Okay, so as the world has just noticed, in LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: Century 2009 we finally see Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neil’s multiverse-spanning pop culture adventure reach the current day (or close to it) and since the current day isn’t in the public domain, there’s good old-fashioned satire in the tradition of about 8000 previous books. The Independent’s Laura Sneddon has the lowdown:
What then of the potential controversy? When dealing with references to other fictional works, albeit in the guise of parody and gentle repurposing, there are certain points on the fictional compass that lend themselves more easily to screaming headlines. The prophesying Andrew Norton, Prisoner of London, warned in 1910 of, “a quarter platform over, the franchise express, gathering steam.” At no point does Moore use the words “Harry” or “Potter”, but a magical train hidden between platforms at King’s Cross station, leading to a magical school where there are flashbacks of psychotic adolescent rage and whimpering children pleading for their life, all strewn with molten corpses, does rather suggest a link to the Boy Who Lived. A hidden scar and a mentor named Riddle, though possessed as he is by the real villain, completes the picture.
Okay as headlines have been proclaiming “Harry Potter is the Antichrist,” at least in the allegorical sense. Now before everyone gets up in the false equivalencies dudgeon, this is not the same as BEFORE WATCHMEN. JK Rowling has not gone on record as asking Moore not to do it. It’s a parody/literary pastiche of the kind that has been done since the dawn of the novel. And sure, you can say it’s in bad taste or whatever but it is not the same thing as jerking around your best writer for 25 years.
As soon as DC does a Harry Potter comic while JK Rowling stands on the sidelines complaining, we’ll talk.
Whatever you think of that aspect of LOEG CENTURY 2009, it is NOT the first time Moore has messed with Harry Potter—or in this case. Harold Potter. As we’ve noted in the past, in LOST GIRLS, the erotic comic by Moore and Melinda Gebbie, the grown Wendy’s husband is named Harold Potter—a name chosen many, many years before Rowling had thought up the boy who lived in her post-divorce haze. Harold Potter was present in the first version of LOST GIRLS which was published beginning in 1991.
LOST GIRLS features grown versions of Wendy Darling, Dorothy Gale, and Wonderland’s Alice meeting up in a pre-WWI hotel and having lots and lots of filthy sex together and with whatever else will join in. Potter is portrayed as a fusty middle-class man who has a joyless post-Victorian marriage with Wendy.
This proves that if anything Alan Moore definitely has tapped into the mysterious slurry of literary zeitgeist (a theme somewhat dealt with in PROMETHEA). How? Blame it on the rain. Blame it on the a-a-alcohol. Blame it on Glycon, the snake god that Moore supposedly worships.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.