Andrew: Something I noticed while looking for a reference for something else — that anarchy/heart symbol we were wondering about is the symbol of the superhero flying out of the page in the blazing world section of The Black Dossier. Checking in with Nevins’ annotations of same (reading his annotations for this book before we’ve finished would be cheating, but the old books are fair game), we find that it’s the logo of Ace Hart (a British superhero, not the dog detective), which we all should have known as he appears in Zenith Phase III.
Adam: I like that I couldn’t link it back to a specific superhero, actually. I enjoyed having the space to meditate on how and why it might fit into the kind of space O’Neil and Moore were interested in constructing rather than just see it as a dry reference. So fanwank, yes, but not without purpose. Although the name ‘Ace Hart’ would probably just have added fuel to my reverie’s fire. I imagine Moore would have fun with the symbolic charge there.
Andrew: And one point I don’t think we made before, when discussing to what extent Moore is able to comment on the culture of 2009 as opposed to earlier decades, is just how few characters from 21st century fiction actually appear here. We’ve got the odd background character who doesn’t say or do anything, but in the whole book the only character with a speaking role to have been created in the decade in which the comic is supposedly set is Malcolm Tucker, who’s just a talking head on a TV. Even the Potter characters (none of whom except Potter have more than one line) were created in the mid-1990s — and other than them, there’s not a speaking character in the comic that originated post-1976.
This is a huge change from all the other League volumes, which mixed and matched eras, obviously, but showed a real in-depth knowledge of their time’s popular culture.
Adam: My, isn’t that lava lamp… big.
In case you hadn’t noticed that’s Dr B Coote S.M.B.D: standing for sadism, masochism, bondage, domination one imagines, which sadly loses some of the flexibility of our real world formulation, BDSM. There you’ve got bondage, domination, sadism, masochism or bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism. More… er… therapeutic options.
Amy: BDSM is considered by some people to be quite an effective form of, well not exactly therapy, but a way of containing and processing painful experiences, particularly those of a sexual nature. Mina has already engaged in mild BDSM with Allan (the infamous “Bite me” scene), probably as a response to the ultimate Dom/Sub relationship she shared with Dracula, so we know she’s the perfect patient in some ways… Saying that, though, it’s hard to imagine anyone as drugged up as Mina conclusively consenting to anything.
Andrew: Notice the spy camera on the corner — a little incidental detail of how the world has changed since the last volume. We grow so used to these things, it’s sometimes hard to remember that in a lot of ways we’ve been in a dystopian future since at least the mid-90s.
June 26th, 2012
Andrew: First impressions, this is a truly strange comic. I mean, it’s *good*, but it’s an attempted critique of modern pop-culture by someone who has no idea what modern pop-culture *is* (outside of the work of Armando Iannucci, anyway). I haven’t owned a TV in my adult life, and yet I have a better idea of what the pop-cultural feel of 2009 was than Moore seems to have.
And it’s a shame, because the story Moore wants to tell — of the deterioration of culture since the 1960s — is one that could be plausibly made. But to make it work, one has to criticise the 60s counterculture. Most of the problems in the world today stem, ultimately, from the utter self-obsessed infantilism of the generation that were young adults in 1969 — Moore’s generation, the generation that voted in Thatcher, the generation that made up Blair’s cabinet — but rather than admit the link, Moore has instead basically taken a line of “Weren’t the 60s great until Charles Manson and Altamont, but now the world’s full of young people with their hippity-hoppity music and their pinpods, and I wish it would all be like it used to be.”
But all that said, this is still a great comic and a great conclusion to League Volume 3.
On Sunday 31st of July, Kevin O’Neill came to Dave’s Comics in Brighton to sign copies of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 1969. We had a chat with him and recorded it. In the interview we ask some questions which follow on from our 2009 interview with Kevin.
Thanks very much to everyone at Dave’s Comics for letting us conduct the interview on their comfy upstairs couch and thanks of course to Kevin for being so forthcoming.
August 4th, 2009
We’re gonna be doing this every Tuesday from now on, Kids. Capsule reviews in the dying light of the comics week.
Mindless slack is officially over
Detective Comics #855
Published by DC Comics
Story – Greg Rucka
Art – J.H. Williams III, Dave Stewart
This time around Batwoman goes toe to toe with Alice, high priestess of crime. In other words, not much happens, but that doesn’t stop this from being one of the richest, most complex superhero reads on the racks. If it were a wine it would would be… well, actually I don’t know anything about wine but it would definitely be red, full bodied and possessed of the jammiest of noses. Williams conjures iconography and atmosphere from the very gutters and, just like the characters, sets them in pitched battle, and it’s a truly marvellous thing to behold. Add to that a well realised and entertaining back-up strip, with just enough story to satisfy, and what you have here is a nigh-on perfect package.
June 30th, 2009
Detective #854 surprised me. I expected JHW3 and Dave Stewart to knock the ball out the park, what I didn’t expect was to be so impressed by Rucka’s writing. Admittedly there was little in the way of conceptual, narrative or formal pyrotechnics – the sorts of things that I look for in Morrison’s work – but then with JHW3 on board there didn’t need to be. Instead Rucka provided us with a rock solid set-up issue on which to hang the astonishing art. Perhaps Rucka’s writing is usually this sturdy and it took this particular art team to get me to pay attention. Perhaps not. Either way the issue clicked like a gun being cocked. Time will tell whether it’s gonna jam.
But you know all this: you’ve read the book, you’ve read all the reviews worth reading, you’ve nattered about it with your mates. It’s one week later and ‘Tec 854 has thoroughly bedded down in your brain. Roll on 855. Shut up the Mindless Ones, late to the party as ever.