UDE ALUS Symposium 2019 Abstracts

Mark P. Williams (UDE) City as Multiverse, City as Megatext: Urban Simultaneity through Visual and Verbal Complexity in Alan Moore’s Graphic Narrative Series Top Ten, Promethea, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

In this paper I will illuminate some of the graphic narrative strategies of Alan Moore’s post-millennial graphic series work for representing the experiences of postmodern urban environments. It will focus on three parallel but separate series: Top Ten, about the police force of Precinct 10 in the city of Neopolis where every citizen has a superpower; Promethea, an apocalyptic narrative about a superheroine who is also a metaphor for the power of the imagination manifested through several generations of pulp fiction; and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, set in a world where all fictional characters and environments co-exist and interact.

Top Ten functions as a complex homage to generations of superhero comics through both major and minor characters, and through vignettes in panel backgrounds and across splash pages; Promethea is structured as a sequence of quests directed by dialogues between the new Promethea and her previous incarnations and hosts which acts as an extended meditation on Art and contemporary life; while League begins as a Victoriana steampunk pastiche before going on to become an increasingly complex and metafictional world in its own right capable of offering simultaneous and contrary narratives to evoke the simultaneity of urban experience.

Mark P. Williams is a postdoctoral researcher working on literature and urban studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen.  He specialises in Fantastic and counter-realist fictions, including the interaction of the experimental avant-garde with Fantastika, and the use of experimental and avant-gardist techniques within the forms of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Superhero narratives.