Archive for Nekkid!

The Black Dossier

I know this has been out there forever, but I only managed to grab this one after Christmas, thanks to some handy and much appreciated gift certificates. So what the heck, let’s review it.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier

This picks up several decades after the last episode of the entirely classic “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill. (And if you haven’t read that yet, you really, really should. If all you know of “LoEG” is that awful Sean Connery movie, then excise all memories of that pile of cinematic dreck and go read the comics, ’cause they’re really cool.)

Aaaanyway, it’s 1958, Big Brother’s dictatorship from George Orwell’s “1984” has just fallen, and Mina Murray and Allan Quatermain are still kicking around England. Thanks to an encounter with the “Fire of Youth,” both are now basically immortal. They’re after a book called the Black Dossier, that includes the complete, secret history of their League, as well as the Leagues that came before and after.

While most of the main story is told through traditional comic illustrations, the material from the Black Dossier is, for the most part, recounted in straightforward text. These include a lengthy comic strip focusing on the life of Orlando (the immortal gender-swapping swashbuckler from Virginia Woolf’s novel); a “Fanny Hill” sequel; a short story written in the style of the ’50s beat writers; a Tijuana Bible about life and sex in Big Brother’s England; and a comedy combining P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Bertie Wooster with H.P. Lovecraft’s cthulhoid horrors. There’s also an actual pair of 3-D glasses to go along with the extended 3-D sequence at the end of the story.

Verdict: Well, I’ll give this a thumbs up, partly because I’m not sure I’ve got it in me to thumbs-down an Alan Moore story, and partly because I thought “What Ho, Gods of the Abyss?”, the Jeeves and Wooster story, was extremely funny. But yeah, this story has some severe problems. There’s vastly too many folks running around without their clothes on — sure, there’s an awful lot of classic literature that’s pretty wildly bawdy (like, fer instance, almost all of Shakespeare’s plays), but “The Black Dossier” really does desensitize you to sex and nudity after just a little while. (“Oh, look, it’s Mina without any clothes on. Oh, look, it’s Fanny Hill without any clothes on. Oh, look, it’s Orlando without any clothes on. Oh, look, it’s a Tijuana Bible. Oh, look…”)

In addition, several of the text pieces were really difficult to read, partly because of formatting issues (Paragraph indents, Mr. Moore! And less single-spaced stuff, please!) and partly because they’re not all that well-written — “The Crazy Wide Forever,” written in the style of Jack Kerouac, was almost unreadably awful.

All the stuff drawn from “1984” was a bit of a setting breaker, too, frankly. I just can’t buy into the idea that England would transition so quickly from a fairly normal society, to a crushingly autocratic dictatorship, and then back to a normal society in such a short space of time. The Ingsoc from “1984” wasn’t a government that was going away any time soon, and the concept of doublespeak wasn’t something that would allow a normal, well-adjusted society to occur, in any case.

And finally, one of the characters who shows up at the end is a giant Golliwogg doll. If you’re not familiar with those, they were blackface minstrel ragdolls. Why is there a racist doll running around England with an airship? I got no idea. And it really pulls you straight out of the story. You’re reading along, you’re in an exciting chase sequence, and then, hello, racist stereotype doll! What the frackin’ frack?! Weren’t there any other popular children’s toys in England in the late 1950s? Winnie the Pooh, maybe? Peter Cottontail? Betsy-Wetsie? Madame Freakin’ Alexander dolls?

I really do think this is my least favorite of all of Moore comics, and I’ve read a ton of ’em. But even with that caveat, I still think it’s probably worth reading.

Comments off

Blue’s Anatomy

drmanhattan

Well, most of y’all probably know that they’re making a movie of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic graphic novel “Watchmen.” And one of the things people have been wondering is how they’re going to deal with Dr. Manhattan’s… well, his costume, or lack there-of.

Of course, in the comic, Dr. Manhattan has transcended human feelings of modesty and propriety, and he spends the vast majority of the time completely unclothed. But would Hollywood actually release a movie that featured one of the lead characters running around for most of the movie with no britches on?

Previous photos and trailers from the movie have left the question up in the air — Dr. Manhattan has either been seen wearing one of his few costumes, or he’s been filmed above the waist or from the back. One scene from the first trailer appeared blurred, but you couldn’t tell if it was because the studio purposely blurred out his crotch, or because he was just glowing so brightly that it made it too hard to see his, um, area.

Well, there’s a new trailer out, and the new footage looks pretty good. You may be so blown away by the awesome cinematic eye-candy that you may miss one particular scene.

As it turns out, Kevin Melrose noticed something very interesting: the trailer includes a pretty clear (though long-distance) shot of Dr. Manhattan’s computer-generated winkityboo. (That link may not be safe for work, depending on how your boss reacts to demigods with glowing blue winkityboos.)

The next question is: Will comic geeks now refuse to see the movie for fear of seeing some dude’s winkityboo? Or will they just shriek and cover their eyes every time Manhattan shows up on camera?

Comments off