Free Readers Ensemble 

The Forty-Niners
Written by Alan Moore; Art and Cover by Gene Ha

review by Ed Vincent

The Forty-Niners, by Gene Ha, is a far step from the comic
books I saw in barbershops as a child.  Many of the
new tales have sharp edges and plenty of rust.  Gene
Ha’s artwork should be housed in an art gallery or
a museum for the quality of work, both design and
execution are masterful. 

Leonardo da Vinci's “The Battle of Anghiari”

The “The Battle of Anghiari” by Leonardo da Vinci
was a piece of art that challenged and inspired Gene Ha
to make a living as an artist.  Mr. Ha has won an
Eisner Award for "Best New Series,"  for his achievements
in book illustrations.  The tale of the "49ers" has war
heroes, homosexuals and aliens, none of whom are in
a closet or hiding.   They are boldly drawn and boldly envisioned by the writer, Alan Moore.  The story involves
a social experiment where the law enforcers of a newly
built city are all exceptional super heroes or warriors
par excellence.  The tale is intriguing and the characters, colorful.  Gene Ha does a beautiful job of taking the
story line and giving it a brush with high art.  An Oak
Park resident, can often be seen walking his two canine
buddies and is a wonderful asset for our region and town. 
His book is highly recommended for a more mature

One of the first comic books made is perhaps some several
thousand years old, and I'm not talking cave art from France
it would much older then...).  The cave art of Lescaux in France
or Altamira in Spain goes back 19,000 years or so-but lacks
a well defined narrative or story, which can be determined
from a viewing.  The "Epic of Gilgamesh" a story in cuneiform
dating back to the founding of Uruk
in Babylonia, 2900 years ago.  It was a very popular story, but few people could read.  Many years later an Assyrian King named Ashurbanipal
(668-627 B.C) liked the story too and he chose to have it
retold with himself taking many of the attributes of

Gilgamesh, as well as a great deal from the plot.  In the time
Ashurbanipal there also were not a lot of readers in the
Ashurbanipal took the story and had it carved
on walls in perhaps the first pictoral story (
a comic book
in stone..and not to be carried or folded
).  The Forty-Niners
is easier to carry and easier to get.  There were some aspects
of the story  of Gilgamesh that were just as controversial-
but that's another tale.

In Oak Park Gene Ha’s works can be seen, bought or
ordered from One Stop Comics on Ridgeland, at Borders
on Harlem at Lake or from the internet. 

If you haven’t seen a comic book in a while, now is
the time to break the fast.

Written by Alan Moore; Art and Cover by Gene Ha

The Eisner Award-winning TOP 10 team of writer Alan Moore and artist Gene Ha reunites for a softcover edition of the original graphic novel that delves into the past, revealing the origins of Neopolis and the first officers of Top Ten! Meet the original Top 10 officers who blazed the trail and made Neopolis the city it is today!

America's Best Comics  |  112pg.  |  Color  |  Softcover  |  $17.99 US

© Oak Park Journal
published by Suburban Journals of  Chicago Inc.

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