Friday, June 21, 2024
ComicsComics Corner

Comics Corner – Meet The Miracles

This week, The Pride and Glitter Vipers creator Joe Glass is back to talk about his latest comic project, The Miracles – a dimension-hopping new series following a group of superheroic refugees from another reality, now living in ours.

This isn’t your standard multiverse adventure though – the Morgan family were literally comic book superheroes before an existential threat forced them to seek shelter in our mundane and decidedly not-superpowered world. It’s a heritage that Elliot Morgan grew up knowing nothing about though, little realising that the very superheroes he loved reading in his comics were his own parents.

Problem: Elliot’s own powers just kicked in, his family’s secrets are unravelling, and our Earth is about to encounter superheroes in a very real way…

The Miracles brings superheroes into the real world – straight from the pages of a comic book universe! (Image courtesy Joe Glass)
Gayming Mag: Joe, what’s your short sell, elevator pitch for The Miracles?

Joe Glass: The Miracles follows high school comic geek Elliot Morgan who suddenly starts developing superpowers. He’s soon confronted by characters from his fave comic book – who turn out to be his parents. As Elliot takes up the family business as Miracle, the family’s secrets all start bubbling to the surface – and someone is out to take advantage of that.

GM: But the Morgans aren’t exactly from around here, are they?

JG: Indeed! The family are actually characters from a comic book who escaped to the real world amidst an Unending Cataclysm (see what I did there?), and have been living here in secret ever since. Refugees from a world we see as fiction, they just wanted to live in safety and raise their kids with a future.

GM: We’ve seen “super heroes in the real world” a few times over the years, be it Marvel’s New Universe back in the 80s, the likes of Kick-Ass, or the TV show Heroes. How does The Miracles walk the line between a “four colour” superhero universe and our boring reality?

JG: Well, the difference from some of those properties is they were people from that world either gaining superpowers or just putting on costumes. With The Miracles, these are people who existed in a Silver Age comic book, now living in our mundane reality. Now, how that means our world of strict physics and greater consequences works for them when they start actually trying to live their old style of life is something that makes up a major part of our story, so I can’t say much without spoiling it. But let’s say it doesn’t go very well for anyone.

The ‘comic within the comic’ that the Morgans escaped from, seeking sanctuary in our world! (Image courtesy Joe Glass)
GM: How genre-savvy will readers need to be? Are we talking ‘has a complete collection of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen and gets the silver age weirdness’ or ‘might have watched a Marvel movie’?

JG: Not too savvy, but the more savvy you are the more subtleties you’ll understand or Easter eggs you’ll get. Generally it’s accessible to someone who’s never read or watched superheroes before, but if someone has a knowledge of comic events of the last forty years? Oh, they’ll be getting extra out of it, for sure.

GM: With the focus on the Morgans as a family, this seems very different to your previous queer-focussed titles The Pride and Glitter Vipers. Why the shift to a more – seemingly – heteronormative take?

JG: Well, all queer people come from somewhere, and often that is a more traditional family set up. So I think assuming the book is heteronormative… let’s just say, it’s a big jump. Family is important to all of us, whatever combination that family is made up of. I think it’s something we can all relate to – and a family with secrets, even more.

GM: That said… how gay is it?

JG: Oh, it’s definitely pretty gay. One of the family will be going through an arc that I think all queer people can relate to, especially when thinking of family. So if people want to support gay superheroes or gay young adult books, The Miracles will satisfy that desire considerably.

GM: What was the development like on this project? On the Kickstarter page, you have some concept art by various creators – Kris Anka, Zoe Thorogood, Andrew Kwan – that seem to indicate this has been bubbling away for a while.

JG: Yeah, I’ve actually been working on this concept for as long as I’ve been making The Pride, so around ten years or so. There’ve been various people attached over the years before we finally got to a place where the story, format and perfect creative team were settled. But we’re there now and we are, all of us, so excited to make The Miracles a reality

Comics’ Silver Age – the 1950s and ’60s – are a strong influence on The Miracles. (Image courtesy Joe Glass)
GM: One of the most immediately ‘silver agey’ aspects is the family’s monogrammed costumes – obviously most famous from Superman, but still used on characters like Invincible. Was that design element locked in from the start?

JG: Oh for sure. In the Kickstarter exclusive limited edition hardcover edition of The Miracles (just 500 being made), readers will see just how far all that design process went, and will see that that element was there pretty much right from the start.

GM: How did you end up partnering with Vince Underwood as the main series artist?

JG: Well, by the time I was starting to want to pursue The Miracles again, I was needing a new artist. Me and Vince had been talking about working on something together for a little while, so I asked if he wanted to check out this script for what was then a four-issue miniseries I had in mind. Next thing I know, he’s sending designs and his work fit so perfectly, it finally all felt like it was clicking. It was shortly after than we realised a full-sized Original Graphic Novel was the right direction to go for format too.

GM: How much of a twist did he put on those early designs and concepts? What’s surprised you most about seeing this world come to life on his pages?

JG: He’s really breathed more life into Elliot to be honest. He’s made Elliot himself seem more like a real person, and less like an idealised teen. The costume concepts were more tweaked, because by this point the overall look of the characters was pretty much settled. He brought the look of a functional costume and a comic costume closer together.

Elliott Morgan/Miracle development sketches (Image courtesy Joe Glass)
GM: Looking at the early sketches you’ve shown, it seems that the family became more ethnically diverse along the way – is that actually the case?

JG: Yeah, that’s accurate. Basically, the realisation that we were essentially telling a story about refugees came pretty late. Similarly, it was bugging me having another all-white family of superheroes. There’s no shortage of that. It felt wrong to continue down that path, and so we explored making the family more multicultural.

GM: Did having a pretty international team of creators – colourist Harry Saxon is from Greece, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is British-Algerian – help bring that into focus?

JG: I think a bit, yeah. Being a team of creators that were multicultural, at made even less sense to have a wholly white cast.

GM: You mentioned the shift from four-issue mini to OGN – what was the “aha!” moment where you realised that was the better fit for the project?

JG: I just realised that the story didn’t comfortably break down into chunks the way it would need to for something that’s published in a periodical fashion. There were certain narrative leaps we were needing to make for the characters and it meant not everyone got enough focus [per issue]. The best way to fix that was to create a single story which got to flow through, and give you all those little moments that added up to our bigger reveals.

High school is tough for everyone, until your superpowers kick in! (Image courtesy Joe Glass)
GM: Does this mean The Miracles is a one-and-done story, or are you planning more in future? Or is it something like DC’s Earth One OGNs, where each volume is self-contained but builds a larger, slower arc?

JG: Actually, the Earth One OGNs might be a good example. The story is definitely self-contained, but I have more I’d love to tell about the Morgans. In my mind, there are another two stories for them too, but this book gives a full story in it – it’s just not the only story for the family and their lives.

GM: You’re launching The Miracles via Kickstarter, as you did with Glitter Vipers, but what makes crowdfunding the right path for this OGN, versus a more mainstream publisher?

JG: We’ve pitched The Miracles in the past, but unfortunately most publishers won’t touch superheroes with a barge pole. There’s signs of that changing, finally, so truly original and independent superhero comics may be something more publishers are interested in, but until such a time, I’ll do them myself and show them what they’re missing.

GM: Finally, then – chances of a The Miracles/The Pride crossover?

JG: They’re very different worlds and there’s reasons for which that’s unlikely that become clear in The Miracles – but never say never!

The Kickstarter for The Miracles is live now, with 12 days left to back the project at time of publication. Amongst the pledge tiers, backers can opt for a 160-page hardback edition with bonus material, a 120-page paperback, or digital editions of the finished book.

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