Posted by: Brian Hibbs on November 15, 2007
Let me acknowledge, right up front, that maybe I’m a little biased, given that Kevin O’Neill is appearing at the store this Sunday (11/18, from 4-6 PM, right, I can’t help myself dammit, I am a retailer!)
But, really, I thought that the LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: THE BLACK DOSSIER was one of the most extraordinary things that I’ve read this year.
I barely have the vocabulary for a decent review — not only did I miss at least a third of the references (I’m aware, intellectually, of [say] Jeeves and Wooster – but its not like I’ve ever personally read a word of Wodehouse’s), but even the ones I actually get, I don’t actually have the language to comment on. Jog, or Lester, or Wolk are much better candidates for really and actually understanding the intricacies of what Moore and O’Neill have pulled off within this book.
But, although I’ve never actually READ _Fanny Hill_, I’m still able to understand how well Moore has written in that style’ and though I’ve never read a page of Jeeves & Wooster, how well the melding of the Cthulu mythos to that really flows.
This is a comic that will have you checking your internet connection every few minutes — I like a book that actually sends me to a dictionary for words I don’t know (Tribadism, anyone? — Firefox’s spellchack even says that’s not a word!); or exposes me to concepts I’ve never heard of before.
But sometimes even Google fails you, and I have to admit that I wasn’t even slightly clear on the significance of Sir john Night and Night Industries, or Bill of the hiked-up pants, and the secret spy school, or the character that allowed Our Heroes access to the Blazing World. I’ll admit that I’m just barely educated enough to know that the Shakespeare section scanned properly in Iambic Pentameter, but other than that, I can’t really judge how close he got it, and so on.
I think I “got” about 75% of THE BLACK DOSSIER (which is maybe high for an American?), but even the parts where I was confused about the antecedents, I could tell were masterfully constructed, which much thought and form and craft.
Kev’s, perhaps, the real master here — dancing from style to style, yet still remaining clearly the work of Kev — I was particularly taken by the art in the Fanny Hill section which generally looks “normal” to the eye, but when you look twice is incredibly filthy and pornographic. There’s at least 5 generations of styles that are covered within this work, and Kevin hits them all pretty much dead on perfect. This is really an astonishing effort on Kev’s part!
I really think that on almost all levels this book is a tour-de-force, and there’s hardly a level in which it doesn’t deeply satisfy. There’s absolutely no doubt this is EXCELLENT work.
And I want to add that I spent nearly three and a half hours with this book, which is a real rarity with comics-related material — this is a happy and easy $30 spent.
But, as always, what did YOU think?