Thursday, January 9, 2014

Alan Moore's Hypernaut from 1963

Can hardware have a heart? 
Can circuits have a soul? 
Heads up humanity... Here comes 
the Hypernaut!

A sizzlin 1963 souvenir by Affable Alan Moore, Sturdy Steven Bissette and Charmin Chester Brown!
30 years after Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and crew created Marvel Comics, Alan Moore created the 6 part mini series,1963, as a tribute of sorts to fondly remembered comics of his youth.

I love Moore’s clever take on these beloved charters. In the case of the Hypernaut, the character being honored is Marvel’s technical wizard, Iron Man, though Moore’s inventive mind has taken the idea so far away from Lee’s source material that it is almost unrecognizable. Like Iron Man, Hypernaut has his hall full of suits for all occasions, though rather than being a man inhabiting a suit, Moore has Hypernaut being the spirit of a man that inhabits these mechanical bodies. He has also created an amazingly clever villain from the 4th dimension that is not limited by three dimensional constructs like walls and things.

Here we get Moore's trippy logic reminiscent of his 2000 AD Time Twister days. it seems that Moore is one of the very few writers that actually make me think about big concepts and want to run to the internet to look up time theory and other scientific conundrums.
Hey look kids! It's a Kirby effect! Kirby used the photo montage effect in an issue of The Fantastic Four. I imagine this is due to Bissette's influence. He has a love for Kirby that showed in Swamp Thing #25 with it's Monkey King taken from the pages of Kirby's The Demon #5..

One of the things I love about this story is that it's the only time I have ever seen Chester "Yummy Fur" Brown in a major superhero comic and inking someone else's work.

Chester Brown has a wonderfully particular style with his figures having rubbery limbs and pointy appendages.
You can see Brown's influence in the figure on the left with it's limbs looking stiff and rubbery.
The art is a wonderful combination of Bissette's fluid art and Brown's clean wispy lines.

Sadly this series was never finished. In addition to the 6 part 1963 series comprised of 6 tributes to major Marvel books like the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and Thor, Moore had planned a 1963 Annual where the 1963 crew go to the future and meet the Image crew drawn by Jim Lee, and other Image stable artists in his slick Image style to contrast with the crude 1963 style of art. Unfortunately Jim Lee went on a year long sabbatical as it was time to begin so the series remains one of Moore's great unfinished series.

And it seems that there will never be a collected graphic novel made of 1963 either.Steven Bissette has said, “While fans of the series…were hungry for it, publishers seemed to expect Alan, Rick and I to simply hand it to them, fait accompli and sans any commitment from said publishers.”

“Rick and I gave it our best and nursed it for 17 years. In the end, we just couldn't make it happen. We're well and truly done trying.” 

 You can see more of 1963 on Steven Bissette's blog.

NO ONE ESCAPES… THE FURY™ and TALES OF THE UNCANNY™ are trademarks of Stephen R. Bissette, all rights reserved. The Fury, Hypernaut, Sky Solo, and N-Man are © and ™ Stephen R. Bissette, by contractual arrangement with the original co-creator, all rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. I have read and re-read his comic to be point that I have extra copies because my originals are getting worn out. I have given the 1963 series as gifts. Such great comics. About the only thing from Image worth owning.