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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

cover of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume One

Another one of Alan Moore's unique and creative comic books. This one is set in the Victorian age, and gathers together several of the heroes and monsters from the fiction of the time into one extraordinary league. The characters include Mina Murray (formerly Mina Harker, of Bram Stoker's Dracula), the adventure Allan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Jekyll/Hyde, and Holme's adversary Moriarty. Many times I wished I was more familiar with the works that these characters come from, because they are all quite fascinating. There's a quote at the front of the book about the difficulty of distinguishing between monsters and heroes which seems particularly apt.

The book starts with Mina Murray slowly gathering the league together, at the behest of Campion Bond and his unknown boss. The league eventually discovers a disaster brewing in London, and of course there's the usual double-cross by the unknown boss (having an invisible man to trail your suspicious funder seems to come in handy), and they manage to avert the destruction of London.

The volume also includes a short story about Allan Quartermain travelling forward in time in a drug-induced haze and meeting H. G. Well's Time Traveller along with John Carter of Mars and one of Carter's descendants. It was an odd story, but interesting-- and reminded me that I would like to read John Carter of Mars at some point.

All the credits and writing about the story are humorously done in Victorian style, which I found quite entertaining (although some of the actual content seemed a little too racy to fit with that). Apparently, lots of the more minor characters also reference Victorian fiction (perhaps a bit like the hidden characters in Top 10), but I guess I'm not well-read enough to catch most of them.

I read somewhere that part of the reason Moore could create this series is because all of the characters are now in the public domain. That's pretty cool, and makes me even more sad for the crazy state of copyright laws now, because I'm sure there are other people with crazy, fascinating ideas like this, but the books can't be written yet.

Title:The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume One
Author:Alan Moore
Date published:2000
Genre:Graphic Novel
Series:League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Number of pages:192


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