May 31, 2013

V World

Art by César Moreno
Above, an amazing illustration - a true V for Vendetta celebration - drawn by Mexican artist César Moreno.

More details about the illustration here.

César Moreno's deviantArt page HERE.

May 28, 2013

Dr. Manhattan and Nite Owl by Franco Brambilla

Art by Franco Brambilla
In 2006, in the occasion of its 20th anniversary, I edited "Watchmen 20 anni dopo", an Italian Watchmen tribute book which was basically a collection of 12 brand new essays plus some extras. The volume was published by Lavieri with all net profits donated to AIMA, the Italian Alzheimer organization. 
Acclaimed Italian sci-fi illustrator FRANCO BRAMBILLA contributed to the volume with an amazing back-cover illustration, in his classic 3D style, featuring... Dr. Manhattan, Nite Owl and his Owl ship!

The illustration has been posted on this blog with the author's permission.
For more info about the artist visit his site: here.

"I have always loved the Nite Owl ship and contributing to this tribute has the opportunity to realise it as a 3D model. I had a lot of fun researching the references in Gibbons's panels, and building a model as close as possible to the original ship.
I hope that my illustration, a bit dark and smoky, is able to convey the atmosphere of the original graphic novel, a genuine work of genius which still remains relevant nowadays." [Franco Brambilla]
Franco Brambilla at work.

May 25, 2013

AM Portrait: Alan Moore and The Mystery of Transubstantiation

Illustration by Luís Dourado
Italian writer Giuseppe Pili contributed to the sold-out Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman (2003, Abiogenesis Press, page 33) with a really interesting short text about Moore and... transubstantiation.

A special thank to the author for the permission to post his contribution on this blog.

Alan Moore and The Mystery of Transubstantiation
© Giuseppe Pili

When we solve a riddle or crack an enigma, our spirit is pervaded by a subtle pleasure. Are we enticed by the complexity of the enigma, by the riddle-maker’s skill, or by the confirmation of our abilities? There is no use in trying to tell these elements apart: their mutual permeation is the alchemy underlying the game.

There definitely is a difference between playing and being on the receiving end of a narrative – it depends on our degree of involvement. Listening or reading implies some passivity, while playing forces us into a direct confrontation.

We might define Moore’s stories as “ludic interactions”. Calling them “games” would be reductive: they are complex and refined challenges, which gradually screen the players. Going one step further, we could even talk of true initiations into Moore’s world. We learned that the Master does not speak to just anybody, but only to those who have the talent – or the burden – of understanding stories first with the mind and only then with the heart. Admittedly, this pleases us. The symmetries, the references, the ellipses, the paraphrases, the quotations are all part of an architecture which entices and hypnotises us. Once we get trapped inside Moore’s reality, we become its prey: we no longer understand where our everyday experience ends and his realism begins, we cannot tell a true dialogue from a simulation à la Moore.

We know the game well and we want to play it, if possible, with minimal variations. As we read the first page, the opening panel sweeps us away: the opening lines are complex and convoluted. We are bewildered, but not frightened: we know that, at the right moment, the Master will guide us. Then a structure begins to take shape. Recognisable, reassuring elements start to appear. For us, it is a relief; luckily, we are not completely at the mercy of Chaos. We have an irrational faith in the existence of an eventual Meaning and with Moore there is always a Meaning. Thus, as we keep reading, we become aware that what was originally obscure had its own justification after all. The second half of the story discloses the first and we feel the thrill. “Brilliant”… “how does he do it”… “how does he manage”… “such a balance of form”… “such daring geometry”. Our passion lights up very gradually and is incomprehensible to those who do not live inside their mind.

The ending succeeds in squaring the circle. We reassemble the pieces of the jigsaw in a moment of self-complacency. Here comes a retroactive aesthetic delight, exquisitely intellectual. We are pervaded by an unconscious and narcissistic pleasure in our abilities. We have understood Alan Moore. We have rightfully been initiated into his Church of Mysteries. Our lips have received the Host of his spirit.

Through the might and magic of this artistic transubstantiation, Alan Moore is no longer the creator of the magic. Now he has become both the magic itself and its officiants. He is part of us.

Reciprocity is the secret of his fascination: after the last page, irrespective of the man living in Northampton, Alan Moore is us.

May 23, 2013

AM Portrait: Oscar Zarate's Memories and Quarrels

Art by Oscar Zarate.
From the sold-out volume Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman (published in 2003 by Abiogenesis Press), pp. 181-183.

In the following you can read (click on the image to enlarge) a 3 page comics short - titled Memories and Quarrels - written and drawn by acclaimed Argentinian author OSCAR ZARATE, the artist and co-creator with Moore of the wonderful A Small Killing, originally published in 1991 by VG Graphics.
It's a personal and funny tale with... a "little creep" guest appearance. And I confess it is one of my favourite contributions included in the book. So... enjoy!

Posted on this blog with the author's permission.
Memories and Quarrels. Story and art by Oscar Zarate.

May 22, 2013

Hipster Moore

Photograph by David Ma.
You’re proud of your status as a hipster. Do you regret the way it’s become a disparaging, pejorative term now?
Alan Moore: Has it? Yeah, that’s probably true. It used to be a fashion statement, but it was information as a fashion statement which is probably going to do you more good than the clothing you wear. I got an incredible education starting from the point at which I was thrown out of school. Now, I could probably hold my own intellectually with most people who have had university or college educations. And indeed some of them will have done courses on my books. So, despite the fact my ‘education’ ended at 16, I had hipsterism, which was wanting to be hip, and that led me to read this incredibly diverse array of books on science, mysticism, science fiction, literature, art… I would find out about these movements that I had heard about, and it’s given me a pretty comprehensive education. Now I am an autodidact, which is a great word… I learned it myself.

May 20, 2013

Walt Simonson reveals Rorschach's true identity

Art by Walt Simonson.
From page 93 of the Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman book (Abiogenesis Press, 2003).

Above, you can admire an amazing and amusing illustration by Comic Art Master WALTER SIMONSON... revealing an unknown truth!

Illustration posted on this blog with the author's permission.
Visit the Simonson Wikipedia page: here.

May 19, 2013

Eric Shanower and his Little Margie

Art by Eric Shanower
From page 29 of the sold-out Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman (Abiogenesis Press, 2003).

Above, you can admire a great illustration by acclaimed author ERIC SHANOWER, featuring Little Margie, Promethea and their companion Chinky.

The illustration has been posted on this blog with the author's permission.
For more info about Shanower visit his site: here.

May 17, 2013

Is Moore planning to take over the world?

Frank Metterton in Jimmy's End
In all honesty, how much of what you write now is part of some über-large magical ritual for you to take over the world? With your beard? You could do it you know.
Alan Moore:
Of course I’m not attempting to take over the world. What a grotesque concept. On the other hand, in Jimmy’s End and its projected sequel The Show we do present the story of a bearded Northampton-based occultist, performer and writer who is attempting to subjugate the globe by first colonising its imagination, but that obviously only has a coincidental relationship with any real circumstances or people. I mean, the very idea. Do I look like the sort of person who might do something like that?
[Read the complete interview HERE]

Also watch this video!

May 16, 2013

AM Portrait: Sex, Vampire and Christmas Shopping

Alan Moore and The Bojeffries. By Steve Parkhouse.
The great Steve Parkhouse contributed to the now sold-out Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman (2003, Abiogenesis Press) with two pieces: an amazing illustration featuring Moore and the beloved Bojeffries (above, at page 84 in the original volume) and a short text (page 83, 85 and 86) - that you can read in the following - full of memories about his collaboration with the Writer from Northampton.

A special thank to the author for his permission to post them on this blog.

Sex, Vampire and Christmas Shopping
© Steve Parkhouse

I first met Alan Moore in 1971. He was about sixteen or seventeen at the time, and I was five years older. I’d just started working at IPC Magazines as a comics sub-editor on titles such as Whizzer and Chips and Buster and mysteriously named prototypes like JNP 49.
Though professing to be producing new comics all the time, IPC Juveniles were simply regurgitating ideas that were fifty years old. Recycling was the name of the game. Editorial staff were paid next to nothing, installed in draughty old buildings with creaking office furniture and expected to co-exist with the rats, the debris and the general malaise of Farringdon Street and its depressing environs.
It was a cottage industry; inhabited by middle-aged men in cardigans who smoked pipes. You could see them in the works canteen, spooning down vast quantities of jam roly-poly and custard while discussing the latest developments in model aircraft design. The very suggestion of producing something new in the comics field would be met with glazed and vacant incredulity.
In this world, Dan Dare was the apotheosis of comics creation. The Eagle comic was the altar upon which everything else was sacrificed. There was another company somewhere in Scotland, in the heathen land beyond the Wall where another clutch of juveniles was being produced by middle-aged men in cardigans and pipes. They had different titles, but were basically the same.

Sitting across from him at the table of a small café, just around the corner from the Bookends bookshop in West London, I was struck by Alan’s demeanour. He was very, very young – but very, very funny. He was undeniably a performer. Very quick, irreverant and totally refreshing.

For the next three years I was engaged in the regurgitation of fifty-year old material, until finally I could stand it no longer and quit. I had occasional glimpses of Alan’s work – or the odd message conveyed through Steve Moore – another IPC sub-editor – who’d been a long standing friend of Alan’s. But we never actually met again until ten years later.

In the interim, I had learned something of the craft of storytelling. I could draw a cartoon or two in about half a dozen styles – and was ploughing a strange and somewhat lonely furrow as a freelance illustrator. I had kept various contacts since IPC days – the most notable being Dez Skinn and Paul Neary, both of whom had been involved in setting up a British office for Marvel Comics. Everybody talked a lot about doing something new. Every time comics people get together, beer flows with the conversation and great, majestic vistas unfold of unlimited creativity. There’s invariably a wistful edge to these conversations – largely because people recognise the fact that comics have never been a true part of British culture. Comics are, and always have been, regarded as children’s entertainment and are consequently marginalised in the national psyche.

So, in the early Eighties, when Dez Skinn commissioned me to start work on a new title called Warrior – I assumed it was another pipe-dream.

I managed to cook up a few things to keep my interest going, but I was totally unprepared for what was to come. And what was to come was Marvelman.

Drawing for a living is a strange occupation. People outside the business assume that it’s an “interesting” job, maybe full of bizarre characters and exciting situations. That’s only partially true. For the most part, drawing comics, like everything else, consists of hard graft and uninteresting chores. Inking, to name but one. The joy of the work is in the original creation, telling the story with rough pencilling work. Getting the artwork “camera ready” is the tedious part, often involving disappointment and lots of reworking.
During the long, isolated and sometimes stressful hours, one’s mind turns to the whole question of “why we do it.”
For the most part, we are working on flimsy fantasies, peopled by two-dimensional characters speaking ridiculous dialogue dreamed up by ten-a-penny hacks. At their best, comics are mildly entertaining kitsch. At worst…well, at worst they’re simply tomorrow’s wood pulp.

When the first few issues of Warrior were in preparation, I was visiting Dez Skinn’s editorial bullpit on a regular basis. On one occasion I walked into Dez’s office to find a very large man with a very large beard looking at some of my artwork. He introduced himself as Alan Moore – and we briefly reminisced about our first meeting. We also went into the time-honoured routine of: We Must Work Together Some Time. Yeh, right.

As I went on my way, I had no idea that Alan was the kind of person who actualises things. Whether his motivation springs from some inner hunger (especially at that time) or a genuine wellspring of creativity, we have never discussed. I guess it’s a large portion of both – and an excelent balance it is. But nevertheless, within a very short time Alan presented me with a choice of three different scenarios that he’d been working on.

Now here’s the really strange part. Here there is a risk of wandering into thickly-wooded hinterlands of esoteric musings. We had agreed to do something funny. We had agreed that Mad magazine had more or less monopolised comics humour for far too long. I had  been working on an extraordinarily dark and difficult piece called Spiral Path, my attempt to put together a totally un-scripted comic. I was exhausted. I was suffering from hallucinations and nightmares. My house was haunted, one of my oldest friends had been abducted by aliens, and my cat had been run over by a tractor.
I was longing to draw cartoons again. I had a vague notion of domestic humour with a strongly surreal twist. When the Bojeffries Saga appeared in the post, it was the beginning of a healing process for me that has spanned many years.
This was a script written by a person who had experienced many trials and tribulations. Though still young, he was a parent of girls (like me) He was a performer, a poet, a songwriter…a voracious reader (like me)…a person of seemingly vast eclectic knowledge (I wish). He was undeniably a dreamer (like me)…in fact we shared the same dreams, literally. And yet he had a grasp of the human drama that revealed a huge undertow of compassion and understanding. There was no cynicism, only affection.
In subsequent scripts, he displayed the peculiar talent that almost every other collaborating artist finds agreement with: the ability to write exactly what the artist wants to draw.
Even though he confessed that sometimes every phrase of the Bojeffries had to be chiselled from granite, he never compromised on quality or commitment. And that involvement made The Bojeffries an unparalleled joy for me to work on.

Like all the best magicians, Alan brings forth ideas from the cornucopia of his mind with a flourish and a panache that disguises the hard work beneath. His power to amaze us conceals an equally amazing feat:  these are no flimsy fantasies. They may be fantastical, but at no time does he stray from his true task of illuminating the human condition. His stories are invariably written from the experience of a life truly lived, with a human scale and dimension woven through them like a thread of gold.

And in the case of the Bojeffries, they are very, very funny.

I confess, I read the first three issues of Warrior with a sinking heart. The power and potency and absolute “adultness” of Marvelman was blowing everything else away. Alan had stepped from the wings with a prodigious talent, and like a grown-up amongst so many children had simply shown us the way.
He seemed to bring a novelist’s sensibility to the craft of writing comics, but in a way that no novelist has ever managed to achieve. He had arrived at exactly the right time, when comics were floundering in a swamp of their own making. We all wanted something new, but nobody had the road map. It had occurred to very few people that maybe comics should be about life as we know it, based on our own experiences. I suspect this is because the milieu of comics seems permanently adolescent in nature.
I know that Alan’s writing encouraged me to draw from a different perspective. To observe from life – the life I saw around me, rather than aping the techniques of established artists.
As more issues of Warrior appeared, my heart stopped sinking and I relaxed into simply acknowledging the emergence of a gifted and inspirational writer.
Through the combined efforts of Dez Skinn and the writers and artists of Warrior, the doors of the cottage industry had been well and truly breached. Battered down, in fact.
There are still those pipe-dreamers who wait patiently for the resurrection of the Eagle.
But I don’t think it’s gonna happen.

The old paradigm has gone.

Alan Moore has seen to it.

Steve Parkhouse
Carlisle, Cumbria
October 2002

May 10, 2013

Grant Morrison and a storytelling technique of Watchmen

A page from Pax Americana. Story: Grant Morrison. Art: Frank Quitely.
Grant Morrison about Pax Americana (art by Frank Quitely), part of his Multiversity project for DC Comics, yet to be published.
"We’re taking the characters and applying it back to Watchmen and seeing what we could get. Nobody has really used those Alan Moore tricks in 25 years so it seemed right to take that very tight, controlled, self-reflecting storytelling and seeing if we can do something new with it.[...] It’s not trying to be Watchmen, it’s more of an echo of a storytelling technique of Watchmen." [from The Hollywood Reporter, September 2012]
A page from Pax Americana. Story: Grant Morrison. Art: Frank Quitely.

May 9, 2013

AM Portrait: Urbanus meets Moore

Art by Willy Linthout and Steven de Rie
From the sold-out volume Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman (published in 2003 by Abiogenesis Press), pp. 60-63.

In the following you can read (click on the image to enlarge) Urbanus gets "Much Moore than he asked for", a 4 page comics homage, created and drawn by Belgian acclaimed comics author Willy Linthout with assistance by Steven de Rie.
It's a hilarious short story featuring Linthout's Urbanus and it includes several Moore references. So... Enjoy!

Posted on this blog with the Linthout' permission.
Art by Willy Linthout and Steven de Rie

May 5, 2013

A priceless Manhattan

Art by Paolo Rivera.
Above, a commission featuring an intense Doctor Manhattan drawn by the amazing Paolo Rivera.

Visit Rivera site HERE.

May 4, 2013

The demographics of Alan Moore's readership

A video realized by Heri Mkocha during the recent Nemo: Heart Of Ice signing by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill at Gosh! Comics in London the last 9th of March.

"For me the main discussion point of this video, and I only realized when I got to look at the footage, was the demographics of Alan Moore's readership. 
His demographics and practically anyone else writing out there. It's so wide.
Look at the kinds of people in the video (that's just a snapshot)! 

I've been to other signings of other artists, writers and musicians. They all have a niche, but there were people there who I soon realised that the only thing they read was Alan's work in the comics field as well as the general comics fans. There were old people,middle aged people, and young people who would not have been born for the majority of his work. 
Which means he must be getting continually re-discovered, a bit like Pink Floyd or Hendrix, he's a multi generation spanning artist who's done serious things like Vendetta and fun accessible things  like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. 

Also the video dispels the myth of Alan Moore being grumpy and doesn't like people. He loves his readership and a lot of people left happy." [Heri Mkocha]

A special thank to Heri for sharing the video and his comments.

May 3, 2013

Girl One lives!

Art by Gene Ha.
Above you can admire a great sketch of Girl One (a character from the fantastic series Top 10) recently drawn by the amazing Gene Ha during the last C2E2 event.