• Welcome to England

Perhaps the most terrifying words ever read in a comic?

The Martian invaders, who Wells presents as being foul on a level deep enough to be both visceral and ontological, are upon facing a grinning English gentlemen made instantly sympathetic, as we realise we’ve been cheering for the wrong side all along.

This isn’t what the Martians are supposed to be. It’s one of Wells’ great tricks – they’re the bad guys that the reader is permitted on a planetary scale to Other and despise. It’s okay to revel in the violence of the conflict and the cruel irony of their demise. They’re not like us. They wouldn’t show you any mercy. They don’t belong here. It’s OK, you can hate them and enjoy their pain. It’s OK.

It’s not OK. From chapter 1 we’ve been presented with the Martians’ badness (they’re not even Martians! They’re not even from there! Not originally, not like the good Martians) as a simple, natural fact. So we cheer when they are chased off that planet. When these disgusting things arrive on ours, and treat those nice Wokingians exactly as generations of Englishmen have treated those they met as they set foot on shore, we are shocked and appalled and call righteously for vengeance upon them.

What if they just want somewhere safe to live?

It’s the final kick of the second book, hidden away in one small panel in the middle of the sequence that’s supposed to be giving us our final emotional catharsis. The scale of what Moore and O’Neill do in these panel isn’t to be underestimated – it’s something of a watershed moment in English literature – trumping Wells’ Woking, Larkin’s Slough and Morrissey’s seaside town they forgot to close down.  The repellent subject here withering under the poet’s red-hot glare is nothing less than England itself. The raw, fearful symbolism encoded in the imagery is unforgettable: the unleashed upper-crust, standing above England’s fetid carotid artery, physically devouring, digesting and delighting in the pain of this insect that thinks it knows about war and extinction, the gentleman so happy in their mutual immolation, their mingled ashes spread on the filthy red weed-choked water.

Come not to England ye monsters, ye Martians – there are plenty here already.

  • I Can See You!

Bobsy and I were worried that we’d make this ‘Best Of’ a bit too Hyde-heavy, but it seems somewhat inevitable that this would the case, given the crowd pleasing nature of the big ugly bastard. If we can’t all love our Id what can we love…?

Way back in the first volume of the League there was a moment that you just knew was going to have some repercussions later on down the track. Caught midway through some brutal black ops with Edward Hyde, the Invisible Man gets a brief glimpse at his bleak, black future. In the sequence, we cut to an infra-red heat image of Griffin, seen through Hyde’s animal eyes. With the simple words “What? What are you looking at?” right there and then you just knew that Griffin’s invisible chips were cooked. By Christ, we didn’t know how horrible his comeuppance would be in Book 2, but with the look of feral glint in Hyde’s eyes in the next panel we at least get a hint. It’s the look of a cat about to commence the hunt with it’s mouse prey.

The simple but effective juxtaposition of Hyde’s ‘I’m not blind you know‘ with the realisation of quite how far from blind he actually is, is classic Moore. No-one does horror in comics quite as well Uncle Alan, and when pared with an artist as subtle and talented as O’Neill the effects are devastating.

More classic classics after the jump

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.

Click to download

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.

Annocommentations for LoEG 1969 part 1 & part 2

Part 1, Part 3

Interview with Kevin O’Neill here

Welcome to the second part of our annocommentations. The idea with these things isn’t to compete with the excellence of Jess Nevin’s annotations, but to supplement them.  Jess doesn’t do much mulling over the meanings of his findings, and that’s what these posts are about. So if you ever wondered what Terner being from Performance says about the sort of sexual positions he likes, then you’re in the right place. Oh yeah, and the links aren’t just to dull old Wikipedia pages. Follow them.

We annocomment after the jump

Download our LOEG Century 1910 annocommentations (pdf)

Part 2, Part 3

Interview with Kevin O’Neill here

Zom: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with its backstreets of reader memory, association and personal experience, along with its grand shared-universe vistas, is a sprawling city of a fiction, and as such actively encourages our meandering annocomments. Expect a few references, yes, but also commentary, meditations, criticism and reminiscence.

So pull down the seat in mindless hackney cab, guv, and prepare for a long, strange ride.

Part 1 of our Century 1969 annocomments over the jump


Hooray!  We’ve interviewed Kevin O’Neill!

kevin O’Neill Interview

Click to see pictures!

Look here!

That’s the recently published Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Omnibus! It’s got every single Freak Brothers adventure ever published plus a couple of previously unseen pages. Tymbus and I interviewed creator and underground comics legend, Gilbert Shelton and will be casting that pod in due course. First up though is this chat with Knockabout’s Tony Bennett.

More after the jump…

Nemesis The Warlock Book 3 (progs 335 – 349)

Has there ever been a genuinely weirder hero to grace the pages of a weekly comic than Nemesis? Part horse, part Devil; a sword wielding, fire breathing, cross-dressing chaos worshipping alien revolutionary… No I don’t think so. 2000ad’s gallery of grotesque anti-heroes boasts some impressive members (Kano from Bad Co., DR & Quinch, Middenface McNulty), but none really touch Nemesis for unbridled…oddness.

More after the jump