Neonomicon 4 (February 2011)

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It’s an imaginative conclusion and it’s… okay. It’s beneath Moore, sure, and I’m sorry he took such a—there’s no other word for it—fan-fic way out. But it’s okay.

It doesn’t quite make having reread The Courtyard worth it but he comes really close with it.

Moore kind of takes something one might think is completely unsuited for the graphic form and turns it into a comic book. The issue ends with talking heads and it kills the issue’s momentum. The characters explain everything in expository dialogue.

If this series were something Moore actually cared about, he’d have spent the issue a completely different way. I’m thinking about all the time he took with Promethea. He doesn’t bother (and Burrows probably couldn’t have made it look good enough—I like Burrows, but he’s got his limits and he hits them here a lot).

Neonomicon’s a nutty, decent series.

CREDITS

The Lurker Within; writer, Alan Moore; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juanmar; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

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Neonomicon 3 (October 2010)

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How delayed was this book? And it reads in three or four minutes?

Here’s where Moore’s either going to go someplace interesting or he’s going to go the Avatar place….

This issue introduces this awesome possibility for the story, totally different than where the previous issue led it. And, of course, it could all just be a red herring because it does make the reader care about the protagonist and her survival. Usually, I just assume Moore’s going to do the right thing. With Neonomicon, with an Avatar book… one he wrote for tax money… it’s not clear.

Burrows’s art goes from bad to good here. The opening few pages are just awful, then he slowly brings things around.

Moore has the opportunity to—against the odds—turn Neonomicon into something good; it’s just not clear if he cares enough to do so.

I’m upset I’ve got my hopes up.

CREDITS

The Language at the Threshold; writer, Alan Moore; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juanmar; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Neonomicon 2 (August 2010)

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Is Moore trying to prove some kind of point?

It’s a little strange seeing Jacen Burrows do an actual Moore script, by the way. I’m used to far more finished artists.

Anyway… this issue is split basically in two.

The first half is Moore doing Lovecraftian fan-fiction. It turns out Neonomicon isn’t set in Lovecraft fiction, it’s about Lovecraft’s fiction. Actually, it’s about what inspired Lovecraft.

And there’s where Moore checks out intellectually. It’s the kind of thing one might except from a far lesser writer… but it’s clear Moore’s just cashing the check and moving things along and it’s not terrible. Though it’s been decades since Moore’s written “regular” people and it’s clear he’s somewhat out of touch.

Then there’s the second half.

Umm. It’s an orgy scene with a giant monster and a lot of violence. It’s revolting, sure, but interesting as far Neonomicon’s a “mainstream” title.

CREDITS

The Shadow Out of America; writer, Alan Moore; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juanmar; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Neonomicon 1 (July 2010)

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Now, I think Moore said in an interview he did this comic to pay for some back taxes. It shows, but it’s Alan Moore writing a comic for a paycheck so it still has a good level of competency… if not imagination.

About a quarter of the issue—which is mostly dialogue, as I guess Moore didn’t want to think too hard—recaps The Courtyard. Coming seven years later, I guess it’s good Avatar reprints it all the time because it’s a direct sequel. The settings are mostly the same, the cast returns.

Moore has time for some mildly gross humor. Some of that humor succeeds and some doesn’t. He’s not really trying so Neonomicon reads a little like I imagine first draft Moore reads. Or the notes he jots on napkins.

Burrows’s art has some problems and the coloring is awful.

But it’s Moore doing Lovecraft exploitation; it’s interesting.

B- 

CREDITS

At the Mansions of Madness; writer, Alan Moore; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juanmar; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Alan Moore’s The Courtyard 2 (February 2003)

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Ah, I misremembered. I thought this issue ended with an insanely graphic scene. It doesn’t, it’s all implied… which means on the second reading (or whatever) it’s a lot less intense.

There are three or four double-page spreads here, so I guess Burrows does get to do some work. It’s good he gets to do them, even if they’re gross, because the rest of the issue is pretty boring. It’s mostly scene work, but he’s stuck with the two panels a page and it really doesn’t work for someone walking up a flight of stairs.

The Lovecraft reference—the Cthulhu name-dropping—is clearer in the end, but it comes during an early Photoshop (changing color-tones—I hope Burrows got paid for each page, even though the last three are identical illustrations) and it really doesn’t matter.

I hope Moore bought himself something nice with his Courtyard paycheck.

CREDITS

Writer, Antony Johnston; artist, Jacen Burrows; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Alan Moore’s The Courtyard 1 (January 2003)

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Not having read Alan Moore’s original short story… I have to wonder if Antony Johnston added all the racial slurs to make The Courtyard seem more “authentic.”

I’ve read the comic before (so I remember the big reveal)—I did not remember, however, the titular courtyard doesn’t even show up until the second issue—but it was probably before I’d read Moore talk about comic book writing. Besides the center spread, Jacen Burrows splits every page into two long panels. Johnston includes the text; again, whether it’s his or Moore’s is unclear.

Burrows’s artwork is good, but The Courtyard doesn’t really give him a chance to do anything. His panels are mostly static, even when he’s got an actual scene, he’s still in the same two panel format (Watchmen it ain’t).

It’s also unclear how Moore weighted the original text; the Lovecraft stuff, for example, could have been more prevalent.

CREDITS

Writer, Antony Johnston; artist, Jacen Burrows; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

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