Jul 2, 2014

Why I hate Alan Moore by Steve Niles

The Saga of Swamp Thing N. 37 featuring the first appearance of John Constantine.
From the sold-out Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman book, page 73. 

In the following you can read the contribution written by acclaimed horror writer STEVE NILES.
Posted on this blog with the author's permission. 

Why I hate Alan Moore
© Steve Niles

There are signposts in life, crossroads, and for me Alan  Moore is one of those markers.

I’d never heard of Alan  Moore when I first read comics. I was strictly a Marvel kid with the occasional defection to Creepy, Swamp Thing and Batman. By the time I was 14, I’d given up on them. I sold my collection and used the money to buy stereo equipment and some other teen supplies, and I thought comic books were behind me for good. I stopped thinking about them. No more Spiderman, no more Fantastic Four. After a short lifetime of reading and collecting, I was done.

A few years went by. I was in Washington D.C. visiting my dad on one of those terminally awkward, post-divorce weekend visits. There was a comic store in Georgetown. Completely unaware I’d abandoned funny books my Dad slapped me with some cash and sent me into the store.

I was stunned. Comics had changed since I fled the scene. There seemed to be some excitement brewing in the musty little shop. Something sinister and fun. There was a guy behind the counter. His name was Don and he demanded I buy a title. He said if I liked horror (and I did) I had to buy The Swamp Thing by Alan  Moore. He shoved a copy in my face and added the bait.

“It’s the first comic from one of the big boys WITHOUT the comic’s code.”

Really? Sounds like trouble. I was sold. Wrap it up!

I read Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and was hit by the narrative like a locomotive. I was shocked, and happily appalled. Here was a comic that hit me on a gut level, spoke to me like I was a...a...well, a reader. There wasn’t any of the guarded storytelling I’d grown used to and out of.

That’s really the thrust of this little ditty... Alan  Moore dragged me back into comic. I was out and I had no intention of looking back because comics had become a thing of my childhood, colorful little stories which had no place in my blooming adult life... until Moore came along with his scary and sophisticated, cutting and gripping tale of a swamp creature lost in an impossible nightmare.

I never left comics again and I blame Alan  Moore. Every time I pick up a title I hope it will have the impact of that first issue of Swamp Thing, the first appearance of Constantine, or the first time Abby and Alec kissed.

And now, All these years later, I’m still in and into comics, I still read everything Moore writes. That guy Don from the comic store? He grew up to be Don Murphy, the producer of Moore inspired films From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Small, weird, weird world.

So why do I hate Alan  Moore? There are two reasons really. The first for dragging me back into comics. What would my life had been like if I hadn’t read that issue of Swamp Thing? I’ll never know. I’m knee-deep in the shit now, anxiously awaiting the next issue of LoEG.

The second reason I hate Alan  Moore, and this is the big one, is because the man is as close to the perfect comic writer as we may ever see. He manipulates the medium to its fullest potential, juggling words and pictures effortlessly, and always managing to amaze.

I guess both reasons are sort of the saying the same thing; I hate Alan Moore because he makes comics worthwhile. The bastard.

Steve Niles
Los Angeles
March 30 2003

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