Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Read September 2005

I wasn't terribly impressed by Pixar's movie The Incredibles, but I did find its premise—of retired super-heroes making a creaky comeback—excellent. I was surprised and delighted to discover that this theme was not only not original, it had been executed with far greater skill, and much more darkly, over fifteen years earlier in this book.

Moore's and Gibbons's book has almost all the depth and character development of a very good novel. The characters overcome the typecasting of their super-hero roles, especially as their lives acquire the depth of love, tragedy, jealousy, tranquility and rape. While the comic medium slightly taints the process, it also significantly enhances it: the visual material is absolutely top-drawer, starting with an opening page of absolute genius. The story has a dated feel—a little too much Reagan-era ``stop the nukes'' to it—and could have possibly been even better without a seemingly gratuitous sci-fi element. But these are small complaints.

I can't say as the book compelled me to read something else in the same medium; if anything, the execution here made me realize just how hard the medium is, and why most other works would fall short of these standards. But that only adds to the genius of this novel.

Thanks to Pete Hopkins for the book, which he gave me so I may ``explore new media''.