Review: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century: 1910

Andrew Wheeler

Andrew Wheeler spent 16 years as a book club editor, most notably for the Science Fiction Book Club, and has been a judge for the 2005 World Fantasy Awards and the 2009 Eisner Awards. He is now Marketing Manager for John Wiley & Sons.

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8 Responses

  1. mike weber says:

    Okay, Setting any part of "Threepenny" in 1910 is a Bit Odd, since major parts of the plot revolve around Victoria's coronation.I wonder if the songs are actual "Threpenny" songs, since i would assume that it's still in copyright; certainly the Blitzstein adaptation is, and when they wanted to do a new translation/adaptation* for Shakespeare in the Park in the 70s (80s?) (with Raul Julia as Macheath), they had to clear it with Weill's widow, Lotte Lenya (the original Jenny Diver, BTW).*I suspect that the reason it was felt a new adaptation was needed is that the Blitzstein version is believed (wrongly) to be a bowdlerisation; in actuality, it was Mike Curb at MGM Records who insisted on extensive cuts and rewrites in the lyrics when the Original Cast album was recorded. (Another Fascinating Fact: That OC album features John Astin and Paul Dooley as two of Macheath's men, and Bea Arthur in a major role…)

    • RDaggle says:

      I haven't seen this comic yet, but -The Threepenny Opera was based on an even earlier musical called the Beggar's Opera. From the 18th c., it had a Macheath, Polly, Jenny, Suki, etc. Could this be what Moore is referring to in his 1910 storyline? that he wouldn't shrink from subverting the very fabric of space-time, but , y'know …)

      • Andrew Wheeler says:

        That's a nice theory, but…the internal title of this story is "What Keeps Mankind Alive," and that's clearly a reference to the Brecht/Weill version of the story.

        • mike weber says:

          That's the "Second Threepenny Finale" (i think) – the first and second acts end with songs sung in front of the curtain by characters; it's pretty well breaking the fourth wall because they're basically singing directly to the audience.And to drive home the moral of the song, that one is sung by Macheath and his mother-in-law (more or less) Mrs Peachum, who, with her husband runs a protection racket among London's beggars, and is trying to get Macheath arrested and hanged so that they can marry off her daughter, Polly, to some rich old Lord:Mrs Peachum sings:you warn us, with appropriate caressesthat virtue, humble virtue, always winsnow please, before your moral fervor presses,our middle's empty – there it all begins!all you who dote on our despair and your desiremay learn the simple truth from this our song – whatever you may do, whatever you aspire, first feed the face – and then talk right and wrong!for even saintly folk may act like sinnersunless they've had their customary dinners!spoken, by Macheath:what keeps a man alive?what keeps a man alive?he lives on othershe likes to taste them firstthen eat them whole if he can!forgets that they're supposed to be his brothers …that he himself was ever called a man!remember, if you wish to keep alive -for once do something wrong, and you'll survive!=================(Called "How to Survuve" in the Blitzstein version)

      • mike weber says:

        Doubt it; "Beggar's Opera" was a satire of the current Government – Walpole's, i think, while "Threepenny" is basically a Marxist attack on bourgeois capitalism and the complacency of the mddle class.Brecht and Weill sound more like people Moore would be referencing than does Gay.(BTW: The original "Beggar's Opera" was quite popular in its day – the impresario who ran the theatre/company where it was staged was named Rich – and it was said that "The Beggar's Opera"'s success "…made Gay rich and Rich gay."

  2. Jody Macgregor says:

    I would have liked more review and less summary.

  3. Sam Draven says:

    I thought the comic was really good, full of references to culture, literal and musical, and the Threepenny songs are not literal to their real versions, but they evoke the same feeling. Although I know more of Mack The Knife from Sinatra, as much people do, so I kinda heard the Sinatra's tune, with a raspy voice for MacHeath, when I read his songs. But, the song that MacHeath sings in the gallows, is that a counterpart of a Threepenny song? I don't know, maybe it is, if it is, can you tell me what song?