|Art by ALAN MOORE.|
Yes... He can draw! More details HERE.
|Art by Gary Frank.|
Bogart: [...] What do you think is the appeal of Dracula or vampires to our culture?
Alan Moore: The appeal of a vampire to our culture is a long and complex one. We can trace the development of not just the vampire, but the whole field of supernatural horror from the "graveyard poets" of the 18th century. They had been celebrating graveyards that had more or less vanished, where the dead only had a temporary residency. In these graveyards, a body would first be buried and then when the flesh was partially decomposed, it was dug up and the bones would be separated.
Around about the 18th century, we seemed to undergo, as a culture, a number of psychological changes in which the evidence of death that filled daily life was "brushed under the carpet"; as a culture, we no longer wanted to have the smell of death around us, we no longer wanted to see corpses or bones; we began to sanitize everything. We no longer felt as comfortable with death as we had been. This is due perhaps to the burgeoning Age of Reason. The assault on traditional notions of God and an afterlife caused people to become less certain of heaven and thus, death was no longer just a mere stepping stone.
However, death IS one of the major parts of human life, and we could not really entirely suppress it. After the graveyard poets came the gothic writers who turned all the trappings of death into a kind of "sugary fantasy" that people could delight in, in the warmth and safety of their own sitting rooms. In a way, it was an attempt to tame death-to remove the real evidence of death in our lives and to substitute a parade of demons and devils and monsters...with which we could enjoy the vicarious pleasure of it. Of that gallery of grotesques, the vampire is obviously one of the most exciting and endearing. The vampire is not only full of the morbid fascination that the dead hold, but it is also incredibly sexual. The idea of transferring bodily fluids, be it blood or any other kind, is a sexual idea. The vampire has been portrayed largely as a sexual figure representing the elements of sex and death, and thus one can understand the appeal of the vampire.
How does your Dracula differ from most interpretations?
In my particular story, Dracula's motivations become cryptic. We're not entirely sure what he is. His motivation in the traditional story is simply to seek fresh blood, but now there are other possible agendas in play. He is a very knowing and aware Dracula-of himself and his fiction. What makes this fresh interpretation so frightening is that we don't know what is going on-he is no longer tamed by the laws and logic we know and understand. My version is aware of those other past portrayals; he is aware of the entire media history of Dracula. My version exists in a world where the Dracula books and movies also exist. In a way, it makes it a stranger concept, because it brings the whole thing into the murky borderlines of fact and fiction. In a way, it gives the basic concept enough of a twist to make it fresh again. The main problem of vampires is that it has become such a repetitive motif, full of clichés such as the red eyes, the fangs, the rubber bat on a string...what I have tried to do is make Dracula very unfamiliar. He's stripped of the gothic castle, and has been based in a disturbingly modern context. The effect I hope, is to refresh the vampire-jaded palette of the reader.
Were you more excited or a bit “frightened” to work with Moore considering his writing status?CHRIS SPROUSE: Both excited to be working with someone as good as Alan and frightened because I wanted my art to be as good as his stories and I didn't know if I was up to the task.Drawing Supreme, had you any direct contact with him or did you work only on his scripts? I think at that time he had already finished his scripts for Awesome and had no contact with the company... What’s about the “quality” of his scripts? Were they as detailed as the legend says?No, I had no contact with Alan while working on Supreme. The scripts were indeed detailed and very long, but they were so much fun to read! I've kept them all!After Supreme you followed Moore on his ABC line co-creating Tom Strong. What’s about your contribution to this modern classic hero? Was is only limited to the visual aspect of the characters, the city (even if Millennium City IS a character in itself), mecha design and so on.. or did you also contributed to the story in any way?At first, I supplied purely visual input, but supposedly Alan created all the ABC books with the specific creators in mind, or at least tailored the stories to fit each of our strengths and interests. Later, around issue #10, Alan and I did discuss stories very briefly and decided together to focus on the Strong family as a sort of homage to the family feel of the old Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four, which we both loved. Otherwise, I was very content to let Alan write whatever he wanted to because it would always be interesting and fun to draw.After Supreme and Tom Strong, how do you weight your collaboration with Moore? Do you consider it as the highest point of your career till now? Any "strange magical" anecdotes to share with us related to yr long professional relationship with him?It was definitely my favorite time in comics. I don't know if I was always able to do the best I could have every single issue, but I'm very proud of the work I did on Tom Strong. No real magical anecdotes in the literal sense, but it was very magical to work with Alan. I'm honored to have had the chance.
|Frame from The Mask and the Mirror in Conversation with Alan Moore video|
|©1984, 2020 Stephen R. Bissette.|
|Art by Samanta Flôor.|
|Frame from Alan Moore: Don't let me die in black and white film, 1993.|
GARY GROTH: I wanted to ask you a question which you wouldn't anticipate. Can you tell me if you think mainstream comics have any virtues?
ALAN MOORE: I think that mainstream comics have, at best, tenuous virtues. I think it would be fairly dishonest of me to completely rubbish mainstream comics since I did my apprenticeship, or what I considered to be my apprenticeship, in mainstream comics. I learned most of the storytelling techniques and ways of using the media that I'm now employing in what I consider to be my serious work. I think there is something quite useful in those regular solid deadlines and formulaic structures when it comes to actually creating, and when it comes to educating new creators. On the other hand, you have to wonder what exactly "educating" them means. I don't know; it would seem that most creators do not build upon their knowledge of comics once they have reached a certain plateau of competence. They don't build on their knowledge of storytelling to create anything terribly worthwhile. It seems that most creators become completely hard-wired with the "superhero" mentality which makes them only suitable to turn out superhero comics for the rest of their lives.
GROTH: That the deadline meaning becomes an end in itself?
MOORE: Yeah, that's about it. I mean, in my case, there were some benefits to be had from mainstream comics. I think that could be true of a number of creators. On the other hand, when you see the creators who started outside the field of mainstream comics - people like Dan Clowes and the Hernandez brothers, who have produced work far better than anything in mainstream comics without that apprenticeship - I guess you have to wonder just how valuable it is. I suppose what I'm saying is that in my case, there was some benefit to my years spent in mainstream comics. Uh, I'm not making a very good case for the mainstream, am I?
GROTH: Very disappointing.
MOORE: In my heart, I feel it has very few virtues at all. I'm not prepared to dismiss them 100 % outright because I think that I and a few other creators do owe something to mainstream comics. Also, I suppose, looking at people like Dan Clowes and the Bros, they owe something to mainstream comics, even if it's comics from a bygone era or even if it's only as a kind of negative influence.
GROTH: Well, Art Spiegelman owes something to the Holocaust but that doesn't necessarily validate it...
MOORE: (laughter) I wouldn't compare mainstream comics to the Holocaust. I think that with someone like the Bros., you've obviously got an influence there from people like Kirby, from Ditko, Gil Kane, Archie comics. . . with Dan Clowes, you can see an awful lot of '50s comics books distilled in that vision. Sometimes these old mainstream comics can be used as an influence or they can be useful in telling you what not to do. I don't think that makes a very good case for their continued existence, but they do have some value. I think their virtues are largely unintentional. I think that you do get some very fine creators passing through mainstream comics but that alone is probably not a good enough reason for their continued survival. If I was God, Gary, I'd have to consider this one very carefully. [laughter] If I did have the power to just remove any lifeforms or organisms from the face of the earth that I didn't consider to be productive, then mainstream comics would have to watch themselves.