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March 14, 2012 3:15 AM   Subscribe

Transcript of a recent 90-minute interview with Alan Moore: page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6, page 7
posted by timshel (58 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
An entertaining read, but I had to chuckle at the spectacle of seven (dense) pages of Alan Moore going on (and on) about how much he doesn't give a shit about DC or Watchmen. He's like the ex-lover who spends hours on the phone with his friends talking about how totally over his ex he is.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 4:37 AM on March 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Maybe relevant.
posted by EnterTheStory at 4:39 AM on March 14, 2012


Write about violence and nobody blinks. Write about sex and suddenly everyone wonders about your preferences.
posted by dubold at 5:31 AM on March 14, 2012


An entertaining read, but I had to chuckle at the spectacle of seven (dense) pages of Alan Moore going on (and on) about how much he doesn't give a shit about DC or Watchmen.

The introduction to the article indicates they were asking him about his reaction to a Watchmen prequel.
posted by dubold at 5:40 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you for posting this. Alan Moore is always an interesting read. It is hard to know what to make of his comments on the behaviour of his friends - or former friends. That kind of thing is messy and personal and there tend to be many sides to it, so it is probably best to leave it alone. But he is certainly right about the barrenness of the modern mainstream comics industry. I wonder what he thinks of webcomics, which can be a far more fertile (and, sometimes, deviant) world. I am glad he is continuing to make art and explore new forms - and he is also right that artists matter far more than companies or characters (although as an artist, he would say that - but he is still correct).
posted by lucien_reeve at 5:57 AM on March 14, 2012


Moore's a hugely talented writer and I've greatly enjoyed his work over the years. I do wish he'd agree to an interview with someone other than a slavering fan once in a while while, though.

A few years ago here in the UK, Prime Minister Tony Blair started avoiding the heavyweight political interviewers like Jeremy Paxman and John Humphries, knowing he'd get some genuinely challenging questions from them and be pressed hard on the credibility of his answers. Instead, he agreed only to the softball interviews offered by daytime TV hosts like Richard and Judy.

Moore seems to take a similar approach these days, avoiding the likes of The Comics Journal's Gary Groth - the medium's closest equivalent to a Paxman or a Humphries - in favour of fans who essentially just ask him why he's so wonderful and then sit back to obediently tape the reply.

I repeat: I am a Moore fan. But I'd still like to see a serious conversation between him and Groth tackling issues like how he's managed to fall out with so many of his old friends and collaborators over the years or whether he might have been wiser to accept his movie royalties and direct them to a good cause. It would produce some material we haven't seen before, and lead to a far more illuminating discussion overall, I think.
posted by Paul Slade at 6:08 AM on March 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Alan Moore wants you to get off his lawn.
posted by Kitteh at 6:08 AM on March 14, 2012


Thank you for posting this. Alan Moore is always an interesting read. It is hard to know what to make of his comments on the behaviour of his friends - or former friends. That kind of thing is messy and personal and there tend to be many sides to it, so it is probably best to leave it alone. But he is certainly right about the barrenness of the modern mainstream comics industry. I wonder what he thinks of webcomics, which can be a far more fertile (and, sometimes, deviant) world. I am glad he is continuing to make art and explore new forms - and he is also right that artists matter far more than companies or characters (although as an artist, he would say that - but he is still correct) crazy.
posted by Fizz at 6:25 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Oh dear", I think, when seeing any new Alan Moore interview on the internets, "They'll ask him about DC and he'll reply that he does not like them, and then it will be cut down to just that, be diseminated to a million whining fucks on the internet and then I'll have to read them bitching about it."

So when I see the entire interview is about Watchmen 2 the heart sinks... Still, I suppose that means there isn't more interesting stuff in it being ignored.

This bit though, is a new twist I'd not thought about, and if true is just heartbreaking:

It was the first contract that I'd ever seen--and I believe that it was a relatively rare event for a contract to actually exist in the comics business. Most of the time, people just signed away all their rights on the back of their invoice voucher. But, I was so pleased with the deal with Watchmen, that I suggested to David Lloyd that we do the same thing on V for Vendetta--which was, again, something that we owned and that we wanted to carry on owning.

And yes, yes, Alan is in the wrong here for not assuming any contract would be full of fuckover clauses, etc... etc...
posted by Artw at 6:44 AM on March 14, 2012


Alan Moore isn't crazy. Alan Moore has been consistently screwed over by DC comics and hence is less than eager to give them the benefit of the doubt. Again.

What you also must understand about Moore is that he has a certain set of principles, chief of which is that he wants to keep full control of his creations and unlike many comics creators doesn't think his work is best served by being made into a movie or television series, to the point where he refuses to take the royalties owned him when these are made against his wishes. He doesn't insist that others share these principles, just that he isn't dragged into things against his will.

For comic book fans it's of course not nice to see your entertainment choices acquire a moral dillemma, which is why so many people want to call Moore crazy, because if he isn't, what does that say about their purchase of Before Watchmen?
posted by MartinWisse at 7:10 AM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Interesting review of Moore's Neonomicon here and some discussion of his, once again, featuring a rather unsettling rape scene in a comic.

(I'm a Moore fan but it's one side of his work I have a real problem with)
posted by ciderwoman at 7:15 AM on March 14, 2012


I also find it funny when people try to defend DC as not being creativly bankrup when, well, Wathcmen Begins is a thing, and also crap like this.

Sorry, but Moore is right: DCs is creativly bankrupt. If an editor working there today ever there lets a new and interesting idea get to print then I can only assume that it's by accident.
posted by Artw at 7:18 AM on March 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's a shame that he's had Watchmen ruined for him. I read it again recently, and it really is an excellent book.
posted by codacorolla at 8:39 AM on March 14, 2012


Yeah, I mean, as one of the more definitive "how DC screwed over Alan Moore", it's interesting, although there's not a huge deal new here other than some detail. At least it has his direct response to the asinine line of attack "BUT HE USES DR JEKYLL IN LOEG, THEREFORE AS HYPOCRITE I CAN BUY MY WATCHMEN LUNCH BOX WITH IMPUNITY".

(It also seems odd to me that a dozen comments in we have two "Alan Moore loves writing about rape" derails. Is this now A Thing that comes up whenever Moore is now invoked in any context?)
posted by Hartster at 8:50 AM on March 14, 2012


I love Alan Moore and have deep respect for him and his work. That being said, in this interview he neatly sidestepped the relevant point that all of the WATCHMEN characters were of course based on the old Charlton company's characters. Have I missed interviews where he discusses that? Please point me to the links if you have any. I would love to see how he approaches that. (Seriously interested.)
posted by Ron Thanagar at 8:52 AM on March 14, 2012


Maybe relevant.

Maybe not:
From Hell-Can't really remember rape in this, but there was 500 pages-he must have snuck one in there somewhere
Actually, no.

As to the general incidence of rape in his comics, yes, he does portray that more frequently than other comics writers. Then again, even though rape happens much more often than murder in real life, the opposite is true in comics, and when rape does happen in comics it's often used for such tropes as Rape as Backstory [TVTropes] or as Rape and Revenge [ditto]. Moore portrays it as the ugly crime of violence that it is, which upsets a lot of fanboys.

Also, yes, he goes on for quite a while about Watchmen, but given that it's at the heart of his severing a decades-long relationship with Dave Gibbons, he might be forgiven that.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:54 AM on March 14, 2012


"So, if DC want to soil themselves in public and kill the reputations of a number of otherwise possibly halfway-decent writers and artists, then I'm certainly not going to stop them. And, I shall take my fun and my pleasure however it comes."


The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No."
posted by Asimo at 8:57 AM on March 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Harster, I don't see why it's a derail? I posted a link to an intelligent discussion of this side of his work. As I said it's a side I find difficult in his work (the review link explains why better than I can). I find it's use in the neonomicon very difficult, and I'm most certainly not a fanboy.
posted by ciderwoman at 9:03 AM on March 14, 2012


"he neatly sidestepped the relevant point that all of the WATCHMEN characters were of course based on the old Charlton company's characters."

Yeah, I mean it's not like it's some secret he's hoping nobody notices. Here's one interview where he covers it in detail.

Short version: yes at a very early stage they were originally going to be the Charlton characters, but that was ditched pretty early on and the comic was much better for it. It's not like Doc Manhattan is just a version of Captain Atom with a mustache on.

And really, the lesson is probably: if you're inspired by something, change it and make it new and better and yours, rather than "hacked out reboots and retreads are the way forward".
posted by Hartster at 9:04 AM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Alan Moore isn't crazy. Alan Moore has been consistently screwed over by DC comics

Actually, Alan Moore is crazy and has been consistently screwed over by DC Comics.
posted by foldedfish at 9:09 AM on March 14, 2012


Ron Thanagar, "based on" is the relevant part of your question. In interviews that Moore has done in the past, he's indicated that he was rather relieved in a way when Dick Giordano (who had worked for Charlton in the past) asked him not to use the characters themselves, which freed Moore to make the characters more relevant to broader superhero archetypes and tropes and less about their pre-established origins, powers and abilities. The Charlton characters aren't terribly original themselves; Blue Beetle was based on an earlier character (to which the origin of the current Blue Beetle is much more closely tied than to Ted Kord's) and the Question is just a watered down version of Ditko's own Mr. A. While Watchmen has been in print since it was published, DC's versions of the Charlton characters enjoyed relatively limited success, and that directly after Watchmen's initial publication.

Also, of course, what Hartster says above.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:16 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


ciderwoman, it seems a derail to me because the original post is about Before Watchmen and Moore and DC, and dropping in links to articles about Moore and his attitude to to rape raises a big (possibly inflammatory) topic that steers any conversation into a entirely different path. If this was a different post (one that covered Moore's entire body of work, or his female characters, or rape in comics etc) then it would be entirely valid.

It's not that I find it egregious or anything, it just struck me, with two relative quick mentions of the topic, whether this conversation is one of those ones that is always going to come up, like Dave Sim and misogyny and Frank Miller and right wing stridency etc.

(And for what it's worth, I have sympathy with the notion that Moore regularly uses rape as a trope. I think in Neonomicon although, it's complicated by the fact he's writing a deliberately unpleasant riff on Lovecraft that brings in all of Lovecraft's baggage (such as the racism of the main character in The Courtyard, and that it ends on a variant of the Graeco-Judaeo-Christian myth of a woman being (unexpectedly, unwantedly) impregnated with the child of a god.)
posted by Hartster at 9:23 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Foldedfish: you have to do better than just assert Moore is crazy to make him so.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:28 AM on March 14, 2012


"So, if DC want to soil themselves in public and kill the reputations of a number of otherwise possibly halfway-decent writers and artists, then I'm certainly not going to stop them. And, I shall take my fun and my pleasure however it comes."


The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No."


Whatever it is, you should clean up this city here, because this city here is like an open sewer you know. It's full of filth and scum. And sometimes I can hardly take it. Whatever-whoever becomes the President should just really clean it up. You know what I mean? Sometimes I go out and I smell it, I get headaches it's so bad, you know...They just never go away you know...It's like...I think that the President should just clean up this whole mess here. You should just flush it right down the fuckin' toilet.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:29 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


But the post is about an interview with Moore. Sure he talks a lot about Before Watchmen, and if the post was just about that I wouldn't have brought it up. But it's an interview with him, it's FPP'd as an interview with him, so I really don't see why linking to a review of another side of his work is a derail.

To continue the semantics would however be a derail so let's just leave it at that, shall we? If people want to read the link they can.

(and don't get me started on the racism in the courtyard, I didn't think that critiqued Lovecraft's racism in any way either, but that's for another time...)
posted by ciderwoman at 9:32 AM on March 14, 2012


Previously... Moore on Neonomicon - TBH I find it a lot more defensible than, say, Identity Crisis. On the other hand towards the end of LoEG 1669 where there was the drugged up festival groping I was saying "seriously? Again? Could he not think of anything else to put in?" to myself.
posted by Artw at 10:05 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Small world. I went to high school with this interviewer. Here's hoping the attention this interview is getting translates into some attention for his own work.
posted by brundlefly at 10:41 AM on March 14, 2012


Oh, and...

WARRIOR No.1 30 years ago today
posted by Artw at 10:49 AM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the link, Harster! Good interview too.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:05 AM on March 14, 2012


Wow, Artw, I'd forgotten that all those were in the first issue. (And, setting aside the Moore stuff, isn't Steve Dillon's art so much better than his current style?)
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:09 AM on March 14, 2012


Ha. I'd just read this and was looking here to see if it had already been posted in the comments of one of the recent Moore threads, planning to FPP it if it hadn't.
All the nasty comments that I was making when I was angry--about the comics industry not having had an idea of its own in the last 40 years and not having sufficient talent anymore to create new ideas--these are very unkind things to say about an entire industry. But, it would seem that DC are really going that extra mile in trying to prove me incontrovertibly right.
The kind of readers who are prepared to turn a blind eye when the people who create their favorite reading material, their favorite characters, are marginalized or put to the wall--that's not the kind of readers I want. So, even if it means a huge drop in sales upon my other work, I would prefer it that way. I mean, there's no way I can police this, of course. But, I would hope that you wouldn't want to buy a book knowing that its author actually had complete contempt for you. So, I'm hoping that will be enough.
posted by Zed at 11:17 AM on March 14, 2012


Steve Dillons current style, which is basically the one he's had since Preacher, is perfect for what he does with it and nobody in the business conveys emotional nuance via facial expressions better... on the other hand, I do kind of miss the more complex rendering he did for his Warrior and 2000ad stuff.
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regarding rape, several people have asked why bring it up. It just happens to be the current top thread on cbr's classics board, before this latest interview appeared. Just an interesting coincidence, that's all.
posted by EnterTheStory at 12:32 PM on March 14, 2012


The last Before Watchmen thread introduced me to a lot of the issues about DC's handling of Moore, and it very much turned me against DC. I can't stand reading all the anti-Moore comments splattered across the internet. DC has been really successful at smearing him, and I find it disgusting. Of course, it doesn't help that Moore attacks the whole comics industry at large says that all current comics readers are victims of pathological nostalgia. And he's clearly more paranoid than is merited, but he obviously should be paranoid to some degree, and I find all the comments about Moore being crazy to be really distasteful.

It's hard to read this interview and be against Dave Gibbons. It sounds like he was a good friend, but who was offered a quarter million dollars by a bunch of gangsters to be a less good friend. Gibbons was caught between a massive chunk of money and an absolute hardliner who would take the forgotten promise of a thank you phone call to be evidence that Gibbons had sided with the enemy.

Of course the money won out. It ruins everything.
posted by painquale at 2:42 PM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


As ever I'd like to point out that comics are awesome and there are many fine titles out there you can buy without resorting to Marvel or DC, including but not limited to The Manhattan Projects, Saga, Memorial and The Secret History of DB Cooper. You should all of course already be reading Atomic Robo.

This has been a public service announcement on behalf of comics being a tool for good and not evil.
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


My votes for best currently-running comics are Morning Glories and Life With Archie. (Yes, really. Archie comics are about the joys of childhood, but Life with Archie is about the crushing hardship of adulthood, and it's amazingly depressing. Archie's marriage to Veronica is joyless but his marriage to Betty is one of unhappy poverty, Miss Grundy dies and Cheryl Blossom gets cancer, Reggie is an alcoholic failure, Midge breaks up with Moose because of abuse. And Dilton invents the technology from Sliders and hops across Archie continuities.)

Also LoEG, if that counts as currently-running.
posted by painquale at 3:20 PM on March 14, 2012


Holy crap. painquale is not making that up. I'm torn between thinking that sounds awesome and that sounds like '90's comics grim-and-grittiness has gotten to Archie, too.

The currently-running things I'm following are The Unwritten, Fables (both from DC's Vertigo imprint), and Atomic Robo. But most recently, I've been reading The Essential Defenders, pretty much exactly the sort of written by fans for fans stuff Moore was describing, and having a great time.
posted by Zed at 3:43 PM on March 14, 2012


I'm on the fence over whether my current grumpiness at DC extends to creator owned Vertigo titles, but this week saw the start of Saucer Country by Paul Cornell which looks like it's going to be interesting.
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on March 14, 2012


Leah Moore, daughter of Alan and also a comics writer, has had some things to say lately as well: Thank Heaven for Little Girls
posted by Artw at 4:45 PM on March 14, 2012


Thanks for the recommendations, guys. Saga turns out to be especially great!
posted by painquale at 10:20 PM on March 14, 2012


Saga turns out to be especially great!

It really is.

And that's what you want to do if you want to get something "like Watchmen" - buy new comics with new ideas by people who really care. Do not buy some bullshit hack rip-off "prequel" crap.

I'm counting on you guys to be smart about this.
posted by Artw at 11:52 PM on March 14, 2012


I do wish he'd agree to an interview with someone other than a slavering fan once in a while while, though.

I agree, though this interview was marginally better at challenging Moore than most of the others. Would still be nice to see someone tell him to lay off the weed for a bit and see if he still feels the same way about Gibbons et. al.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 3:17 AM on March 15, 2012


The Goon is smart, funny, and well written. Or if your into a beat down and depressive Flash Gordon, you might enjoy Fear Agent.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:08 AM on March 15, 2012


The League of Halfway Decent Gentlemen
posted by painquale at 2:54 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


heh. Poor old Darwyn Cooke, he does come off looking a bit of a nob.

If the Charlton characters were the gold everyone seems to think they are then DC would fools not to just have him do a Charlton reboot, and TBH I would buy the shit out of that.
posted by Artw at 3:13 PM on March 15, 2012


I wonder if the creators will comment on this new interview. It takes them to task more directly. Moore refuses to call them 'creators'! He also mentions having had interactions with Azzarello before, so I wonder what Azzarello thinks of all this.

I think I find this line most insulting and belittling: "It strikes me that, yes, I can understand why they took on Before Watchmen.  It will probably be the only opportunity they get in their careers to actually be attached to a project that anybody outside of comics has ever heard of.  So, I can see how that would be a great lure." Moore's probably off-base here; the others are probably doing it for buckets of money rather than fame. Doing it for money is more understandable. Only a real villain would do it out of vanity. But interestingly, the creators are almost definitely not going to be able to explain their involvement in terms of money, and they can't attack the ego behind Moore's claim because that'd be attacking Watchmen. So they're stuck being unable to really respond to this grotesque charge. Rhetorically savvy!

Most frustrating line from the interview: "I know a way that they could have sorted out their continuity.  I could have gotten rid of all of their problems for them.  It would have been really simple.  But, like I say, they unfortunately alienated me." I wish I knew what Moore had in mind! The possible world in which Moore is chief architect at DC is wonderful to imagine.
posted by painquale at 4:05 PM on March 15, 2012


Richard Pace really did an excellent job imitating Kevin O'Neill in that comic.
posted by painquale at 4:07 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


If DC wanted Grant Morrison ask architect of their continuity they could easily have had him. Unfortunately Geoff Johns is their go-to guy.
posted by Artw at 4:15 PM on March 15, 2012


Richard Pace really did an excellent job imitating Kevin O'Neill in that comic.

I like all the snarls!
posted by Artw at 4:16 PM on March 15, 2012


I know a way that they could have sorted out their continuity. I could have gotten rid of all of their problems for them. It would have been really simple. But, like I say, they unfortunately alienated me.

"I have discovered a truly marvelous retcon for this, which however the margin is not large enough to contain."

(Jokes aside, I don't doubt Moore would have come up with something brilliant.)
posted by Zed at 4:30 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which, as I say, is probably not something DC would want. They are happy with mediocre, and so are their readership. Though he jokes, from the internet comments over the last month or so it seems the audience for a crappy Rorschach comic aimed at people who don't like Alan Moore is probably actually pretty large.
posted by Artw at 4:34 PM on March 15, 2012


In terms of non-Big Two comics that are worth reading, I'll put in a good word for Locke & Key, written by Stephen King's son Joe Hill. In particular, the first comic of Keys to the Kingdom has a lot of the formal experimentation that I associate with Moore (particularly Fearful Symmetry , still to my mind one of the best single issues of any comic in the modern era).
posted by whir at 9:12 AM on March 16, 2012


Heh. Looks like Scott Snyder, after cribbing heavily from Moore throughout his Swamp Thing run, is finally branching out and doing something different, with terrible results.
posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on March 16, 2012


"You'll believe a vegetable can fly."
posted by Zed at 9:53 AM on March 16, 2012


This may or may not be off-topic, but the decision to not simply jettison all previous Swamp Thing continuity -- most notably, the Swamp Thing written by Mr. Moore -- is the biggest stumbling block the current series is facing, as far as I'm concerned. The problem with Moore's run isn't that you can't follow it because it's so good (although it is that good), but rather that Moore's run effectively ends the entire series. Interesting comics have followed it (as have terrible comics), but they've all basically been redundant additions to a complete novel. The short-lived incarnation that starred the retconned-into-oblivion Tefe is the one that probably made the most sense from an unexplored-territory perspective, but it fell into the unfortunate category of series-in-which-the-title-character-never-actually-appears, and met a predictable fate.

In any case, taking the book back to the Wein/Wrightson template this time out would almost certainly have opened up the widest number of possibilities. In the parlance of Comics Should Be Good, the original Swamp Thing is a pretty terrific story engine; the Moore/Bissette/Totleben Swamp Thing is a fantastic story with a beginning, middle and end. I think the current series is doing a better job than could reasonably be expected given the apparent mandate to simultaneously retcon the '80s series away and keep it in continuity (!), but I wish that Snyder had been given a clean slate instead.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:14 PM on March 16, 2012


I remember the Nancy A. Collins run as being an okay continuation of Moore/Veitch, but that;s about all i remember about it so it can't have been all that great.

Since then Swamp Thing has basically been on a loop of getting depowered and then going from that to superpowerful for a while now, usually losing and regaining his memory along the way. Sometimes it's been an enjoyable ride, Millar's go at it was about as effective a comic as he's ever written (and he can write effectively when not being a lazy sod) and I've heard good things about Diggles run but it's always about the same path.

This current version follows suit, but against a blank canvas of continuity, and still it apes Moore/Veitch every chance it gets. It was sort of fun for a bit, but after a while it got bugged down and started bugging me and it, along with Animal Man, became victims of my Nu52 pull list cull - something i wouldn;t have predicted at the start.
posted by Artw at 4:26 PM on March 16, 2012


David Uzumeri makes a good counteragument, FWIW.
posted by Artw at 4:28 PM on March 16, 2012


Here's AM giving a speech in 2010
posted by timshel at 6:47 AM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


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