Although I’m very nearly at the end of it, I’m temporarily putting Poisoned Chalice on hold. Let me explain…

Soon after I seriously began writing Poisoned Chalice as an actual book, which was at some point in late 2009, I ended up with a diagnosis of Prostate Cancer. I had surgery in May 2010, and have been dealing with various problems and side-effects related to it since. I’ve had just loads of surgery for various things in the meantime – including three procedures in the course of putting this series up here on The Beat this year – and the cancer continues to be with me, despite the surgery and a course of radiation treatment a year ago. There was also a completely unrelated operation to removed a bit of a kidney, for what also turned out to be a cancerous growth on a cyst. But I’m not going to go into it all in detail, as that’s not what this is about. And, before you all go worrying about me, I want you all to know that at the moment, to the very best of my knowledge, I’m in no danger of imminent death, for quite some time yet. As I tell people, the cancer will eventually get me, unless something else does instead, but not for possibly decades to come. I am, except for all the things that are wrong with me, in excellent health. So, definitely no Curse of Marvelman, then…

On Thursday the 13th of June – four days hence – I’m once more in hospital for surgery (it’s to have one of these fitted, but only click the link if you’re prepared for what might be behind it, as it’s a bit, well, anatomical, shall we say…). What I had been doing up to now was trying to get a few weeks ahead on these posts, to allow me some down time after operations, but lately I’ve been getting these pieces filed only hours or less in advance of their Sunday noon EST scheduled time. So, although these are mostly written already as part of the as-yet unpublished book, I don’t want to simply stick them up unedited, as this isn’t fair on anyone, least of all me, who wants to do this right, or you lot, who deserve the best and most up-to-date version of this I can produce, rather than a ‘sure that’s fine’ version.

So, I’m taking a few weeks off. How many weeks exactly remains to be seen, but no more than a month, I’d hope. In the meantime, I’m, going to try to go back over everything here, especially the comments, which are genuinely helpful – well, most of the time! – and to try to write my final conclusion to this with what will hopefully be the most up-to-date information I can find. One of the most fascinating – and most challenging – parts of this series has been the fact that the situation is continuing to change. The story of Marvelman is absolutely not over, although we may be drawing to the end of another major chapter.

However, I don’t want to leave you all with nothing to read, so I want to direct you all to the comments on Poisoned Chalice parts 9, 10, and 11, which are the three parts dealing with Eclipse Comics, where previous Editor-in-Chief of Eclipse cat yronwode has recently commented on my pieces, and at some length. I have made contact with her, and it is possible that I may get to ask her some questions to clarify some of the issues raised here about, although this still remains to be fully negotiated.

Thanks to everyone who commented, as it would not have been half as much fun without you all. I shall be back, Poisoned Chalice will be back and, who knows, Marvelman may even be back!


  1. not missing a single installment and showing no dip in quality (that i’ve noticed at least, you may disagree), is a testiment to your professionalism.

    i hope that you recover quickly and completely.

  2. Blimey, what unbelievable gall! Where’s my regular free top quality content!?!
    Just messing. You stay strong, Padraig. Best of all possible wishes to you.

  3. Hope you have a full recovery and be free of that dreaded situation once and for all. You been a gentleman and a scholar sorting out all this out . It felt like a Dickens like of update each week on the murky world of comics past, (though I didn’t get it at first but I don’t get most things)…I say the copyright guys give you Marvel Man to sort it out fairly so I can finally read this mysterious comic.

  4. Padraig, you are a legend.

    My brother is in recovery from cancer (I will spare you the gory details), so I have an inkling about how tough it can be. I wish you a speedy recovery. Thank you for Poisoned Chalice so far. I will avidly look forward to the conclusion when your are well enough. Keep well sir.

  5. Thanks Padraig for such an incredible series of articles and I look forward to it’s conclusion. All the best and I wish you a very speedy recovery from your surgery.

  6. Padraig

    Thank you for a truly engrossing history of Marvel/Miracleman. I had no affinity with, or interest, in the character prior to reading your columns, but your skill in conveying the intricate history made this, to me, compulsive reading.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery. Take care and I (selfishly) look forward to reading your conclusions soon.

    Thanks again

  7. Padraig, I’m glad that cat yronwode has responded to your work in the comments sections, and that you’ve directed us to those comments. I have greatly enjoyed your work in “Poisoned Chalice,” and I think much of it is exemplary. Still, you have seemed surprisingly quick to take the odd swipe here and there at cat. I find it surprising because you otherwise chart a very careful course between the conflicts of Moore, Skinn, Davis, even Anglo and Miller – in fact, most everyone else!

    In considering Eclipse, you write: “It seems that in general their business practices were unpleasant and willfully duplicitous.” This seems equally true of Moore (who I must admit, I generally otherwise revere). If, as you say, “the most reprehensible part of their association with Marvelman is the way that Eclipse… completely ignored Alan Davis’s wishes,” it seems Alan Moore was complicit. Even Neil Gaiman, who is usually so careful and clear, has been called out by cat for being dishonest about the story behind “Miracleman Triumphant.”

    Who can discern the truth in these conflicting recollections? I can’t, but it seems to me that cat yronwode may have some shady company – and among them, perhaps comic artists of the highest rank. If so, it’s clear that you have chosen your title well. There’s a “Poisoned Chalice” beyond the legal puzzle of ownership. It has to do with the moral or ethical decisions made by these artists in the course of creating a landmark comic.

    I do love the Miracleman series. To be honest, a big part of me is glad that Moore ignored Davis and kept going. I continue to hold “Olympus” in the highest esteem, and “The Golden Age” is almost as good. I would hate to do without them. “Olympus” stands as Totleben’s masterpiece. Even “Apocrypha” has it’s glories.

    Still, I wish Alan Moore had done some big favor for Alan Davis back in ‘84 or ’85, rather than pretend he didn’t have his phone number. Nowadays, it seems that both Moore and Gaiman are making efforts to do everything the right way, especially in regards to Mick Anglo. I do hope that this story will have a happy ending, at least for most of the participants, and of course for all the readers who want to see this comic reprinted and finally, properly concluded. In the meantime, best wishes for your health, and thanks again for sharing this important, interesting work with us all.

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