A friend of my wife's gave her a copy of the LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN a few years back, but I wound up reading it during a long airplane flight, so captured by the book's wild wit and invention that I completely forgot where I was for hours on end.
I'd read Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, H G Wells, Allan Quartermain, most of the boys book that Alan Moore is referencing, but reading the LEG I felt, as probably everyone feels, that I was missing something. I can't make out in my mind whether this nagging feeling subtracts from the pleasure one gets from reading Moore, or somehow, perversely, adds to the fun, for it's like therapy: one doesn't want to go to a therapist one suspects is dumber than one is--you want to feel you're in the hands of someone a little smarter than you are.
Thus Jess Nevins' book came as a balm to my pride. I picked it up some months afterwards and I could see instantly that I had only scratched the surface of Moore's reference. Oddly enough, I did not feel enthusiastic enough to pick up any of the books I didn't know (The Scarlet Pimpernel for example). I wonder if any of Moore's readers have actually turned to Virginia Woolf's ORLANDO after getting through The BLACK DOSSIER? Or have we had enough of Orlando from the comic? Oh well, more power to you, Jess Nevins, and congratulations on taking on the master at his own infernal chess table.