The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401203078
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication date: 11/04/2008
Series: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Series
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 10.20(w) x 6.58(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range: 17 - 18 Years

About the Author

Alan Moore is perhaps the most acclaimed writer in the graphic story medium, having garnered countless awards for works such as Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing and Miracleman. He is also the mastermind behind the America's Best Comics line, through which he has created (along with many talented illustrators) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Promethea, Tom Strong, Tomorrow Stories and Top Ten.

Kevin O'Neill is a popular British comics illustrator best known as the co-creator of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Alan Moore. His other credits include Nemesis the Warlock and Marshal Law.

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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
scvlad on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I think a lot of the negative reviewers of this book are missing the point. If you're looking for a traditional comic book adventure, then go somewhere else. If you're looking for fun satire, parody, alternative history, and a testament to fantastic literature, this is a good place to go.
wilsonknut on LibraryThing 7 months ago
If James Joyce¿s Ulysses is the demonstration and summation of modernist literature, Alan Moore¿s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier is the paradigm for post-postmodernism in graphic novels. Jennifer Egan¿s A Visit from the Goon Squad has received critical acclaim for its structure and interconnecting stories. She has a section consisting of PowerPoint slides, and another that includes text messages, but those techniques pale in comparison to what Moore accomplishes in The Black Dossier.Volumes 1 and 2 of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series are critically acclaimed mash-ups of Victorian literature, pulp fiction, steampunk, and Moore¿s own twists. The Black Dossier was to serve as a standalone sourcebook between volume two of the series and a proper volume 3, but it grew into much more. Moore has stated in various interviews that he and Kevin O¿Neill realized early that the series was growing into an attempt to map the entire fictional world and how it relates to fact. It is a study and commentary on the popular imagination. But in the structure and complexity of The Black Dossier, I also see the growth and culmination of literary movements throughout history into something new.Similar to Joyce¿s Ulysses, The Black Dossier is very experimental in its structure and construction. Critics of the book have noted that the narrative plot is very weak. Mina Harker and Allan Quartermain have recovered The Black Dossier, which contains the secret history of The League. Emma Night (Peel), Bulldog Drummond, and a young James Bond chase them all over London and Scotland trying to stop them. In true Moore style, you would have to do a tremendous amount of research to figure out all of the references and allusions, and Moore throws in his twists on characters and events for good measure. For example, James Bond (Jimmy in the book) is a sadistic womanizer and the events take place in 1958 after the Big Brother government from George Orwell¿s Ninteen Eighty Four has fallen.The narrative is merely a shell for The Black Dossier itself, which Mina and Allan stop to read at various points in the narrative. The Dossier takes over the story metafictionally (if that¿s a word) using faux historical texts, comic strips in various styles, a ¿lost¿ Shakespeare folio, prose in the style of H.P Lovecraft and Jack Kerouac, post cards, Big Brother posters in the style of English WWII posters, maps, and more. Throughout these artifacts are mysterious handwritten notes that point back to the narrative at hand and the previous volumes in the series. The complexity of it all is overwhelming.To add to the complexity, the graphic novel contains a 3D section set in ¿the Blazing World¿ with glasses. The cover to the Kerouac section mimics the paperback style of the early Kerouac books when they were published, down to the creases they would have had from being read. Like Ulysses, you need an annotated version to understand it all. Some folks have been kind enough to put one together- Black Dossier annotated.So what separates Moore¿s book from A Visit from the Goon Squad, or Ulysses for that matter? As a medium, the graphic novel has the potential to capture the contemporary human experience far better than the traditional novel. We are inundated with visuals and images by television, advertising, and internet. So much could be done with the medium.I think it goes back to the perceived weakness of The Black Dossier- narrative. Egan¿s book, though experimental in structure and technique, is about characters and narrative. They are ¿real¿ characters with ¿real¿ stories. The themes capture truths about the human experience that run deep. If Moore could capture that along with the genius he has for pop culture, structure, and technique; we would see a phenomenal new literature.
mikemillertime on LibraryThing 7 months ago
The single biggest collapse of a fantastic franchise/trilogy I have ever encountered. It's absolutely deplorable how this entry in the LXG series treats its endearing and beloved characters. From a meandering and mindless story, to a bizarre and offensive revisionist history of the characters' universe, to forcing the reader to endure exceedingly dense and disruptive passages of prose in the narrative of a comic book, to the confusing and vestigial introduction to a slew of boring new side characters, to the absence of the charming turn-of-the-century style that defined the early episodes, to a story that refuses to divulge its pointless pathetic plot... I could honestly keep going if my blood weren't begin to boil. So in conclusion, this work is absolute travesty and should be avoided at all costs, and this is coming from someone who thoroughly enjoyed the first two entries.
ANeumann on LibraryThing 7 months ago
If you read and loved either of the first two graphic novels, please, please, stay away from this one - it can only negatively colour your opinion of the previous two.
Girl_Detective on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Mina Murray (fka Mina Harker, of Dracula) and Allan Quatermain (he of King Solomon¿s Mines, not Port Charles), former secret agents of the crown, are back in Britain after a protracted stay in the Americas, in which they avoided the Big Brother regime back home. As before, Moore plays fast (but not loose) with British historical fiction and pop culture, and references in this one include James Bond, The Avengers, Woolf¿s Orlando, Orwell¿s 1984, Wodehouse¿s Jeeves and Wooster series, and more. Murray and Quatermain seek the black dossier of the title, which fills them (and the reader) in on what they and their colleagues like Fanny Hill and Orlando, have purportedly been up to for literally ages.In what I found an unfortunate choice, the dossier is included in its entirety, albeit in chunks that alternate with Murray and her beau getting chased, beat up and shot at all over England and its environs. The dossier material is often in single spaced small type and while illustrated, it¿s not really in comic-book format as is the main story. I found the frequent switches in narrative disruptive, distracting, and worse, unnecessary. I didn¿t need six pages of the adventures of Fanny Hill, eighteen on Orlando, three by Bertie Wooster, or five by a Kerouac-ian beat poet. I wished many times that Moore and his editors had chosen instead to excerpt the dossier. Small doses of the fictional history would have worked as well, or even better. Then the book could have had a ¿director¿s cut¿ that included all of Moore¿s back matter for those, unlike me, who want it. Shorter excerpts would have gotten the same info across, still been as clever, given the reader more credit, plus not exhausted, annoyed and sometimes bored this one.
rores28 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A book (much like Moby Dick) that was better in retrospect than during the actual reading. Many of the inserts are entertaining and mentally mastubatory, and certainly they show off Moore's erudition and mediocre virtuosity, but at the same time many are overwrought and over long and lose their charm about half-way through. The Wooster insert was excellent, and the Sal Paradyse was hilarious but only for the first few pages after which I wanted to rip the pages out and urinate on them. This boredom and frustration will be magnified to the point of intolerable if you haven't read the works that Moore is referencing, as most of the pleasure is to be gained from the hint hint nudge nudge inside jokery that pervades the book.*Spoiler*The undergirding story arc is relatively unispired and I found myself not in the least bit emotionally invested with the characters. The saving grace is the meta-fictive philosophizing that takes place in the volume's final pages which encapsulates the ehtos of the whole series.**Spoiler Over**The other saving grace is that the manner in which the graphic novel medium is manipulated is tremendously innovative and thematically relevant to the text itself. Reading this book I would have given it 3 stars, upon reflection I give it 4.
Cynara on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Having devoured the first and second League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books, I looked forward to this one hungrily for a year. Perhaps I looked forward to it too much; the antique pop culture references used to be gleeful, and generally supported the humour and characterisation; now, they've become long stretches of impenetrable text and they just get in the way. We scarcely glimpse Mina and Alan as we leap from Lovecraft to Beat, from Wodehouse to Fanny Hill. The young Alan, especially, suffers from this. Except for one good line in the James Bond scene, he's really not given anything to do that reveals his Alan-ness; what is life like for him? What makes him more than a blonde square-jawed action hero? We don't know, and I was looking forward to finding out. Actually, I enjoyed the Fanny Hill with the Beardsley-inspired art, the Wodehouse-Lovecraft pastiche was a laugh (although done before), and I loved the Pornsec Tijuana bible. I don't condemn Moore for the inside jokes - it's the author's right to do that, even if it does limit the audience - but as someone who was in on it, I didn't find it served the story. It reminded me of the long stretches of Promethea where we trudged through the whole Tarot deck. The art was absolutely transcendent, and sometimes the wonderful characters survived the paragraphs of occult exposition, but often as not it felt forced and dry. Maybe I'm missing the point. Maybe someone else can read the whole Beat pastiche without their eyes glazing over. Maybe if I hadn't come to it wanting to know more about Mina and Alan, I would have enjoyed it more. I still think Moore's brilliant, and not everything he does has to be to my taste.
slothman on LibraryThing 7 months ago
In the first two tales of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Alan Moore gave us delightful steampunk tales featuring characters drawn from the literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In his new creation, he gives us the back story of his alternate universe, reaching back to the Iliad and the Book of Enoch and forward to the tales of Ian Fleming and George Orwell.Moore's tale is set in 1958, with Wilhelmina Murray and Allan Quatermain searching out the Black Dossier documenting the history of the various incarnations of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, dating back to their original incarnation under Queen Gloriana I (an alternate Elizabeth) through their adventures after the Martian invasion, The tales take a number of forms, from a fragment of a lost Shakespeare play to a classic newspaper serial to a chapter from a beatnik novel. (The tale of Bertie Wooster encountering the horrors of the Cthulhu mythos had me laughing out loud.)This kind of writing shows the essential absurdity of segregating science fiction and fantasy from classic literature. We've always had these tales of fantastic heroism; you could teach a great literature course by covering all the tales that surface in the League books and John Myers Myers¿ Silverlock.Warning for parents who might use this as bait to get their kids interested in the classics: real classic literature is often bawdy and explicit, and Moore doesn't shy away from this. If you don't want your kids reading Fanny Hill just yet, save this book until later.
HokieGeek on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Boring and full of gimmicks. Not Moore's best work.
tiamatq on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I'm still not quite sure what to make of Black Dossier. I'm happy to see more LoEG, and pleased that where the comic is interrupted with diaries, books, and travel guides, these are not the same somewhat-dull walls of text that rounded out volume two. The majority of them are fascinating and entertaining, and bring much more life to the League's history than vol. 2 did. My favorite was the recounting of how Mina got Nemo to agree to joining the League.However, I'm missing the old league members (Nemo and Hyde seemed so much more interesting than Allan and sometimes even Mina). It also feels like we've missed out on so many amazing adventures, which we get to hear about secondhand through the diaries, comics, and book-segments. Moreover, I was not in love with the plot. Allan and Mina basically steal the Black Dossier, a series of documents that outline the history of the League and the generations who have served in it (before and after Mina's League). What follows is a long chase story that involves James Bond, Bulldog Drummond, and the remnants of an Orwellian government. For a series that can be so smart, this plot seemed rather blah - I felt like this was mostly an excuse to give us League history and less about Mina and Allan's latest adventure.If you've read all of vol. 1 and 2, there are lots of references and visuals that you will get, and be pleased that you get them... just expect to spend a lot of time poring over the book. While this volume has skads of references to other literature and films, it's become just as much a self-referential piece. The artwork is, as always, amazing. And that brings me to another thing... expect lots of sex and nudity. But shouldn't you expect that from any work that includes a Tijuana Bible? Particularly an Orwell-inspired one? The 3-D section worked surprisingly well.
rameau on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Basically this is the special features DVD for the League of Extraordinary Gentleman series. So some fun stuff, especially Jeeves vs. Cthulhu. This is nerddom at its most high church (Lucian of Samosta, anyone?). The frame story makes no sense at all, since as far as I can tell Mina, Allan et al. had no need to steal the dossier
aethercowboy on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Moore returns with another chapter in his Grand Unified Theory of Literature, this time taking Mina and Allan through the post-Big Brother fifties and the psychedelic sixties.Mina and Allan, now fugitives from the government are working to evade the pursuits of special agents Drummond, Jimmy Bond, and Emma Knight (later to be married to one Mr. Peel). Miraculously youthful, they've managed to procure the Black Dossier, which has chronicled League activity since time immemorial.The Dossier jumps from one format to the next, each selecting the most appropriate media for its respective message, showing the forming of the Original League, Prospero's Men, as a lost Shakesperian folio (complete with Queen Gloriana!), and Mina and Allan's journeys with Doctor Sacks written as if by a certain beatnik.Other chapters include a sequel to Fanny Hill, featuring her forays into the League alongside Gulliver, Dr. Syn, and the Scarlet Pimpernel & wife; a comic detailing the life of Orlando; a 1984-inspired Tijuana bible; several postcards from the League's travels; as well as a meet-up of Jeeves and Wooster and the Elder Gods.While disjointed, this book is a must for those hungry for any scrap more of League they can get. Likewise, the regular narrative, in good, old-fashioned comic book form, drives the central league plot. While you could get by with just reading the comic parts, you'd be better off reading the whole book (and the Jess Nevins' analysis book) so you can fully appreciate the world that Moore has crafted using the bricks and mortars of entertainers before him.
saroz on LibraryThing 7 months ago
There's two major strikes against The Black Dossier, and neither of them has anything to do with the contents of the book. The first, of course, is that we've been waiting years for this - five years, for many, just to see any new LoEG work; two years since the Dossier itself was announced. Expectations therefore peaked at a high, and that never bodes well for something as unusual and experimental as this.The second is that this really should have been the final volume of LoEG. But more on that in a minute.Basically, the book has a very thin plot, something any decent reader will notice after just a cursory flip through the pages. It's the almanac section from Volume II writ large - documents, postcards, letters, "extracts" and other errata chronicling the centuries-spanning LoEG's history, built to engage you more as a puzzle than a narrative, with the occasional bone thrown out in the comics framing story. Fortunately, the Almanac was probably my favorite part of Volume II, so I enjoyed the game - although I was aware that, in simply telling us so much about his creation, Moore is basically robbing us of the potential for those stories in the future. We will never see the battle of Mina Murray's League against their French counterparts, nor the failed replacement League of the post-WWII years, nor the formation of Prospero's Men. It's all here - in prose form. Moore is both flexing the comics medium to its full potential and withholding its more traditional use. Fascinating, but ever so slightly disappointing.That's why this really should have been the last story of the LoEG to be published (as I expect it still will be, 'chronologically'). With the foreknowledge that Volume III arrives from Top Shelf in a year, this is less a goodbye to the League and more just a goodbye to the League...at DC Comics. Fair enough, but there are some real meditations here on the changing nature of literary heroes - and, later, on fiction itself - which are going to be completely overlooked because a lot of readers, having been surprised and intimidated by the Black Dossier, will simply put it aside and wait for Volume III without ever giving it a second glance.I definitely enjoyed The Black Dossier. It wasn't quite what I expected when it was first announced two years ago, but by the time descriptions started to leak online, I suspected something less about one narrative story and more about the act of storytelling. That's pretty much what I got. It's not a total home run - I'll have trouble recommending it to friends, and Moore's casual sexualizing of characters still (and always has) makes me vaguely uncomfortable - but it's overall good stuff, and I'll be holding on to my copy for sure.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
At times the series gets a little confusing, one too many characters and well a little weird. But at the same time, the art is at least good.
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