In 1963, Alan Moore was 10 years old. By 1993, he had become a legend in the comic industry, thanks to his subversive work on DC’s Swamp Thing and his highly original and inflammatory titles, V For Vendetta and Watchmen.
He had also become thoroughly disenchanted with his employer, DC Comics, and with the comic-book world as a whole. He feared that his influence would amount to nothing more than a general increase in violence and coarseness in what used to be a medium intended primarily for children.
To atone for what he considered to be his “crimes” against the superheroic sphere, Moore reached back to his pre-teen days and distilled his memories of the Marvel Bullpen into this charming, funny miniseries. It’s light and frothy, and full of in-jokes for any fellow fogies who might remember the days when comics sold for less than a quarter.
Every issue of 1963 bears a different title emblazoned across the cover (Mystery Incorporated, Tales of the Uncanny, etc.), but it’s all a ruse. The real title sits in the upper left corner, superimposed over Image Comics’ lowercase “i”. The characters are blatant and direct ripoffs of Marvel heroes from back in the day, and the panels are filled with footnotes to inform readers of which issues they have to pick up to get the all-important backstory on Horus’ battle with The Fury … or whatever.
There are fake letters to the editor and fake ads on the back cover (“Shamed By You English?”) and lots of Moore’s friends along for the ride (Roarin’ Rick Veitch! Dashin’ Dave Gibbons!) It’s all a tremendous hoot, and might even be considered a dry run for his ABC America’s Best Comics) titles, which debuted in 1999.
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