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The titmouser's incredible concept library

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  • The titmouser's incredible concept library

    At the risk of boring everyone stone dead...

    I re-read Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen again not long ago. For those of you who don't know it, it takes place in a Victorian world where all the fictional characters of Rider Haggard, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and quite a few others coexist - so Mina Murray, Allan Quartermain, the Invisible Man, Doctor Jekyll and Captain Nemo team up to combat the wiles of the insidious Fu Manchu... that sort of thing.

    Well, after reading it the first time it had me re-reading a few Lovecraft stories and reading King Solomon's Mines for the first time. And now, having read The First Men on the Moon and Doctor Syn (a forgotten classic by Russell Thorndyke about smugglers in Kent in the Eighteenth Century and it's a crime that it's consigned to one cottage publisher in the UK), I've hit upon somehting of a wheeze - a personal concept library collecting the authors mentioned in the comic. Iain Sinclair had a similar idea for an alphabet library from A by Louis Zukofsky (whoever he was) through the Story of O, to Z, the novelisation of a Costa-Gavras film - it must be some affliction that happens to people who work with books all day...

    Anyway, I'm quite pleased with what I've got so far, particularly since I've started with the obscurer ones. Doctor Syn only occurs in a painting on a wall, the only references to The First Men on the Moon are a brief appearance by Professor Cavor and no few alarms and excursions concerning the theft of his discovery, an anti-gravitational mineral called Cavorite.... oh, and I got my hands on a couple of Edgar rice Burroughs' Barsoomian novels (out of print in the UK) - his John Carter is in a couple of panels somewhere in Volume 2.

    I've had Sherlock Holmes, Dracula and Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde for years; there's also 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, any of the Fu Manchu books; and the Artful Dodger makes a cameo somewhere so I suppose I'd better get myself a copy of Oliver Twist. Who else? Shit, there's Hawkeye, so I need the Last of the Mohicans, Gulliver's Travels, a piece of Victorian erotica called Sublime of Flagellation, (wonder if that's still in print?)...

    ... Well, I don't insist on getting every last book Moore refers to, but Doctor Syn and A Princess of Mars were well worth going out my way to get hold of. Has anyone read any of the Fu Manchu books, and if so can they recommend any? There's an awful lot of 'em.

    Do any other members of the Multiverse have any similar ideas? I think I'm going to theme my library from now on to make it more of a conversation point with friends, family and admirers.

  • #2
    And after you've done the main comic, there is everything referred to in the League's guide to the world at the back, which provided me with hours of enjoyment character spotting, and even more puzzlement over the sources I couldn't get.