The European Comic Invasion

The face of rock n’ roll was changed with Beetles, officially kicking of the British Invasion and paving the way for artists like the Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and David Bowie. Music was forever changed and comic books have echoed this musical transformation with its own invasion.

The invasion I speak of wasn’t limited to strictly England there wasn’t a British Invasion of comics, but there was a European invasion. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s a number of European writers punched their way into the American comic book market. Spear headed by guys like Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis and Peter Milligan.

It probably all began with Moore writing Swamp Thing for DC, the title was a big success winning a number of awards during his run. After Swamp Thing the barn doors were blown off and a number of foreign talents from England, Scotland and Ireland came flooding in.

Most of this new talent were guys who spent time writing for the British comics anthology 2000 A.D. writing the anti-hero Judge Dredd.

These writers all offered their own unique talents and style when it came to the storytelling and prose of the comic book format. Yet they all shared a common idea of taking comics and transforming them into an outlet to express political, religious, and philosophical beliefs. Each writer had certain uniqueness and quality that made them great and all of them still remain relevant in the world of comics today.

Many of the talents I speak of where responsible in helping to launch the Vertigo line for DC comics. Comics like Swamp Thing, Sandman, Shade the Changing Man, Animal Man and The Preacher.

Each comic was deeper and more complex then the four-paged panels drawn on the piece of news print that came out a decade earlier. The writers were aware of the world around them and they showed no fear in injecting their personal feelings into the comics they were writing.

Moore tackled environmental issues and human beings attempt to topple nature; a theme that echoes the environmental struggles the world is having with its deforestation problem and global warming.

Gaiman made it a theme in his Sandman series that change is necessary to existence and the life for humans is finite. Morrison, a vegetarian and lover all things fluffy, tackled issues on the  human treatment of animals in his run on Animal Man.

Milligan was a bit of a surrealist with his reincarnating character the Shade, that explored different themes and Ennis made a strong comment on mans dependence of religion and his ability to control his own future.

Of course that could be me simply reading too much into the comics themselves, perhaps the comics are merely trite kids things and I simpleton fictionalizing the reality I live in.

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