Monday, February 23, 2009

Alan Moore Hates Everything You Love

Against my best efforts--and don't listen to what Darcy says; she lies--I have apparently become the one who handles all of Alan Moore's craziness. Lucky me.

I had a couple of posts planned--a review of the new Prince of Persia game, book reviews, and maybe a thinky post on Dollhouse--but then I found out that Alan Moore did another interview, and his delicious bitter flavored crazy is like candy to me. Soul and tooth enamel destroying candy. And this means I get to share it all with you!

I'm picking and choosing my favorite questions and answers, and there is one in there that I'm convinced was meant just for me, but we'll get to that later, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone.
Word: You're very scathing on the state of today's superhero comics. Did you watch Heroes?
Moore: I was persuaded to watch it by people who said it nods to Watchmen but God, what a load of rubbish! It's a late-70s X-Men at best and full of terrible ideas and characters who've all been done to death. Beyond death. And the writing shows such contempt for the viewer. The climax, a man who is going to explode is carried off into the air by his brother... did anybody bother to compare the effects of a groundburst with an airburst nuclear explosion? I'll take the former over the latter, thanks. This is supposed to be the sort of thing that superhero stories are good at. I tell you, if we are ever threatened with a scenario like that in real life I hope the superheroes aren't American because we'll be sunk.
So does Alan Moore like anything? Although to be fair on this, Heroes does like to smack its viewers around, as seen by season two and the first half of season 3, and possibly the second half, although I'm holding out hope.

Moore says that this is supposed to be the sort of thing that superhero stories are good at, but what is he referring to? Avoiding nuclear explosion? General world saving? Be more specific, Alan Moore. Also, this is the second interview that I've seen where he blames America for everything. Dude, buddy, your books still sell over here, so maybe could you lighten up just a tad? Possibly tone down the bitterness just a smidgen? Or, you know, just go off on another crazy rant. That's good too, I guess.

Oh, and he ended his response to that question with this: This is why I don't work in movies or TV. It is almost physically impossible to tell a real story there. Well, that and you are a gigantic snob whose beard keeps eating the producers.

Word: Graphic novels like Watchmen, V For Vendetta and Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns were supposed to usher in a new era of comics for adults. What went wrong?
Moore: Ah yes, the new era of grown-up comics! That worked out, didn't it? There really should have been more to comics than 20 years of grim, nasty remakes of Watchmen. The comics world was very optimistic in the late 80s and maybe what we thought was the beginning was actually the high point......And the other side of the comics industry, the achingly trendy, avant garde books, they're mired in a teenage worldview too. All they provide are comfort eating comics about neuroses and the emptiness of modern life and fear of dying alone.
So Alan Moore really does hate everything, or at least everything that he hasn't written. What does Alan Moore consider to be a grown-up comics? Superhero comics were and still are considered to be aimed at children, and due to the long continuity and various freaking unnecessary company wide events, I can see understand Moore's argument that there are not any story lines with depth or lasting effects.
But the indy comics he's talking about, well, I have to disagree. Sure, I can see how his argument might apply to Blankets (and this where Darcy will yell at me), but there are some books, like Alcoholic and Funhouse, while working as a visual memoir, are explorations of family and self, and are much bigger than they appear.
And, hey, Alan Moore, I know that you've worked with those themes you cite up there, so are we including you on this list now?
Alan Moore had this to say about Battlestar Galactica: I have seen the first half of the final series of Battlestar Galactica. It's well done, but I'll reserve judgment until I've seen the final episodes, because it could, as with so many of these things, end up as a bit of a mess. ... I feel that the big problem with most of these programs is that people start off with the good beginnings of an idea. That is disastrous because that is enough to get a show commissioned. So you've got the beginnings of a good idea and if it's not brought to its conclusion properly, it won't be a good idea at all; it'll be a waste of everybody's time.

I'm a little surprised by this, because BSG is so dark and grim and unhappy that I though Alan Moore would use his warlock powers and immigrate to the show. I just like how bitter he is here: "that is disastrous because that is enough to get a show commissioned." Oh, Alan Moore, you hate everything connected with Hollywood, don't you? I think some of this might stem from the fact that his beard is not photogenic.

Moore: Frank Miller, I haven't been able to read him for some time. Have you seen his latest idea? It is - and I can hardly believe this - Batman vs Al Qaeda. What can you say to an idea as absurd as that? This is our response to the Iraq war? Miller's trapped in a teenage world of macho violence. Look at Sin City. Every woman is a bloodthirsty, semi-naked whore; every man is a indestructible killing machine. It's nasty, misogynist, Neanderthal Teenage, but it sells.

Oh, Alan Moore, you are a bitter, crazy, be-bearded mountain man after my own heart. And by that I mean please don't take my still beating heart for your collection.
I really want Frank Miller to respond to this because it would eventually escalate to a cage match between the two and then we'll see Alan Moore's beard release it's full rage on poor, hapless, INSANE Frank Miller and it will be awesome.
We have now reached the point where Alan Moore becomes a caricature of himself and I am totally vindicated:
WORD:You've now dedicated yourself to the practise and exploration of magic. Does it work? Do you use it to a purpose: "I curse you, DC Comics, for nicking V For Vendetta off me" and so on?
MOORE: Well if I had I wouldn't tell you, would I, ha ha! I do have a few personal rituals which I pursue from time to time and all I can say is, my personal wellbeing and belief system are in pretty good shape. I do have quite an old and rare book called The Grimoire Of The Spirit Of The Place which purports to be written by "an old sea captain" and details how you can summon up and capture the local spirit using a pig - although apparently if you have the book you don't need to kill the pig, which is good. I might give that a try soon; it fits with my interest in psychogeography and the locality of Northampton. I like my magic to be public. That way, if it's ridiculous, people know.

So when I said you were a warlock, Alan Moore, I was mostly joking, and yet you actually own grimoire written by a drunk old sea captain. Like John Hodges said on The Daily Show, it's emergency Christmas and this is my emergency Christmas present! Thanks, zombie Jesus!
I had to discuss this with Darcy and we both agree that Alan Moore is just a tiny step away from becoming a super villain. It's a good thing he doesn't actually accept any money from the movies they adapt from his work, because then he would buy an entire island fortress and a space laser and threaten the United Nations every other week.
Alan Moore will basically become Dr. Doom and start referring to himself in the third person: "Alan Moore demands that no one but Alan Moore writes comics. Alan Moore wants America to admit its a little bitch and to just give up. Alan Moore demands more pigs for Alan Moore's dark rituals. Alan Moore's beard thirst for the flesh of the innocent. Alan Moore demands the finest velvet hats are made especially for him."
It's only a matter of time before Alan Moore gets his hands on a thermo-nuclear weapon and holds the world hostage. Also, his beard will become more elaborate and wild until it covers his entire face and no human weapon can so much as dent its impenetrable hair.

I don't know about you folks, but I for one welcome our new bearded overlord.

Go here to see more of Alan Moore's interview.


Danicus said...

The thing is, Alan Moore seems to want unchecked realism in comics. For example, his rant on Heroes and the effects of groundburst vs. airburst nuclear explosions. And while he is correct, leaving ground zero on the GROUND is preferable... Science should usually be a casual observer in comics, stepping in every now and again when it helps, but taking a backseat to action when science would hinder the fun. Honestly, he has problems with the logistics of the nuclear strike, but thinks nothing of the fact that THESE PEOPLE CAN FLY. where's the science behind that?

I mean really, if hard science came into play in every comic, we'd have no heroes, because every last one of them would die in issue #1.

Batman is gunned down by thugs early in his career.
Superman... never happens to be written because his alien heritage looking exactly like a human is too improbable.
The Punisher is gunned down by thugs early in his career.
The Incredible Hulk is vaporized on the testing field.
The Fantastic Four develop horrible tumors and die.
I could go on for a while....
But my point is, suspension of disbelief is an important part of comics, Mr. Moore. Anyone who practices freaking MAGIC should probably understand that.
*pant, pant*
Okay, I'm done with this rant for now.

...for some reason, probably Alan Moore's witchity powers, I wasn't able to post this until now. I've been trying since about 1am...

Darcy said...

Blankets is a deep and meaningful coming of age tale dammit! Just cause nobody gets raped or goes crazy doesn't make it...un-deep!

We should buy Snuggies and start a Beard Cult!

Darcy said...

Also Lego-Alan Moore is on a scary borderline between terrifying and cuddly that I didn't know existed until now.

Jayne said...

Yeah, the site was funky. Sorry, Danicus, but I'm glad you broke through because those are good points.

As someone whose written superhero comics and just other comics that require a suspension of belief (like Lost Girls, oh god, seriously, Alan Moore, that's not exactly how sexual awakening goes, but whatevs),Alan Moore seems to hate everything to do with them, at least what he hasn't written. I'm not sure if he's just disillusioned by the industry or if he has, and this is so much more likely, just decided that since he's Alan Moore what he says goes. Also, he's a crazy warlock luddite supervillain.

And the thing is that a lot of what he's complaining about he's written at one time or another in his long career. Also, there is something endearing about Lego Alan Moore, and I sort of want one, but I'm pretty sure Alan Moore will use that as an entryway into your house. He does, after all, know where you sleep...

And, Darcy, I like Blankets. You know I do since you basically amde me read it at gunpoint, but I'm just saying that if you look at it through Alan Moore's beard you know he's all, "Alan Moore does not approve of this teenage navel gazing. Alan Moore could write so much better."

And if we start a Beard Cult, I really don't want to know what kind of kool air we'd be drinking.

Danicus said...

Spider-Man dies due to venom or radiation poisoning...

Captain America is never born, because any steroid therapy of that kind, to change someone in an instant, would put too much strain on a human heart, so Steve Rogers dies...

About the only hero I can come up with that actually would be semi-plausible in the realm of total realism is Nick Fury... and even then his story is toned down to almost boring levels.

The more of Moore's ramblings i manage to read, the more convinced I am that you're correct. this sounds less and less like disdain coming from the master speaking down to his inferiors, and more like the whining of someone who can't handle anyone having interpretations and story ideas that differ from his own.

...And one other thing, I liked Blankets too. a lot. in fact, im going to reread it tomorrow, i think. :-p

Jayne said...

I love Alan Moore's work. The man is a genius, so I sort of hate to say this (well, okay, not really because god knows I enjoy mocking things), but Alan Moore reminds of an old man who complains about how nothing today is as good as when he was kid and the damn kids today with their low slung pants and their rock music and video games need to stay off his lawn!

The comics industry, like anything, is far from perfect. God know I complain enough about them, which sooner or later I'll start ranting about in this blog, but even still you have to acknowldege there are some amazing works coming out, like Y:The Last Man, Blankets, Fun House, Preacher, Fables.

That being said, I hope Alan Moore never stops giving interviews because goddamn I love his bitter, bitter craziness. That and I will no longer have anything else to talk about.

Danicus said...

Well, Y: The Last Man, Blankets, and Preacher are no longer coming out... but i see the point you're trying to make.

And ohh... I could go on about Fables until the end of days. I have rarely encountered a comic as consistently well written.

Liz said...

Alan Moore is actually a trickster demi-god, but due to his vanity and spite, the gods split his powers into 5 fragments and scattered them across the universe!! 5 young...people find these in the form of the power rings of Glycon! And when they unite with their new found powers they will have the power of Alan Moore at their fingertips!!


Danicus said...

You can tell im a giant nerd because the "Five scattered fragments" thing made me think of the Ronin Warriors cartoon before i thought of anything else.

Jayne said...

All I can think now is that stupid theme song: "Alan Moore, he's out anti-hero, taking goodness down to zero."

Annnd now I'm picturing him in with blue skin in the manties with a mullet. It's only a matter of time now before Alan Moore comes for me.

The Egoist said...

Alan Moore doesn't like any form of media that isn't an autopsy of the human spirit, with all its vices and virtues. It seems to be his opinion that the unexamined life makes for bad entertainment.

The most notable example is From Hell, which actually refers to itself as an autopsy. In the end, conspiracy theories aside, it's simply the character study of a serial killer; a fictional monograph.

But everything from V for Vendetta to Lost Girls is a microscopic inspection of some of some facet of human behavior. How does a society react to nuclear war? Read V. How does one become a sociopath? Read Watchmen? How does one deal with childhood sexual abuse? Read Lost Girls.

Forget the superhero, steampunk and sci-fi overlays, they're just tools he's using. He doesn't need to like them for them to be useful ways of doing his autopsies. Asking him to like them is like asking a coroner to like scalpels and forceps. They're only good when used properly.