The Miracleman Countdown Clock

Only years, months, and days
until Miracleman is in the public domain.

In 1985, Alan Moore began his 16-issue run on Eclipse Comics' Miracleman, and their work was quickly recognized as one of the greatest superhero stories ever written. Following in their footsteps, Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham created an additional eight issues of the title, but the series was cancelled before their ninth issue saw print. Their last issue, #24, hit stands in April 1993.

Since that time, Miracleman has been caught in a morass of rights issues, depriving the reading public of any opportunity to read this revolutionary work. At present, it seems as if the only way Miracleman may ever see print again is when the rights themselves expire, and the work passes into the public domain.

Unfortunately, due to the Copyright Extension Acts of 1976 and 1998, published work-for-hire literature is copyright-protected for 95 years from the date of publication. Works enter the public domain on January 1 of the year following the 95th anniversary of the work's publication. Thus, Miracleman #24, the last issue published, will enter the public domain on January 1, 2089. The counter above reflects the time between now and that far-off expiration date. Because copyright is supposed to protect the interests of a work's authors, it is worth noting that Alan Moore will turn 136 that year.

But that's not all. Because Miracleman #25 remains unpublished, it is protected for 120 years. Thus, #25 is currently scheduled to enter the public domain on January 1, 2114, a full 125 years after #24. Neil Gaiman will turn 154 that year.

One final note: the above numbers assume that Miracleman was indeed a work-for-hire. Due to the convoluted nature of its rights, there is a possibility that its copyright term will be measured by the lives of its authors. In which case, Miracleman issues would enter the public domain 70 years after the deaths of its authors, which would almost certainly result in an even longer time until the published issues enter the public domain. Assuming, for instance, that Alan Moore passes away at age 80, his issues would enter the public domain no earlier than 2103, and another 14 years would be added to the countdown above.

And so, until the rights get resolved, your options for reading Miracleman are three: 1) Wait 70+ years, 2) Borrow a copy (perhaps digitally?), or 3) Bite the bullet and buy one of these: