May 27, 2012

AM Portrait: Pat Mills' homage

Art by David Lloyd. From V for Vendetta.
From the sold-out Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman book (2003, Abiogenesis Press, page 79), in the following you can read the piece written by the great Pat Mills to celebrate Mr. Moore's 50th birthday.
Posted on this blog with the author's permission. Many thanks to Mr. Mills for that.

Poisoned chalice
© Pat Mills

I recall with immense admiration a scene in Alan's V for Vendetta where the Archbishop of Canterbury, or similar prelate, having committed some loathsome and perverted crime, is fed a poisonous host  by V. This  act of unholy communion  was superbly choreographed  by Alan's script  and beautifully and darkly illustrated by David Lloyd. The exact details of the scene are vague now;  yet  the emotions it provoked are still powerful in my mind, so I hope  my recollection  is correct.  Of all Alan's writings this scene  always comes back to me again and again.

Firstly, because - whilst  I have a high regard for all his work - this is the one scene I truly  envy  and wish I'd written. I can recall thinking  when I first read it,  many years ago, "Damn! Why didn't I think of that?"

Secondly, because - especially in this day and age - it is usually practitioners of   my own ex-religion  of Catholicism that are rightly subjected to critical scrutiny by writers of fiction and non fiction. So it is was original and different of Alan to focus on the English  High Anglican tradition that is far  more skilful than Catholicism  at hiding its dark side.

Having researched High Anglicanism myself for some time, I've become aware of just how curious  it really is; and how truly sinister and offensive its dark side can be. Therefore I've always wanted to ask Alan his inspiration for this scene.

Because I know that any scene worth writing and reading  must come from the heart and resonate with truth. Otherwise it's just the usual comic book crap which Alan's work  never is. Whatever  his inspiration on this occasion, I was delighted to revel in this very special scene where such an unpleasant authority figure as the Archbishop is subjected to such appropriate and legitimately cruel   punishment. In fact, I think V let him off lightly. I'd personally like him to have suffered a little longer.

It's surely a mark of a writer's talent if he can trigger this kind of powerful emotional response in the  reader. And even now, recalling that scene this evening, co-incidentally in the week of Guy Fawkes, the role model for V, I still find myself  praying to my own Gods that there are poison hosts  waiting  for  everyone of the perverts in the Anglican and Catholic religions.

I suppose I should now conclude with something humorous or flip, but I'm afraid - for me - that would be inappropriate. Because there was never anything humorous or flip  about V. It resonated with an important and serious truth; and there is nothing humorous about the real life evil it  highlighted in the guise of fiction.

One day I hope to write a similar scene where  an avenger pays one of these so-called "Men of God" a visit. Probably with a hammer, nails and two crossed beams of wood.
Thank you for your inspiration, Alan.

Pat Mills, November 2002
Art by David Lloyd. From V for Vendetta.
Pat Mills is a one of the most well-recognizable and acclaimed British creators in the comics field. As writer and editor he played a fundamental role in revitalizing the British comics in the 1970s and has remained a leading figure ever since. He is best known for creating 2000 AD and playing a major part in the development of Judge Dredd. He is also the creator of Marshal Law, together with artist Kevin O'Neill.

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