Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier has been hailed in some quarters as a masterpiece, in others as Alan Moore’s worst excesses all combined into a single dense volume. I’m not sure yet where I stand on this axis, but a few things about the book puzzled me.
– I realize that Moore’s taste for literary tomfoolery is well-known at this point, but I thought the grown man on page 56 clearly buttfucking a stuffed bear and referred to both as “Christopher” and “Robin” was fairly over-the-top. Yes, Alan Moore, we know, Victorian children’s literature is rife with sexual innuendo, blah blah Freud blah blah blah, we got it, okay? Christ, wasn’t three hundred pages of a Dorothy/Alice/Wendy tantric threeway in Lost Girls enough already?
– Likewise unsubtle was the photograph of Dan Didio on page 104 with a big handlebar moustache drawn on it and a crudely drawn word balloon saying “I like felching.” Really, was that necessary? I mean, it was kind of a stretch to suggest that Mina and Quartermain considered it “important evidence.”
– I know Moore enjoys references to other literary works, but including Anna Livia Plurabelle from Finnegans Wake is either Alan Moore bragging that he is the only person on the planet to have actually read Finnegans Wake all the way through and know what the fuck it is about, or alternately Alan Moore lying about same, and I could have done without either.
– That having been said, I’m willing to bet that in Finnegans Wake, Anna Livia Plurabelle does not have sex with a mutant donkey space invader.
– The addition of The Outrageous Hitler-Man to the team smacks of smartassedness, as his only superpower is “the power to enrage.” Also, I’m not sure where the hell Moore is going to pretend that The Outrageous Hitler-Man’s literary roots lie, although I understand Jess Nevins claims that The OH-M is actually a seventeenth-century Welsh folktale. Of course, Jess Nevins also claims that Alan Moore doesn’t send him kickbacks, so, you know. Grain of salt.
– I’m still not sure why page 81 was edible.
– Everybody has already said their piece about the three-dimensional portion of the book, and I think the idea was clever and well-executed. Except for the one panel where a figure looking suspiciously like Alan Moore points at you and says “now YOU are part of the League, by proxy of imagination!” Honestly. Just sell fake membership cards like everybody else.
– Does Allan Quatermain have to speak in Victorian English all the way through the book? Towards the end of the book, when the setting is the 1960s, he starts to sound irritatingly like Mr. Burns. The reference to the Beatles “not being true vaudevillians” seemed kind of forced.
– I don’t have much criticism for Kevin O’Neill, who is rightfully acclaimed as a genius sort of artist. I didn’t even mind the pornographic woodcuts he kept hiding in the background, presumably at Moore’s insistence. However, I draw the line at hidden pictures of Twiki from the old Buck Rogers TV show.
– The first letter of every page in the book spells “Fuck you, Grant Morrison. Yeah, you heard me, fuck you, Mister “God of All Comics.” I’m the man, not you. I’m the guy who’s won actual literary awards. All you’ve done is some rubbish non-linear narrative and rewritten some crap Superman stories from the Sixties. I fucking ended the Superman story, right? “Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?” I did that in a day and a half while I was high on coke. You heard me, you Scottish twat. Let’s see some Hollywood producer rape YOUR work and turn it into shitty movies designed to lull people into a catatonic consumerist sleep.” I can’t help but think this is rude, even if it is horribly hard to find.
– Finally, although I understand the meaning is obviously one that’s supposed to be ironic, having a page labeled “How To Kill The Dreaded Nee-Gro” is just in poor taste, okay?
Other than that, though? Pretty good.
Okay, so it was sold out everywhere I looked. Come on, I’m probably pretty close.