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I don’t think any of us grew up into the world we were hoping for or expecting
July 21, 2011 7:34 PM   Subscribe

On the heels of the newest volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (and the recent completion of the controversial Neonomicon, which Moore suggests may be his last non-League comics work), Alan Moore (previously) gives Wired a lengthy interview that includes his thoughts on DC Comics' upcoming reboot (also previously) and the dilemma of the fan-turned-writer.
posted by kittens for breakfast (39 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
"And one of the things that strikes me most about superheroes as they currently stand, is that these are heroes, as the term implies. These are people who stand unflinchingly against tyrants and oppressors, who protect and support the underdog, who are fearless and noble in everything that they do. I’m starting to feel that the most significant part of the superhero makeup is that part which is not talked about, the fact that these triumphant paragons are being created by an industry of people who are frightened to ask for a raise, the rights to their work, and, especially after seeing what happened to Gardner Fox and the others, to form a union."
They used to print For-Hire contracts on the backs of checks, so you were signing away your rights if you wanted to deposit them.
posted by Catblack at 7:58 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Tangent: Cast of 30 Rock as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:05 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


"You have to start wondering how brave somebody who comes from Krypton and is invulnerable to all harm, or someone who has an adamantium skeleton, can actually be. I know ordinary people who put far more than that on the line every day, and don’t expect to be called heroes. [Laughs] ... So is it heroes that we’re really talking about? Or is it invulnerable bullies from a culture of impunity, which also shows signs of being on the wane?"

(terrific interview, although I had to skip around a bit for fear of spoilers - I can't wait to read Century #2: 1969.)
posted by Auden at 8:07 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tangent: Cast of 30 Rock as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Is there a joke I'm missing with the Alex Ross piece, or is Tina Fey supposed to (a) not look anything like Tina Fey and (b) be Mary Poppins instead of Mina Harker? I only ask because Ross is usually pretty, like, accurate with the whole photo reference thing.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:09 PM on July 21, 2011


"When people came up to me and told me Osama bin Laden is dead, I said that I didn’t care what is down the hatch. It’s all going to turn out to be a load of nonsense. I don’t care where the polar bear came from. They’re making this stuff up as it goes along. It has no relevance to me or my life."

All kinds of awesome. Also, this interview was the first I'd heard of the feud between George Martin and Damon Lindelof which is hilarious. "I don’t take issue with his opinion, I take issue with the fact that he coined “Pulling a LOST” as empirically “f–king up the ending.""
posted by thescientificmethhead at 8:14 PM on July 21, 2011


I always love reading or listening to interviews with Alan Moore, and I suppose in a way I am looking forward to any future LOEG work he may care to do, but Black Dossier was fairly terrible - a great piece of art, but a terrible comic - and Neonomicon is vile. Good on him for taking risks and doing as he pleases, as he's certainly earned it, but it's a crying shame, in my opinion. I am quite keen for reprints of his Supreme stuff, as I hear that's excellent, and of course Miracleman, which I have only read in illegal soft copy and long to hold in my hands.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:21 PM on July 21, 2011


I love the excitement that comic book fans have when they get to have conversations with their heroes - but sometimes I really wish for a hardball question. Possibly about Neonomicon, in fact. I might just not be a very nice person.

Since Stewart Lee seems to be in need of a bit of love this week, here's his 30-minute interview with Alan Moore.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

(Slideshow images may be NSFW)

His description of having to turn down progressively greater piles of money for movie versions of his comics is gruelling but hilarious.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:26 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 PM on July 21, 2011


I want the League to go backwards; I want more Orlando and Fanny Hill. Although 1969 seems like a perfect opportunity to have Luther Arkwright jump over.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:40 PM on July 21, 2011


Oh man that would be so badass.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:48 PM on July 21, 2011


"I take issue with the fact that he coined “Pulling a LOST” as empirically “f–king up the ending.""

Also in that article, Lindelof is quoted as saying, "the Sopranos finale came on, and we both thought it was, like, completely and totally, empirically brilliant".

Did "empirically" change meaning and nobody told me?

Is there still time to vote on the new meaning?
posted by stebulus at 9:05 PM on July 21, 2011


I thought "empirically" was something to do with Darth Vader. As in, "The Emperor commands you to enjoy Lost!"
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:11 PM on July 21, 2011


There comes a point when, if something isn’t mentally popular, some of the fans aren’t necessarily reading what you are writing. It doesn’t mean that your version of the events is the empirical version, because it’s just a subjective art.

Seriously, this must be some kind of sophisticated denial-of-service attack against the brain. Damon Lindelof is an alien neuro-saboteur. WAKE UP SHEEPLE!
posted by stebulus at 9:15 PM on July 21, 2011


weird, I watched this last night. I love except you know who.
fuck.
posted by clavdivs at 9:48 PM on July 21, 2011


The Black Dossier was masturbatory in a series made of masturbatory, exactly the kind of thing people mocked previous LOEG books for being but it had such inspired side notes - Orlando's history - the 1984 Tijuana Bible - The 3D Blazing World - Emma Fucking Peel - that I didn't really care. And CENTURY is so far totally delivering so I am very excited.
posted by The Whelk at 10:01 PM on July 21, 2011


I had no idea the new League book was imminent! I'm housebound today so it's the perfect time to read Century 1 and the Black Dossier again while drinking ever-larger cups of tea.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:37 PM on July 21, 2011


Neonomicon did a lot to undermine my readerly enthusiasm for Moore, but a new Century is still enough to get me back to the comics store.

"Pulling a Lost" for "fucking up the ending" works for me. Empirically, even.

I am quite keen for reprints of his Supreme stuff

It is excellent, and it's all available in two reprint volumes. The first of those is out of print, but is still available cheaply used, for now.

And, there's a new book about Moore, and Grant Morrison's Supergods is out.

Also, I miss Artw.
posted by Zed at 11:42 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Promethea's probably my favorite of Moore's works.... I so completely love that book.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:07 AM on July 22, 2011


Mindclash: Erik Davis talks to Alan Moore
posted by homunculus at 12:47 AM on July 22, 2011


Also, I miss Artw.

Me too.

posted by homunculus at 12:49 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has anyone bothered decoding Neonomicon?

And, what? What happened to Artw?
posted by converge at 1:55 AM on July 22, 2011


What I've read covering Neonomicon, mainly on Mindless Ones and ComicsComics, is fascinating: it's like watching a bunch of genius physicists desperately trying to decipher Einstein's last journal entry because they think it holds the key to the Universal Theroem when you're actually pretty sure it's just a dirty limerick that he couldn't get to rhyme right.
posted by Shepherd at 2:48 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


release date? Amazon still has the generic pre-order language
posted by thelonius at 3:39 AM on July 22, 2011


Scroll down, thelonius; August 9 is listed after the publisher info.

So happy to learn the 1969 volume is on the way. And Black Dossier was brilliant; most of the criticisms I heard from comics geek friends can be summed up as "too many words, not enough pictures" (i.e., "what the fuck is a sequel to Fanny Hill doing in my comic book?"). It was brilliant, mostly.

But the most amazingly astoundingly stupendous thing in this thread is following Zed's Grant Morrison link and finding out the hardcover Flex Mentallo collection now has an actual release date. Life is good.
posted by mediareport at 4:58 AM on July 22, 2011


Allegedly, if you're in the UK you can get 1969 (possibly direct from Top Flight) right now (this according to UK acquaintances' postings on a message board). The details were not very clear.
posted by subbes at 5:10 AM on July 22, 2011


Personally, I'm of the school that thinks the only "code" in Neonomicon is that it is Moore's vainglorious "fuck you" to the comic book industry.
posted by KingEdRa at 5:10 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


scroll down
But it's too hot to scroll down!
Thanks. I've been trying to forget this even existed, so as to not torture myself waiting for it.
posted by thelonius at 5:16 AM on July 22, 2011


subbes: "Allegedly, if you're in the UK you can get 1969 (possibly direct from Top Flight) right now (this according to UK acquaintances' postings on a message board). The details were not very clear."

Bah! My terrible google skills have failed me and I cannot find it. Guess I'll order it from Forbidden Planet.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:10 AM on July 22, 2011


I have to admit, while I love Alan Moore I suspect I do not love him the way I'm supposed to. My favorite book of his is Top Ten: The Forty-Niners, which is just a perfect little love letter to the Forties (complete with WWII flying ace romance!), with Tom Strong right on its heels in my heart.

It pleases me to think that at some point, after writing a whole hell of a lot of grim, dark, deconstructing-the-genre-type stuff, Alan Moore just went "You know what? I'll be over here for a while, writing lighthearted retro adventures." And he went and did.
posted by nonasuch at 6:20 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


ArmyOfKittens: I sort of doubted the veracity of their claim but didn't investigate, knowing that if it were true, I would waste money I don't have to get a copy shipped over early, or dissolve into some sort of puddle of jealousy and inability to delay gratification.
posted by subbes at 6:34 AM on July 22, 2011


I'm sort of expecting a crossover of LOEG and WATCHMEN in future CENTURY books... maybe it's just wishful thinking... but the 80s would be a plausible stop after the 60s...?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:57 AM on July 22, 2011


I pretty much lost my enchantment with LOEG when I realized it was just fanfic. Somebody else's characters + bad characterization + having sex with each other = fanfic any way you slice it, yet people treat it as something fundamentally different from "Hary and Snape hav buttsexx".

I'm also amused that people harsh on the LOEG movie, when it did exactly the same thing to Moore's material that Moore did to the source material. I guess it's OK to deliberately distort and ignore your sources, as long as you have a big bushy beard.
posted by happyroach at 8:18 AM on July 22, 2011


I kind of liked the movie, although I also realize it was in many ways terrible. The production design was really nice. And Stuart Townsend in that grey suit was t3h s3xy.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:41 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait, what's all this about a 'code' in Neonomicon? I thought it was just a natural exploration of the depths of what 'inhuman horror' really meant - degrading through uncaring, as opposed to menacing through oppression. The contrast of the cultists vs. what they were worshipping, and how one could rationally place a 'who's worse' value system on the two, etc. Is there some sort of hidden double-cypher in there as well?
posted by FatherDagon at 8:49 AM on July 22, 2011


Running order squabble fest said: "I love the excitement that comic book fans have when they get to have conversations with their heroes - but sometimes I really wish for a hardball question."

Hear, hear. Much as I've enjoyed Moore's work over the years, it is a shame that he now submits only to those interviews which he knows will give him an easy ride. I'm reminded of Tony Blair when he was Prime Minister of the UK, and agreed to softball interviews on the breakfast TV sofa, but did all he could to avoid challenging, aggressive interviewers on the serious news programmes.

Comics' equivalent of John Humphreys or Jeremy Paxman would be The Comics Journal's Gary Groth, and that's who I'd really like to see Moore sit down with. The result might discomfort him from time to time, but it would produce far more interesting results. He wouldn't be allowed to get away with the kind of routine hypocrisy happyroach mentions for one thing.

Just for the record, I loved Neonomicon, which I thought was every bit as nasty as a modern Lovecraftian horror comic should be. Moore has said that he deliberately approached the script by reinstating all the elements of Lovecraft's writing that today's comics readers would find most disturbing - the twisted attitude towards sex, the casual racism of Lovecraft's time and so on.

The most chilling moment for me was the naked FBI agent's pathetic repeating mantra of "I'm a federal agent, I'm a federal agent..." as the cultists pushed her gleefully towards the creature that was about to rape her. Just at that moment, nothing could have seemed more irrelevant...
posted by Paul Slade at 9:53 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suspect I do not love him the way I'm supposed to. My favorite book of his is Top Ten: The Forty-Niners, which is just a perfect little love letter to the Forties (complete with WWII flying ace romance!), with Tom Strong right on its heels in my heart.

There's no wrong way to do it -- I love the hell out of the America's Best Comics line and most of his Image/Awesome/Wildstorm work-for-hire.

fanfic any way you slice it, yet people treat it as something fundamentally different from "Hary and Snape hav buttsexx".

Well, yeah, of course it's fanfic, but do you really think LoEG can be characterized as only being about the characters' sexual pairings (or triplings or whatever)?

I'm also amused that people harsh on the LOEG movie, when it did exactly the same thing to Moore's material that Moore did to the source material. I guess it's OK to deliberately distort and ignore your sources, as long as you have a big bushy beard.

I could have forgiven huge amounts of faithlessness to the source if it had resulted in a good movie, with an interesting, coherent story that I gave a damn about. That it didn't was the problem.

From the interview: "And this is going to result, as in any case of incest, in a depleted gene pool. You’re going to have stories that are less and less relevant to a diminishing readership, that refer to a story that referred to a story that tied up some bit of continuity that appeared in some issue of Action Comics published way before we were all born."

Is this all some extented slur on Grant Morrison? 'cause I don't know of anyone else in superhero comics who's up to this sort of archaeo-continuity shenanigans.
posted by Zed at 10:25 AM on July 22, 2011


the elements of Lovecraft's writing that today's comics readers would find most disturbing - the twisted attitude towards sex

er, citations? I'm having a hard time recalling Lovecraft's writing having any attitude toward sex, per se. Fears surrounding the idea of racial purity, sure, but nothing about actual sex.
posted by Zed at 10:33 AM on July 22, 2011


Aw, man. I had no idea Artw left. That sucks.
posted by ooga_booga at 2:55 PM on July 22, 2011


Here's Moore himself, discussing Neonomicon's sexual and racist elements in an earlier Wired interview:

"It’s got all of the things that tend to be glossed over in Lovecraft: the racism, the suppressed sex. Lovecraft will refer to nameless rites that are obviously sexual, but he will never give them name. I put all that stuff back in. There is sexuality in this, quite violent sexuality which is very unpleasant. [...] I think it’s an unusual take on Lovecraft that might upset some aficionados. Or it might upset some perfectly ordinary human beings!"

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2010/08/alan-moore/all/1
posted by Paul Slade at 2:59 PM on July 22, 2011


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