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ALAN MOORE, CONTINUED

In the mid 1990s I was freelancing full-time, and working for a number of companies, including Rob Liefeld's Extreme Studios division of Image Comics, doing some logos for them. Rob hired Alan to revamp this character Supreme, and I was invited to letter the series. I'm not sure if Alan asked for me, but I think he might have remembered that Superman story we did together, as his take on Supreme included many of the elements of that vanished Superman era. In fact, among other things, it was an even more elaborate tribute to those old stories, with lots of retro art and lettering that I enjoyed working on a great deal, much of that with art by Rick Veitch. From the very first inside cover title, it was full of references that allowed me to revisit some of the fun styles of the 1950s through the 1970s in my lettering work. And we even were able to get some of the original creators to take part, like Jim Mooney, a long-time Supergirl artist. In fact, Superman artist emeritus Curt Swan was even scheduled to do some art for Supreme, but unfortunately he passed away before it could happen.

Supreme 40 page

Supreme 40, ©Extreme Studios, Image Comics

After a fairly long run on the book, Rob Liefeld's company ran into financial difficulties and ceased publication rather abruptly, not an uncommon occurrence during the boom and bust 1990s. I was sad to see Supreme end, and so were Alan and some of the artists we were working with. Rick Veitch, in particular, brainstormed with Alan, and they put together a proposal for a whole new line of comics that Alan would create, and write, and they shopped it around to various companies. Up until then I hadn't had any direct contact with Alan, but as Rick and he worked on this proposal, they got in touch with me, and of course I was happy to be included. The project landed at WildStorm Productions, the Jim Lee division of Image Comics, and would become America's Best Comics. I was, indeed, asked to letter the four new titles that were to launch the series, and began working directly with Alan to design the logos, covers, and the look of the line, as well as do the lettering for Tom Strong, Promethea, Top 10 and Tomorrow Stories as they began to be produced. Additional titles like Tom Strong's Terrific Tales, Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset, Smax, and Terra Obscura came later.

Promethea 1 front cover

Promethea 1 front cover, Alex Ross variant, with frame, logo, symbols and titles by me, ©America's Best Comics, LLC.

There was one fly in the ointment that turned up as we were getting underway, though. Jim Lee decided to sell WildStorm to DC Comics. This was a problem for Alan, as he had vowed never to work for DC again. Jim and editor Scott Dunbier made a trip to England to talk with Alan and see if they could come to some sort of compromise. They succeeded, with the ABC line remaining technically separate from DC, though still owned by them in fact, but allowing Alan some breathing space...usually. A few conflicts did crop up, but for a few years we were able to produce a fine body of work, some of Alan's best, I think, before conflicts with DC soured him on the line and led to his walking away from it. It was a terrific time for me, as I had the chance to develop my design skills, letter Alan's wonderful stories, and work with terrific artists like J.H. Williams III, Chris Sprouse, Gene Ha, Rick Veitch, Jim Baikie, Melinda Gebbie and many others. And I was also allowed a great deal of creative freedom by Alan and editor Scott Dunbier, which made the work all the more rewarding.

One other Alan Moore project I got involved in as a designer was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, developed separately as a creator-owned book by Alan and artist Kevin O'Neill for WildStorm, but released as part of the ABC line. League was lettered wonderfully by Bill Oakley until his death a few years ago, but I was brought in at the request of Kevin and Alan to do design work on the covers and text pages, as well as the collected editions. I was very happy to do so, as I found it another great read, and have enjoyed working with Alan and Kevin. Two volumes of six issues each were produced, and a third large book, The Black Dossier, followed. On that one I also took up the lettering reigns from Bill Oakley, who was only able to letter the first 15 pages.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 2 #2 cover

©Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

Throughout the ABC run, I spoke to Alan on the phone frequently, though an attempted get-together in England never quite happened, unfortunately, due to missed messages and bad timing. In 2007 we finally met again at his wedding to Melinda Gebbie. Working with Alan is always a terrific experience that I hope will long continue. In 2005 I lettered Lost Girls, the epic erotic series that he and Melinda Gebbie had been working on for decades, and in 2007 I began work on the next volume of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, called CENTURY. The first book, 1910, is out now, and two more will follow. And, of course, I can't fail to mention our collaboration on an exclusive signed print, Alphabets of Desire, available on my BUY STUFF page, for which Alan wrote a thousand new words about the magic of alphabets, words and language. Always a thrill to work with the master!

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