Mar 3, 2013

AM Portrait: Antonio Solinas homage

Alan Moore portrait by Darkinc1
From the sold-out Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman book (2003, Abiogenesis Press, page 64), in the following you can read a short text written by friend and comics expert Antonio Solinas.
The text has been posted on this blog with the author's permission.

Wearing Alan Moore
© Antonio Solinas

It is always the same old story. Think about when either famous pop stars or attractive TV presenters are interviewed about the last book they read. It is always, invariably, something by Hermann Hesse, Stephen King, or The Manifesto of The Communist Party (strangely enough, nobody ever reads Das Capital…).
Probably they think (and the same holds for the public, or so it seems) that there is no chance that you can be considered stupid, if you have read Hesse. Or, better, if you say that you have read Hesse.
The use of the literary “name”, in the head of the VIP, becomes analogous to a fashion brand: something comfortable, often to be shown off in public. Like a Ralph Lauren jumper or a Versace suit…
It seems like a ridiculous behaviour, something to joke about (maybe taking the piss out of Beckham), but if we reflect carefully, something similar has been happening in comics for about 15 years.
Whether preview editions, interviews or collections introductions, the result does not change. In comics, the name that needs to be brought up is the one of Mr. Alan Moore from Northampton.
Moore, amongst the comics cognoscenti, has obtained this status, almost embarrassingly so: if his name is not mentioned during an interview, it’s a mistake that’s almost a crime.
The fact that Moore is (almost) a compulsory reference, though, demonstrates the greats skills and immense talent of the Man with the Beard.
In fact, while the previously mentioned TV personalities try to ease the pressure using lazy references, who mentions Moore’s name does it as a precise choice and, most of all, after he’s read his book. It is not a minor distinction. Moore is acclaimed first among equals by both his colleagues and the readers. This has been going on for over a decade. In the very fickle world of entertainment, where trends and taste change very quickly (too quickly, if you ask me), I think it’s not too bad, really.
The late great Italian actor Carmelo Bene liked to define himself “a living legend”.
Today, this definition can be attributed (at least, this is the case in comics) only to Alan Moore.
The production of the great English writer has covered, sometimes in an almost schizoid fashion, every sub genre of comics available on the US market. It is probably a well known fact in Europe (but maybe not in America) that Moore wrote everything between the groundbreaking From Hell and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
The “living legend” Moore holds a very remarkable record: not only does he unite critics and fans in the unconditional praise for his work, but the man from Northampton also makes fans among any kind of audience. As it is always the case for a true Prince of Darkness, Moore’s aficionados range from the flaccid sixty-something to the spotty teenager.
Moore’s public is really unclassifiable, from loyal mainstream superhero readers (the ones who enjoy only the trendiest Wildstorm comics) to radical “indie” supporters. In any other mass media, this is simply inconceivable.
Today fame and respect seem to be obtainable only by selling out, trying to please the vilest instincts of the masses. Check the TV, if you don’t believe me. What is supposed to be “popular” becomes “vulgar”.
But there is someone who reminds us it does not have to be this way.

Long live, Mr. Alan Moore, and thanks for everything.

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