Conceived as a screenplay by Alan Moore and Malcolm McLaren in the mid-eighties this wonderful idea never saw the light of day until September of last year when Avatar, with some help from Anthony Johnston, started publishing the story in a monthly comic book format.
The notoriously cranky Alan Moore has never accepted monies from any of the films based on his stories. When asked why not he describes all the films as rubbish. Ironically 'Fashion Beast' never became a film but here it is now as a comic.
It would be foolish of me to suggest Malcolm McLaren had little input into this, or even Anthony Johnston as patently they have but the fact remains that this has all the hallmarks of an Alan Moore creation.
Take a look at the typed screenplay below. It may not be obsessive to write in such a manner when authoring a film but it is the same manner in which Moore writes every panel of every comic he has ever produced - with incredibly detailed information; so much so that the artist is given little freedom for expression. Famously Bill Sienkiewicz never completed the artwork on one joint project. Sienkiewicz had this to say about Alan Moore's scripts...
At this point, I'd like to say that everything you've heard about Alan's scripts is true, and then some. Alan's a genius, an absolute gentleman. Plain and simple. Yes, his scripts are dense. They're brilliant, layered, nuanced, variegated, textural, beautiful and daunting. Simultaneously so. And although Alan is incredibly deferential and generous as to allowances for alterations made by the artist, the scripts veritably beg, no, demand, to be adhered to in their totality. It's practically sacramental.
Originally written whilst Moore was working on ‘Watchmen’ this has all the makings of another class piece of fiction and one that should, no surprises really if rather ironically, be reconsidered for the silver screen.
The sequencing of Moore's story has been done by Anthony Johnston (writing) and Facundo Percio (art) both of whom have done an excellent job.
The plot is not your average superhero or even comic book fare but then with Alan Moore and Malcolm McLaren as co-creators that are a given.
Doll is a transvestite. He/she dreams of being a star. When she gets sacked from her job as a cloakroom attendant at a funky dance club, having argued with a patron who thrashes the cloakroom, Doll auditions to be a ‘mannequinn’ for a weird individual called Celestine. Now Celestine is a recluse but one famed for being a highly gifted designer. Rumour has it Celestine is disfigured but rumour being what they are no one knows for sure.
Doll fails to impress the old matrons at the fashion house who reject her. Celestine doesn’t. He hires Doll as his latest model. Working alongside Doll is the vandal who wrecked the cloakroom, a tomboy called Jonni.
The scene is set and the tension in place.
Moore’s story is said to be based on the classic ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and there is an element of that mirrored here but this tale has more twists than a corkscrew.
‘Fashion Beast’ is an intelligent romance that defies standard conventions as it explores old bigotry while having fun as it does. It is yet another groundbreaking book by the author and destined to join the many of his already occupying classic works.
I highly recommended this to anyone, even those who turn their noses up at comic books.
all words and art are copyright © of Russell 'C.J' Duffy.To view my books on Amazon/Kindle go here: https://www.amazon.com/author/russellduffy -- For another side of CJ go here: sOMeThiNg For tHE wEeKeND, SiR?