other contemporary series). Together with the third series, The Forever People (who also hailed from New Genesis), these titles comprised a sub-section of the DC Universe known as "Kirby's Fourth World". Also a part of the "Fourth World" storyline was Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, which Kirby was also writing and drawing at the time.
For a time during their runs, DC experimented with thicker comics at a higher price, and filled the back pages with reprints. The Fourth World titles all reprinted 1940s series Kirby was associated with. The one in back of Mister Miracle was Boy Commandos.
The characters and concepts of the Fourth World remained with DC for many years, and still echo through the back-story of some DC comics. But the three titles that introduced it did not. By the time it was canceled, with #18 (March, 1974), Mister Miracle was the only one left. It did wind up a plotline, by marrying Scott off to Big Barda, a warrior woman from Apokolips whom he'd been keeping company with, but the Fourth World went dormant for a while, until new writers and artists started using it.
The Mister Miracle title was revived in 1977, but ended again in '78. There was an occasional special or mini-series during the 1980s and '90s, and even another ongoing series that ran 1989-91 — this one distinguished by the writing of Mark Evanier (DNAgents) and the artwork of Steve Rude (Nexus). While that series was running, Mister Miracle briefly became a member of one of the Justice League revivals.
Nowadays, Mister Miracle is one of a company that includes Elongated Man, Black Lightning, Adam Strange and dozens if not hundreds more — DC heroes who used to hold down series of their own, don't anymore, but still turn up from time to time.