Thursday 20 October 2022

Comics Wrap-Up - An Odd Duck

'Comics Wrap-Up' with lined-notebook-style background and speech bubbles containing heart symbols

It's Thursday, life is exhausting, let's get some comics-y superhero-y goodness!

Moore Moore Moore!

Legendary comics creator, and slightly odd duck, Alan Moore, has given a rare interview to GQ magazine's M H Miller.

Moore is responsible for such iconic comics as Watchmen, V For Vendetta, and Batman's in/famous The Killing Joke. 

...All work which he has disowned.

Moore is famous not only for his work, but also for being... well, a bit of an odd duck.

(Do people outside the UK use that phrase? I have no idea.)

Eccentric, slightly reclusive, occultist, outspoken, famously at odds with the comic book and entertainment industries as a whole... Alan Moore is Alan Moore.

Due to the nature of the comics industry, Moore has always had limited say over what happened to his characters and series

 - the true power lies with the publishers, like DC and various smaller publishers and imprints he worked for.

I get why he feels like his work has been, to some extent, stolen, misused, commercialised.

Alan Moore's Simpsons character groaning and putting his head in his hands. Caption: (Sighs)
Via Giphy

...But I also get that, from the comics publishers' points of view, there may be dozens of people working on a particular property (series or character or whatever,) at any one time

- to give them all a legal say over the characters and storylines moving forward is impractical at best.

I'm not saying either Moore or the publishers are in the right - I think both could stand to compromise - I'm just saying that I understand, from the point of view of each, why they feel the way they do.

I also think, though - and this is purely my speculation and opinion and all that jazz - that Moore would never be happy with anything being 'done with' his comics.

No adaptations, no merchandise, certainly no spin-offs or appearances in other comics series. Nothing using his work as a jump-off point to explore other themes.

I think he feels a level of ownership that even excludes the audience.

Reading the GQ interview, I can totally understand why the adoption of his ant-fascist works by actual effing fascists as some sort of icon is distressing.

...But he seems to hold disdain for any and all interpretations that meander beyond his original intentions. No matter what those interpretations may be.

He is the ultimate purist fanboy of his own work.

And while the argument can be made that they're his characters, and his stories... if that's your attitude, maybe don't publish it?

At one point, in the GQ interview, he says of Watchmen and the lesser-known Miraclemen:

'...they were critiques of the superhero genre.They were trying to show that any attempt to realize these figures in any kind of realistic context will always be grotesque and nightmarish. But that doesn’t seem to be the message that people took from this. They seemed to think, uh, yeah, dark, depressing superheroes are, like, cool.'

...and the question has to be asked, Mr Moore: if you didn't want people to like your characters, flawed and ugly-beautiful, and broken, and anti-hero/sympathetic-villain, though they may be... why did you write them?

Because the real strength of Alan Moore's characters are that, even more than Marvel's flawed heroes of the silver age, people can see themselves in them.

They see... people. 

Not all bad, not all good, extraordinary circumstances, difficult and gritty and hard - like life can be, sometimes. 

Worthy of redemption. 

Worthy of love and humanity and respect.

And people relate to people. Especially people like them - who are not perfect, who make mistakes, who struggle.

Who sometimes do the right thing for the wrong reason, or the wrong thing for the right reason, or even the wrong thing for a reason they thought was right.

People relate to that. Always have, always will.

If you wanted people to dislike your characters, Alan, then you have a problem: you made them too real. Perhaps more than you ever wanted them to be.

Beatles Moments

Over on Book Riot, Jessica Plummer wrote about some of her favourite Beatles appearances in comics - especially in the 60s.

...Honestly, I laughed, it's so great!

Shameless Self-Promo

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 (100% no pressure.)

Are you an Alan Moore fan?

Do you agree with me? Disagree?

Talk to me! 😅💬

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  1. This is such an interesting post, because guess who really wants to read Watchmen and put it on her Christmas list... this girl. I know nothing about Alan Moore so this stuff seems interesting. The fact that he is an odd duck makes me kinda want to read it even more, though my pet peeve is when authors are too territorial over their work. Once it's out there, people are going to make their own interpretations, and if you can't accept that, then the work should've stayed private. So dammit, I'm gonna make my own interpretation!

    1. Lol, rock on Em! I totally agree - and I love the word 'territorial' (makes it sound like he's a dog out for a walk and doing what dogs do! Lol) Moore's an odd duck, through and through. But his work? Is amazing (80s art style and all! Lol.)


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