Marvelette Missives – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

At Comic-Con International in July, it was announced that the fourth (and final) volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen had been completed, though no release date has been set. Written by Alan Moore, with art by Kevin O’Neill, the series began in 1999 as a sort of Victorian Justice League, but with a pronounced literary bent. There are many references (and inside jokes) to Victorian fiction, as well as a lot of steampunk elements. 

The cast of characters is straight out of literature. The League itself is comprised of Mina Murray (perhaps better known as Mina Harker), Allan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, Dr. Henry Jekyll and Hawley Griffin. Initially, Mina is approached by Campion Bond (yes, the grandfather of James) to assemble a league of other extraordinary individuals in the interest of protecting the British Empire. Their first mission involves a gang-war between Fu Manchu and Professor Moriarty!

For anyone with an interest in literature, Victoriana, great writing, exciting plots, steampunk adventures – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a must read. Alan Moore has been able to capture the essence of so many well-known characters and breathe new life into them with his story telling. You understand where each of these characters come from, what their motivations are and the direction they might take (though not always). It’s a very smart series: its debut at the turn of the century was a turning point for comics, letting people see that depth and intellect were possible. And please, don’t let the 2003 movie adaptation taint your view of the source material – that ill-conceived film barely skims the surface and never reveals the brilliance to be found in the comics.

Marvelette Missives is written by TinkEsq, aka Miss Dawn, Web Goddess of Geek Watch One.