Dec 31, 2019

Mister Vile and the others

Excerpt from an interview from Cerebro vol.3 no.15, July/August 1982.  
CEREBRO: Good morning, Mister Vile. Would I be correct in assuming that 'Curt Vile' is a pseudonym? 
Good evening, Mr. Stachelski. Yes of course Curt Vile is a pseudonym, you jerk. What kind of mother would name her firstborn Curt Vile? My real name is Elrod Sanilav. On occasion I have also posed as Alan Moore, Jill de Ray, and Translucia Baboon. And as a scintillating tidbit of information for all you fans of the adorable Bauhaus pop group I can reveal that the sleeve notes on the second album 'Mask' were also by me in the guise of avant garde poet Brilburn Logue. My one abiding fear is that one day I'll wake up and find that I'm really a pseudonym for John Wagner or T.B. Grover. Incidentally, is Stachelski your real name, or did you arrive at it by throwing darts at a Scrabble board?

Dec 22, 2019

Blue Moore by Nicola Testoni

Above, a fantastic illustration by NICOLA TESTONI, digitally coloured by the artist, which has been published on Italian magazine Linus, December issue, which contains a special dedicated to Moore.
The picture was included in the article I humbly put together - with the help of friends Koom Kankesan, George Khoury, Omar Martini, Raphael Sassaki, Antonio Solinas and DeZ Vylenz - a mash-up of some interviews with Moore that I was involved with in the past, focusing on his most personal visions such as Eternalism, Art as Magic, Magic as Art, etc...

If you can read Italian, more info regarding the Linus' issue HERE and HERE.

Dec 19, 2019

Swamp Thing/ Rorschach/ Tom Strong by Horley

Above, a gorgeous illustration drawn by the amazing ALEX HORLEY as contribution to the sold-out Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman (page 72) published in 2003 by Abiogenesis Press.

For more info about Horley's art, visit his site HERE.

Dec 18, 2019

Neil Gaiman on HBO's Watchmen series

Above Neil Gaiman's tweet, dated 12th of December, replying to a user who solicited him to tell Moore that "HBO's Watchmen is a work of genius en par with, and because of, the original series."

I stand with Gaiman!

Dec 17, 2019

1997: Word of Moore

Excerpt from an interview pubblished in 1997 on Feature Magazine Volume 3, Number 2.
FEATURE: Where do you see yourself moving as an artist?  What sort of legacy are you trying to build, what kind of body of work are you trying to create?
ALAN MOORE: I've never really thought much of a legacy. I suppose that I don't know, I'm just trusting the process. I look back at the early work that I did. I look at Watchmen, and I must admit I feel a certain amount of unworthy embarrassment.  It's nothing that I should feel, but just the fact that it was a superhero comic. I was trying to say something serious in a fairly lightweight form. Like I say, I wouldn't do that now.  I'm still very proud of Watchmen, but I'm prouder of stuff outside that genre like From Hell, like Lost Girls. There's a progression going on here. It's only a progression of ideas in my head, but they're following a kind of path. I'm on the path, I don't know where it's going, and I don't really have a destination in mind. There's no plan here, there's just a path which I am trying to uncover and interpret as I go along. My works are, I suppose, a series of communiqués from along the trail. My works will tell you more or less where I am at any given point along that trail. What lies further down the road... I mean, my list of things that I'm gonna be doing in the future, I suppose should be considered directions that look to me promising to head out in. I don't know what I'll find when I get there, and I don't know what path will lead from there. I don't know where I'll be going after that.
I have my own sort of preoccupations, they tend to veer towards getting further in to something. When dealing with mainstream comics, I'd perhaps try and look at the politics or the morals that informed the other situations in these books, trying to get under the surface of that. When I'd explored that for a bit, I'd try to get under the surface a bit further still. To talk about politics in a more general sense and just relating them to a funny book world. There's a point where you want to go further still. It's a sort of burrowing, I suppose. That's the best way that I can describe the process. I want to try and penetrate the different layers of meaning that there are in the world as deeply as possible. Whatever tools or whatever avenues seem to be most productive towards that end are the ones that I shall be taking. But this is a very subjective thing. It's a totally unpredictable process inside my head. I shall just have to see where it takes me. I try not to second guess that sort of stuff.
I guess when I finally drop dead over the typewriter, then, and only then, I'll be able to see what body of work I've left behind. I'm sure that eighty percent of it will be crap, but there'll probably be a couple of good things in there that will endure and they'll probably be the last things that I ever thought they'd be.

Dec 13, 2019

Comic Strip Writing Tips by Howard Cruse

Above, the amazing illustration (with a reference to classic Peanuts strips) drawn by HOWARD CRUSE as contribution to the sold-out  Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman (2003, Abiogenesis Press, page 123) on the occasion of Moore's 50th birthday.
Cruse recently passed way: a tremendous loss for the medium and the comics community. Sigh.

More about Cruse and his work HERE.

Dec 12, 2019

Moore on Aleister Crowley

Young Crowley. Art by Eddie Campbell. From From Hell chapter n.9.
Excerpt from "An authentic fake - A pubside chat with Alan Moore and Peter Whitehead" by R.F. Paul published in Esoterra n.6 in 1996.

Do you consider yourself a Thelemite?

Alan Moore: Not entirely. I have got a lot of sympathy with Crowley's vision. I think he was the 20th century's magickal equivalent of Einstein. But I think that the Thelemite ideal was probably true for Crowley at that time. It doesn't feel true for me at this time. I will still take a lot of his ideas, a lot of his thinking and work it into my own scheme of things. But it wouldn't be fair for me to say that I was a Thelemite because I have problems with some aspects of it.

What aspects?

AM: For example, the most famous of Thelemic utterances, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." Now, I've got no problem with that nor with the definition of Magick as "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will." Except that it seems to place too much emphasis on the will. In my experience of Magick, it is often spontaneous, it has got nothing to do with the will of the person who is allegedly practicing it. Things sometimes just happen. Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes things happen that are completely different than those things you willed to happen or expected to happen, but its often a more satisfying magickal experience because of that. To me placing the will of the magician above the universe, although I'd expect Crowley to do that, is not the way that I feel about things. I feel its more my duty to bring my will into line with the universe rather than the other way around. Looking at the two factors involved in that equation - me and the universe - you know, I'm still in a position, perhaps unlike Crowley, where I think the universe is probably the senior partner in that relationship. I'm not dissing Crowley, I'm not knocking him. . .
Peter Whitehead: A sleeping partner?
AM: Well, no, it plays a very active role in the relationship actually. . .
PW: You put up the capital.
AM: (laughs) A certain amount of Crowley's stuff seems predicated on Crowley's personality. There is his thinking, which is often wonderful, illuminating and brilliant. There is also Crowley's ego, which was probably formulated by this strange Plymouth Brethren upbringing and the pressures which that must have put on him to assert himself. And I see Crowley's personality and aspects of it, which I probably wouldn't like if he were sitting opposite of me now. And there's a lot that I would like about the guy. But certain aspects I wouldn't like and I sometimes see those aspects coloring the doctrines of the Thelemites. For example, take the Book of the Law. I mean, its a beautiful piece of prose. I have no problem accepting that it was channeled from somewhere. However, I have to note some strong similarities between the world-view of the Angel Aiwaz and the world-view of Aleister Crowley himself. Now, I would say that to me, these entities are very often distinct, separate entities from us, and they also are us at the same time. Now, from that point of view, while Crowley is certainly the most important magician of the 20th Century there is stuff in his personality which he never managed to resolve. Looking at his life objectively, I'd have to say that, without trying to be judgemental. His last words were, "I am perplexed." It was not as smooth a ride as sometimes he tried to portray it as. And inasmuch as those elements of Crowley's personality do pervade his thinking, that's where I'd have to draw the line and part company with Thelema. Does that sound halfway reasonable to you?

Yes. Sure. Even though the "I am perplexed" quote is bullshit.

AM: Is that apocryphal?

Yeah. Apocryphal bunk.

AM: I wonder what he did say. "I am perfect", perhaps?

Dec 4, 2019

A message From Hell

Art by Eddie Campbell.
Excerpts from an unaired episode of Clive Barker's A-Z Of Horror, 1995. Text published in edited form in Clive Barker's A-Z Of Horror, 1997. The video is available HERE on YouTube.

MOORE: What From Hell can tell us about our own lives, is that those same ancient destructive forces, that same misogyny, that same darkness, is still with us, and for all of our veneer of technology, we've not managed to banish those shadows even slightly.

[...] As the century draws to its end, we find that our entire culture seems to be boiling and bubbling an' erupting into strange new forms. I think that it is the job of artists to help us to understand the new shapes that our world is blossoming into.

Nov 26, 2019

Poet Brian Patten and Alan Moore

Detective Comics Vol.1 n.341
Excerpt from Koom Kankesan's interview. Published here.  
Alan Moore: [...] I was fourteen that Penguin books released their edition of the Mersey poets, The Liverpool Scene. This contained a poem by BRIAN PATTEN called "Where Are You Now, Batman?" It took the comic book heroes (or perhaps more accurately, the movie-serial heroes) of Patten’s youth and recast them in an atmosphere that was more psychologically modern, making them unusually poignant in the process. I recall a line about Blackhawk committing suicide in “the hangars of lost innocence.” I think at the time I attempted slavishly to turn out a similar poem – a line about Rocket Man’s fuel tanks having given out high over London – before realising that to mimic the poem would be accomplishing less than nothing, and that the thing to do was to isolate the central effect that I had found so powerful, which was simply the situating of fondly-remembered children’s characters in a modern world that was no longer appropriate to them.
Obviously, a decade or so later I found a way to put this principle to work in a great deal of my early superhero material. [...]
Excerpt from Patten's site (here, check below the "Previous Poems of the Month" column and entry "Where Are You Now Batman?")
Patten: [...] Where Are You Now, Batman? was written around 1965 when I was still in my teens. Recently I read somewhere that the poem’s dysfunctional superheroes proved an early inspiration for Alan Moore. That delighted me, as I think he’s a fantastic unpin-down-able creator of contemporary fairytales. What are Superheroes after all other than the likes of Hansel & Gretel dressed in masks and colourful costumes and fuelled by overloads of adrenalin.

Nov 21, 2019

To be an anarchist in today's U.K.

Here’s something you don’t see every day, an internet-averse anarchist announcing on social media that he’ll be voting Labour in the December elections. But these are unprecedented times. I’ve voted only once in my life, more than forty years ago, being convinced that leaders are mostly of benefit to no one save themselves. That said, some leaders are so unbelievably malevolent and catastrophic that they must be strenuously opposed by any means available. nut simply, I do not believe that four more years of these rapacious, smirking right-wing parasites will leave us with a culture, a society, or an environment in which we have the luxury of even imagining alternatives.

The wretched world we’re living in at present was not an unlucky war of fate; it was an economic and political decision made without consulting the enormous human population that it would most drastically affect. If we would have it otherwise, if we’d prefer a fixture that we can call home, then we must stop supporting — even passively — this ravenous, insatiable conservative agenda before it devours us with our kids as a dessert.

Although my vote is principally against the Tories rather than for Labour, I’d observe that Labour’s current manifesto is the most encouraging set of proposals that I’ve ever seen from any major British party. Though these are immensely complicated times and we are all uncertain as to which course we should take, I’d say the one that steers us furthest from the glaringly apparent iceberg is the safest bet…

If my work has meant anything to you over the years, if the way that modern is going makes you fear for all the things you value, then please get out there on polling day and make your voice heard with a vote against this heartless trampling of everybody’s safety, dignity and dreams. A world we love is counting on us.

Alan Moore
November 20th, 2019

Source: Leah Moore Twitter account.

Nov 20, 2019

Fan letter to Alan Moore

The 18th of November I was surprised but really pleased to receive an email which said: 
"Hello Mr. Smoky, I've recently picked up the Watchmen again after about 10 years, and the second time around, I've fallen in love with it. I wanted to send a fan letter to Mr. Moore, but it's hard to reach him. If you could forward my letter to him, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
I replied: "I can't forward your heartfelt letter to Moore but, if you agree, I can post it on my blog and share the link all around. It's possible that The Man will read it."

So, here we are! Thank you, Paul! And... enjoy!

Dear Alan Moore,

It has taken me 40 years of living life and learning about perspective to finally understand your love for the comic book medium, your hope for the medium’s capacity, and your level of disappointment in the way the industry treated you. The energy of youth meets the harshness of real life (I know all about it now).

I find your approach of exposing topics that fester in the silence formed from human discomfort fascinating and innovative. Differences can’t be addressed unless they’re discussed. However our generation faces a new challenge. Social media, while ultimately positive, moves too quickly and definitively for multi-perspective discussions where people are allowed to be wrong in order to encourage more ideas. The consequences of being wrong or even just different are immediate and overwhelming, and therefore leads to silence and less discussion.

The human condition is a beast that will not die easily, and while you injured it pretty nicely, it has found new legs and this generation could use a skilled warrior’s insights. However, I completely understand your current position. I just wanted to let you know that your work has spoken to me and has inspired me so I’m grateful.
-Paul Im

Nov 19, 2019

Big Brain Moore by Shintaro Kago

Art by Shintaro Kago.
Above, a stunning, weird portrait sketch by Japanese extraordinary artist Shintaro Kago.
Special thanks to Michele Nitri and his Hollow Press for the support.

Nov 18, 2019

Moore on Jerusalem, Eternalism, Anarchy and Herbie!

Below you can read a great interview with Moore conducted by Brazilian writer and editor Raphael Sassaki. The interview was finalized at the end of 2016, translated and published in January 2017 in a reduced version on the online pages of Folha de São Paulo (here).
This is the first time that the original English interview is available in full with the permission of Sassaki. Grazie, Raphael!

The interview has also been included in Italian in Alan Moore: 5 interviste, a small self-published book that I edited few months ago (more info here, if you can read Italian).
Grazie again, Raphael! More info about Raphael Sassaki at his Shivapress.

And... Happy 66th birthday, Mr. Moore! ;)

Raphael Sassaki: How di you come up with the idea of Jerusalem, which tells a story that spreads through 1000 years in Northampton? How was the writing of it?
Alan Moore: Rather than originating from a single idea, Jerusalem is more the convergence of several different impulses and concepts. Foremost amongst these were the growing need to talk about the tiny but historically peculiar district I was raised in, and the simultaneous urge to talk about my family in a way that included both its history and its mythology. This, I soon realised, would require the proposed book to possess an unusually wide register that could encompass often-brutal social realism on the one hand and fantastical experimentalism on the other. In addition to such technical considerations, it occurred to me that the work’s actual scope and substance needed to be radically extended if I was to talk about my family or their environment in a way that was meaningful: I could not talk about that neighbourhood and its inhabitants without discussing poverty, which would demand a similar investigation into wealth, and social history, and economics. I could not mention that materially disadvantaged population without also speaking of their spiritual imaginings and yearnings, which, as it turned out, necessitated an account of the town’s religious development that reached from a pilgrim monk in the 9th century, through John Wycliffe’s radical translation of the bible into English and the subsequent upheaval in both visionary writings and incendiary politics, to the English Civil War and the reforms of Phillip Doddridge that came after. Having raised the issue of a visionary literary tradition I next felt obliged to follow that thread from John Wycliffe to John Bunyan (and his fellow hymn-composers Phillip Doddridge and John Newton) through to William Blake, John Clare and, via the medium of Clare’s non-contemporary asylum-mate Lucia Joyce, her father James Joyce and her unrequited love, the author Samuel Beckett. Blake, a powerful offstage presence throughout the whole novel from its title onwards, prompted an appraisal of Blake’s major influence, Northampton pastor and originator of the Gothic movement in the arts, James Hervey. John Clare and Lucia Joyce, along with Blake himself and members of my family, seemed to imply that madness was a topic that would need addressing. And of course no picture of a neighbourhood could be complete unless the immigrant experience, specifically the black experience, is dealt with, which in turn demands paying attention to the slave trade and its many consequences. The above is by no means a full, inclusive list of everything that went into the making of Jerusalem, but I trust it will at least provide an explanation – what with each new subject raising whole sets of subsidiary subjects to be dealt with – as to why the book needed to be so long.

Jerusalem deals with the idea of eternalism: everything that has happened is happening right now and forever. Could you explain your views on this?
My conception of an eternity that was immediate and present in every instant – a view which I have since learned is known as ‘Eternalism’ – was once more derived from many sources, but a working definition of the idea should most probably begin with Albert Einstein. Einstein stated that we exist in a universe that has at least four spatial dimensions, three of which are the height, depth and breadth of things as we ordinarily perceive them, and the fourth of which, while also a spatial dimension, is perceived by a human observer as the passage of time. The fact that this fourth dimension cannot be meaningfully disentangled from the other three is what leads Einstein to refer to our continuum as ‘spacetime’. This leads logically to the notion of what is called a ‘block universe’, an immense hyper-dimensional solid in which every moment that has ever existed or will ever exist, from the beginning to the end of our universe, is coterminous; a vast snow-globe of being in which nothing moves and nothing changes, forever. Sentient life such as ourselves, embedded in the amber of spacetime, would have to be construed by such a worldview as massively convoluted filaments of perhaps seventy or eighty years in length, winding through this glassy and motionless enormity with a few molecules of slippery and wet genetic material at one end and a handful or so of cremated ashes at the other. It is only the bright bead of our consciousness moving inexorably along the thread of our existence, helplessly from past to future, that provides the mirage of movement and change and transience. A good analogy would be the strip of film comprising an old fashioned movie-reel: the strip of film itself is an unchanging and motionless medium, with its opening scenes and its finale present in the same physical object. Only when the beam of a projector – or in this analogy the light of human consciousness – is passed across the strip of film do we see Charlie Chaplin do his funny walk, and save the girl, and foil the villain. Only then do we perceive events, and continuity, and narrative, and character, and meaning, and morality. And when the film is concluded, of course, it can be watched again. Similarly, I suspect that when our individual four-dimensional threads of existence eventually reach their far end with our physical demise, there is nowhere for our travelling bead of consciousness to go save back to the beginning, with the same thoughts, words and deeds recurring and reiterated endlessly, always seeming like the first time this has happened except, possibly, for those brief, haunting spells of déjà vu. Of course, another good analogy, perhaps more pertinent to Jerusalem itself, would be that of a novel. While it’s being read there is the sense of passing time and characters at many stages of their lives, yet when the book is closed it is a solid block in which events that may be centuries apart in terms of narrative are pressed together with just millimetres separating them, distances no greater than the thickness of a page. As to why I decided to unpack this scientific vision of eternity in a deprived slum neighbourhood, it occurred to me that through this reading of human existence, every place, no matter how mean, is transformed to the eternal, heavenly city. Hence the title.

You have interesting ideas about the relationship between magic and works of art. What’s the role of the artist-magician in our society? How do you practice magic?
In my understanding of magic, it is inextricably bound up with the development of modern consciousness some 7,000 years ago during the cognitive revolution. This leap in human awareness is traditionally believed to be dependent on our developing use of language. Since language is itself based upon the principle of representation – of this mark or this sound representing that object or animal – then we have the essential basis of art preceding language, which itself precedes consciousness. The relatively sudden advent of that consciousness with all of its attendant unfamiliar phenomena would, I suggest, leave early humans with no other recourse that to regard the sum total of this new inner life, this new experience, as magic. This enables us to identify magic as a phenomenon inextricably bound up with language, art and consciousness as if they were indeed but facets of the same thing, and to provide a new definition of magic as “Any purposeful engagement with the phenomena and possibilities of consciousness.” This construction is deliberately broad, in order to include all of those areas that I believe to be part of magic’s original remit, which is to say science, medicine, astronomy, the visual and literary arts, performance, music, mathematics, access to an inner world, political advice passed from the shaman or shamanka to the tribal chieftain, and the pursuit of a vital and integrating shared ecstasy. All of these things and many more appear to have their origins in shamanism, its performance and its practice as an all-inclusive one-stop model of existence. It’s my thesis that across the centuries, commencing with our earliest urban settlements, magic has had its various parts and functions hived off or else subcontracted out to artists, writers, musicians, priests, and viziers. With the Renaissance and the rise of science and medicine from pre-existing alchemy and folk-healing traditions, magic lost two of its remaining applications, and then with Freud’s advent of psychoanalysis around the early 20th century even magic’s access to the inner world was compromised. In short, I see almost the entirety of the modern culture surrounding us as being the dismembered body of magic. This seems to me to be in accordance with the alchemical formula of solvé et coagula where solvé represents reductionism – taking a thing apart into its components to see how it works, or the process of analysis – while coagula represents holism, or putting the disassembled parts back together in a hopefully improved or at least better-understood form, which is the process of synthesis. Simply put, I see task and indeed the responsibility of modern magicians/artists to be the reassembly of the fractured world, the fractured worldviews and the fractured psychologies that presently surround us. As for how I practice magic, while there may still be the occasional ceremonial ritual if required, at this stage of my development I practice magic by being aware of the magical dimension of everything I do. In fact, I’m doing it right now.
What’s the difference in the processes of writing novels and writing comics?
The most obvious difference is that in a prose novel, you neither have nor should require an illustrator. What this means is that all of those lengthy paragraphs of scene and character description, which would previously have been seen by only the book’s artist, must now be brushed up considerably from their original stark functionality and embedded smoothly in the narrative itself. This in turn changes a lot of things. For instance, in a comic book you have the power to misdirect or to subliminally inform your reader by burying a salient visual detail in the background of a panel, whereas prose lacks that capacity and will demand new strategies to accomplish those things. On the other hand, with prose there are perhaps even greater opportunities for misdirection or subliminal manipulation in that by choosing what to mention or describe you effectively limit your audience’s ability to see what is going on, nudging the reader into false assumptions that can be satisfyingly exposed and resolved at the point of the author’s choosing. Also, in prose you can make what is unseen as important as what is visible. The author H.P. Lovecraft’s tales exploit this by heightening the reader’s unease with entities that are almost impossible to describe or visualise, whereas in comic strip adaptations of Lovecraft, unless ingenious evasions are made, we have what was meant to be indescribable pinned down to one concrete, visible and thus eminently describable form. Both media have their differing abilities, but if I had to choose which one was the more elegant I’d have to come down on the side of prose, whereby with a couple of dozen characters and a peppering of punctuation marks, it is possible to delineate the whole of our conceptual universe in its entirety.

Before your first well read stories you published fanzines, worked cleaning toilets and in tannery, sold LSD and had a job a office for a subcontractor of a gas board. Do you miss being young and anonymous? How were those times?
While I greatly enjoyed being young, with all the energy and physical capability that youth implies, I am also greatly enjoying being old and having access to all of the different energies, and to all of the emotional and intellectual capability that age implies. As for anonymity, that’s perhaps a more difficult question to answer honestly. Yes, sometimes I do find myself wishing that I could just go about my business in Northampton without attracting so much attention, but on the other hand that attention, here in my home town, is generally well-intentioned, low key, respectful, and seems as uncomfortable with the idea of celebrity as am I myself. Celebrity on a larger scale is something that I don’t want anything to do with, and nine times out of ten can successfully ignore or refuse to engage with. Of course, my only reason for pursuing the work that I do is the hope that my work, and therefore my ideas, can reach and affect as wide an audience as is humanly possible. Logically, I have to accept that this also means that my name and my reputation will be reaching a similarly-sized audience, and that there is a certain contradiction in wanting one of these outcomes without being prepared to accept the other. Thus the best course of action seems to be to try to minimise the impact of my personal celebrity as much as possible – for my own good, and for the good of everyone involved – while making the most of the potential audience to which this celebrity grants me access. Most of the time, I feel I do a pretty decent job of handling this, but that is probably a matter that other people can judge more accurately than I can.

What have led you to create V for Vendetta? What were the influences and ideas passing in your mind at that time?
I’m afraid that for a few years now, I have felt that since I am apparently not allowed to own the work that I created in the same manner that an author in a more grown-up and worthwhile field might expect to do, and since my protests at having my work stolen from me are interpreted by a surely young-at-heart and non-unionised audience as evidence of my “grouchiness” and “cantankerousness”, then the only active position that is left to me is to disown the works in question. I no longer own copies of these books and, other than the earnest creative work that I put into them at the time, my only associations with these works are broken friendships, perfectly ordinary corporate betrayals and wasted effort. Given that I will certainly never be reading any of these works again and that I have no wish to see them or even to think of them, it follows that I don’t wish to discuss them, sign copies of them or, indeed, have anything to do with them. As I would hope should be obvious, to separate emotionally from work that you were previously very proud of is quite a painful experience and is not undertaken lightly. However, having to answer questions about my opinions regarding DC Comics latest imbecilic use of my characters or stories would be much more harrowing. And, of course, it’s not as if I don’t have plenty of current work to be getting on with.

What was the impact of popular heroes comic books in our culture? Why are people fascinated by alternative realities?
I think the impact of superheroes on popular culture is both tremendously embarrassing and not a little worrying. While these characters were originally perfectly suited to stimulating the imaginations of their twelve or thirteen year-old audience, today’s franchised übermenschen, aimed at a supposedly adult audience, seem to be serving some kind of different function, and fulfilling different needs. Primarily, mass-market superhero movies seem to be abetting an audience who do not wish to relinquish their grip on (a) their relatively reassuring childhoods, or (b) the relatively reassuring 20th century. The continuing popularity of these movies to me suggests some kind of deliberate, self-imposed state of emotional arrest, combined with an numbing condition of cultural stasis that can be witnessed in comics, movies, popular music and, indeed, right across the cultural spectrum. The superheroes themselves – largely written and drawn by creators who have never stood up for their own rights against the companies that employ them, much less the rights of a Jack Kirby or Jerry Siegel or Joe Schuster – would seem to be largely employed as cowardice compensators, perhaps a bit like the handgun on the nightstand. I would also remark that save for a smattering of non-white characters (and non-white creators) these books and these iconic characters are still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race. In fact, I think that a good argument can be made for D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation as the first American superhero movie, and the point of origin for all those capes and masks.

You have desconstructed an entire genre and exerted major influence in the adult comic books after the publication of Watchmen. How do you see it’s lasting impact on comics?
Again, see my answer to question six. Frankly, I don’t think about comics that much, I don’t think of Watchmen at all, and the lasting impact of one upon the other is really no longer my concern.
You have been in and out of the comic big publishers all your life. How do you feel about the industry at this point?
I’d imagine that after these last three questions, my feelings (such as they are) about the comics industry at this point would be fairly obvious. Other than finishing my commitments to those publishers such as Knockabout, Avatar and Top Shelf who have always treated me well, I don’t want anything to do with the comic industry in future. I still respect and love the comic medium and may very well work in the medium at some future point, but I genuinely want to put my connections with a comic industry that appears to me to be hopelessly dysfunctional far, far behind me.

Could you tell a very strange thing that happened to you?
Well, my younger brother once choked on a cough-sweet and went without breathing for between five and ten minutes with no obvious ill effects, but that’s something that I unpack more fully in Jerusalem. Other than that, I remember swimming in one of the deep-gouged and diamond-clear streams of Glen Nevis, back in the early 1970s. Electing to climb out of the stream up a twelve-foot rock-face, halfway up I discovered a jutting stone ledge, only a few inches across, upon which was resting a small pile of hair-clippings, the hair being fine, blonde and definitely human. It looked like it might have been that of a child. That was a thing which, for want of any likely or even conceivable explanation, I categorised as strange. Eerie, even.

What’s anarchy for you? What are your political beliefs?
Anarchy, meaning simply ‘no leaders’, to me implies a situation in which everyone must take responsibility for their own actions and, therefore, serve as their own leaders. In such a state, inter-individual cooperation is the most successful and thus the default form of interaction. This is why our species, for the hundreds of thousands of years that constituted its hunter/gatherer stage, was non-hierarchical, and why the greatest social sin in those earliest proto-societies was the attempt to claim greater status than anyone else, this being punishable by ridicule and, when ridicule proved insufficient, by banishment. This is apparently still the tradition amongst some of world’s aboriginal people up to the present day. It is currently thought that those earliest communities somehow realised that status would create divisions that would ultimately destabilise the entire culture. For me, anarchy suggests that to become fully realised as human beings we must each make our own individual peace with the universe and stand as women or men, naked and denuded of status, at the heart of a stupefying and starry existence which surely makes all such status less than meaningless. Anarchy was the political position that Charles Darwin came to believe the most rational and humane, and as defined above is a pretty exact representation of my own political beliefs.
What are your favourite ever comic books/strips?
There is an endless amount of wonderful material in the comic medium, but if I had to boil it down to single comic strip work for which I retain the most affection, it would have to be Richard E. Hughes and Ogden Whitney’s sublime Herbie, originally published by the American Comic Group (ACG) during the 1960s. This is not, of course, to diminish the medium’s many other great accomplishments, from Lynd Ward and Winsor McCay to Harvey Kurtzman and Will Eisner to Garth Ennis and Kieron Gillen, but simply to say that for pure comic book delight that never seems to age, my money is on Herbie. Who appears both in the narrative and on the cover of Jerusalem.

Nov 1, 2019

Alan Moore by Jonathan Edwards

Art by Jonathan Edwards.
Above, a stylish portrait of Moore by British artist Jonathan Edwards.

For more info about Edwards, visit his site HERE.

Oct 31, 2019

Watchmen and... Moore's self-plagiarism

Above, the final panels from the Three-Eyes McGurk and His Death Planet Commandos story originally printed in "Dark Star" n. 22-25, published by Dark Star Publishing in 1979-1980. It was reprinted in 1981 in Rip Off Comix n. 8. Art by Curt Vile (a.k.a Alan Moore), story & inks by Pedro Henry (a.k.a Steve Moore).

Below, some iconic panels from Watchmen, issue n.7, cover date March 1987, DC Comics. Art by Dave Gibbons, colours by John Higgins. 

You can see the similarities, can't you? :)

Oct 29, 2019

Behold the Beholder by Alberto Corradi

Above a hypnotic portrait of our Bearded Magus by Italian cartoonist, illustrator, visual artist and monster maker ALBERTO CORRADI. I can also see a bit of... a famous Roman artefact in there, Alberto!

For more info about CORRADI visit: Site/Blog - Linkedin - Facebook - Twitter

Oct 21, 2019

He knows the score... by Thomas Campi

Art by Thomas Campi.
Above, a great and intense watercolour portrait of Moore by award-winning Italian artist THOMAS CAMPI.

More about Campi and his awesome Art HERE at his site.
Art by Thomas Campi.

Oct 17, 2019

The Watching Man by Marco Corona

Above, a stunning portrait by Italian acclaimed comic book artist, illustrator and graphic novelist MARCO CORONA.

More info regarding Corona at his blog, HERE (in Italian).

Oct 15, 2019

Recursive Alan Moore by Greg Ruth

Above a stunning, hairy portrait of Alan Moore by extraordinary artist GREG RUTH, created for his Recursive project.
He says: "Recursive is an experiment in single line contour drawing using my old frenemy, the ballpoint pen. This project is simply put, a real-time exploration of a new technique using this old tool through my usual passion for portraits. Some pieces are intentional, others are found through the act of drawing. [...]"

And specifically about Moore, Ruth writes: "The White Wizard of comics storytelling and his magnificent attack eyebrows made this an easy subject and an essential one as well. Alan Moore is largely responsible for my becoming entranced by the medium and storytelling power of comics and is largely to blame for why I keep trying at it to this day. This one's for you, buddy."

Oct 9, 2019

Moore's advice... from 1989!

Late 80's, Moore and Gibbons signing Watchmen at Forbiden Planet store.
Blast form the past! Excerpt from an interview published on Off Centre n.1, October 1989.

What advice would you give to young (or old) people starting out in the "comics biz" – lunge at the majors, or stick with independent bastions of integrity?
Alan Moore: I can't really give much specific advice, because I believe that everybody must find their own path based upon what he or she wants out of the medium. 

If you want to create your own work without compromising anything at all, then you should probably stick to the hard and narrow path of self-publishing, or independent publishing, even on a small-time basis. If on the other hand you want to make money and gain a certain degree of influence within the industry, you're more likely to do this by pitching yourself at Marvel, D.C. or Fleetway. Both have their advantages and drawbacks, and in the end it's down to the individual person.
What I would advise is that you consider all the other places that might be willing to run comic strips; places that fall into neither of the above categories. I spent two years learning the rudiment of storytelling by doing strips for music weeklies and regional newspapers. Hunt Emerson works for Fiesta. Brian Bolland started out doing work for the underground magazine OZ. Dave Gibbons for the underground weekly I.T. Crumb did greeting cards and Robert Williams worked for a hot rod magazine. 

What I’m saying basically is that you're on your own in terms of what choice you eventually make, but at least be sure that you've considered the whole range of choices actually open to you. (Another good thing about doing comic work off the beaten track is that the competition is often less intense. And yet another is that if your early work turns out to be crap, very few comic fans will have seen it and your reputation will thus be reasonably intact.)

Oct 1, 2019

Pink Fluid Moore by Spugna

Art by Spugna.
Above, a psychedelic pink portrait of Moore evoked in our reality by the powerful powers of SPUGNA (a.ka. Tommaso Di Spigna), Italian color wizard, comic book artist and illustrator. 
Thank you fearless Spugna for this great summoning! 

For more info about Spugna: Tumblr - Blog

Sep 25, 2019

Alan Moore on BBC Radio 6 Music!

Alan Moore and The Retro Spankees. More HERE.
BBC Radio 6 Music, Friday 4 Oct 2019 19:00!

"The legendary comic book writer shares two hours of his favourite music and chats to producer and writer Richard Norris about the important part it's played in his life and work.

[...] Hear him talk about writing, alongside his wide-ranging passion for music, magic, art labs and plenty else in between.

Expect tracks from Captain Beefheart, Joni Mitchell, X-Ray Spex, The Residents, Patti Smith and Sleaford Mods. Plus some of the music he's made himself over the years.

More info HERE!

Sep 16, 2019

Moore Music in Blow up!

Blow UP. n. 254-255.
Issue 254-255 (July-August summer special) of Italian monthly magazine Blow UP. dedicated to "music and other side effects" included a 4page special about Moore's musical connections and works by well known music critic Vittore Baroni for his great "Cabinet of Curiosities" column. 
Well done, Vittore! Bravo!

Sep 5, 2019

Universal Moore by Angelo Secci

Art by Angelo Secci.
Above, a stellar portrait of our beloved Man from Northampton by Italian artist and experimenter ANGELO SECCI. You can see a selection of his works here

The illustration has been used as cover for an Italian collection of Moore's interviews (here).

Sep 2, 2019

Alan Moore by Gabriel Hernández Walta

Art by Gabriel Hernández Walta.
"Warming-up with Mr. Moore..." Posted by acclaimed Spanish comic book artist and illustrator Gabriel Hernández Walta on his Twitter page, here
¡Bravo! - ¡Muy bien!

Sep 1, 2019

Alan Moore on Blake's The Ghost of a Flea

Art by William Blake.
Excerpt from an article published on the Guardian. The complete piece is available HERE

Alan Moore: As imagined by the Lambeth angel whisperer, the threatening and somehow smug abomination is theatrical in its demeanour, consciously performing for the viewer. Glossed by Blake, the flea is the transposed soul of a murderer trapped in a form that, while both bloodthirsty and powerful, is too small to become a mighty engine of destruction. Thus condemned, it struts its miniature domain and makes a swaggering display of cruelties that it can no longer accomplish. With nothing save an acorn cap to represent its drinking bowl of blood, with nothing but a thorn to serve as improvised prison yard shiv, this former demon is demoted and no longer dangerous. In its fallen state, more mischievous than malefic now, the has-been homicidal maniac is almost poignant.

Aug 23, 2019

Warren Ellis on Moore's retirement and LOEG

Excerpt from Orbital Operations, Warren Ellis' newsletter, dated 21 July 19.

Warren Ellis: I note here the official retirement of Mr Alan Moore from the field, after the conclusion of his LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN in collaboration with Kev O'Neill, Ben Dimagmaliw and Todd Klein. He changed everything.  Anglophone comics went through a profound transformation due to his work in the field. We wish him a peaceful retirement from the comics form and an immortal lifespan to enjoy it in.

I also note the conclusion of LOEG itself, a work whose final sequence is entirely without human characters, because none of the players are human: simply names and costumes moved around a burning stage before an audience numbed by their terrible aspect, and therein lies the lesson.

Also posted here.

Aug 14, 2019

These Boots Are Made for Flyin' by Otto Gabos

Art by Otto Gabos.
Above, The Flying Boots by Italian comic book artist, illustrator and graphic novelist Otto Gabos.
The illustration is paying homage to Alan Moore playing the role of Mr. Metterton in Show Pieces. Mo(o)re also HERE.

Grazie, Otto! Great boots, mate!

Aug 12, 2019

The Tempest: Gosh Exclusive 3-D Bookplate

Art by Kevin O'Neill. Colours: by Ben Dimagmaliw.
This October Gosh will release an A5 exclusive bookplate to celebrate the conclusion of The LoEG: The Tempest and its release in hardcover volume format.

The A5 plate features an original piece of work by Kevin O'Neill, coloured by Ben Dimagmaliw, and processed for 3-D by Charles Barnard & Christian LeBlanc.
Limited to  500 numbered copies signed by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill. Final plate will have 3-D elements!

More info HERE! Pre-order HERE!

Aug 10, 2019

TCJ reviews The LoEG: Tempest

Art by Kevin O'Neill.
Excerpt from an article by Brian Nicholson published the 29th of July on The Comics Journal site.
The complete piece is available here.

"[... ] The story that Moore needs to tell is a different one. It is not about the psychology that motivates the electorate and their representatives, but it does understand that psychology to be a fraught mess. Everyone involved has a different framework they’re approaching things with, and these are in conflict with one another for multiple reasons, not the least being that many of them are completely deranged. This is depressing on a lot of levels but it also heaps absurdity atop absurdity, and so while times have never been darker and the stakes are incredibly high, almost everything being said by anyone with any degree of power is very stupid all the time now. So it follows that The Tempest often does not seem to drive itself forward using a logic based in realistic characterization or mimetic naturalism. It is written in a register closer to the humor strips Moore wrote in his Tomorrow Stories anthology than it is to From Hell. Tragedy is repeating itself as farce, and Moore knows the material he’s parodying far better than Donald Trump knows Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

The two most recent interviews of Moore’s I’ve seen support the notion that his current work should be read as a political project: He interviewed the writer Jarett Kobek for a Youtube video, wherein Kobek talked about his new book, where an author’s attempts to write a fantasy novel give way to tormented complaining about the overwhelming state of the world. Talking about the impossibility of telling a story at this point in time, Moore nodded in agreement, even though The Tempest does satisfy as a narrative in a way I assume Kobek’s text is disinterested in. A few days before the final issue shipped to stores, Moore appeared on the podcast Chapo Trap House, a show whose political concerns basically correspond to the complaints about milquetoast centrist punditry I’m offering now.
[... ]"

You can read the full article here.

Aug 8, 2019

The Lord of the Rings by LRNZ

Art by LRNZ.
Above, a stunning illustration created by sensational Italian artist LRNZ featuring our beloved Bearded One and his... rings! The illustration has been digitally colored starting from a commission he drew for a "fanatic" (guess who?): you can watch the whole drawing project here (grazie Lorenzo for sharing the link!).

LRNZ (aka Lorenzo Ceccotti) is an Italian artist based in Rome. He works in different fields of visual creativity: graphic design, motion graphics, animation, illustration and sequential art. He created Golem, published in US by Lion Forge, and contributed to Ghost in the Shell: Global Neural Network anthology for Kodansha Comics. 
For more info about LRNZ, visit his site here
LRNZ can draw!

Aug 3, 2019

Alan Moore on The Wire

EW: Do you ever relax and just watch television?
Alan Moore: Selectively, mostly on DVD. The absolute pinnacle of anything I’ve seen recently has got to be The Wire. It’s the most stunning piece of television that has ever come out of America, possibly the most stunning piece of television full-stop.

That’s a great example of storytelling that takes its time.
Absolutely, that is grown-up television! It’s novelistic. 
You get to find out about all these tiny different aspects of Baltimore, to build up a huge picture of the city with all of its intricacies — from the wharf side, to the kids in the projects, to the power structure with the boardrooms and police department and governor’s office. And it’s got some great writers: it’s got George Pelecanos and David Simon. And so many wonderful characters, Bubbles, Omar. So yeah, everything else looks pretty lame next to The Wire.

Aug 1, 2019

Enlightened is the Beard by Sergio Gerasi

Art by Sergio Gerasi.
Above, a hairy, hypnotic portrait of our beloved Man from Northampton by Italian comic book artist, illustrator and graphic novelist SERGIO GERASI. Below, a preliminary sketch.

Sergio Gerasi is a regular collaborator of Sergio Bonelli Editore and has drawn several issues of Dylan Dog and Mercurio Loi series. He is the author of In Inverno le mie mani sapevano di mandarino and Un romantico a Milano, graphic novels published by Bao Publishing. He has drawn for important Italian magazines and newspapers including La Gazzetta dello Sport, La Lettura and Sette. He is a drummer and founder of the punk rock band 200Bullets and performs in live painting with the theatrical duo Formazione Minima. Official web site:
Art by Sergio Gerasi.

Comics Writer No More! by Joe Linton

Art by Joe Linton.
Above, an imagined Moore retirement cover by Joe Linton.
Linton is a Moore expert and scholar, co-author of Facts in the Case of Alan Moore’s Providence; his blog is named The Periodic Fable.

The cover, which is also an obvious homage to Romita's cover of Spider-Man n. 50, contains a lot of "easter eggs" related to Moore's personal life and works.

Thanks to Joe for his permission to share the illustration here on this blog. Grazie.

Jul 28, 2019

Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg volunteer for Big Numbers

Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor.
From their Cartoonist Kayfabe!, their YouTube channel, comic book makers Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor volunteer for completing... Moore's Big Numbers, his "lost" masterpiece (the video is available HERE). 
This happened just few days after the release of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest N.6, (possibly) Moore's last comic book.

Ed Piskor said: "Listen, Alan. Your career is not done with this unfinished piece of work. You gotta let me and Jim finish this for you, man."

Furthermore, on Cartoonist Kayfabe! channel, several videos - under the banner "Read Moore Comix" - are available, investigating the works created by the Man from Northampton.
Go and watch them all!