This block of quote has lead to a fiery discussion and controversy over legendary writer, Alan Moore. The creator has never been shy about expressing his thoughts on the current state of the comics industry or fellow comic book creators. Every interview and thought he gives are usually analyzed and dissected by peers and fans alike, but this one in particular caused a big debate within the community. But to put all this in better context, let's start from the beginning, let's talk about Alan Moore.
In the late 1960s he began to publish his own poetry and essays in fanzines, leading up to him finally publishing his own fanzine named Embryo. But later on, the young Moore ran into trouble at school in 1970 when he was found dealing the drug LSD, for which he was expelled.
He lived with his parents and during this time he had various odd jobs, including cleaning toilets. Then around 1971 he met a girl named Phylis. They began a relationship and moved in together, soon married, and he started working in an office for a sub-contractor of the local gas board, but Moore began feeling unfulfilled at work and decided he wanted to earn a living doing something more artistic.
Moore was waiting for the chance to do more regular, full length work since at this point he was only writing short stories that would be around five pages long. In retrospect he did see this a a great education in writing.
Eventually Marvel UK, who had bought stories from Moore for their Dr. Who Weekly and Star Wars weekly titles, contacted Moore to take over Captain Britain in an attempt to compete with the more mature 2000AD.
Moore had started garnering critical acclaim for his writing, especially for "The Ballad of Halo Jones", but then he would start working for a third company that gave him more creative freedom. And this would be what would catapult his career.
Miracleman, originally Marvel Man, was originally published in the 50s and was inspired by the American counterpart of that hero.In the revamped version Moore worked on the character's name was changed to avoid problems with Marvel comics.
Moore would also eventually write a third series called The Bojeffries Saga with the pages of Warrior. Unfortunately, Warrior went out of business before Miracleman and V for Vendetta ended, but Moore was able to finish them through different companies by 1989.
During this time Alan Moore would grow more worried and restless about creators rights in the UK, one of the reasons he stopped working for British industry giant 2000AD. He had also formed a band and experimented in music for a while under the pseudonym Translucia Baboon, forming the band The Sinister Ducks. But as fortune would have it, the American comic book industry would help further Moore into the attention of the industry and the mainstream media.
Moore began writing other stories for DC, a two part story in Vigilant and a story for Superman. Afterwards he wrote the critically acclaimed Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? and Batman: The Killing Joke. And in 1987, his work which had just finished, Watchmen, was collected in a trade paperback.
Watchmen had begun earlier in 1986,and alongside Batman: The Dark Knight returns, as well as Moore's Batman: The Killing Joke, became a hit of iconic stature in the comic book industry. But the the more Moore was in the spotlight, the more he withdrew, he even stopped attending comic book conventions once a crazed fan followed him into a bathroom to get an autograph. In 1987, Moore proposed an event named "Twilight of the Superheroes" for DC comics, which was not commissioned, but since his detailed plots has been leaked on the internet. But by 1989 his relationship with DC was starting to get strained.
After leaving DC and the mainstream behind, Moore along with wife Phyllis and their mutual lover, Deborah Delano, formed their own comic company, Mad Love. They published the titles AARGH (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia) and Big Numbers. Later in 1991, the company Victor Gollancz LTD published the story A Small Killing. Shortly after this, Mad Love disbanded, as both Phyllis and Deborah Delano ended their relationship with Moore, taking most of the money he had earned.
in the 80s.
After that, he took over for Rob Liefeld's Suprme, which led to Moore revamping the entire universe of characters Liefeld had created. After Liefeld left Image in a swarm of controversy, Moore had agreed to continue writing Supreme as well as Youngblood for Liefeld's newest venture, Awesome Comics. But the relationship between Liefeld and Moore starting rising, and Moore felt like Liefeld was not respecting him, so he quit Awesome Comics.
Later that year, Jim Lee sold his imprint Wildstorm Studios to DC comics, leaving Image comics. That meant Moore would be a part of DC comics again....and he didn't even know it was about to happen.
Though angered, he decided to stay to finish his obligations to Lee and he was promised heavily that DC would not interfere with his works. Eventually, it happened. In issue #5 of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, there was a scene in a background where there was an "ad" for a vintage "Marvel" brand douche. Once DC editorial found out, in order to not anger Marvel Comics, DC destroyed remaining original copies and placed the ad in the scene, and as well blocking a short story for the anthology Tomorrow Stories,which made Moore furious.
After he cut ties and moved on from DC, he finished the stories he had for ABC Comics, the only story he continued was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and with this he withdrew from mainstream comics once more.
Alan Moore has had a storied and rich history in comic books, as well as a controversial one. He has yet to watch the film adaptations for his works and he donates the money he receives in royalties to the artists of his books, as well as insist having his name appear appear on the credits. He has had fallouts with other creators, notably Rob Lifeld, Dave Gibbons, and does not appreciate other creators such as Grant Morrison and Geof Johns, accusing them of ripping off his story telling.
This brings me back to that initial block quote at the beginning of this blog. And it really strikes a chord that when he was writing WildCATS he felt like he was just adding to the superhero mythos and not innovating them. He believes that the superhero genre should be put to sleep, a genre which ironically enough, he helped shape up, for better or worse, the modern age of superhero comics with the grim, realistic, adult thematic that was in part forged by Watchmen.
Does Moore have a point? That comics aren't for children anymore, or even women? At least where superheros are concerned? Yes and No. Over the years there has been a more concentrated effort to do more kid friendly superheros, as well as including female creators as well. Could it be better? It can always be better, but compared to ten years ago, it's a step in the right direction. Could it be that even though the audience that was once children grew up, so the titles they used to read grew up and matured as well, but Moore has not grown past that mentality of superheros being better suited for a 9-13 year old audience? The way he speaks and the way he writes stories with the more golden age feel of comics,one could draw that conclusion as well.
So, if superheros are dead, what can be done from here? If they don't stand for anything good? I personally don't think superheros are dead. With properties like movie franchises and television shows proving to be huge hits shows the genre is not really dead. It could use a good shot in the arm, true, but not dead. But guess what. It's not up to Alan Moore to turn this around. It's up to this generation of creators and the one to come, and in YOU, the reader. As consumers, you and you alone can hurt big corporation with their pockets. Voice your complaints. Exercise your freedom of speech and let your voices be heard. Be creative. Alan Moore began his career by doing fanzines. We are a spoiled, fast food culture. We have EVERYTHING at our disposal with technology to the point you can even do a blog from a cellphone and somebody across the world can read it from their tablet. Just some food for thought.
So, is Moore right or wrong? Honestly, there is no real right or wrong kind of things. Moore is overly verbal about his thoughts and ideals and people sometimes are too overly sensitive. Agree with him? Good. Don't agree? Good. What do I suggest? Whether it's a mainstream comic, indie comic, superhero, drama, whatever genre you enjoy the most, hard copy of digital, have yourself a nice snack, drink, if you are a family of geeks, huddle around an all ages title, or a couple then something both would enjoy, and maybe even Alan Moore himself can sit down and read a golden age classic, forget about everything else and remember just one thing: how much fun comics are.
-Alvaro Cortes Jr