Extraordinary

In 1999, Alan Moore created The Extraordinary League of Gentlemen comic with illustrator Kevin O’Neill.  It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  According to Moore, the concept behind the series was initially a ‘Justice League of Victorian England’ but quickly grew into an opportunity to merge several works of fiction into one world.  

Moore, who created Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell, is one of the best comic book writers in the last 50 years.  He took the character, Mina Harker, from the novel Dracula and puts her front and centre of a group of extraordinary individuals in service of British Intelligence to protect the interests of the British Empire.  Mina assembles Captain Nemo (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), Allan Quatermain (King Solomon’s Mines), Dr Jekyll (Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde) and Hawley Griffin, the Invisible Man to go up against the threat of Fu Manchu in his Limehouse lair.

Cover art for Volume I, II and the Black Dossier

Cover art for Volume I, II and the Black Dossier

To date there have been three volumes and The Black Dossier, that span from Victorian England to present day, each with Mina Harker and Allan Quartermain as the central characters.  Moore and O’Neill weave in different literary characters both good and bad, relevant to the era in which each volume is set.  Each volume is a magical mystery tour of throw away references to history and popular culture, with plenty of hidden jokes.  If you open at any page, you will find layer upon layer of story pushing the boundaries of creativity.  The last section of The Black Dossier has to read with 3D glasses, which comes with the comic book.  So. Much. Fun.  The Extraordinary League of Gentlemen Volume III: Century came out this year.  It moves from 1969 to 2009 and even broaches the modern day literary money spinner, Harry Potter.  It is much darker that previous volumes and possibly gives you glimpses of what fascinates Alan Moore, and most importantly what irritates the heck out of him.  Moore is renowned for disliking people messing with his creations, but it did not stop him from plucking characters from other people's work.  His Extraordinary League of Gentlemen  may inspire you to seek out the novels from which the characters originally came.  Even if it is to give you the context for an extraordinary tale.