So TotalFilm.com had an interview with Alan Moore, titled "Exclusive: Why Alan Moore Hates Comic-Book Movies." They could have easily titled this "Exclusive: Why Alan Moore Hates Life" and still be completely correct. I'm also hoping the interview was by phone or possibly e-mail because can you imagine sitting across Alan I Can Hear Your Dreams Moore and not wet yourself out of terror? It's scientifically proven that you cannot. True fact.
One of the best parts of the interview, besides Alan Moore essentially becoming a caricature of himself, is that they stick absolutely terrifying photos of the man in between what he says. Like TotalFilm is saying, "Dude, look at this guy. He is total crazycakes. My god, we couldn't get him to shut up! Also, we think his beard may have eaten our dog."
I'm going to give you some of my favorite Alan Moore comments, possibly out of context, but it doesn't matter since Alan Moore was basically frothing at the mouth while ranting, and try to do what I do best: make borderline slanderous fun of it! Oh, I'll also be including random pictures of the man because, well, if I have to suffer through the nightmare fuel that is Alan Moore then so do you. Let's get started.
So the first reason Alan Moore hates the film industry and thinks comics shouldn't be movies is because, well, comics don't work as films. That seems a little broad, but maybe he'll clear it up for us.
"The main reason why comics can't work as films is largely because everybody who is ultimately in control of the film industry is an accountant. These people may be able to add up and balance the books, but in every other area they are stupid and incompetent and don't have any talent."
Ouch. I know that most of the adaptations of your work have absolutely sucked, Alan Moore, but is insulting these people really the way to get them to not rape your work?
And there's this: "They're going to show it to the backers and then they're going to say, we want this in it, and this in it...and where's the monster?"
Hey, Alan Moore, you do realize that some of your work does have monsters in it, right? I mean, Watchmen had a giant butt-vagina space monster. A majority of your work doesn't have monsters in it, and no matter how bad the movie adaptation was, just be thankful they didn't stick Godzilla in From Hell.
Remember how I said Alan Moore is a warlock? Well, judging by this picture he is about to call fire and brimstone down upon this poor London street. That or he's going to eat the cameraman. You might want to avert your eyes or Alan Moore will steal your soul.
Reason #2 about why he hates movies is "Hollywood is full of idiots." Um, yeah, we know, you just told us, Alan Moore.
"We have one particularly dense Hollywood producer say, 'You don't even have to do the book, just stick your name on this idea and I'll make the film and you'll get a lot of money-it's...The League of Extraordinary Animals! I'll be like Puss in Boots!' And I said, 'No, no, no. Never mention this to me again."
What Alan Moore leaves out is how he then stole the man's soul, ate his dreams, and turned him into his zombie servant. I don't want to admit this where Alan Moore might hear me, but how hilarious would League of Extraordinary Animals be? Oh, sure, it would be absolutely godawful, but can you imagine how much fun Rifftrax would have with it? I sort of want it for just that reason now, but it'll never happen. Why do you have to be so selfish Alan Moore?
3. Comics are better than blockbusters.
Look, Alan Moore, at the risk of waking up one night to see you sitting at the foot of the bed, displeased with me, I'm going to have to disagree with you and even go as far as to say you're wrong to a certain extent. Now, no matter what you personally believe, historically speaking, comic books were and still are considered to be low-brow entertainment aimed solely at children. It hasn't been until recently, in the past twenty years or so, that the case has been made that comic books are just as literary as regular novels. Personally, I have argued and will continue to argue graphic novels as literature (and, oddly enough, the examples usually given are Alan Moore's work, usually followed closely by Neil Gaiman's Sandman), but the prevailing thought is that comic books are just silly stories about men in spandex that we tell our children.
Also, I happen to know for a fact that you're acquainted with Rob Liefeld, who, let's face it, will never have integrity ever and that the mere existence of his comics and art make the world a sadder place. For every Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman working in comics, there's eight thousand Rob Liefelds.
But wait, there's more: "The more money that's involved in a project the less imagination there will be in the project, and vice versa. If you've got zero budget, you're John Waters, you're Jean Cocteau, you're going to make a brilliant film."
You've never heard of Ed Wood Jr., have you, Alan Moore? While this is true in some cases and you do end up with a Waters and Cocteau, it is far more likely you'll end up a movie that is fodder for MST3K. Why do you think that show lasted for ten seasons?
Alan Moore modeling his mountain man look. This was taken after he killed and skinned a grizzly bear with his teeth.
4. Films are a waste of money.
Now I am curious where he's going with this.
"100 million dollar that's what they spent on the Watchmen film...that's what they spent on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen which shouldn't have come out but did anyway."
Well, I can't argue about LoEG. He's got me there. Even if you ignore the source it was adapted from, it was an awful movie. You take in the graphic novel and, well, it took on Constantine levels of soul killing.
"Do we need any more shitty films in this world? We have quite enough already. Whereas the 100 million dollars could sort out the civil unrest in Haiti."
With anyone else I would point out that the author is still profiting from the movie because of the percentage that they get. But since this is Alan Moore, he has his name taken off the movie, doesn't accept any money for it. In fact, he gave his share of the profits for Watchmen to Dave Gibbions. And Alan Moore does have a good point here. It's really hypocritical of us, not too mention shitty, to spend absurd amounts of money on making movies while the world is going to hell. That being said, I fully acknowledge my hypocriticalness and say I still really, really want the Watchmen move.
Despite his pokes about LoEG and shitty movies, this wasn't nearly insulting as I was expecting. Where's the arrogant condescension that I know and mock?
"And the books are always superior, anyway."
There we go. I was worried for a moment.
Alan Moore is sporting some stylish shades and for once not looking like he's about two seconds away from dragging you to his underground lair for use in some sort of dark ritual with the Elder gods that I'm forced to assume that this is all some surreal hallucination brought on by sleep deprivation on my part.
5. Move contracts are ridiculous.
Oh lord, here we go. I have to quote this entire section because it's sort of awesome.
"The League film cost 100 million because Sean Connery wanted 17 million of that-and a bigger explosion that [sic] he had in his last film. It's in his contract that he as to have a bigger explosion with every film he's in."
Is that true or is Alan Moore just saying crazy shit because he can?
"In The Rock he'd blown up an island, and he was demanding in The League that he blow up, was it Venice or something like that? It would have been the moon in his next movie."
Oh, Alan Moore, you are so bitter and I sort of love you for that. And yet I must point out some flaws in your crazy reasoning here. First of all, The Rock came out in 1996 and LoEG in 2003. Between these two movies, according to his IMDB page, Connery did four movies, one of which was Finding Forrester that contained absolutely no explosions whatsoever.
Secondly, you go from blowing up an island to blowing up a city, well, that's a step down, I'd have to say. Thirdly, you are a crazy and bitter old man, Alan Moore, and god love you for it.
Can you imagine walking down the street and looking over and seeing that? The only way for that to get even more surreal is if Alan More put on his stylish shades and did a soft shoe number.6. The modern American comics industry is ideologically flawed.
And this is where the entire interview gets amazing. So this is supposed to be why comic book movies suck and books rule and yet in this section Alan Moore goes off on everything from American foreign policy (it sucks), American gun policy (it sucks), to an instance in the Iraq War (it sucks, but in this one he is justified). Oh, and there was actually something about comics in there too.
So I may have to break this down paragraph by paragraph to really savor the Alan Moore flavored bitter here."Back when I wrote Watchmen I still trusted the viperous bastards, I [sic] had a different feeling about American superhero comics and what they meant."
God knows that I complain about the two big companies, DC and Marvel, a lot, but for someone that works in the business and needs to get their work published that seems harsh and maybe not that bright. On the other hand, he does have his own publishing company now, and he's Alan Moore, so what does he care.
"I've recently come to the point where I think that basically most American superhero comics, and this is probably a sweeping generalization, they're a lot like America's foreign policy. America has an inordinate fondness for the unfair fight."
Yes, Alan Moore, that is a sweeping generalization, and I'm glad you can come out behind your beard to recognize it as such. Also, I feel this is a bit hypocritical since you've written superhero comics, and I don't mean Watchmen. This marks the spot where he drops the pretense of even talking about comics to start criticizing American policy (as a disclaimer, it's not the criticism that I have a problem with, but I am more perplexed that he chooses a forum that's supposed to be about comic books and comic book movies to go off on this topic).
"That's why I believe guns are so popular in America-because you can ambush people, you can shoot them in the back, you can behave in a very cowardly fashion, Friendly fire, or as we call it everywhere else in the world, American fire."
Is that true? I am curious to find out if it is.
"If you're up there in the stratosphere so that everything on the ground looks like ants, it might be insurgents, it might be an Iraqi wedding part, it might be some English soldier.
"There's that beautiful big of dialogue from the cockpit video when they say, 'You've just bombed a load of Brits.' Their pilots say, 'Woah, dude, we're going to jail.' This is the Iraq war, not Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure!"
Valid criticism and points aside, why is he talking about this in an article about comic book movies? Again, time and place, Alan Moore.
"I believe that the whole thing about superheroes is they don't like [sic] it up to them. They would prefer not to get involved in a fight if they don't have superior firepower, or they're invulnerable because they came from the planet Krypton when they were a baby."
And yet there are multiple examples from both DC and Marvel where you have those same spandex heroes going up against stacked odds. The example I can think of off the top of my head is Ted Kord, Blue Beetle II, against Max and the O-MACS, and getting killed (No dead gay Ted!), Kon-El up against Superboy Prime, and getting killed (No, Kon!), and I guess Captain America against the Registration machine in Marvel's Civil War, and getting killed (No Cap!), and the persecution of mutants as seen in X-Men. I'm sure there are many more apt examples (which I would love for you to tell me about). Also, like in other genres, there's this whole underdog motif, where audiences love to see the little guy win one.
Plus, the whole idea behind superheroes are, spandex and powers aside, relatively ordinary people trying to do the right thing, fight the good fight, keep the world safe. It's easier for some, like Superman, and harder for other, like those without powers, but in the end they are all trying to do the right thing.
"I genuinely think it's this squeamishness that's behind the American superhero myth. It's the only country where it's really taken hold. As Brits, we'll go see American superhero films, just like the rest of the world, but we've never really created superheroes of our own."
Says the man who pretty much defined the character Captain Britain. And, yes, fine, the character was developed in response to Captain American, but Britain is in his name and British Cap was supposed to be the quintessential British hero (peripherally related, Captain Britain and MI:13 is one of the best titles out there and you should all go read it. Seriously, go buy it right now).
Alan Moore does raise an interesting point here, one that I might explore further in this blog: other countries creating their own superheroes. Now, Japan, with their long history of manga and anime, can be argued that some of their characters are superheroes: Sailor Moon (shut up, it was my first anime and I still love it), Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist, Naruto, as a few examples. While they do not fit the "American Superhero" model exactly, you do have characters with powers not found in normal people, and that you have them trying to protect the rest of the world (which is always somehow in Japan) from evil and so on. Please feel free to disagree with me and post your view in the comments. I love a good debate.
That aside, what about other countries? Do you have Russians creating their own superhero mythos? Canada? New Zealand? Mexico? Iraq? If anyone has any information on that please tell me because I am desperately intrigued now.
I'm also bringing up something that Alan Moore didn't specifically say here, but I feel is implied: other countries buying and reading American superhero comics. Now I spent some time in London, and there is a huge comic book store in Lester Square. It sold figurines, movies, and comic books, monthly titles and a ton of trades. Every time I went there it was packed, and they hosted a signing for Neil Gaiman (so awesome!). I also know that American superhero comics are fairly popular in Australia, but this is where my knowledge runs out. Are American superhero comics popular in other countries? Anyone with any knowledge please let me know in the comments.
And now back to Alan Moore: "And as Londoners, when we had that little bit of bother on the 7th July 2005 - after America had two big buildings blown up...Terrible shame, but we had a lot more than two building blown up during the '40s when America was proving most of the munitions to Hitler..."
Again, Alan Moore, not exactly the right venue for this. But here's the thing, July 7th and 9/11 were different than the bombing of London in WWII in that Germany and Britain had officially declared war, whereas 9/11 and July 7th were acts of extremists with no (official) government backing. Also, and I could be incorrect, American did not have much trade with Germany, before or after, Hitler came to power. In fact, at the time of the London bombing, American was selling munitions to the Allies. If I am wrong, please correct me.
"But when it happened in England, what was the reaction of the American forces on the 8th of July, as soon as those bombs went off? They pulled the American service men outside of the M25, because London was too dangerous for the armed and trained American military men."Then after a few days, they thought, actually, this does look kind of bad, even for American, let's creep back into London and pretend we've been here all the time."
And that is the end of the interview with those two paragraphs, which have nothing to do with comics or movies. Alan Moore obviously has some strong opinions on American foreign policy, as do most people, myself included, but, again, he uses this article on comics to go into it. He does try to connect American foreign policy with depictions of superheroes (which is an intriguing concept and I sort of wish he went into more detail instead of then going off about guns and the selling of to Hitler), but I read it as a thin veneer to legitimize what he says next.
Whatever else you think about this last section, I think we can both agree that it was a really weird way to end the interview. Also, that Alan Moore is bitter, creepy, and a little crazy.
Like Darcy said, I bet the interviewer was crying at the end, if only because he was faced with this:
This is what Alan Moore looks like right before he sells you out to the Elder Gods. Creeeepy.
Go here to read the interview in its entirety. As always, leave me your thoughts in the comments.