America's Best Comics
|Parent||Wildstorm (DC Comics)|
America's Best Comics (ABC) is a comic book publishing brand. It was set up by Alan Moore in 1999 as an imprint of WildStorm, an idea proposed to Moore by Wildstorm founder Jim Lee when it was still under Image Comics.
America's Best Comics was a prominent Better/Nedor/Standard title during the 1940s Golden Age of comic books, starring such heroes as the Black Terror and the Fighting Yank. Those characters were integrated into the Moore version under the ABC imprint, where Moore has penned many well-regarded series; the most well-known being The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a strip which merged several famous Victorian era fiction characters into one world. Other notable series include Tom Strong, an homage to pulp fiction heroes such as Tarzan and Doc Savage; Top 10, a drama set around a police precinct in a city where everyone has superpowers; and Promethea, one of Moore's most personal pieces which detailed Moore's view on magic.
Regular contributing artists include Kevin O'Neill, Chris Sprouse, Rick Veitch, J. H. Williams III, Gene Ha, Zander Cannon, Kevin Nowlan, Hilary Barta, Melinda Gebbie, Jim Baikie, Yanick Paquette, and Art Adams.
All the lettering for the ABC line is done by Todd Klein, with the exception of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen which was handled by Bill Oakley. The logo of ABC is mainly based on an idea from Alex Ross and was also done by Todd Klein.
Wildstorm was later sold to DC Comics without Moore's knowledge.
According to the interview Moore gave George Khoury in the book The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore, when Lee first saw Alan Moore after the takeover, the tall figure of Moore holding his snake-headed walking stick impressed Lee so, he was sure Moore - who was then still ignorant of the sale - was going to beat him senseless. Moore was reluctant at first, but ultimately decided to accept his new situation as he had promised work to a number of his artist friends from Rob Liefeld's defunct Awesome Comics line. In the same interview, he said that it was better to go back against a principle for the greater good, than to have no principles in life at all.
Moore announced that the imprint's 'universe' would end with the 32nd issue of Promethea, where the ABC Universe would be met with the Apocalypse. Moore wrote the last issue of Tom Strong and two 64-page Tomorrow Stories specials offering a final farewell to most of ABC's characters.
Before those final stories, the ABC line continued a little while longer under other writers. Tom Strong, for example, had been written entirely by guest authors since November 2003. These authors have included; Peter Hogan, Geoff Johns, Mark Schultz, Steve Aylett, Brian K. Vaughan, Ed Brubaker and Michael Moorcock. A sequel to Top 10 called Beyond The Farthest Precinct has been penned by novelist Paul Di Filippo and artist Jerry Ordway and another title, written by Peter Hogan and Steve Moore, was going to explore the remaining secrets of all of the major ABC characters. This mini-series, America's Best Comics: A to Z, started in September 2005 but was cancelled after four issues.
- America's Best Comics: A to Z (see below)
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
- Tomorrow Stories
- Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset (a Tomorrow Stories mini-series spin-off, written and drawn by Rick Veitch)
- Tom Strong
- Top 10
America's Best Comics: A to Z
America's Best Comics: A to Z was to be a six-part miniseries written by Peter Hogan and Steve Moore. It planned to reveal secrets and unknown facts about the characters that have appeared thus far in the ABC line. The miniseries was canceled after issue #4. Work had begun on issue #5, but its unclear how complete it was before the plug was pulled. There are no plans at present to publish a collection of the issues.
Each issue features artwork from character's original designer/co-creator and a cover by Terry Dodson. It was expected to signal the end of the ABC line, and was planned as a farewell to the characters.
- Featured Tom Strong and Jack B. Quick, with art by Chris Sprouse and Kevin Nowlan.
- Featured Greyshirt and The Cobweb, with art by Rick Veitch and Melinda Gebbie.
- Featured Terra Obscura and Splash Brannigan.
- Featured Top 10 and Teams (America's Best and America's Worst).
- Would have focused on Smax (in the style of a holiday program) and First American.
- Was never solicited, but the remaining topics that had not been covered include Promethea and Jonni Future.
Other one-off titles have included
- America's Best Comics Preview (Mar 1999) (a mini-comic preview, free with Wizard magazine #91)
- America's Best Comics 64 Page Giant (Dec 2000) (a collection of short stories involving all of the ABC characters)
- America's Best Comic's Sketchbook (Dec 2001) (a collection of sketches of main characters by ABC artists)
- The Many Worlds of Tesla Strong (May 2003) (a 64-page, single issue, Tom Strong spin-off. Released with two covers, by Art Adams and Bruce Timm)
Other collected editions
- America's Best Comics (graphic novel collection of the 64 Page Giant, Sketchbook, and Many Worlds) (Paperback: ISBN 1-4012-0147-4)
- Promethea Covers Collection (a collection of all 32 Promethea covers)
- "Logo Design: ABC Origins". Kleinletters.com. 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2011-02-03.