Sep 16, 2017

Len Wein and Alan Moore

Below, the text contribution written by LEN WEIN for the sold-out Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman book (page 37), published in 2003 by Abiogenesis on the occasion of Moore's 50th birthday.
Legendary comic writer and editor, WEIN co-created DC Comics' Swamp Thing and Marvel Comics' Wolverine, and contributed to reviving Marvel's X-Men; he was the editor for the original Watchmen series. 

WEIN passed away few days ago, the 10th of September: this is a small way to honour his memory.
by Len Wein

Some random thoughts about Alan Moore (which somehow seems appropriate):
1) The first time I called Alan, he refused to believe I was me.    

I wish I could remember at this late date exactly what it was that prompted me to call Alan when I was looking for a new writer to take over Swamp Thing. I know I had been a fan of Alan’s work on 2000 A.D. and so he seemed an interesting choice as writer, assuming, of course, he was available and so inclined. I got his phone number somehow, made the international phone call, and Alan answered on the third ring. I introduced myself, told Alan I had an offer to make him, and he hung up on me.
When I called back, assuming the connection had been broken accidentally, I introduced myself again. Alan’s reply: “No, who is this really?” And he started going through a list of his mates, trying to figure out who had put me up to this and why.  It took me quite a while to convince Alan I was indeed me, and that I was interested in offering him work in the States, on my own precious baby. It took a lot of cajoling and convincing to talk Alan into taking on the assignment, but I’m glad he did. The changes he made on Swamp Thing helped to revolutionize the art form, his language was pure music. Under Alan, the graphic narrative suddenly grew up.
And the comic book industry has never been the same since.

2) The first time I met Alan, I couldn’t believe he was he.

DC Comics sent me to London to interface with what was then becoming a growing number of British creators who had started working on the DC books in Alan’s wake. People like Dave Gibbons, Kev O’Neill, so many others. We met in a local Pub, and Alan was the last to arrive. He came strolling in, eyes wild, that long tangle of hair and beard whipping in the breeze, looking for all intents and purposes like the mad monk Rasputin returning from a two-week bender. He was wearing a suit that was 40 years out of style, the jacket and pants cuffs each several inches too short, a ruffled shirt, a narrow tie in a piano keyboard pattern, garish socks that matched nothing on earth, and (if I’m recalling correctly) a top hat.
Alan apologized for being late, but explained that he had been at the optometrist, having his eyes checked. He explained that the sight in one eye was perfect, but the other not so much. The Doctor had recommended glasses with appropriate lenses. Alan said he had considered getting a monocle instead for the one bad eye, but had decided against it.
“Why?” I asked, foolishly.
Alan replied, “Well, frankly, I was afraid wearing a monocle might make me look a bit odd.”

And, that, in a couple of quick anecdotes, is Alan Moore.

All the best, my friend. Long may you wave.

Len Wein
Los Angeles,  CA
April, 2003


Mike said...

Those are hilarious. It's interesting that Wein didn't talk about quitting Watchmen because he thought Moore should have been more original with the ending.

Dan hum said...

Sounds like a great outfit! Al would look cool in a green suit, oh...hang on...