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Comic Book / 1963

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1963 is a six-issue miniseries written by Alan Moore, with art by Rick Veitch and others, published in 1993 by Image Comics. A Retraux work, it invokes The Silver Age of Comic Books (specifically early Marvel Comics), complete with spoof advertisements in the style of the day. This last item was repeated with a period-appropriate twist by Moore's later project with Kevin O'Neill, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It ends on a never-to-be-resolved Cliffhanger.

This comic book series contains examples of:

  • Acid-Trip Dimension: When they go through the Maybe Machine in Mystery, Inc.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: It is a parody of Silver Age Marvel comics, so it's naturally everywhere, right down to the creative team receiving Marvel Bullpen-style alliterative nicknames ("Affable Al", "Sturdy Steve", etc). Of note, Rick Veitch would continue to use his "Roarin' Rick" nickname long after his work on the comic.
  • Affectionate Parody: This miniseries is loaded with playful jabs at Marvel cliches.
  • Anthology Comic: Issues 3 and 4—"Tales of the Uncanny" and "Tales From Beyond"—homage old Marvel anthology comics like "Journey into Mystery" and "Tales to Astonish".
  • Arch-Enemy: The Red Brain is the only confirmed one.
  • Artistic License: Parodied in the letters page for Issue 5, where a young Neil Gaiman writes in to point out the various inaccuracies in the depiction of England in a recent Johnny Beyond story, including showing the Queen living in Big Ben and putting thatched cottages in Trafalgar Square. Affable Al is unamused by this.
  • Art Shift: In the last issue, when they enter the final parallel reality, complete with Lampshade Hanging.
    Everything's so harsh and vivid!
  • Almighty Janitor: Or the Omniscient Maintenance Staff.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The pandimensional being the Hypernaut battles peels down the panel so the the energy bolt he fired comes back and hits him instead.
  • Captain Ersatz: Pretty much everyone. Mystery, Inc is the Fantastic Four, the Fury is Spider-Man and Daredevil, U.S.A. is Captain America, Hypernaut is Iron Man with some Silver Surfer and Green Lantern thrown in, Horus is The Mighty Thor, N-Man is the Hulk, and Johnny Beyond is Doctor Strange as a beatnik. And those are just the main heroes.
  • Continuity Nod: Though when they reference previous issues, most of them do not actually exist.
  • Catchphrase: "No one escapes the Fury!"
  • Covers Always Spoil
  • Crossover: The characters from different superhero teams are appearing together. They also turned up in one issue of an almost completely forgotten Shadowhawk story, where Jim Valentino indulged himself in a scathing Take That! at those who worship the old school Silver Age approach to super-heroes. (Shadowhawk's own unexamined '90s Anti-Hero values wouldn't get a similar jab until Kurt Busiek got a hold of the character.) There was also a crossover in Big Bang Comics #35, pitting the Silver Age Marvel Ersatzes against BB's Silver Age DC Ersatzes.
  • Cut Short: The series has never been finished as initially intended. It was meant to be followed by an 80-page annual, in which the 1963 characters are catapulted forward 30 years to meet with the Dark Age characters of 1993.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The sexism, the heavy-handed anti-communism, etc.
  • Evil Counterpart: In the last issue.
  • Evil Gloating
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: In the alternate universe, at least.
  • Evil Laugh
  • Evil Uncle: Set to Horus.
  • The Fantastic Faux: Mystery Incorporated is obviously based on the Fantastic Four.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Goldarn the blamed thing, for cripe's sake.
  • Gratuitous Russian
  • Hypocritical Humor: The Fury tells one of the Mooks that he hates name callers, "especially a slope-browed, knuckle-dragging, garbage-brained name caller like you!"
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: The spoof ad "Shamed By You English?"
  • Ironic Nickname: Affable Al who is anything, but affable.
  • Kinda Busy Here: The Fury absolutely has to call his mom in the middle of a fight with a psychic dinosaur. Luckily, there's a phone booth nearby, since cell phones haven't been invented yet...
  • Legacy Character: The Fury is the son of the original Fightin' Fury.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: The Hypernaut has a mutant pink monkey with two faces named Queep.
  • Noodle Incident: Characters often allude to past adventures they've had, which is always accompanied by an annotation from Affable Al referring to the (non-existent) issue where it happened.
  • Pokémon Speak: Queep
  • Red Scare: A recurring theme.
  • Shout-Out: To Watchmen and Marvel Comics.
    • Also, when the Voidoid is scanning the Fury in Issue #2, you'll notice that in one part, the name of a certain Superman character from the fifth dimension appears in one of the panels.
    • "No one escapes the Fury!” is reminiscent of Alan Moore's other Fury, the world-slaughtering Hero Killer from Captain Britain: A Crooked World.
    • And in the final issue, when the heroes are transported into another world, panels from various other independent comics are seen in the background - including one of normalman... in reference to normalman having a Mystery, Inc. cameo under similar circumstances.
    • The N-Man can be seen reading a copy of Jack Kerouac's On the Road.
  • Show, Don't Tell: Often averted.
  • Take That!:
    • Not so much to early Marvel Comics, but the people behind them; especially poking to Stan Lee. In fact "Affable Al" is depicted as pretty much a completely horrible human being in every way, personal and professional.
    • Johnny Beyond's story includes a more subtle shot at Steve Ditko with the older, alternate universe version of Johnny delivering some Objectivist-tinged rants about "bottom feeders" and "welfare deadbeats" as he attacks Johnny.
    • The "Magic Art Appropriator" ad takes aim at the practice of art tracing and includes an additional shot at Marvel's notorious swimsuit issues.
  • Techno Babble
  • Those Wacky Nazis
  • Token Minority: Parodied mercilessly in one of Affable Al's columns; as part of their comics' supposed commitment to racial brotherhood, a character "colored a light and inoffensive gray"note  has been introduced in a "minor supporting [role]" in one of the titles. He plans to slowly make the man completely black over a few years (provided that their retailers don't object), is quite proud of himself for it, and uses this opportunity to tell his readers to buy two of every issue to "end bigotry twice as fast".
  • Villain Team-Up: The Voidoid talks about how he teamed up with other villains in the past.
  • Wham Shot: The end of the Tomorrow Syndicate issue, which would've led into the planned eighty-page annual, reveals that the mysterious intruder who kidnapped Kid Dynamo in Mystery Incorporated's issue is none other than Shaft.
  • Who Shot JFK?: USA actually saves Kennedy, but the shooter was Leo Harley Osborne, who was brainwashed by the Red Brain. And there were also two men on the grassy knoll.