Jess Nevins : biography
John J. Nevins, MA/MS, is an American author and librarian, born 30 July 1966 and raised in Boston, Massachusetts.. Accessed April 30, 2008 He is the author of the World Fantasy Award-nominated Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana (MonkeyBrain Books, 2005), and other works on Victoriana and pulp fiction. He is also well known for his extensive comic book annotations, especially The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He is a reference librarian at Lone Star College-Tomball, and describes himself in part as a "bibliophile and pop culture scholar of the 21st century."
Comic book annotations
Nevins has annotated dozens of comics, starting primarily with a number of Elseworlds published by DC, most notably Kingdom Come and JLA: The Nail, covering in great detail the comic book, literary, popular cultural, and other sources of various plot points and featured characters. In the case of Kingdom Come, Nevins (and his irregular "divers hands" - his annotations are in large part a collaborative effort, inviting comment, correction and constructive critique) identifies most of the many featured characters from the future of the DCU, noting their predecessors and origins.], The Kingdom, JLA: The Nail and others]. Accessed January 18, 2008
Nevins' most popular, in-depth and recent annotations, however, have focused almost entirely on works by Alan Moore for Moore's own America's Best Comics imprint, published until recently through the DC Comics imprint Wildstorm. Starting with the comic which most closely mirrors his own interests - the Victoriana/Steampunk/Alternate history/literary-mashup The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Nevins trawled the popular and not-so-popular literature of the past to compile (again, with help from the "divers hands") a thorough reference work to the first volume of Moore and Kevin O'Neill's masterpiece.
In large part due to Nevins' work annotating the first volume of LoEG, Moore has stated that he felt more comfortable alluding to ever-more obscure works - content in the knowledge that the reference would likely be caught and, therefore, made available to the casual reader.Alan Moore writes:
- "It was only when someone finally conveyed these internet postings to me... that I began to understand the invaluable asset that Jess represented... I realised that if we had [him] tracking down all of the references for the readers, then we could be as obscure and far-reaching as we wanted...", p13 (Nevins' annotations are published for free online, while his LoEG annotations are also available in print from MonkeyBrain Books). This further helped encourage Moore to produce his literary-tour-de-force in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II: "The New Traveller's Almanac",Alan Moore writes again, in the introduction to Nevins' first print volume of annotations:
- "The patient work contained within this current volume [Heroes & Monsters] has played an important part in the construction of this vast, imaginary global edifice that we're constructing... [the Almanac]", p13 a swift geographical tour of fictional places and events, including references to Shakespeare, Lovecraft, obscure Chinese authors from the Han Dynasty, Shelley, Lewis Carroll, and Jorge Luis Borges. Covert references to Nevins himself can be found within the pages of LoEG Vol. 2 and the Black Dossier, while Moore has acknowledged in multiple interviews that he sees "these companion volumes as having a necessary organic place in the body of the work itself," effectively deputising Nevins as a partial collaborator.. Accessed January 18, 2008
In-between volumes of LoEG, Nevins has tackled Moore and Gene Ha's Top Ten, a superhero-police comic in which a powerful police precinct in Neopolis has to deal with various superhuman crimes. Nevin's interest in, and knowledge of the "Golden Age" of Superheros (and subsequent eras) aids him considerably in noting, as in his Kingdom Come annotations, the precedents and inspirations behind many of the characters featured. Nevins has subsequently provided annotations on Moore and Ha's 2005 Top Ten graphic novel The Forty-Niners, filling in some of the early history of the series, and Paul Di Filippo and Jerry Ordway's 2005 sequel mini-series Beyond the Farthest Precinct.. Accessed January 18, 2008 Nevins also began to annotate Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert's 2003 mini-series 1602 from Marvel Comics.
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