Read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume One by Alan Moore Free Online
Book Title: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume One|
The author of the book: Alan Moore
ISBN 13: 9780613912945
Format files: PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
The size of the: 16.20 MB
Edition: Turtleback Books
Date of issue: September 1st 2002
Reader ratings: 8.4
Loaded: 506 times
Read full description of the books The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume One:
It's easy to see The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol.1 as a fluffy action confection. It doesn't smack you in the head with a puddle of blood and a happy face pin like Watchmen. Nor does it open with a girl about to be raped in a post-apocalyptic Neo-Fascist London like V for Vendetta. It doesn't open with extreme gravitas.
Instead, we get a fun variation of the classic spy mission opener: Mina Murray (nee Harker, nee Murray) is ordered on a mission by Campion Bond (grandfather of 007) to collect members for MI5's "Menagerie." From this moment to the last, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol.1 is a cracking tale of intrigue and action, full of famous literary characters who most readers are familiar with and probably even love. It looks, feels and reads like a summer blockbuster (too bad it was such a flop on-screen).
But this is Alan Moore, and he always has a purpose beyond entertainment.
There's much going on in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol.1. Too much to talk about here. But one of Moore's most important purposes is his need to challenge our conception of heroes and heroism. It's a theme he tackles in all of his best works, but it takes on a special significance in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol.1 because this time he is working with established "heroes."
Moore makes each and every one of his characters unsavoury -- even nasty -- then allows us love them despite ourselves. Captain Nemo is a pirate, Allan Quartermain is an opium addict, Jekyll-Hyde may very well have been Jack the Ripper, the Invisible Man is a multiple rapist, and Mina Murray is a disgraced woman (at least according to the conventions of her time) who doesn't seem to like men much anymore. None of these heroes seem as ugly as Rorschach or Comedian, nor are any as ruthless as V, so we enjoy their adventure, cheer them on as they cross swords with the first M (who turns out to be the granddaddy of villainous geniuses), and overlook behaviours that are little better than the nastiest behaviour of some of Moore's more easy to disdain protagonists.
What Moore wants us to consider is in the contrast between his characters and the established characters. He wants to challenge our affinity for these heroes. He wants us to ask questions about them and ourselves: why do we overlook the behaviour of the League? Why are we on their side? Why do we support -- and why do they support -- a nostalgic view of Blighty's colonialism? Why do we give these heroes a pass?
His answer is that we do it because they are familiar. We know them. We know of their exploits, either through first hand experience or through hearsay, and we are ready to embrace their "greatness" before we even start reading about them in the League. We're steeped in their mythologies from the original books to film adaptations to stage plays to comic strips to animation, and having already accepted them as "heroes" we accept them as versions of us. They are us, and we can't see ourselves as anything other than likable, so we cut the "Menagerie" considerably more slack than we'd cut for Moore's other heroes -- and Moore wants us to see that our willing delusion when it comes to these characters is wrong.
All the way through this story I couldn't help thinking about The Three Musketeers. It's one of my favourite novels, though I haven't read it for a while, and I don't know anyone who doesn't love d'Artagnan. Hell, I love d'Artagnan. What's not to love? Right? Well, plenty if one takes the time to really consider his behaviour. He's a murderer, a rapist, and a purveyor of myriad nasty little vices. Yet we all (or most us) love him.
Moore wants us to think about that for a while. He wants us to think about why we love the characters we love, then apply that knowledge to the way we see ourselves and the world around us. I believe he wants The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol.1 to provide as much meaning for audiences as his recognized masterpieces, Watchmen and V for Vendetta. I think he succeeds, even though its manifestation is so subtle it can be easily missed.
The fault, dear Reader, is not in Moore's writing,
But in our reading. That is why we are underlings.
Read information about the authorAlan Moore is an English writer most famous for his influential work in comics, including the acclaimed graphic novels Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell. He has also written a novel, Voice of the Fire, and performs "workings" (one-off performance art/spoken word pieces) with The Moon and Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels, some of which have been released on CD.
As a comics writer, Moore is notable for being one of the first writers to apply literary and formalist sensibilities to the mainstream of the medium. As well as including challenging subject matter and adult themes, he brings a wide range of influences to his work, from the literary–authors such as William S. Burroughs, Thomas Pynchon, Robert Anton Wilson and Iain Sinclair; New Wave science fiction writers such as Michael Moorcock; horror writers such as Clive Barker; to the cinematic–filmmakers such as Nicolas Roeg. Influences within comics include Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Kirby and Bryan Talbot.
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