Monday, February 23, 2009

Alan Moore On Today's "Edgy" Superheroes

"I have to say that I haven't seen a comic, much less a superhero comic, for a very, very long time now—years, probably almost a decade since I've really looked at one closely. But it seems to be that things that were meant satirically or critically in Watchmen now seem to be simply accepted as kind of what they appear to be on the surface. So yeah, I'm pretty jaundiced about the entire "caped crusader" concept at the moment."

Via Wired


  1. I've always felt that Alan Moore has been kind of uncomfortable with how what he wrote has been taken as the mode by which all stories should now be written.

    I think it's one reason why he did the ABC books with Jim Lee's Wildstorm. Just to show other possibilities and to show that those possibilities are still valid with the proper thought and storytelling.

  2. couldn't you argue that he's written super hero comics in the past decade?

  3. Wow. Nothing like being called a hopless nostalgic or accused of being in a state of arrested development. Allan Moore, aparantly is a self-rightous old crank. Nice tower you got there! Is it Ivory? Wanker.

  4. Hrm.

    Watchmen proved that the superhero could be a literary figure, albeit one that was created to deconstruct the archetype completely. Through it the notion of costumed adventurers living in a world not all that removed from our own was explored and it was revealed that while there would be some genuine altruists amongst the bunch, the motivation of other folk to conceal their face and stalk criminals would be a hell of a lot darker. Super Friends this was not.

    There exists today an almost schizophrenic break between the notion of 'adult' superhero comics and the more escapist fare, wherein the success of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns revealed to the powers that be that hey, these books were successful, so why not make 'em all like this?

    Add to that the graying of the superhero audience and you get a serious disconnect between what the superhero comic was (morality plays writ large, mainly for children) and what it has become (sturm und drang meant mainly to cater to the reader's nostalgia).

    Me, I can go either way. I enjoy the more 'serious' fare from time to time, but I'm not averse to the Justice League fighting robotic t-rexes on the moon either. Comics are meant to be entertainment, and I can enjoy the entertainment that challenges and the entertainment that delights with equal enthusiasm.

    Of course, five bucks says that once that Watchmen money starts dropping each company is going to see how they can out-grim the other, but honestly at this point if they both went darker how would we know? Would Norman Osborn eat a puppy on-panel? Max Lord blow Alfred's brains out without the benefit of (semi)concealing shadowing?

    Just my assorted pocket change.


  5. Rock on, Mr. Moore. Didn't Jack Kirby used to tell people not to do what he was doing, to do something different and personal instead? And Alec Guinness supposedly told this one kid who claimed he'd seen Star Wars a hundred times, "Promise me you'll never watch it again."

    It must get old when people take something you did years ago and reiterate it poorly thousands of times, especially while misunderstanding your intentions. And now Rorshach's going to be even more of an anti-hero.

    He must be loving that.

  6. Anonymous8:53 PM

    "Hi. Everything I do is ORIGINAL, and those that do it in any way similar to the way I did it are banal bores with no sense of originality or taste. I can't be bothered, but I definitely have an opinion."

    Whatev'. Moore has written very entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking ENTERTAINMENT. Who cares what entertains him?

  7. I've known one or two comic book writers over 15 years who wouldn't read mainstream comics and/or hated them.


    I have to keep reading mainstream comics. If I get to the point where I can't read any, what's the point?

    If you seek them out, the comics are there.


    I don't blame Moore though. He's at a point in accomplishment where I can't diss him.

    Morrison was almost at that point before that IGN interview. I might change my mind over time.

  8. Moore wrote Tom Strong, and did his ultimate homage to Superman in his Supreme run. Those give him a pass from me. Both series charmed the hell out of me.

    As to Morrison, I think he might have been a smidge defensive and come off a bit of a jerk, but I haven't sworn a blood oath of vengeance against the man. Superman Beyond charmed me, and while I admit the ending of Final Crisis left me a bit lukewarm, it wasn't the crime against nature some would make it out to be.

    There has to be a give and take between your feeling toward the work and the artist. That's how I can justify reading Garth Ennis books when I know his and my opinions on the superhero are vastly different, to say the least.


  9. Anonymous10:58 PM

    I have the utmost respect for Alan Moore and adore much of his writing, however, I can't help but feel like he comfortably sits in a glass house and throws stones.

    He is constantly complaining about people misconstruing his characters and work in general, and I frequently agree with him.

    However, in recent years he has taken a number of literary characters in directions that (I don't think I'm stretching here) would probably make their original creators physically ill. Look no further than League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Lost Girls.

    I'm no expert on 19th century literary figures and I could be alone on this, but he befuddles me.

  10. Maybe I'm naive, but not all superhero comics are the dark drek he'd make them out to be.

    It's like people who claim tv is a "vast wasteland" based on reality shows and bad, vapid sitcoms. Stretch your mind and read or watch something else.

  11. Anonymous1:23 AM

    I do not blame him.

  12. Anonymous1:28 AM

    That's actually nowhere near related to what Moore is talking about, and it is actually a strawman. Adaptation is not the same thing as creative license. Many will say that it is, but this is simply not true.

  13. Anonymous11:13 AM

    Brian, like I said, I'm just confused by Moore. I'm not exceedingly passionate either way however, I don't think the argument is quite a strawman.

    For one thing, if you are talking about creative license, I have no doubt that the writers and directer of Moore-based movies believe that at least some of their changes to the story fall within their own creative license. Whether anyone enjoys the changes is a matter of opinion.

    Second (and the larger issue), I really don't think that these darker super heroes are that different from his versions of 19th century literary characters.

  14. I'm somewhere in the middle, just like my politics.

    Alan Moore retired, didn't he? Then he needs to go away for awhile and let us miss him. Playing the old man sitting on the porch yelling at the kids about how it used to be? Not exactly the pose you want to adopt. Just ask a certain former Fantastic Four writer/artist.

    The "grim and gritty" thing was around in the 70s, too. Do people also forget that Batman used to carry a gun? This stuff goes in cycles. Very soon, people will be weary of the "Dark Reign"/"Black Adam punching people's eyes out of their heads" stuff and want their happy, shiny superheroes back.

    Or people can create their own positive heroes.

    I mean, just saying.

  15. Anonymous2:03 PM

    However, in recent years he has taken a number of literary characters in directions that (I don't think I'm stretching here) would probably make their original creators physically ill. Look no further than League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Lost Girls.

    I agree with you about League. I haven't read Lost Girls but just the idea behind it is repulsive. Both strike me as being the worst kind of hack work from someone capable of much more. He may have lost his touch. As Sick Boy said in Trainspotting, "At one time, you've got it, and then you lose it, and it's gone forever. All walks of life."

    I didn't recognize Mr. Hyde or Dorian Gray. Or Mycroft Holmes, for that matter (at least not his personality).