Mister Miracle, the critically acclaimed 12-issue mini-series from DC Comics, is an unprecedented success. Between Mitch Gerads and Tom King, the artist, and writer on the series respectively, the book has won seven Eisners which according to Gerads is “bananas.” And Gerads admits that “not in a million years” would he have thought they would have the success they do in regards to the book. While at NC COMICON, I was able to speak to Gerads about its success, its meaning, and why it has resonated so much with fans.
If you don’t know, Mister Miracle follows Scott Free, a character that was created by Jack Kirby and is part of the New Gods. In the series, Scott is the greatest escape artist known to man and has to managed to leave behind the traumas of Apokolips in order to start a new life with his wife, the former Female Fury known as Big Barda, and their new baby. But not everything is as it seems and as the book goes on it is unclear what is an illusion, what is Darkseid.
Taking on Kirby’s legacy is no easy task. Gerard spoke about how early on both he and King decided “you can’t out Kirby Kirby.” Gerad went on to mention that even in his heyday, the Fourth World books never sold particularly well. “Everyone’s inclination is to do what Kirby did, but you can never do what Kirby did. You will always fall short. So we wanted to take what we thought were his themes and inspirations…and use that in our way and our love of stuff like Watchmen, Sunday comic strips, 50s, 40s, and 60s illustration style.” Mister Miracle is as much a love letter to Kirby as it is to comics in general.
But in regards to Kirby’s themes, Mister Miracle despite its bright color palette and often light-hearted dialogue carries a lot of complexities, much like all of Kirby’s original works. The series opens with Scott attempting to kill himself by slitting his own wrists. Between that opening, the ominous repeating of “Darkseid Is,” and the strange glitches throughout the panels, its easy to get caught up in theories of what is really going on. Is Scott dead? Is this all an illusion created by Darkseid?
While Gerads didn’t confirm any of that he did say he thought everyone’s theory had credence even going on to comment, “One of the themes you find out in the end of the book is, does it matter?… As long as you are getting what you want out of it, what is someone to say your reality is different than theirs.” Gerads wants people to come away from the book with their own thoughts of what it meant to them and not necessarily what happened within it. He did, however, confirm one theory to be false, though thought it was extremely clever. “The one fan theory Tom and I love but is unequivocally not true is that Scott was always in Sanctuary from Heroes In Crisis.”
And considering the darker themes of Mister Miracle, it’s not surprising people relate the book to the trauma within Heroes in Crisis. But the series is also downright hilarious which makes sense considering both Gerads and King are funny and personable people in real life. So when asked about the humor within the book and if that at all relates to the greater themes of depression, Gerads said, “This is a question we would have to go get drinks to talk about.”
But to put it bluntly, Gerads continued by saying, “Unfunny people are not interesting and I think people who have lived and been through things they are usually funnier people…Scott and Barda have been through more than most and able to laugh about it. Sometimes you don’t know if it is a healthy laugh or a damaged laugh but I also think that is how Tom and I see the world too.”
Gerads and King will be back in 2020 with Strange Adventure which will also feature the work of Evan “Doc” Shaner. Mister Miracle is also available now in hardcover and softcover as well as online through ComiXology using our affiliate link.