On Miracle Monday the spirit of humanity soared free.
A good Miracle Monday to you all! I hope you’re celebrating safely and –
Wait, you didn’t know that it’s Miracle Monday? You don’t even know what Miracle Monday is? Well, let’s remedy that!
To answer the question, we have to travel back in time – fittingly enough, as you’ll see – to when the world first learned to believe that a man can fly: 1978.
Tying in to the release of the Superman movie, DC opted to publish a Superman prose novel, written by legendary comic scribe Elliot S! Maggin.
While it featured an image of Christopher Reeve as Superman on the cover, and had some photos from the movie included in the book itself, Superman: The Last Son of Krypton, as it was called, had pretty much nothing to do with the movie.
Indeed, it was set in the then-current continuity of the comics, and the events of the story were part of the canon. Despite, or perhaps because of this, the book did well enough that when the movie got a sequel, a second novel by Maggin (again, unconnected to the movie) was released.
The novel introduced us to a young woman from the future named Kristin Wells, a history student, who had gotten permission to travel back in time to the 20th Century to solve an ancient mystery. The mystery of “Miracle Monday.”
For centuries, everyone the world over celebrated Miracle Monday on the third Monday of May. Why? No one knew! The only thing anyone did know was that it involved Superman, who, on the third Monday in May one day late in the 20th Century did…
That was just it. No one knew what he did, they just knew that it was a miracle.
Kristin ends up playing a rather pivotal role in the miracle, and I won’t give you the details here, but something truly miraculous happened.
Shortly before four in the afternoon on the third Monday in the month of May, the people of Metropolis learned the meaning of joy. They had no explanation for this feeling, and there were gaps in their knowledge of what had gone on in their lives so far that day. It was as though they were all waking up, or at least opening their eyes, for the first time in an awfully long time. The first thing many of them saw was the red-and-blue figure of Superman drawing a line across their sky, and he became the symbol of their joy. It felt like a miracle, though none could say why.
After getting the answers she sought, Kristin returned to her own time, but she would return to the past again, making her appearance in the comics, starting with DC Comics Presents Annual #2, and returning again in DC Comics Presents Annual #4 (Which is one of my favorite comics, in large part due to the beautiful artwork of the late Eduardo Barreto).
Anyway, every year on the third Monday in May I pause to think about Miracle Monday. In fact, while I remembered that it was today, I had forgotten that I’d actually added it to my calendar years ago, as can be seen on my watch in the featured image.
And while we have all kinds of silly little made-up holidays – National Pancake Day! National Siblings Day! – Miracle Monday is one that only a small group of comics nerds remember and celebrate, but I think it’s a worthy addition to the calendar.
(If I had things my way, the next Superman movie would be an adaptation of Miracle Monday. I have a pitch! Call me! Wait, don’t call me. I hate getting calls and I never answer the phone for unknown numbers. But reach out to me!)
And why not celebrate it? Why not let the spirit of humanity soar free? Has there been a miracle on this Monday? No, but why should that stop us from making one? We could all definitely use a miracle right now, couldn’t we?
So I thought I’d just take this occasion to make my case for making it an official-ish holiday, and it seems like the ideal time to do so, given that this week will see the return of New Comic Book Day!
In closing, I’ll quote some passages from my favorite part of the book (which may or may not be the miracle in question; I’m not telling).
Superman sat on top of the mountain that he had built, in a temporary high-backed chair that he dug out of the ice. He leaned back his head, closed his eyes and listened. He listened for everything. He turned on his full super-hearing, not simply the directed senses that he had trained himself to use in homing in on random conversations or on the noise of a distant underground rumble before the Earth moved somewhere. He turned on the whole thing, and in a moment he realized he had never done this before.
Superman was part of the song.
He had an instrument in the orchestra of this Earth.
He was not, in the overall scheme of things, an outsider.
He listened to the world, sitting in one of its most desolate spots, and began to put together the pieces. He heard the howls of wolves, the roiling of cyclones, the bouncing of children’s balls, the sounds of his own digestive system, the clicking of the mandibles of ticks attaching themselves to the skins of dogs’ ears: everything, working together to create an ineffable symphony.
Maybe Superman, today, was the first one to ever hear the music Earth made in totality. Maybe, on the other hand, every human who ever composed a concerto, wrote a song, whistled a tune, or listened intently to the heartbeat of a woman carrying a child had heard the song of the Earth in his or her own peculiar set of perceptions. Maybe Pythagoras, Mozart and McCartney had heard the song, had spent their lives trying in their primitive ways to imitate it. Maybe every whippoorwill and meadowlark Superman heard today was imitating the Earth as well.
He listened, heard the sound of the Order of Life and growth for which the planet had been created, and wondered what the sound of the Universe might be.
Close your eyes and listen. Open them, and look, up in the sky…