9 - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore

Read this if you like: Alan Moore, Victorian-era literature, superheroes.

Taking seed from an idea of creating a Justice League of Victorian England, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen made #9 in the 100 Best Alan Moore Graphic Novels ever list . It feels like I’ve been writing about a lot of Alan Moore comics over the last dozen entries, but what can I say? The guy just dominates the graphic novel landscape. I’m sure you won’t hold it against me that I’ve included more than a few of his works in his list.

Justice League of Victorian England could not be more apt a name for this comic, and volume one is mainly concerned with the efforts of Mina Harker (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) to bring together the famous Victorian heroes who make up the roster of the League. There are lots of famous faces for anyone who has read the literature; Dr. Jekyll (Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde), Allan Quartermain (H. Rider Haggard’s King Soloman’s Mines) Hawley Griffin (the Invisible Man) and even a few familiar faces from the Sherlock Holmes books. You can tell Alan Moore has great fun referencing all these heroes and villains from some of the classics of the eighteenth century, and it’s a lot of fun as a reader to see a new twist on these old characters.

So as far as concepts go, this is one of the best in the list. It allows Moore to fully use his imagination and it creates a setting that he uses to craft some of the best stories in the history of comics. As well as this, the dialogue and characterisation is as good as you’d come to expect from Moore, and this is topped off by the superb artwork of Kevin O’Neill.

This graphic novel can be read from start to finish fairly quickly and you will enjoy it a lot, but for those who like to comb over panels and suck out every last detail you will love this book. Moore and O’Neill insert so many nods, in-jokes and references to Victorian literature that you can read the comic five times and still not catch them all. It’s a little like Victorian-era in-joke Pok√©mon, and it is a lot of fun.

The influence of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen on the graphic novel world cannot be overstated; with it, Moore once again elevated the superhero genre to new heights and created another classic to add to his comic book cv.

Buy The League on Amazon: US Readers    UK Readers