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Show Pieces [04 Oct 2015|12:31pm]


I was going to write about Alan Moore's Providence when Show Pieces popped up in the mailbox a little more than a week ago*. Verdict in terms of final delivery: nice. It's particularly satisfying to finally get a hold on the soundtrack, considering that I was one of those fellas who looked all over the net for Broken Dreams ever since hearing it on Act of Faith.

I had to wonder though, especially given the project's modest budget, how oh how did the team go about securing the rights for all these songs? It wasn't until I looked up the credits section the book when I saw that Moore had in fact written *all* the lyrics to the songs, which added an extra layer of meaning, considering that he had written the screenplay too (and had a say in where the songs should be played). Maybe it had been mentioned before in some interview or other, but I missed it.

Broken Dreams (by Vince Shannon and The Black Notes):Collapse )

Reading through the songs, I realize that I've forgotten how good a wordsmith Moore is, because there are quite a few good solid pieces in here. It also becomes obvious that Marv Cougar & The Blondes' Dreamland is meant as a companion, albeit a creepy one, to Broken Dreams.

Dreamland (by Marv Cougar & The Blondes)Collapse )

It's hard not to look at these songs and not see them as being addressed to Faith alone, given that Broken Dreams is played in the prologue. Matchbright's sneer, in particular, comes to mind. Honey.

And therein lies the problem for Show Pieces for me, in that it's weakened by the inclusion of two leads, Siobhan Hewlett's character inadvertently drawing so much attention upon herself in Act of Faith that it diminishes James' entry in the title piece. The audience is told of James' earlier transgressions, nay, it's screamed at him across the room by a clown who's suffered a broken marriage, when a separate piece could have been better utilized to fill the role, even if it was merely hinted at obliquely. Instead, Faith gets another chapter, Upon Reflection, although her story is nowhere to be found in His Heavy Heart. Actually, for myself I would have been satisfied with one or two flashbacks of James' past during clown Guantanamo washdown, the camera looking up at James' menacing face as he dispensed violence to an unseen partner.

I've not sat down to watch the theatrical version, and maybe seeing it without the two other supporting chapters might go some way into changing the ultimate flavour of the story. But then again, maybe it won't. In this case it seems like Moore has effectively written a movie using the comic book format of instalments, rather than concentrate on the delivery of a single piece. But then again, it's called Show Pieces, rather than Show Piece.

*In case those of you who, like me, have signed up for more rewards and cannot find them anywhere inside that sleek little box, it's because, according to Lex:

The plan was that all backers receiving the boxset would receive all their rewards together. When the boxsets were manufactured it became clear that they required a bespoke cardboard box which could protect them in postage. This meant shipping the other rewards separately.

We have been working though the boxsets over the past two weeks and all of them have now been shipped. I have set this week aside for packing and dispatching the remaining rewards.

No sign about that Metterton and Matchbright Make You Sick stretchgoal, however.

†Mine's the regular edition.

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Watchmen analysis [17 Jul 2015|01:20pm]


Writer Phil Sandifer has been writing an exhaustive and illuminating analysis of Alan Moore's work for some while now. He has just begun to focus on Watchmen. You can read the first part here
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Providence annotations [01 Jun 2015|09:35pm]


If you've started reading Providence then you may be interested to know that there is already a website that features annotations and links to interviews with the creators. You can find it here
I thoroughly enjoyed Issue 1 and I'm looking forward to Alan Moore tacking a longer narrative again.
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By Our Selves [04 May 2015|11:39pm]



UK premiere of Andrew Kötting’s film By Our Selves, which retraces English poet John Clare’s journey from Epping Forest to Northamptonshire. Toby Jones, Iain Sinclair and a Straw Bear follow in Clare’s footsteps exactly 150 years after his death. En route they bump into Macgillivray, Dr Simon Kovesi and the wizard Alan Moore. Meantime the journey is narrated by Toby’s father Freddie, a maverick actor who featured in numerous David Lynch films. An epic march through hunger and madness, By Our Selves is an English journey to set beside ‘A Pilgrim’s Progress’. Following the screening, there will be a Q&A with Andrew Kotting, Iain Sinclair, Alan Moore and Toby Jones, hosted by Gareth Evans.

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NEMO: River of Ghosts [26 Jul 2014|09:04pm]


In a world where all the fictions ever written coalesce into a rich mosaic, it’s 1975. Janni Dakkar, pirate queen of Lincoln Island and head of the fabled Nemo family, is eighty years old and beginning to display a tenuous grasp on reality. Pursuing shadows from her past—or her imagination—she embarks on what may be a final voyage down the vastness of the Amazon, a last attempt to put to rest the blood-drenched spectres of old.

With allies and adversaries old and new, we accompany an ageing predator on her obsessive trek into the cultural landscape of a strange new continent, from the ruined city of Yu-Atlanchi to the fabulous plateau of Maple White Land. As the dark threads in her narrative are drawn into an inescapable web, Captain Nemo leads her hearse-blackNautilus in a desperate raid on horrors believed dead for decades.

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Show Pieces for Film 4's Fright Fest. Oh, hohoho. [03 Jul 2014|05:44pm]

Mitch Jenkins says...

"All five shorts are finished with part 1 (Act of Faith), part 2 (Jimmy's End) and part 5 (His Heavy Heart) all spliced together to create a 70 minute film entitled Show Pieces.The remaining two films Upon Reflection and A Professional relationship will be available only on the Box Set."

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Moore Rising [12 Jun 2014|09:25pm]

Providence, God is Dead, Electricomics, and Moore's introductory monologue for His Heavy Heart (featuring the Show box set here). Not to mention the Unearthing movie. It's a good time to be a fan.
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HHH [13 Apr 2014|12:51pm]


And it's almost here.
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Alan Moore: Earthing [01 Apr 2014|10:48pm]

Mitch Jenkins has written up a kind post on his blog for the late Steve Moore, and in it he eludes to the possibility that Alan Moore might already be working on Earthing in light of Steve's recent passing, the proposed sequel to Unearthing. Seeing as how Jerusalem is meant to be a work that disproves death, this does strike a few interesting cords. Please? Say it's going to happen?

Unearthing, the photobook that Mitch and Alan originally planned to work on (before it became a performance piece) has been posted in full on Mitch Jenkin's site.
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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume III: Century [25 Mar 2014|11:20pm]


Out in July.
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Steve Moore 1949 – 2014 [21 Mar 2014|07:52pm]


Sad news. It appears that Steve Moore of Alan Moore's Unearthing fame and his own book, Somnium, has passed away. I would have liked to have known him; as it is I had more than a passing curiosity for the Alan Moore sequel, Earthing, and how Steve Moore's own life would have changed following the publication of Unearthing. There's very little coverage on the usual comic news outlets; presumably fans of 2000AD were those who were most familiar with his work. Steve Moore was, as I understand, still working on the Bumper Book of Magic with Alan when he died, as well as a book about the moon goddess, Selene. His work on Radical Comics' Hercules: The Thracian Wars has been optioned by Paramount and MGM, and will be released as a movie later this year, staring Dwayne-dee-Rock-Johnson.

There's a line from Alan Moore's piece that really stuck with me, and I've only ever listened to it the once. At the peak of disappointments in a story not short on them, the narrator lays out in no uncertain terms what the reader had been feeling for some time now, that Steve Moore is a lonely old man stuck on a hilltop, and if the course of the story is anything to go by, there remains little left for him to do to effect the outcome of things otherwise. It is a damning sentence (I'm paraphrasing, of course), and in the silence that follows goes unsaid for most of us the natural progression from there on; it is a dead end, one from which little alternative could be said to exist. The only difference is that instead of accepting the conventional ware that's being paddled, Steve Moore remains true to his own narrative, and it is in this way that the reader is led ultimately onto the climax of this particular person's unearthing.

Time to break out those LEX Records CDs, and maybe a few beers. Cheers.

*Bottom picture taken from Kevin Storm's Poorly Painted Portrait series.
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Nemo: Rose of Berlin giclée print; blink and you missed it. [18 Feb 2014|11:52pm]

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Roses in March [08 Nov 2013|09:06pm]


From The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen… Sixteen years ago, notorious science-brigand Janni Nemo journeyed into the frozen reaches of Antarctica to resolve her father's weighty legacy in a storm of madness and loss, barely escaping with her Nautilus and her life.

Now it is 1941, and with her daughter strategically married into the family of aerial warlord Jean Robur, Janni's raiders have only limited contact with the military might of the clownish German-Tomanian dictator Adenoid Hynkel. But when the pirate queen learns that her loved ones are held hostage in the nightmarish Berlin, she has no choice save to intervene directly, travelling with her ageing lover Broad Arrow Jack into the belly of the beastly metropolis. Within that alienated city await monsters, criminals and legends, including the remaining vestiges of Germany’s notorious ‘Twilight Heroes’, a dark Teutonic counterpart to Mina Murray’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. And waiting at the far end of this gauntlet of alarming adversaries there is something much, much worse.

Continuing in the thrilling tradition of Heart of Ice, Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill rampage through twentieth-century culture in a blazing new adventure, set in a city of totalitarian shadows and mechanical nightmares. Cultures clash and lives are lost in the explosive collision of four unforgettable women, lost in the black and bloody alleyways where thrive THE ROSES OF BERLIN.

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Nemo & the Art of Being No One [23 Oct 2013|01:12am]

It might be too early still to talk about Janni Dakkar, but let's see where it gets us.

Since its conclusion a little more than a year ago, Century has come to mark a major turning point in Moore and O'Neil's massive, multi-cast literary crossover, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; having dragged its core members through disaster, madness, heartbreak, and, as it would seem, death, they have prevailed at last into that most vacuous of cultural periods - our period, our time.

Departing from its earlier agencies that gave us the first two volumes -in company, if not in format- Century marks the end of the journey Moore and O'Neil first set out for themselves in the Black Dossier (Volume III of the League series), witnessing in the process the emergence of a central if not unifying theme: that of immortality.

It is a fitting choice, and one that the series' three -immortal- leads, Murray, Quatermain, and Orlando, use to great effect.

Set against the background of a world where the passage of time is far from inconsequential (a la Superman and Archie comics), each installment serves not only to distance this new League from the immortal/mortal subplot long dominated -but never directly addressed- by the mainstream, but also to set them off on their own, more sober, direction. Delightfully, along the way the story cameos another lineage of time-trippers, although while Moorcock's Cornelius & co are free to step in and out of time as they please, buffered no less by a temporary loss of identity that blunts them against what has come before, Moore's League remain entrenched in time, and perceive its effects in a more cumulative manner (as far as I can recall, there has been nothing to suggest that the Burning World allows for time hopping), often to ugly ends. And tellingly so; the Cornelius Chronicles are full of moments when the characters, far from the stalwart models of literary classics, who appropriate instead the everyday Joe, begin to fragment whenever they are forced to recall too much of their own past.  Time, it seems, is a burden.

The League, therefore, is left to seek out their own means of amnesia, be it through madness (Murray), drugs (Quatermain), or apathy (Orlando), all of this while some abstract storyline explodes around them. Century, more than culture, I feel, addresses how our characters deal with time and change across a hundred year period, while they themselves remain physically unaltered. It is because of this last point that, time and again, an almost infantile-like disposition seems to emerge from the group, placing them to stand closer with the Cornelius gang, rather than the alternative, which we will come to a paragraph later.

As far as Moore's work is concerned, however, the themes are all too familiar: very few comic book writers have been more than willing to leave their characters to their own devices and, driven by something other than a desire to propagate a certain franchise, allow to them their own natural ends.

"I would have been basically going through all the decades of her life, with her getting older in each one, because I liked the idea, at the time, of having a strip in 2000AD with a seventy or eighty year old woman as the title character"
-Alan Moore, on Halo Jones. Here.                                                            

Janni Dakkar is a different sort of character. Ever since that night in 1910 when she leapt into the seas against a full moon, directly after a frightened Carnacki had woken up gesticulating about a certain Moonchild, it has stayed with me that she, and not our many eyed anti-Christ, was the coming change that our spectral investigator had spoken of.

For one, unlike the core three, Janni isn't physically immortal, and while this tends to sum up the generalized take on her, a closer look will show that, being a fictional character in her own right, her position up there with the rest of the fiction-verse is more than a little assured, nurtured in part by her present and future fan readership, and sowed no less by such capable hands as Moore's. In Century & Heart of Ice, as we will see, it is the choices she makes that sets her apart.

Every one tends towards their own state of rest, to paraphrase Matchbright, and either consciously or not we edge towards that condition that requires the least energy to maintain. It is therefore no coincidence that when we first see Janni it is to find her naked and unembarrassed, carefree and at ease - right up to the point where Ishmael appears with her father's summons. Later renouncing, as far as she can, her own heritage, she swims out to sea to a passing schooner. When next she returns to the mantle of Nemo, it is after she has been violated by the very hands of those her father despised most, so that even as the drawbridge of the Nautilus closes up and the vessel swallows her whole, we are left with a feeling that her story is far from over, and that what we have seen is little more than a temporary respite from the impetus that led her to leave from Lincoln Island in the first place.

I don't know if this panel left with me a strong enough impression upon first reading, although by the end of V it had certainly taken on a whole new meaning. It was only much later, when recoiling from the effects of V, that it occurred to me that I wouldn't mind reading about Evey Hammond's subsequent adventures, the challenges she would face as creator rather than destroyer, simply because it was always so much easier to fight *against* something, as evidenced by every other comic on the market; I was sure, even then, that no one else would be able to write something like that.

Lincoln Island, in occupying the part of what could be considered North Korea in the world of the League, minus all the political alliances (but not matrimonial ones), appears to remain the underdog throughout the entire fourth volume of the League series. They will always be the Destroyer, the thorn in the side of the Empire, keeping true to Prince Dakkar’s split from England as promised at the end of Vol II.  By the time we reach 2009, Prince Hira seems more than keen on continuing this line of the Dakkar dynasty, and it is only in Janni’s lifetime that some other facet of the Nemo legacy is revealed. Given how bleakly the rest of our cast has turned out, I think that a welcome development.

It is her adventures, therefore, that picks up where Evey Hammond’s left off.

Before that she still has one more thing to see to.

In Heart of Ice Janni has grown tired from walking in her father's shadow since reclaiming her birthright, 15 years ago; so much has passed her way since then, in fact, that she has become more than a little jaded, her own history capped off by those two events that, however long ago, still inform her entire character: her escape from Lincoln Island, and her rape by the English. Subconsciously, we wonder if she hasn't been looking for some way out when, almost on a whim, she announces her intention to revisit one of her father's earlier, failed expeditions. (Far from a whim perhaps, but the story's short format makes it so – and my only complain about the installment; who would not have loved to see more perspective shots of the Nautilus, A LA the Carrier in the Authority?)

Yet there is more to this than a passing fancy. She has, by Ishmael's account, outdone her father and, by her own hatred for the English as well as her agency of the Nautilus, given form to that sentiment (two qualities that Prince Dakkar also possessed); in short, Janni has come as close to being like her father as she possibly can. Yet something is amiss. Outwardly she tells Broad Arrow Jack that she is tired of looting, and yearns instead for adventure, except that perhaps there is some part of her that wonders how differently life would have been for her father -and so her- if he had spent more time adventuring instead, and if his most glaring of failures had turned out otherwise.

Of Prince Dakkar's own trek through the Mounts of Madness we have only his account from Volume II's New Traveller's Almanac to go on with, and Kevin O'Neil’s rendition of Janni's adventure in Heart of Ice seems to mirror her father's journey for the most part, except for one difference: where Prince Dakkar entered the Antarctica bitter and angry about his wife's not giving him a son, and emerged maddened and incoherent with his disappointment intact, it is his daughter who, seeking adventure and escape, ends up finding for herself a new life instead. Yet this involved her choosing as well; close to the end when Janni reflects on her escape, we see an unnatural lens turned towards her deceased father, whose time and era she reasons as no longer her own, when perhaps she wonders instead why the the same journey that made her change her life did nothing to endear her father to the daughter he never wanted.

It is easy to ascribe Janni declining Mina's offer of immortality to the effects of acceptance itself, when one sees one’s end as a natural course of things, although I believe the full effects of this decision will only be revealed to us much later, in the next two standalone installments of her adventures. Janni's affection for Jack, while not as overt as that between Murray and Quatermain, is of course the main reason cited, although having seen how things have turned out in 2009 for our immortal couple, a lot stands to be played out between Captain and first mate here. For some reason I now recall Orlando's depersonalization across the ages, whose attributes come down to fucking, fighting, and perhaps, “Sinbad was the only person I ever loved”, with even that going straight to Hell in the opening pages of 2009. To be fair, of the three, only Murray gained her immortality willingly; Orlando did it without knowing, and Quatermain because he was about to die. Yet, if there is anything that Century has shown us, it’s that, far from what is gained through immortality, it is what's lost that really matters.

Looking forward to Roses of Berlin
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Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkis's His Heavy Heart on Kickstarter [24 Jun 2013|05:01pm]

Go spend some love, why don't you?
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Nemo: Heart of Ice PREVIEW [06 Feb 2013|12:01pm]

First three pages at Bleeding Cool. The Moonchild returns.
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Alan Moore debut single released by Occupation Records [05 Nov 2012|06:23pm]

You can read all about it and watch the video here.
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Jimmy's End [04 Nov 2012|10:05pm]

Jimmy's End, the 30 minute film written by Alan and directed by Mitch Jenkins, is due for release on 25th November, with a 15 minute prologue entitled Act of Faith released on 19th November.
The trailer can be found here.

More information can be found here

Jimmy's End is the familiar term used in Northampton for the St James area of the town but may also have a more sinister meaning.
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Neonomicon 'sequel' is on its way [07 Oct 2012|11:38am]

Alan took part in the Northamptonshire International Comics Expo recently and announced that he has been working on a 10 part 'sequel' to Neonomicon, to be published by Avatar. 
You can see Alan talk about it in the clip below:

Thanks to Alan Moore World for the news
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Nemo: Heart of Ice [03 Sep 2012|07:35pm]

The next adventure in the League universe will be with us in February 2013.
Meanwhile, here's a glimpse of the cover.

More details can be found here.

I must give credit for the news of this item to this site which includes a wealth of features
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