by Alan Moore, Alan Davies, & John Totleben.
I spent a little time digging out earlier works of Alan Moore. These inter-library loans didn't disappoint.
Originally published as Marvelman by Mick Anglo, from 1954-59. Legal battles rebranded the character as Miracleman in 1985.
The opening pages reprint one of those campy early stories, involving primary-colored moralizing while flying around to punch time-travelling Nazi super-scientists.
They then continue with Alan Moore's postmodern 1980s reboot. This recasts the simplistic tales of the original period as a placating dream, fed to a captured Miracleman by his nemesis. His hokey origins story is similarly re-ploughed. The ensuing tales are dark and introspective.
One thread follows the emotional stresses placed on Miracleman when incarnated as his human alter-ego, the frail and fallible half of a godlike being. He's unable to conceive a child with his wife, although Miracleman can, and succumbs to self-loathing and jealousy, culminating in a touching scene in which he climbs a mountain, leaves a forlorn monument, and changes into Miracleman one last time, never to change back.
Yes, this is more uneven than Moore's later works. Yes, it's unashamedly an underwear-on-the-outside superhero story. But nonetheless I loved it, and scenes like the above stayed with me for months.
Also this month:
The Atrocity Archive by Charles Stross. The conceit of Lovecraftian horror rationalized to a mathematical or computable topic is appealing to me, and kept the pages turning, but I didn't ultimately find it life-changing.
Nightwings by Robert Silverberg. A fantastical far-future tale of humanity split into occupational castes, guarding the world against prophesied invasion. Not my thing.