I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got 3 new comic plus a hard cover collection:

  • Usagi Yojimbo – 107
  • Savage dragon – 134
  • The Authority Prime – 2
  • The Three Paradoxes by Paul Hornschemeier
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read this week.

  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
  • I read the first two “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” books when they first came out and I’m ambivalent about them. They are pretty well done adventure stories but I also found them a little gimmicky. Kind of like “Let’s see what public domain characters we can squeeze into the book this chapter” gimmicky. But Moore and O’Neil are top talents so I’m on board for the third.

    The concept of this third book also intrigued me more than the first two. Part of the book is a straight forward narrative and part of it is made up of facsimiles of different types of publications and pamphlets that purport to document the historical record of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. So we get a lost Shakespeare folio about some league members, a comic strip version of one of the Leaguers life, a randy 19th Century illustrated sex story, political cartoons, post card correspondence, a Tijuana Bible, a beat novel story, and a few other things I can’t categorize.

    The narrative is about two members of the League coming back to 1950’s England (all the Leagues various stories have taken place in the past) to find the rumored black dossier. They want to steal it to see how much is really known about them (they haven’t been active for a decade at least) and leave the country.

    The England they’re trying to leave has just thrown out the “Big Brother” government (straight out of Orwell’s “1984”) that took over after WW2. The secret police of the new government is run by Harry Lime from the movie “The Third Man” and he is trying to track down the Leaguers. This book is filled with pop culture characters (I probably didn’t recognize half of them) which explains why it’s having copyright trouble.

    With it’s historical angle this book is right up my alley. A lot of the facsimiles are text and not comic so if you’re looking for a straight up comic stay away from this one. No decompressed storytelling here. With the abundant text parts this takes a bit of time to get through.

    I did have a problem with the ending (which was in 3D). I won’t give anything away but I thought the ending made our two main characters, who I thought were supposed to be heroes, look like selfish jerks. It has a lot to do with Alan Moore’s revealed magic making people enlightened crap and it just rubbed me the wrong way. I’ve noticed in a lot of Moore’s work recently there are enlightened people and the rest of us. And it seems that part of being one of Moore’s enlightened ones is to not give a damn about the rest of us. That bothered me at the end of this book.

    But overall I like the ambition of this project. I liked all the facsimile stuff (except the beat novel one which I found unreadable). I found “Black Dossier” to be the most interesting of the three League books. Give it a try. Maybe the ending won’t bug you as much as it did me. I’m a sensitive boy.


    Discussion (2) ¬

    1. John Bligh

      Idunno. If I buy a comic, I want a comic. Words and pictures together in little boxes. That sort of thing. Not a novel. I might pick this up just to be a completist, but I don’t have high hopes of liking it very much. In fairness to Alan Moore, I still haven’t read it, so time will tell.

    2. Bunche

      Two things on this one:

      1. In case you didn’t catch it, the Alexander Waverly Grayfriar’s Bobby was talking about — described as an Englishman setting up a UN-backed worldwide intelligence/law enforcement group — is the guy who’s the “M” stand-in on THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

      2. My comics biz pal in the UK, Chris Weston, had to order the book from an American source because it’s not seeing print over there due to far too many of the characters involved still having valid copyrights, even the ones not exactly identified by name, such as Bulldog Drummond and Emma Peel, to say nothing of 007.

    Comment ¬

    NOTE - You can use these tags:
    <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>