Gruss Gott, wie geht’s?
I just finished up reading Vol. 1 of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Pretty mixed bag. More on that in a second.
I was a comics guy in a fairly big way in the 80’s. Well, Marvel guy. I didn’t really venture outside of the Marvelverse (except to follow Dale Keown; after he left the Hulk, I let my subscription lapse and starting buying up his mediocre-storylined but fantastically-drawn [of course] series Pitt with its every-nine-months-or-so release schedule). I stopped collecting comics in the early 90’s, partially because of University-precipitated poverty, and for one other reason.
I had forgotten that reason. Until now.
I imagine a lot of you who are and were more serious than I about comics will relate. The talent loss at the major houses that was the result of the fracturing of the industry in the early 90’s bit some of my favorite titles pretty hard. Nothing screws up a story like poor art.
Which brings me back to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1. I’m farily new to Moore comics, having just picked up Watchmen - I had a Barnes & Noble gift card that was filling my favorite plaid golf slacks with pocket holes (and when you hitch your slacks to just under your armpits, friends, and have a pacemaker, you can see the serious health risks that holding onto something that is burning orifices in one’s pockets can pose), and I’d seen the unanimous recommendations here. It was all that.
So I decided to try the League. I really dig the stylization, the vaudevillian chiding of the editor, the characters, the awesome steampunked-up, crawling-with-filthy-commoners-with-warts-and-cleft-palates rendition of London. The characters are terrific, the dialogue a little forced at times but very good. I couldn’t help but see a little bit of a correlation between Griffin (the Invisible Man) and Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen - characters with abilities that make them so powerful as to almost remove their humanity, or at least any of humanity’s normal moral calculations. From a nuts and bolts standpoint, the foundation for a great series is all present and accounted for.
Which brings me to the “art”. Motherfuckin FUCK motherfucker I HATE piss-poor art. What the hell were they thinking, putting this O’Neill clown on this story? Does his dad run America’s Best, and he knew the only way his son would ever have a career was to have genuinely gifted writers like Moore create a story that was good enough to overcome even fourth-grade level doodles? I mean, I understand that I like more realist drawing, and that there’s a time and place for more abstract stuff, but O’Neill’s is neither. It’s ridiculously poor.
This product cries for vivid, detailed work! So many of its moments occur in grand, beautiful visions of the steam-driven future and its fantastic conveyances; or shockingly graphic panels of Hyde-fueled mass carnage; or just panoramas of overbuilt, filthy London or the waterfall where Holmes and Moriarty dueled it out. The story is so dependent on its visual portrayal - why in the FUCK did they leave the pencils to this dickhole, whose talentless scrawlings look like the image on Silly Putty that has been pressed against a Peanuts cartoon, turned over, and randomly stretched so that Charles Schultz’ progeny were no longer even symmetrical, as well as unfunny? FUCK! It pisses me off when shitty art sucks the life out of what would be a fantastic comic.
I really want to buy the second, but shit… my eyes. My poor poor eyes.
Can anyone tell me a little about Top Ten, and the sequence to buy them in?