Monday, February 26, 2007


League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier

Bill Baker has posted an excerpt from his new Alan Moore's Exit Interview, a book-length conversation, in which Moore talks a bit about the contents of the forthcoming League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier (which is not to be confused with League of Extraordinary Gentlement: Volume III).
Imagine a source book that has got lots of interesting snippets from here and there in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's three or four hundred year history. But, these are presented in some unusual ways. For example, when we want to talk about the founding of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which involved Prospero, then we include a lost Shakespeare folio for a play called Fairy's Fortunes Founded, which Shakespeare commenced to write in 1616, which was the year of his death, and thus never completed. So we have got the opening scenes of Fairy's Fortunes Founded reproduced in the manner of a Shakespeare folio as part of The Black Dossier, fully illustrated and featuring some pretty good Shakespeare, if I say so myself.
There's a Beat Generation novel, allegedly inspired by the activities of The League in America during the 1950s, as written by Sal Paradise, who was the surrogate for Jack Kerouac that appeared in On the Road. And it's a Beat novel called The Crazy Wide Forever, which has got The League teaming up with Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty against the villainous Dr. Sax, from another Kerouac book, as he was a kind of cross between Fu Manchu, The Shadow, and William Boroughs. So, yeah, we've got Dr. Sax in there.

There's an immense amount of stuff in the Dossier. A prospectus of London, features upon previous versions of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Les Hommes Mysterieux from France, and Der Zweilicht-helden from Germany. There's an account of The Surrogate League that British Intelligence tried to put together in the 1950s, and which was a complete disaster. There's everything that you could ever want to know about any incarnation of The League. And this is the source book material; this is the actual Black Dossier.

And, wrapped around that and running through that, there are these very lengthy sections of comic strip which tell the story of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, such as it is, basically retrieving the Black Dossier from British Intelligence in 1958. They basically steal the Black Dossier that has got all of these things that British Intelligence know about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen contained in it. Members of The League break into British Intelligence in 1958, steal the Black Dossier, and then try to escape from the country while being pursued by a trio of deadly British agents, who are trying to get them and the Dossier back.
I picked up Baker's book this last week, and it's on the top of my To Read pile. His previous book-length interview with Moore, Alan Moore Spells It Out, was quite good, as I recall, so I've high hopes for this one.

Y'know, at this point, so much has been said about the Black Dossier in various interviews that the public knows as much about the Dossier as I do....
I figured as much. Which I find ironic, considering that I've tried so hard to avoid any spoilers, and now keep stumbling across them!
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