Thursday, February 01, 2007


The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol III): Century

Oh, yes. That's right, I said The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol III): Century. I was just alerted to the solicitation on publisher Top Shelf's website (scroll down just past the listing for From Hell).

So what's it about? Well, let's see, shall we?
The third volume detailing the exploits of Miss Wilhelmina Murray and her extraordinary colleagues is a 216-page epic spanning almost a hundred years and entitled Century. Divided into three 72-page chapters, each a self-contained narrative to avoid frustrating cliff-hanger delays between episodes, this monumental tale takes place in three distinct eras, building to an apocalyptic conclusion occurring in our own current twenty-first century.

Chapter one is set against a backdrop of London, 1910, twelve years after the failed Martian invasion and nine years since England put a man upon the moon. With Halley's Comet passing overhead, the nation prepares for the coronation of King George V, and far away on his South Atlantic Island, the science-pirate Captain Nemo is dying. In the bowels of the British Museum, Carnacki the ghost-finder is plagued by visions of a shadowy occult order who are attempting to create something called a Moonchild, while on London's dockside the most notorious serial murderer of the previous century has returned to carry on his grisly trade. Working for Mycroft Holmes' British Intelligence alongside a rejuvenated Allan Quartermain, the reformed thief Anthony Raffles and the eternal warrior Orlando, Miss Murray is drawn into a brutal opera acted out upon the waterfront by players that include the furiously angry Pirate Jenny and the charismatic butcher known as Mac the Knife.

Chapter two takes place almost sixty years later in the psychedelic daze of Swinging London during 1968, a place where Tadukic Acid Diethylamide 26 is the drug of choice, and where different underworlds are starting to overlap dangerously to an accompaniment of sit-ins and sitars. The vicious gangster bosses of London's East End find themselves brought into contact with a counter-culture underground of mystical and medicated flower-children, or amoral pop-stars on the edge of psychological disintegration and developing a taste for Satanism. Alerted to a threat concerning the same magic order that she and her colleagues were investigating during 1910, a thoroughly modern Mina Murray and her dwindling league of comrades attempt to navigate the perilous rapids of London's hippy and criminal subculture, as well as the twilight world of its occultists. Starting to buckle from the pressures of the twentieth century and the weight of their own endless lives, Mina and her companions must nevertheless prevent the making of a Moonchild that might well turn out to be the antichrist.

In chapter three, the narrative draws to its cataclysmic close in London 2008. The magical child whose ominous coming has been foretold for the past hundred years has now been born and has grown up to claim his dreadful heritage. His promised aeon of unending terror can commence, the world can now be ended starting with North London, and there is no League, extraordinary or otherwise, that now stands in his way. The bitter, intractable war of attrition in Q'umar crawls bloodily to its fifth year, away in Kashmir a Sikh terrorist with a now-nuclear-armed submarine wages a holy war against Islam that might push the whole world into atomic holocaust, and in a London mental institution there's a patient who insists that she has all the answers.

Drawing from the fiction, theatre, film and television culture of the twentieth century as artfully as the preceding volumes drew upon the literature of the nineteenth, this first installment of the League's adventures to be co-published by Top Shelf Productions and Knockabout takes our familiar cast of characters … plus several previously unfamiliar … and propels them into a new age, a new world every bit as strange and savage as the colourful Victorian era they were born to. More than this, with its third volume the League's exploits move into a different realm of format, artistry and story-telling as this remarkable series sets out to explore the full limits of the vast fictional cosmos that it has marked as its territory. A unified field theory of fiction as much as a comic-book story, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Volume III): Century is sure to be like nothing you have ever read, and will be co-published in three lavish, full-color individual volumes by Top Shelf Productions and Knockabout, commencing in 2008.

Published as three deluxe, 72-page, full-color, perfect-bound graphic novellas, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill.

ISBN 978-1-60309-000-1
Okay, I'm sold. Now, is it 2008 yet?!

(And if that weren't enough, and I can't imagine it is, scroll a bit further down the page to see the listing for The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic, coming in 2009!)

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