Saturday, December 31, 2011
The End Of 1963!
Image Comics during the 90's produced some pretty interesting comic books. They also produced quite a lot of really terrible comic books. Among the pretty good stuff was the offbeat retro series 1963 which harkened back to the heyday of the Marvel Bullpen and by means of old-fashioned but self-aware stories spoke to the reader through the code of fandom. There were not only great little stories, but also ads and text pieces which attempted to further the illusion of time-displaced comics. Here's a link to see some of the great bogus ads they dreamed up.
Now it seems after nearly twenty years that the frustrating 1963 project is finally and utterly at an end. Apparently Alan Moore disavowed the project after it fell on hard times before its completion. Through some missteps with production and internecine politics at Image, the project was stopped one 80-page giant before its final conclusion. It never got that ending and seeing that completion became one of the curiosities of the Image age.
The characters have only turned up one other time, in a crossover with Big Bang comics characters. Other than that effort by Jim Valentino, the Tomorrow Syndicate has been all but silent for nearly twenty years. Attempts to get the 1963 characters back in print were called off finally a few days ago at Stephen Bissette's blog. Here's what he says:
"For what it’s worth and not worth, 1963 will never be legally reprinted in any language in our lifetimes."
Bissette is pretty mum on the specifics, but it's clear that the idiosyncratic nature of Alan Moore is to blame. Moore has for many years now been just a cantankerous crank, and given what we've seen from the likes of Frank Miller and John Byrne in recent times, this turn of personality seems to be all too common in creators of the 80's. Maybe there was some chemical in Mando paper.
Because of the complicated nature of the ownership of the characters, no one creator seems able to work with all of them at a time. This makes any single creator able to trump any combination of the others. Creator control is a great thing in comics, but it does seem it has its ironies. The fate of the 1963 project is certainly one of them, an irony at least as rich as those within the series itself.