|1963 - Thoughts therein - Classic Comic Book Ads|
In many ways, November 23, 1963 was our parents September 11. The comic series "1963" is set in a world of innocence, a world that never existed. The series also asks the reader to do something special. The parody works on a deeper level than merely spoofing the origins of silver-age comic characters. In many of the adverts, closing dates and references are usually pointing to either the 22nd or 23rd of November 1963: Kennedy assassination day and a day where a great majority of pre-GenX lost their innocence. Yes, Virginia, the world is built on sand.
Alan Moore, series writer is a British born comic-writing legend. Countless words would have been written about the man and you'll be able to find these on the net if you're interested in learning more.
On the surface, we have parodies of the Fantastic Four, Captain America, Thor, Spiderman, Dr Strange, the Incredible Hulk and the Avengers. These are the atypical marvel characters that led to the rebirth of comics (and specifically Superhero comics) in the 1960s. The other major company is DC comics. Their archetype are of course Superman, Batman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman.
The reason the marvel characters are chosen is because the first subtextual parody is that of the rise of its publisher, Image Comics. Image comics was founded by the top artists of Marvel in 1991, who all left their respective name books to work on their own, creator designed and more importantly, creator owned creations.
The biggest and most successful was Todd MacFarlane, moving from his red-hot Spiderman title to Spawn, perhaps the single most important comic character in the past 25 years. The others, Jim Lee (X-Men to WildC.A.T.S), Marc Silvestri (Wolverine/X-Books - Cyberforce), Eric Larson (another Spider-title to the Savage Dragon), Jim Valentino (respected more for his indie work than the mainstream marvel titles) had less success than Todd whilst the other , Rob Liefeld had perhaps the most successful time out on his own, starting a title (Youngblood) then a brand (Extreme), putting out a ton of number 1s (good for sales) and generally failing to produce subsequent issues on time.
The Image founders in turn brought in their friends and others in the industry to add titles to their amazingly large lineup. Names such as Jae Lee, Sam Kieth, Dale Giffen, Larry Stroman , Dale Keown would come to image with Sam Kieth producing the most prolific series with 'The Maxx'. (I was able to interview Sam Kieth a couple of years ago - The other day I interviewed Sam Kieth).
The first Alan Moore contribution many have been with Rob Liefeld's "Supreme" (a Superman rip-off at first) or his work on Spawn, but the first series was "1963". It's characters were to be the original characters in the Image Universe (before the rise of the new heroes) and seeing that so many of the image characters were adapted from existing Marvel characters, thus the earliest characters were too.
At the beginning of this section of indevelopment I thought I could do the work over a few days and weeks. The further I get into the subject I realise the more I want to explore the subject, so over the coming months I'm going to do a full unpacking of the six books, starting with Mystery Incorporated: this alternate universe's Fantastic Four in Mid June.
1963 Published by Image Comics. Art and character copyright is attributed to Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, Rick Veitch with further copyrights for Dave Gibbons, John Totleben, Chester Brown, Don Simpson and Jim Valentino.
Art used for archival reasons.