|Art by Horacio Gomes|
Above, a stylish photo-based portrait of Alan Moore by Portuguese comic book artist and illustrator Horacio Gomes.
"The world is no more than an aggregate of your ideas about the world, of your ideas about yourselves.
It is the vast mirage, baroque and intricate, that you are building as a shelter from the overwhelming fractal chaos of the universe." --- Alan Moore
|The Bojeffries. French edition by Komics Initiative|
«Guy Lawley: The Bojeffries Saga is your most English strip of all.Again, in 1985, in an interview taken from “Arken Sword” no. 13/14 (it was a double issue), Moore said:
Alan Moore: That's my other favorite. It's as experimental in its way as V for Vendetta. Humor in comics, since Harvey Kurtzman's brilliant MADs, has become formularized - fast humor, lots of sight gags in every panel. I wanted to get the character stuff back into humour, and the England of the '50s that I can remember - the quirkiness of it all. Steve Parkhouse is the main vision behind the strip.
Steve Whitaker: It's an opportunity for you to use all that colloquial, idiomatic language.
AM: I love language: slang, jargon, poetry. How silly it can be - and how powerful and evocative.»
«In terms of the series I've created myself, V and The Bojeffries are still my firm favourites, and both for surprisingly similar reasons considering that they're such different strips. The thing is, they're both personal strips. V is a strip that recreates the world I see around me in very harsh and dramatic political terms, and by which I've tried to examine a lot of the more abstract concepts that I have floating around my head. The Bojeffries recreates the world I see around me in very affectionate and surreal terminology, enabling me to examine my background from a certain quirky perspective. Raoul's Night Out remains my favourite of The Bojeffries stuff because I think it captured almost exactly what I feel about British working-class life without getting sloppy or maudlin about it.»In the same period, still putting together Portrait, I came into possession of some bootleg, digital copies of the whole “Warrior” run, and I could finally read Raoul's adventure. He is the funniest werewolf you ever knew of, isn't he? (And he's a bit Moore himself, isn't he?) And what a story and a powerful, satirical piece, too. Are we sure that times have changed?
«Alan Moore: […] Bojeffries was important in that it was one of the most personal things that I’ve done. Among other things, I know that Bojeffries seems weird…There was even more Bojeffries than expected. Maybe…
George Khoury: Especially to Americans. I still don’t get it! [laughs]
AM: Well, it looks very surrealistic to Americans, whereas, to me, it’s a thing that I’ve done that I’ve come closest to actually describing the flavor of an ordinary working-class childhood in Northampton. And the inherent surrealism in British life. Yeah, that’s a very important strip to me.
GK: Why weren’t there more Bojeffries strips, or is it a difficult strip for you to write?
AM: It was very difficult. In some ways, the nearest equivalent to Bojeffries that I’m doing today is something like Jack B. Quick, where you can’t do that many because the humor is so peculiar. But you can’t just turn it out on a formula. The humor is strange little bits of observation, or odd little ideas, and you’ll know them when they’re right. Humor is a delicate thing, especially with strips like Jack B. Quick and the Bojeffries, which have such quirky humor. That’s why there are so few of them. I still entertain the idea that I should at some point in the future... me and Steve Parkhouse have talked about doing another Bojeffries strip, after the Blair government has worked its magic upon British society. The family’s probably completely broken up and Ginda Bojeffries is probably one of the Blair babes, Labour new women M.P.s. The son of the family is probably a Booker Prize-winning author who spends most of his time at the Groucho Club, having reached fame by writing what people take to be witty, magic realist stories about his working-class upbringing. Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff that we could do. That we still might do. But we have to wait until we’ve got something that’s good enough.»
«I'm working on a new Bojeffries story right now. It's a very big story and updates all the characters to our present time in 2008-09. We're hoping it will be part of a collected work published next year. [...] Alan has written the script.WOW! It would be worth the wait.
I would suggest you keep it confidential for the time being in case it doesn't appear, and people will be disappointed. [...] The artwork is just at layout stage [...]»
|Eno's Ambient 1: Music for Airports|
Mark Burbey: What sorts of influences do you draw from when you're writing?
Alan Moore: I really wish I could answer this by saying something decisive and opinionated like, "I only listen to Cuban jazz from the 1940s and I only read obscure Portuguese poetry in the original text." Sadly, I'm as boringly catholic as most people and tend to absorb just about everything I read, see, or listen to.
I suppose one major point is that in writing comics I don't really absorb too much influence from the comics that I read unless it's something inexpressibly brilliant like Frank Miller's stuff, or American Flagg!, or Love and Rockets. Mostly I'd say that my influence comes from novels that I read or the occasional film that I see. If anything, I'd say that what I'd like to do as a writer is to try and translate some of the intellect and sensibilities that I find in books into something that will work on a comics page. Although I've obviously read and been influenced by most of the classic works of comic art like Eisner and Kurtzman, I can't help but feel that if you're influenced too much by your forebears in the comics field then a sort of process of dilution results, in which each succeeding generation of artists and writers is a little paler and more anemic than the generation before.
For my part, it seems to smack too much of inbreeding (something we British have a terror of, probably brought on by the state of the Royal Family). I like the idea of bringing fresh ideas and approaches into the field, and although I seldom succeed in these objectives, they're what I'm aiming at.
As far as actual influences go, any list would be long, boring, and inconclusive. For what it's worth, however, I like Cordwainer Smith, William Burroughs, Harlan Ellison, Angela Carter, Stephen King, John Gardner, Flann O'Brein, Thomas Disch, William Faulkner, Damon Runyon, Truman Capote, Dorothy Parker, Peter Carey, and so on and so on. I suppose a major influence would have to be musician Brian Eno; just in the precise and mechanical way he approaches the idea of creativity I've been able to find a vast amount of inspiration to how I structure my own work.
|Art by Ricardo Drumond|
|Art by Tony Sandoval|
|Preliminary pencils. Art by Tony Sandoval|
|Art by Daniel Warren Johnson|