Alan Moore is praised as one of the greatest comic book writers of all time and one of the best writers of fiction in the modern era. He recently sat down and gave an interview where he discussed his thoughts on fiction, literature, and of course superheroes (link is provided below). If you are someone who tries to keep up with Alan Moore, then some of his comments regarding superheroes shouldn’t come that much of a surprise But I do think now is as good a time as any to get as honest as we can about him - both for better and for worse.
1 - What are some of your favorite Alan Moore stories? Any stories that you couldn’t get into?
2 - Have you read any of his work outside of comics?
3 - What do you think about his statements regarding reading older stories with a modern-era mindset? How much do you agree or disagree with him?
4 - What do you think about his statements regarding superheroes and how they are written or perceived? How much do you agree or disagree with him?
5 - What other thoughts do you have after going through his interview?
In the context of Alan Moore, I think part of his harsh critique of superheroes is tied to how much DC screwed him over and some of his frustration may be misdirected at the characters and genre itself
Yeah, I would say Alan Moore clearly does love superheroes. What he’s more bummed about is the infantilization it fosters when not part of a balanced diet of stories. One cannot subsist on capes alone.
It’s at times like these I remember the issue that Moore penned really early on in MacFarlane’s Spawn book. Grant Morrison analysizes it a bit in their book “Supergods” and I think they nailed it on the head
I admit I had to look “drull” up. An interesting word, as well as it’s definition. As for mister Moore, I can only echo what’s already been said above. But, as for getting to the specifics of your five questions … well, I’ll do my best.
1. - Watchmen, the Killing Joke, For the Man Who Has Everything and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, are easily, some of my favorites. 2. - I’ve not read any of his “other than” comic book work, I’m afraid. I’m years behind in my own comic reading, as it is! 3. - Watchmen and Miracleman (aka Marvelman) show you a lot about what he thinks on that subject. 4. - I’ll stand with HCQ on his super-hero mindset. 5. - Some things in life don’t age well. There are those who see him as a misplaced " hippie," who’s time has passed. Others are more in tune with his political and social views. But it wouldn’t surprise me, if there are some print dictionaries out there in the world, that have his picture, next to the word curmudgeon. Yeah, I could see that.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (thankfully James Robinson came along). Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow is the second worst portrayal of Superman I have ever read in a comic book.
If I want to read Moore’s work I will read comic books.
Are you talking about the Battle of Britain part? Very basic stuff.
He claims League of Extaordinary Gentlemen is the only superhero that actually ends despits its great sales. This ignores that the last volume was despised and a certain major exception that went way farther with ending than League ever did-
Alan makes a lot of great points and I found myself agreeing with him more than disagreeing. However, I absolutely refute the assertion that superhero stories are essentially fascist. The superhero genre is a story-telling tool and a tool does not have an essential ideology. In fact, Alan even gives me the best example to prove this:
“I think in the particular case of Superman, you’ve got a character that was invented by two working-class teenagers from Cleveland in the middle of the Depression, who created a character that was an empowerment of a disempowered working-class community. He was an immigrant, like most of them, but he was not forced to dress in the drab browns and grays of most of the other people on the 1930s breadlines. He was wearing bright primary colors and he could leap over the streets that they were having to trudge down looking for work. The early Superman beat up strikebreakers, and threw a slum landlord over the horizon.”
I would say that the above has nothing to do with fascism. Golden Age Superman was a tool used to try an empower the disempowered and right social wrongs. It was still an ego fantasy, yes, but not a fascist ego fantasy. It was one meant to balance the scales of injustice that people lived through day to day.
Do a fair amount of superhero stories slip uncomfortably close to fascism? Yes, and I’ve read those stories. Do superhero stories often feed an unhealthy attachment to nostalgia? Yes, and I believe that’s become one of the greatest things the industry struggles with as it tries to cater to the nostalgia of its established fanbase while also trying to change things in a way that appeals to a wider audience.
But, like I said, the superhero genre is just a tool, and a tool is neither good nor bad. It’s all about how you use it.