Comic Legends: Did Alan Moore's America's Best Comics Begin at Awesome?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and sixty-third week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As always, there will be three different posts for each legend this week!

NOTE: Here is a bonus Comic Book Legends Revealed that I did for Martin Luther King Day about how a MLK comic book inspired an iconic civil rights protest!


Alan Moore's America's Best Comics started with pitches for comics intended for Awesome Comics.


Basically True

In the late 1990s, Alan Moore began to work for Rob Liefeld's Awesome Comics. He was doing Supreme with Chris Sprouse and Rick Veitch, Youngblood with Steve Skroce and he had a whole bunch of other projects lined up.

However, times were tough for comic book companies in the late 1990s and Awesome Comics ended up having to go out of business for a while. The problem, of course, is that Moore not only had all of these books that were now done, he had a bunch of NEW titles planned. All of these titles had artists involved and Moore wanted to try to get a new gig quickly to keep all of these artists working.

Using the basic pitches that Moore had for two new projects, Prophet and Glory, Moore re-worked them into what became Tom Strong and Promethea.

Way back in Moore's brilliant Judgment Day miniseries (about a member of Youngblood on trial for murdering another member of Youngblood), the testimony in the trial allowed Moore to show flashbacks of the history of the Awesome Universe which he, of course, was making up as he went.

Here is Glory's testimony...

Seems familiar, right?

Later, Moore and Brandon Peterson even did a preview of an upcoming Glory series that never happened...

Also seems pretty familiar, right?

Later in Judgment Day, some testimony involved John Prophet, who was now re-made as basically Doc Savage, much like Tom Strong...

You can obviously see the early influences of the future stories here.

In addition, a team book (perhaps more Youngblood?) with Steve Skroce ultimately evolved into Top Ten (Moore thought of doing a superhero team book more like a cop show and that evolved into literally superhero cops - Skroce, like Brandon Peterson, moved on to do other things, so Moore got new artists for these projects).

Now, clearly, we're not talking any literal continuations here, just the basic concept of the new series and then Moore went in different directions (especially Promethea, which ultimately became one of Moore's most personal projects), but the jump-off points of the America's Best Comics pitches do seem to have begun with the Awesome Comics pitches that Moore did not get to work on.

Years later, in 2004, Rob Liefeld reflected on it all on Mark Millar's message boards:

Much of the ABC line is made up of poorly masked Awesome characters and story outlines he prepared for us. If I was as sue-happy and litigation driven as some suggest I bet, I believe I could draw direct connections to many of the ABC characters and their origins coming from pages of Awesome work we commissioned from him. In short order, Tom Strong is Supreme mixed with his Prophet proposal. Promethea is Glory and the rest I honestly don't pay much attention to. Don't have the time or interest. Simply put, there is no ABC without Supreme and the Awesome re-launch.

I don't know about lawsuits, but I think it is very fair to say that Liefeld is correct. Not to mention, of course, that it was Moore's success with Supreme that led to ALL of this in the first place.

Later, Moore's Glory ended up at Avatar...

And now, of course, almost all of his America's Best Comics characters are ending up in the DC Universe proper (which is kind of funny, since DC Comics tried to buy Awesome Comics when Awesome had money problems, but they backed off when they realized that Moore was working freelance and thus they didn't get him, too).

Check out some legends from Legends Revealed:

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Check back Saturday for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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