Alan Moore's comic book series The League of Extraordinary
Gentlemen has been a huge critical success, leading to
multiple printings and a $175 million blockbuster motion picture.
This in-depth analysis of the first volume of the graphic
novel series is packed with intriguing insights, commentary
by co-creator Kevin O'Neill, essays on the literary and historical
origins of the various members of the "League" and their creators,
and a exhaustive analysis of each panel of the story. Also
featuring a rare interview with and introduction by Moore...
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ended up as a
it started life as a seminal comic book from the ever talented
Alan Moore. The original comic was steeped in references to
Victorian art and literature. This allowed the comic to work
on a number of levels from a straight forward action adventure,
which used well known literary fictional characters as the
main protagonists, to a rich compendium of Victorian facts.
This made the book eminently re-readable as well as occasionally
frustrating due to some of the more obscure references.
depth of knowledge has obviously caught the interest of Jess
Nevins, who in this book, Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial
Companion to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, has
gathered together every fact and fiction that was referenced
in the original book. Well, "interest" is too mild
a word. This book obviously represents a body of knowledge
whose collection must stand somewhere between a labour of
love and a stalker like obsession. The book has been given
the official seal of approval by Moore himself, as he provides
the introduction, while Nevins provides the forward. In order
to get the most out of this book you will need a copy of the
graphic novel version of League.
The book is broken down into five sections. The first of which
is the Annotations to the original comic book. Think
you know League, well think again. The annotations
contains a panel by panel look at all the references. Think
that might not be a lot? Well, you'd be wrong, as was I. The
original book is so dense that this section alone runs to
one hundred and thirty-two pages. Here you will find an attention
to detail that isn't seen much outside academic circles. Nevins
has tracked down every reference, including one out of Eastenders.
If you have any friends who still think that comics are for
kids, then sit them down with a copy of the League
and this book, it will blow their minds.
next section, Archetypes, looks at how these types
of characters have a deep rooted resonance in the western
consciousness. This is a well researched piece which is both
illuminating and entertaining. It takes a look at the four
main human characters that appear in the book: Allan Quartermain,
Mina Murray, Captain Nemo and Professor Moriarty. On Crossovers
diverges slightly in that whilst it references League,
this is a much wider look at fictional character crossovers
from the Greeks to modern literature. The following section
continues the divergence. In Yellow Perils Jess looks
at the history of the stereotypical Asiatic which has often
been used as the fictional villain. Last up is a nice and
meaty interview with Moore which runs to a very decent thirty-two
you ever enjoyed the League graphic novel, then this
is a must have book and if you have yet to have this pleasure
make sure you pick up a copy of Nevins book to take your enjoyment
to a whole new level.
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