Friday, August 19, 2011


Century: 1969, writer Alan Moore and artist Kevin O'Neill's latest installment of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series, pushes its readers tolerance for obscure references to the absolute limit. Where Moore's groundbreaking Watchmen holds the status of the Citizen Kane of graphic novels, the shagadelic 1969 proves more comparable to James Joyce's Ulysses or Finnegans Wake, works so dense that readers need supplements at hand to appreciate them.

Nicknamed LXG by the misbegotten movie version, League didn't start as such a challenge. Initially, Moore envisioned a superhero team drawn from characters of Victorian literature, including Dracula's Mina Harker and fictional game hunter Alan Quartermain. Moore and O'Neill packed the first two volumes with literary in-jokes, but still delivered ripping yarns with the League fighting Fu Manchu and Professor Moriarty in the first half and H.G. Wells' Martian invaders in the second.

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