League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

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I have been a fan of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics (or “graphic novel,” if you want to use that) for some time now. It basically puts various Victorian-era literary characters together on a “crime-fighting team” that goes around saving the world. It basically ends up being a sort of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells style adventure–and I am a sucker for this kind of thing.

The graphic novel is packed with literary references. Not only are the characters from books of the era (Miss MinaMurray/Harker from “Dracula,” Allan Quartermain from “King Solomon's Mines” and various other pulp-y books of the era, Captain Nemo from “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” Hawley Griffin from “The Invisible Man” and Dr. Jekyll from “Jekyll and Hyde.” The graphic novel keeps the characters true to form. Captain Nemo is really from India and not a white guy with a british accent, who commonly gets mistaken for a servant. Mina Harker is the leader, but everyone starts out being prejudice against her because of that fact.

The other great thing about the graphic novel is the sheer number of literary references. There are generally anywhere between 2 and 20 references per page! In fact, there are so many references, some extremely obscure, that somebody compiled a notes site that goes through each comic, page by page, compiling together the references.

Now, we come to movie. I was originally very excited about a movie release, but the more I see, the more worried I get. First, I have to say “American Special Agent Tom Sawyer.” Huh? Next, there is the car. Nemo managed to piece together an extraordinary submersible after years of British schooling. He is conscious of the environment and the oppression of his people and uses his skill to further these causes. In this, he seems reduced to “the weapons guy.” And where did the car come from? Did Nemo invent this? Dorian Grey was also never in the stories. Every trailer gives the appearance that Allan Quartermain (Sean Connery) is the leader. In the story, Mina is the leader (with all the prejudice), and Quartermain is past his prime–a has-been adventurer, now an opium fiend unsure of his abilities.

It is either going to be a really good cult classic or it is going to suck donkey cock. I am going in with low expectations, and maybe I will be surprised.

Posted in: Books Movies

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