[comics] Nemo and All Things “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” with Kevin O’Neill … great interview with one of British comics finest artists … ‘I think with the original League series, it just started with a small Charles Dickens reference, and some older Victorian comic characters. I remember talking about it and we felt, well, if we have a newstand scene, it would be great if all the publications are fictional publications from all over the place — and therein lies the path to complete and total madness, really.’
[comics] League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Nemo: Roses of Berlin annotations … more LOEG annotations from Jess Nevins … ‘Panel 2. “Heil, Hynkel.” As shown in the previous issues of League, there is no Adolph Hitler in the world of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, just as there is no Mussolini and various other major world figures. What we have instead are literary or filmic analogues for these characters. In this case, Hitler is replaced by Adenoid Hynkel, the Hitler analogue from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940).’
[comics] Last Alan Moore Interview? … Pádraig Ó Méalóid posts an epic Alan Moore interview – Alan covers criticisms about rape and racism in his comics and provides what is likely to be his final word on Grant Morrison … ‘As for the use of ‘problematic’ figures in the pages of The League, a great number of the literary figures which we’ve appropriated or re-imagined in the course of the book, have been to my mind every bit as problematic as the Galley-Wag. They just haven’t been black. As an example I remain somewhat unsure, in light of these current issues, as to why our use of Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu in volume one seemed to have passed by without a murmur, given that here we have a character who was actually intended by his original author as a crude racial caricature of the most negative and xenophobic strain, and for whom our only act of rehabilitation was to suggest that Rohmer’s ‘Devil Doctor’ may have been motivated by a hatred of the British justifiably inculcated during his childhood in the years of the bestial and shameful Opium Wars. And yet, hardly a word said, as I recall.’
[comics] Eddie Campbell on From Hell and The From Hell Companion … interviewed by Pádraig Ó Méalóid … ‘From Hell is like a huge big machine with a nice clean orderly front panel. And when you unscrew it and take that off, beneath it you see a complex of wires and cogs and moving parts caked with lubricant. That’s the Companion. After only seeing the front panel for years, this new version of the machine makes the whole thing interesting in ways you never thought of before.’
[batman] The Killing Joke Ending Revealed? … Grant Morrison has an interesting theory about the conclusion of The Killing Joke … ‘That’s what I love about it- Batman kills the Joker…that’s why it’s called The Killing Joke…The Joker tells the ‘killing joke’ at the end and Batman reaches out and breaks his neck… and that’s why the laughter stops…the light goes out because that was the last chance of crossing that bridge. Alan wrote the ultimate Batman Joker story… because he finished it… the laughter stops, it abruptly stops, it’s quite obvious.’
[watchmen] Five More Notes About Before Watchmen … more from Tom Spurgeon on Before Watchmen … ‘I doubt I’ll ever be convinced that Before Watchmen was an awesome project. I don’t think it was evil; I think it was sad. That was a lot of talent aimed at books whose nature allowed only the tiniest chance that remarkable art would result; talent that probably could have gone to bolstering the new superhero comics line or that could have been pushed in the direction of their own, similar achievement. So much of it smacked of parody — they really did a Dollar Bill comic book! With Steve Rude art! — that the whole thing was hard to fathom.’
[comics] The Believer – Interview with Alan Moore … ‘Retroactively I can see that a lot of my earlier work was starting to center around themes that would become a lot more lucid when I did understand them in a magical context. The sense of timelessness or the fact that time may have a very different nature than that which we perceive has been there since my earliest 2000 AD short stories. It was there in Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen, it was there with William Gull in From Hell, and it’s there at the moment at the forefront of Jerusalem. So a lot of these things, even if they weren’t specifically magical, you start to see that, unintentionally, they were approaching a similar territory.’
[am] Reasons I Do Not Dance: Alan Moore Interview … interview with AM on psychogeography and it’s connections with his work … ‘The author that first introduced me to [psychogeography] was the person I regard as being its contemporary master, namely Iain Sinclair, with his early work Lud Heat. Obviously, since then my appreciation of the field has broadened to include a wider range of writers. Some of these, like Arthur Machen, would appear to have been consciously applying something very much like Iain Sinclair’s conception of psychogeography as ‘walking with an agenda’, while others such as H.P. Lovecraft sought only to draw poetic inspiration from specific landscapes and their atmospheres, apparently without a conscious understanding of the way in which these fictions could be said to have emerged from the geography in question. Nor did Lovecraft seem aware that his imaginings, superimposed upon the actual territories of New England, were inevitably to become part of the way those territories were perceived and thus part of the place itself.’
[comics] Alan Moore On Providence, Jerusalem, League And More … The first part of an interview with Moore from Pádraig Ó Méalóid mostly on recent and upcoming work … ‘I will also point out that if you’ve got, I believe twenty percent of young people polled said that they would be embarrassed if their mates caught them reading. That would seem to me to be a decline, and also I would say that if you’ve got the Avengers movie as one of the most eagerly attended recent movies, and if most of those attendees were adults, which I believe they were, then if you’ve got a huge number of contemporary adults going to watch a film containing characters and storylines that were meant for the entertainment of eleven year old boys fifty years ago, then I’ve got to say, there’s something badly wrong there, isn’t there? This is not actually cultural progress. Anyway, that was my feelings. Yes, I’d stand by the sentiments expressed in League 2009.’
[comics] Antony Johnston on phoning Alan Moore … ‘So this friend of mine, this guy I’ve gotten to know since entering the now-largely-online comics community, asks me if I want Alan Moore’s phone number. Do what, I say. He repeats the offer. Just don’t tell anyone where you got it, he says, or Alan will fucking kill me. Go on then, I reply. Why not? Half a millisecond after I write it down, I realise why not: I can never call this number.’
[watchmen] Rorschach’s Father: The Lost Tapes … previously little seen Alan Moore interview from 1987 on Watchmen … ‘The Nazis weren’t villains but ordinary human beings who did terrible things. Heroes are usually people who, if you happened to be on the opposite side of any battle, would be famous monsters. It is all totally subjective. There aren’t any pure heroes; there aren’t any pure villains; there’s just people. But people like there to be heroes and villains, because if we can say “That person is a monster”, it makes us feel better or not so bad. Or it makes it not our responsibility. Mrs Thatcher isn’t a monster, sh’es just a fairly nondescript intellect, but she’s a greedy and an ambitious woman. It’s too bad that she’s Prime Minister. I mean, if she’d have stayed in her greengrocery business, probably not many peuple would have shopped there an awful lot, but it wouldn’t have done anv great harm. But a lot of the left wing in Britain like to portray Mrs Thatcher as a monster.’
[comics] Alan and The Mad Reader … a look on the early influence of Mad Magazine on Alan Moore … ‘The chief importance of the Superduperman story to Moore seems to have been the basic idea of a totally fresh way of looking at Superman, a character whose stories at that time were extremely formulaic. Apart from this, one small point worth noticing is the way in which the emblem of the hero’s chest keeps changing – just like that of Dourdevil in Moore’s Daredevil parody “Grit” (The Daredevils #8, 1983).’
[comics] Alan Moore: why I turned my back on Hollywood … a profile of Moore from The Observer … ‘When another of Moore’s old computer keyboards was put up for auction on eBay, last year, the seller hazarded that it “may contain otherworldy powers”. It went for £461, despite having a faulty Z key. Walking in Northampton, Moore explains that his old keyboards have ended up on eBay, or in that museum in Charleroi, because he has had to decommission so many of them. He currently writes on an industrial-strength keyboard made of metal, properly meant for use in foundries and conflict zones. The plastic sort used to last him a few months before melting under the constant spray of cigarette ash, or otherwise breaking from overuse.’
[comics] Tom Spurgeon On 27 years Of John Constantine: ‘Here’s something I noticed when I got that 27-year-old number. That means that more time has passed between John Constantine being created and now than between the creations of Hal Jordan and John Constantine. That is… I don’t know if that’s depressing or astonishing or what. These characters aren’t young. An era of comics that many of us think of as still ongoing is really receding in the rear view mirror.’
[comics] Lost Comics: Garry Leach’s Warpsmith … Forbidden Planet on some unreprinted (until recently) Alan Moore comics from the early part of his career … ‘The Warpsmiths themselves were created by a very young Alan Moore, and subsequently worked up into fully formed characters by Moore and Garry Leach for Warrior magazine, where they appeared in Marvelman and their own Warpsmith strips. According to reports, Leach was gifted ownership complete by Moore, and subsequently allowed their use in Miracleman, where they become an important part of the final Olympus storyline. When Garry Leach started the A1 anthology in ’89, he and Moore brought the Warpsmiths back. And that’s about it. A short but important history. Lost to time now. Except…’
[comics] Alan Moore’s Lost Stan Lee Essay … Originally published in 1983 … ‘Like most readers of that period I had become totally brainwashed by the sheer bellowing overkill of the Marvel publicity machine. If a cover-blurb in formed me that Millie the Model meets The Rawhide Kid was “The Greatest Action Epic of All Time” then by God, so it was and never mind about War and Peace, The Bible, King Solomon’s Mines and Moby Dick. As far as I was concerned, if it wasn’t written by Stan Lee it wasn’t in the running.’
[comics] The Supreme Writer … Alan Moore Interview (from 1999) On Jack Kirby … ‘So I met Jack very briefly before or after that panel, but all I remember was that aura he had around him. This sort of walnut colored little guy with a shackle of white hair and these craggy Kirby drawn features. This sort of stockiness. I just remember him chatting with me and Frank Miller and he was saying in this kind of raspy voice, “You kids, I think you’re great. You kids, what you’ve done is terrific. I really want to thank you.” It was almost embarrassing to have Jack Kirby thanking me. I just assured him that it was me who should be thanking him, sort of because he had done so much to contribute to my career. He had a glow around him, Jack Kirby. He was somebody very, very special.’
Q: You’ve always refused to put your name to film adaptions of your work. I know this is going to be hard to put a figure on, but how much money do you think you’ve turned down, for taking a moral standpoint on this?
Alan: Well, they asked me if they could give me a huge amount of money to bring out these Watchmen prequel comics – which they were going to do anyway – and that was probably a couple of million dollars. I should imagine with all of the films it would be another few million? In a way it’s really empowering to do that.
You can’t buy that kind of empowerment. To just know that as far as you are aware, you have not got a price; that there is not an amount of money large enough to make you compromise even a tiny bit of principle that, as it turned out, would make no practical difference anyway. I’d advise everyone to do it, otherwise you’re going to end up mastered by money and that’s not a thing you want ruling your life. Money’s fine if it enables you to enjoy your life and to be useful to other people. But as something that is a means to an end, no, it’s useless.
[comics] Barack Obama Names Alan Moore Official White House Biographer … ‘President Obama announced that he had appointed legendary comic book writer Alan Moore as the official biographer of his time in the White House. “As evidenced by his epic run on Swamp Thing #21–64, Moore’s deft hand with both sociopolitical commentary and metaphysical violence makes him an ideal choice to chronicle my time in office,” Obama said of the author of Watchmen and From Hell, whom he reportedly chose over others on a short list of potential biographers that included Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, and Bob Woodward.’
[comics] More Moore … London’s Gosh Comics provides us with an update to what Alan Moore is up to for the next year or so… ‘NEMO – HEART OF ICE: February 2013 — The next League book hoves into view: it’s Jules Verne meets H.P. Lovecraft in a 48-page one-shot set in Antarctica, in the 1920s.’
[comics] Glycon Contents List / Index …Pádraig Ó Méalóid’s Glycon Livejournal is a fantastic collection of Alan Moore out-of print comics and oddities – this index makes it easy to see what’s available and find what you’re looking for.
[comics] Comics I Read In Series Form In The 1980s: Miracleman … Tom Spurgeon On Marvelman / Miracleman … ‘I can sure recall any number of individual moments in these comics. There’s a birth. There’s the way the character initially puts together his “magic word.” There’s a scene where they’re reading comics for clues. There’s a man with scary teeth. There’s one where they talk about sex education as something that should involve having sex as part of that education. There’s a bunch of stuff with the creepy Kid Miracleman character, a wonderful bad guy. There’s the arch-villain that looks like the late Joe Paterno. And then there’s the single issue with all the killing, which I remember mostly in terms of its visual texture, one giant smear of pain. That was one of the actually rare comic books of its day, incidentally; I had two or three interns at TCJ that asked to read the office copy the day they arrived.’
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June 8, 2012
[comics] A Portal to Another Dimension: Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and Neil Gaiman … the Watchmen Panel at UKCAC ’86 – moderated by Neil Gaiman … ‘I think that because there’ve been a lot of fascist overtones in Marvelman [Miracleman] people assumed that the superheroes had taken over. There aren’t really any fascist superheroes in Watchmen. Rorschach’s not a fascist; he’s a nutcase. The Comedian’s not a fascist’ he’s a psychopath. Dr. Manhattan’s not a fascist; he’s a space cadet. They’re not fascists. They’re not in control of their world. Dr. Manhattan’s not even in control of the world — he doesn’t care about the world.’
[comics] Before Watchmen, Nineteen Eighties Style … Bleeding Cool covers DC Comics first (failed) attempt at Watchmen II … ‘[A well placed DC source] confirms another anonymous ex-DC source that it was planned for Andy Helfer to write The Comedian and Michael Fleisher would be offered Rorschach.’
[comics] Alan Moore: The Biography … full length biography of Moore from Lance Parkin is due late next year … ‘This is going to be, I hope, the definitive literary biography that explores the life and career of Alan Moore and goes a little wider than either my previous book or Storyteller, placing Moore in the context of the British and American comics industry, as well as the underground, occult and countercultural scenes.’
Ten days or so past the official announcement, I’m thinking More Watchmen may be best understood as a blow to comics’ dignity. It’s product, not art. It’s a limited, small series of ideas derived from a bigger, grander one. It’s sad. One thing that Watchmen did a quarter century ago was to underline certain values of craft and intent and creative freedom that have helped to yield enough equivalent expressions — to my mind even grander expressions — that we may now see this follow-up project for what it is: nothing special.
“Shortly after I picked up the Watchmen assignment I called Alan in Northampton,” says Winninger. “He was unbelievably nice and excited about the project. During that first call he spent almost two hours telling me exactly what was about to happen in the next nine issues of the comic, down to the level of individual panels and page layouts.” Winninger adds, “I still remember him saying ‘Right, issue 12. We open with six pages of corpses.’ I spoke with him several times thereafter to bounce my ideas for the adventure off of him, to clarify details to get his approval on the manuscripts and such.” And, as Winninger points out, Dave Gibbons provided original cover art for the Mayfair “Watchmen” books and added new interior art as well.
I mean, do I believe all of the things that I tell people? In my heart, I can’t say that I do. But then, what about priests? You can’t tell me that all of them believe every last word of what they preach, but do they get called ‘ghouls in cardigans’ or ‘Vincent Price, but camp’? No. No, they don’t. That’s because people recognise all of the reassurance and the comfort that religion brings to people, and it doesn’t really matter if it’s true or not. Or doctors, it’s like doctors when they say that a placebo, that’s like, what, a sugar pill? That a placebo can work wonders without any side effects, but that they can’t prescribe them ’cause of all the medical red tape and ethics, health and safety, all that business. That’s me. I’m a spiritual sugar pill, but I do people good. I’m sorry, but I touch their lives.
[watchmen] Doomsday Clock moves one minute closer to midnight … ‘The Doomsday Clock, a symbolic gauge of nuclear danger, has moved one minute closer to midnight because of “inadequate progress” on nuclear and climate issues. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) announced the move – to five minutes before midnight – on Tuesday.’