Comic Book Babylon

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Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” and its subsequent spawn contained several nods to “Hollywood Babylon” and its lurid tales of “Old Hollywood”

As a child of about 8 or 9 years old, one of my favorite books from the library was Kenneth Anger’s classic “Hollywood Babylon.” Anger, a former child-star-turned-occultist-filmmaker, retold a number of grand lurid rumors floating around Tinsel Town since the dawn of cinema. And how else was a precocious Eighties kid to find out about Fatty Arbuckle?

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Journey Against The Centre For The Earth: “Justice League The New Frontier”

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Like all things on this hurtling sphere, I emerged from the molten center of creation. But mine has been a unique path. Isolated, I developed attributes beyond those of lesser beings. Then the sphere was struck by a vast celestial stone. Black chunks of death filled the skies and the world became a chaotic world of doom. Soon the sphere began to nurture new kinds of life. And there was one that stood above the rest. Its fragile shell belied its vicious nature. And in what seemed like a heartbeat, these things proliferated in both number and destructive needs. Now they have harnessed the most destructive force. And I, The Centre, have concluded that the sphere must be cleansed of them.
—The Centre, “Justice League: The New Frontier”

For a couple of years, I knew a comic creator named Darwyn Cooke. I worked as an assistant at DC Comics, and my office handled most of his books. I had many discussions on the phone with Cooke. He was a brilliant artist and writer, with an intense love for the icons and heroes of his youth. But one of the recurring themes of our talks was his continuing disillusionment at the comic book (and, by extension, the entertainment) industry—his frustration with the caretakers of his icons and heroes.

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