Dossier: Alan Moore

Name: Alan Moore

...Creepy...

Age: 59

Job: Writer

Debut: 2000 A.D., Captain Britain

Notable Work: V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Saga of the Swamp Thing, Batman: The Killing Joke, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Bio:

Alan Moore was born in Northhampton, England to a brewery worker and printer. In his late teens, he was expelled from school, and was not accepted by any other school. So, unemployed, and under educated, Moore began working for “Embryo,” an underground magazine the he published with his friends. By 1979, his magazine experience carried him to “Sounds,” a weekly music magazine where he published a story called “Roscoe Moscow” under a pen name. In 1982, Moore found success working for a company called “Warrior.” The monthly magazine published two of Moore’s stories as strips in its magazine. The two were “Miracleman” and “V for Vendetta.” These remain two of Moore’s most popular comics, because they most embody his signature style.

Moore hit the mainstream hard via DC’s comic “Saga of the Swamp Thing.” Through Swamp Thing, Moore revived many of DC’s forgotten or neglected supernatural characters, like the Spectre, and Deadman, and also introduced John Constantine, protagonist of the series Hellblazer (And unfortunate victim of Keanu Reeves). Moore has also done some of the most popular arcs for DC’s mainstays Superman and Batman (“For the Man Who Has Everything,” “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow,” and “The Killing Joke”). For those of you who are new to comics, “The Killing Joke,” along with Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One” have left a permanent mark on the Dark Knight Detective, redefining the character forever.

In 1986, DC passed some odd characters to Moore’s creative desk. The characters, including the Blue Beetle and The Question, were acquired when DC purchased Charlton Comics. Moore used the characters to create the Watchmen, a favorite of many of Moore’s fans and often considered his most signature work.

In the late 80’s Moore left DC to open an independent publishing company with his wife, and their mutual girlfriend. The company, named Mad Love, was used to tackle more taboo issues. It was from here that Moore published “From Hell” which became the first of his work to be adapted to film. The comic follows the investigation into the brutal “Jack the Ripper” slayings. Mad Love tackled the taboo in another way as well. The company’s first published work was an anthology titled “AARGH” or “Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia.” Unfortunately, Mad Love folded in 1990.

After some work for Image, Jim Lee offered Moore his own imprint, which led to “America’s Best Comics.” Under ABC, Moore created both the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Promethea, among other titles.

In his personal life, Alan Moore is a practicing ceremonial magician who worships the snake deity Glycon. He also practices the Kabballah and Tarot, and is an outspoken anarchist. Alan Moore is weird.

Mogo The Living Planet

Name: Mogo, The Living Planet

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Approximate Age: Eons old

Height: Planet sized

Weight: Equally Planet Sized

Approximate Lifting Strength: N/a

Powers and Abilities: Sentience, Planetary control, Green Lantern Ring

Created By: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Publisher: DC

Debut: Green Lantern Vol. 2 #188

Portrayed on Screen By: various cartoon planets

Fan Casting: James Earl Jones (Voice)

Bio:

Mogo is a blue, earth like planet with a band of green vegetation around its center. The vegetation forms the pattern of a Green Lantern ring, showing his status as a corps member. Mogo is by far the largest Green Lantern member. The living planetoid often serves as training ground and rest spot for various members of the green lantern corps. Mogo also has another important role. It is his (Its?) job to control the distribution of Green Lantern rings to each space sector. Mogo’s first appearance was in a green lantern arc titles “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize.” Mogo often prefers to appear via hologram, rather than in person, as his gravitational field would wreak havoc on any other planet. Therefore, Mogo prefers not to “socialize.” Mogo is the only sentient planet known to exist, although Ranx The Sentient City is comparable. Abin Sur has also prophesied that Mogo will be the last of the Green Lanterns, his destruction will seal the fate of the corps forever.

Dossier: Spawn

Name: Al SimmonsSpawn

Approximate Age: Late 30’s early 40’s

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 234

Approximate Lifting Strength: Average building

Powers and Abilities: symbiotic suit, manipulation of Necroplasm, Military training, Firearms proficiency, various other Divine and Infernal powers.

Created By: Todd McFarlane

Publisher: Image

Debut: Spawn 1, (May 1992)

Portrayed on Screen By: Michael Jai White

Fan Casting: Idris Elba, Michael Jai White

Bio:
Al Simmons, agent of the CIA, began to question his superiors and because of this, he was killed by Jason Wynn (his boss) and Chapel (his friend). Simmons’s death was only the beginning, however. His soul was sent to Hell, and Al made a deal with Malebolgia so that he could return to earth and see his wife again. Malebolgia agreed to the bargain, but returned Simmons to earth with no memory of his former life. Instead, Al discovered that he was now clad in a symbiotic suit and could wield the power of Hell. While discovering his new abilities, and piecing together his old memories, the newly dubbed “Spawn” encountered the demon known as Violator, a small clown like creature. Spawn’s early battles represented his anti-hero attitude, fighting pedophiles, mob men, and other criminals. Later, he would encounter Angela, an angel (very creative) who hunted Spawns for sport. This was his first encounter with the forces of Heaven. Spawn would go on to fight in the apocalypse (cool) and team up with Batman (more cool). Spawn has also gained and lost more powers than Superman has even considered having. Spawn is, overall, a very awesome character.

      Todd McFarlane, however, is not. Back in the real world, Todd McFarlane has been involved in several legal disputes over Spawn and Spawn-related characters. In 2002, McFarlane was involved in a suit over the rights to Cogliostro, Angela, and Medieval Spawn, characters co-created by author Niel Gaiman. The lawsuit came about when McFarlane stopped paying royalties to Gaiman, denying him and rights as co-creator. This was followed by a 2004 verdict against McFarlane for using hockey player Tony Twist’s name and likeness in the creation of McFarlane’s mob boss Tony Twist. McFarlane is also involved in a suit with former friend Al Simmons (Sound familiar?) over his new book “The Art of Being Spawn.”

Dossier: The Shadow

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Name: Lamont Cranston, Kent Allard, The Shadow

Approximate Age: Best Guess, mid to late 30’s

Height: Unknown

Weight: Unknown

Approximate Lifting Strength: Average to above average

Powers and Abilities: In Print: skilled marksman and martial artist, master of disguise and stealth. In Radio and Film: Near invisibility, ability to alter or control thoughts

Created By: Walter B. Gibson

Publisher: Street & Smith, Conde Nast, Dynamite Comics, DC, various others

Debut: The Living Shadow (April 1, 1931)

Portrayed on Screen By: Rod La Rocque, Victor Jory, Kane Richmond, Alec Baldwin

Fan Casting: Baldwin did a surprisingly good job. Alan Rickman would also work

Bio:
“Who knows what evil lurks within the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” The tag-line from the old radio show rang true, as it should have. Kent Allard was a flying ace in WWI (Or just The War, as I imagine it was known then). After the war ended, Allard grew restless and decided to seek a new challenge. He faked his death in the jungles of South America, and used the opportunity to return to the United States and start a war on New York City’s criminal population. Allard adopts a number of different identities to wage this war, including Lamont Cranston (wealthy young man about town). In the pulp magazines, Cranston is a separate character, and has met the Shadow a number of times. In order to use Cranston’s persona, the Shadow tells him that he is prepared to have the signatures changed on a number of important documents, so that he can take over the Lamont Cranston persona permanently. In their future meetings, Cranston is more cooperative, and the two often use their similar likeness to swap places. For the first seven years of the Shadow’s pulp run, his true identity was unknown, while in the original radio program, the Shadow was only Lamont Cranston (Allard was dropped for the sake of plot simplicity).

In addition to his various personas, The Shadow has a network of spys, informants, and other agents who assist his war on crime. The most famous of these are Margo Lane, a wealthy socialite who was created for the radio drama and later added to the pulp series, and Detective Joe Cardona, a police detective who operated much like Commissioner James Gordon did for Batman.

Over the years, The Shadow property has been owned by a number of comic companies, most notably DC Comics. DC has has several semi-successful comic series involving the Shadow, but none stuck around for very long. The Shadow has also appeared in other DC Publications, especially, Batman. In issue 253, Batman teams up with an aging Shadow, who he claims was part of the inspiration for his life as Batman. In Issue 259, they meet again, and it is revealed that the Shadow once saved the life of young Bruce Wayne. Currently, the Shadow is liscensed to Dynamite comics and appears in his own on-going series, as well as in the Alex Ross series Masks.  Go pick it up.

Dossier: Alex Ross (Painter)

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Name: Nelson Alexander Ross (Alex Ross)

Age: 42

Job:Painter, Illustrator

Debut: Terminator: Burning Earth (1990, Now Comics)

Notable Work: Kingdom Come, Masks, Justice, Avengers/Invaders, Marvels, re-designs of X-Men and Spider-Man costumes, various promotional artwork (including posters for the Oscars and the covers for two Anthrax albums)

Bio:

Alex Ross was born in Portland, Oregon and raised in Lubbock, Texas. Ross grew up in an artistic environment, as his mother was a commercial artist and his grandfather loved drawing and inventing working wooden toys. Ross discovered superheroes at a young age, when he first say Spider-Man on an episode of the Electric Company. By 12, he was copying George Perez (Crisis on Infinite Earths, New Teen Titans) and Berni Wrightson (Swamp Thing). At 16, he discovered Norman Rockwell and decided “I want to see that in a comic book.”

Unsatisfied with basing his artistic style on the work of others, Ross left for Chicago at 17 to attend the American Academy of Art. It was there that Ross decided to combine his painting studies with his study of comic art. Ross’s first major comic work was 1993’s Marvels. The comic presented the Marvel superheroes from the point of view of an average man. The hyper-realistic attitude was perfect for Ross’s painted art style. Marvels earned Ross a rabid fan base. The fans appreciated the care he took in painting each character, showing what is often described as an affection for his work. “I do the gigs I do because I care about the material,” he says on his web site, “In some cases, It is because I like the character. In some cases, I have a vision in my head of something I must do.”

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Alex Ross is a brilliant artist and he shows a striking passion for his work. Its this attitude toward his work that attracts his fans, and makes even his variant covers incredibly sought after. That being said, if you buy an Alex Ross comic simply to bag and hoard, you are a fool. Ross’s work must be experienced to be appreciated. His characters seem to jump off the page with life, and each face shows the emotion of the scene. Over the years, Ross has more than earned the praise he has gotten, and will continue to receive for the length of his career.

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Dossier: Darkseid

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Name: Darkseid, Prince Uxas of Apokalypse

Approximate Age: Unknown

Height: 8’9”

Weight: 1815lbs

Approximate Lifting Strength: Comparable to Superman in physical strength

Powers and Abilities: Strength, Endurance, Immortality, Invulnerability, Omega Beams, Genius Level Intellect

Created By: Jack Kirby

Publisher: DC Comics

Debut: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 (1970) (Silver/Bronze Age)

Portrayed on Screen By: Various (Voice Only)

Fan Casting: Terry Crews maybe, James Earl Jones (Voice Only)

Bio:

Prince Uxas, desiring to take the throne of Apokalypse, murdered his brother in an attempt to claim the Omega Force. The Force transformed Uxas into the familiar rock-like creature known as Darkseid. Darkseid led Apokalypse to war with New Genesis, a rival planet. The war nearly destroyed both planets, and ended in a covenant sealed by the exchange of sons. Orion, one of Darkseid’s two sons was sent to New Genesis to be raised by the Highfather, while Scott Free (Later known as Mister Miracle) was sent to be raised by Darkseid. Though Scott Free and Orion both grew to oppose Darkseid, the god of evil is not without champions. Kaliban, Darkseid’s first born son, Desaad his evil adviser, Granny Goodness, captain of his personal guard, and Glorious Godfrey with the power of mind control, all follow Darkseid’s orders to the letter. Darkseid also backs the earth-based Intergang, which uses Apokalyptan technology to run organized crime.

Darkseid’s ultimate goal is to reshape all life in his own image, under his rule. He plans to achieve this through understanding of the Anti-Lie Equation, a mysterious formula which gives the user complete control over the thoughts and actions of all living beings in the universe. Darkseid finally accomplishes his goal by the time of the Final Crisis. He is killed by his son Orion before any damage can be done, however, his life force lives on. The life force is sent back in time where he becomes “Boss Darkseid,” and uses the anti-life equation to spread his influence across the multiverse. Eventually, Darkseid faces off with Batman. Batman near-fatally wounds Darkseid, while Darkseid “kills” batman by sending him back into the time stream. Then some more confusing shit happens, resulting in Darkseid’s essence being separated from his host body. Superman then vibrates Darkseid to death, which seams a lot more anti-climactic than it actually is…probably…

The long and short of it is this, Jack Kirby created Darkseid to be the embodiment of pure evil, and he did a damn good job of it. He seeks to wipe out free thought and put everyone under his control. He is most known for clashing with Superman, and is probably most represents the opposite of everything that Superman stands for. The living god of evil has appeared in numerous DC series, and is rumored to be the major villain in the upcoming Justice League movie.

Dossier: Kevin Smith (Writer)

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Name: Kevin Smith

Age: 42

Job: Director/Screenwriter/Actor/Producer/Author/Etc.

Debut: Clerks (Debut Movie), Oni Double Feature #1 (Walt Flanagan Short) Clerks comic series

Notable work: View Askew Movies, Guardian Devil (Daredevil run), Quiver (Green Arrow run), Cacophony and the Widening Gyre (Batman)

Bio:

In 1994, a young Kevin Smith sold his comic book collection to finance his first movie. Smith filmed “Clerks” on a reported budget of around $28,000 using the store where he worked. “Clerks” went on to win at Sundance and Cannes, earning it distribution from Mirimax, and putting Kevin Smith down in the record books as a cult film icon. Smith’s View Askew productions released a number of other beloved movies set in the clerks universe, as well as films like “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” and “Jersey Girl.”

Now that the film stuff is out of the way, I can talk about Kevin Smith’s comics. Smith’s first full series was Clerks, based off his popular movie series. After that, his first foray into superhero comics was an 8 issue arc for the Marvel Knights version of Daredevil. The Marvel Knights label was designed to boil characters down to their cores and force readers to re-evaluate what they know about them. It is also a place for self-contained stories where top-talent writers can work without restraint. This in itself says a lot about how Smith is now perceived in the comic book community. On the DC side of things, Smith has to his credit a 15 issue run with Green Arrow, the first ten of which are part of the “Quiver” arc. Quiver explores the rebirth of Green Arrow, and the creation of a new “Speedy” character in Mia Deardon, whom Ollie rescues from the streets of Star City. It also features the creation of a new villain Onomatopoeia, who is as hard to spell as he is unusual. Onomatopoeia is a villain that focuses mostly on unpowered heroes, brutally hunting and killing them. He earns his nom de guerre by saying the sounds that are happening around him. This character goes on to appear in Batman: “Cacophony”, another Smith venture. “Cacophony” focuses on the interesting psychological interplay between Batman and the Joker. “Cacophony”, and its sequel “The Widening Gyre,” are Smith’s masterwork to this date, causing IGN to compare him to writing great Grant Morrison. Smith had also written for the “Green Hornet” and “The Bionic Man” for Dynamite comics (which I have yet to read).

Kevin Smith also owns and operates “Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash” in his home town or Redbank, New Jersey. The Stash is featured on AMC’s Comic Book Men (which I am watching as I write this). The store is managed by Smith’s long time friend Walt Flanagan, the artist for “Cacophony” and “Widening Gyre.”

Smith happens to be one of my favorite writers of both film and comics. To those who have never read his work, I highly recommend “Cacophony” because of its intricate storyline. A third part of the Cacophony/Widening Gyre series has been announced for release in 2013.

Favorite Storyline: Quiver