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By Alan Moore and Rick Veitch
By Alan Moore, David J, Tim Perkins
By Alan Moore, David J, Tim Perkins
By Alan Moore and Gary Lloyd
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The very beginning of this decade was a crazy time in comics. The industry was experiencing an unbelievable (and ultimately unsustainable) rate of growth based upon a phony collector's market. It was bad enough that the big publishing houses had falsely convinced readers that if they bought multiple copies of a title they would get rich, but worse was how the quality of those comics had degenerated into a grotesque and violent parody of the imaginative stories and heroic characters that had inspired them. 1963 was Alan Moore's answer to all that.
When approached by IMAGE Comics to create a book, Alan hunkered down with long-time collaborators, Steve Bissette and Rick Veitch, plotting out a mini-series and 80 page Annual meant to clearly illustrate the contrast between where modern comics came from and where they seemed to have ended up.
The mini-series was 100% pure retro, satirizing the early editorial trappings and advertising of 1960's Marvel Comics while providing honest-to-god heroic characters in interesting and imaginative stories. Working with printers to find just the right grade of pulp paper and color separators to get the perfect dot patterns used to create the authentic 1960's color, Moore, Bissette and Veitch, aided and abetted by Dave Gibbons, John Totleben, Jim Valentino, Don Simpson, Melinda Gebbie and Chester Brown, formed the sizzlin' SIXTY-THREE SWEATSHOP and proceeded to release six titles, MYSTERY INCORPORATED, NO ONE ESCAPES THE FURY, TALES OF THE UNCANNY, TALES FROM BEYOND, HORUS LORD OF LIGHT, and THE TOMORROW SYNDICATE through which a single mystery unfolded.
The payoff was supposed to happen in the 80 page giant DOUBLE IMAGE Annual, in which the heroes of 1963 confronted the modern Image superheroes, but the book was never published. Alan had finished the first third of the script when Jim Lee, who was signed to draw it, announced he was taking a year long sabbatical. The book was put on hold, but by the time Jim was back drawing again the business climate at Image (and in all comics) had changed immeasurably.
The current situation is this: Alan, Steve and Rick would love to see the annual finished and published but the Image partners have had a falling out, and Rob Liefeld is no longer part of the company. That means some of the characters who appeared in the original series and were slated to appear in the annual are unavailable. Complicating matters, Jim Lee is a pretty busy guy who is not now able to recommit to the project. On top of that, the type of idiotic, overblown superheroes Alan was intending to skewer are disappearing from the current scene (thank God). None of that, of course, is insurmountable and if a solution to the stand-off arises (and some radical ideas are being discussed) you'll hear about them first right here.
For now you'll just have to be content with this strange Sixty-Three artifact in which Alan allowed his Affable Al persona to be interviewed in full blown alliterative glory by reporter Tom Field for the newsmag, COMIC TALK in 1994.
Without further ado, we'll turn the mike over to our reporter in the
field, Tom Fields...
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