Jan 30, 2020


Starting from the 1th of February, every day I will post a single panel from a random comics written by Alan Moore. That's the idea.
It will run as long as I have fun.

So... see you soon, baboon!

Jan 23, 2020

On Bissette, Totleben and Swamp Thing

Original art by S. Bissette and J. Totleben from Saga of the Swamp Thing n.22, page 11 (DC, 1984).
Excerpt from "SOPHISTICATED SCRIPTWRITING Part.3", an interview by Paul Duncan from Arken Sword n.13/14 (double issue), May 1985.
Paul Duncan: Steve Bissette and John Totleben draw Swamp Thing from your scripts. Do you get much cross-pollination of ideas from them since they live a couple of thousand miles away?
Alan Moore: Steve and John are some of the nicest and most straightforward people that I've ever worked with. Unlikely as it sounds, they are a lot closer, as people, to the sort of person that I am than a number of artists over here. We all clicked together on the book straight away, and since then we've been throwing ideas backwards and forwards with wild abandon, the end result being what you see in Swamp Thing each month. A good example of how this curious and haphazard process actually works would be the way by which we arrived at the two-part underwater vampire story that's coming up in Swamp Thing issues 38 and 39. John Totleben had an urge to draw some sort of primeval water-deity, and he mentioned it to me in a letter. I'd already been thinking along the lines of doing an underwater vampire story, and it struck me that there may be a way in which the two could combine effectively to make one really good story. We tossed this idea back and forth between the three of us in the various multi-page letters that we write from time to time, and finally got to thrash the whole thing out in full while sitting out in the woods of Vermont during my visit over there last year. Steve, a soul finely attuned to all the most slimy and repulsive aspects of nature, suggested that the underwater vampires should spawn like salmon, laying lots of eggs. I suggested that, like real salmon, they should start to rot and fall apart immediately after spawning. Between the three of us, using the Hypothesis that Richard Matheson gave for a scientific explanation of vampirism in 'I am Legend' as our starting point, we worked out exactly how this could be explained in credible terms. Then, somebody suggested that the spawning vampires would lay hundreds of eggs, although we really only wanted one creature in our story. Steve, bless his badly disturbed soul, came up with the concept of the hundreds of tiny little hatchings, once birthed, all starting to eat each other in a terrible demonstration of the principle of survival of the fittest, until only one was left; a huge and bloated thing that incorporated John's original design for his underwater horror-elemental and which had a valid reason for being in the story.
Once all the basic information concerning this foul and unnatural reproductive cycle had been finalised between us it only remained for us to work it all into some sort of coherent story that involved Swamp Thing and which had some sort of point to it other than just scaring our audience shitless with a string of unspeakable ideas and disturbing concepts. Another good example would be the werewolf story that is featured in issue 40. This grew out of a comment that Steve made to me about the way that in Jamaica there still exists a strong taboo amongst Rastafarian men against the idea of having contact with a woman while she is menstruating. This inspired an exchange of information between us on the subject, both of us raking up lots of other tribal traditions that suggested the same sort of idea: i.e., that a menstruating woman is the receptacle for a terrible and destructive form of magic, and that she should be isolated completely from any contact with the community during that time of the month. This finally led to me realising that there might be some mileage in considering the possible connection between the menstrual cycle of women and the lunar cycle of the werewolf. Once I'd mentioned this idea, lots of people started slinging in associated concepts. Nancy, Steve's wife, told me some stories about the adolescent women that she works with at the school for autistic children, including one about how she'd been ferociously attacked by a snarling naked woman who's period seemed to have triggered an unusually violent fit of aggression. Cindy, Rick Veitch's girlfriend, chimed in by sending me a book about ancient women's mysteries that included a vast amount upon the menstrual taboos practised by various old tribes, and which I was able to refer to extensively in coming up with the story. As I see it, it's my job as writer to sit back and absorb everything that's thrown at me and then try to rationalise it into a coherent story that will make it's point in the most direct and powerful way. If that material is something that the artists have suggested to me then it means there's more chance that my story will be something they're interested in drawing, thus turning in a more inspired job as a result.
To answer your question, I love working with Steve and John on the book, and I'm really happy at the way in which we've sorted out a nice, easy-going way of assimilating all our ideas on the book so that we get a good end result without any unnecessary ego clashes or crap of that nature. Two thousand miles away isn't that great a distance since the introduction of an efficient postal service and the telephone, and while it would be nice to actually see the pair of them in the flesh a bit more often, just because we like each other as friends, this doesn't present any problems in getting the work done to our satisfaction.

Jan 20, 2020

Monster by Alan Moore

Above, monster illustration (circa 1985), drawn by Moore and inscribed to Joe Orlando.
Yes... He can draw! More details HERE.

Jan 16, 2020

Alan Moore on Dracula

Art by Gary Frank.
Excerpt from an interview included in Vampirella/Dracula: The Centennial published in 1997 by Harris. Comics The book contained "The new European", a short comics by Moore, drawn by Gary Frank. Interview by David Bogart, titled "Dracula, graveyard poets, & an interview with Alan Moore".
Bogart: [...] What do you think is the appeal of Dracula or vampires to our culture?
Alan Moore:
The appeal of a vampire to our culture is a long and complex one. We can trace the development of not just the vampire, but the whole field of supernatural horror from the "graveyard poets" of the 18th century. They had been celebrating graveyards that had more or less vanished, where the dead only had a temporary residency. In these graveyards, a body would first be buried and then when the flesh was partially decomposed, it was dug up and the bones would be separated.
Around about the 18th century, we seemed to undergo, as a culture, a number of psychological changes in which the evidence of death that filled daily life was "brushed under the carpet"; as a culture, we no longer wanted to have the smell of death around us, we no longer wanted to see corpses or bones; we began to sanitize everything. We no longer felt as comfortable with death as we had been. This is due perhaps to the burgeoning Age of Reason. The assault on traditional notions of God and an afterlife caused people to become less certain of heaven and thus, death was no longer just a mere stepping stone.
However, death IS one of the major parts of human life, and we could not really entirely suppress it. After the graveyard poets came the gothic writers who turned all the trappings of death into a kind of "sugary fantasy" that people could delight in, in the warmth and safety of their own sitting rooms. In a way, it was an attempt to tame death-to remove the real evidence of death in our lives and to substitute a parade of demons and devils and monsters...with which we could enjoy the vicarious pleasure of it. Of that gallery of grotesques, the vampire is obviously one of the most exciting and endearing. The vampire is not only full of the morbid fascination that the dead hold, but it is also incredibly sexual. The idea of transferring bodily fluids, be it blood or any other kind, is a sexual idea. The vampire has been portrayed largely as a sexual figure representing the elements of sex and death, and thus one can understand the appeal of the vampire.

How does your Dracula differ from most interpretations?
In my particular story, Dracula's motivations become cryptic. We're not entirely sure what he is. His motivation in the traditional story is simply to seek fresh blood, but now there are other possible agendas in play. He is a very knowing and aware Dracula-of himself and his fiction. What makes this fresh interpretation so frightening is that we don't know what is going on-he is no longer tamed by the laws and logic we know and understand. My version is aware of those other past portrayals; he is aware of the entire media history of Dracula. My version exists in a world where the Dracula books and movies also exist. In a way, it makes it a stranger concept, because it brings the whole thing into the murky borderlines of fact and fiction. In a way, it gives the basic concept enough of a twist to make it fresh again. The main problem of vampires is that it has become such a repetitive motif, full of clichés such as the red eyes, the fangs, the rubber bat on a string...what I have tried to do is make Dracula very unfamiliar. He's stripped of the gothic castle, and has been based in a disturbingly modern context. The effect I hope, is to refresh the vampire-jaded palette of the reader.

Jan 14, 2020

Chris Sprouse on Moore, Supreme and Tom Strong

Below, excerpts from an interview with CHRIS SPROUSE that I did in 2008. 
The complete piece is available HERE.
Were you more excited or a bit “frightened” to work with Moore considering his writing status?
CHRIS SPROUSE: Both excited to be working with someone as good as Alan and frightened because I wanted my art to be as good as his stories and I didn't know if I was up to the task.

Drawing Supreme, had you any direct contact with him or did you work only on his scripts? I think at that time he had already finished his scripts for Awesome and had no contact with the company... What’s about the “quality” of his scripts? Were they as detailed as the legend says?
No, I had no contact with Alan while working on Supreme. The scripts were indeed detailed and very long, but they were so much fun to read! I've kept them all!

After Supreme you followed Moore on his ABC line co-creating Tom Strong. What’s about your contribution to this modern classic hero? Was is only limited to the visual aspect of the characters, the city (even if Millennium City IS a character in itself), mecha design and so on.. or did you also contributed to the story in any way?
At first, I supplied purely visual input, but supposedly Alan created all the ABC books with the specific creators in mind, or at least tailored the stories to fit each of our strengths and interests. Later, around issue #10, Alan and I did discuss stories very briefly and decided together to focus on the Strong family as a sort of homage to the family feel of the old Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four, which we both loved. Otherwise, I was very content to let Alan write whatever he wanted to because it would always be interesting and fun to draw.

After Supreme and Tom Strong, how do you weight your collaboration with Moore? Do you consider it as the highest point of your career till now? Any "strange magical" anecdotes to share with us related to yr long professional relationship with him?
It was definitely my favorite time in comics. I don't know if I was always able to do the best I could have every single issue, but I'm very proud of the work I did on Tom Strong. No real magical anecdotes in the literal sense, but it was very magical to work with Alan. I'm honored to have had the chance.

The complete interview is available HERE

Jan 13, 2020

The Mask and the Mirror conversation

Frame from The Mask and the Mirror in Conversation with Alan Moore video
An interview with Alan Moore (HERE), launching The Mask and the Mirror, a series of conversations with artists and occulturists exploring inspired creativity, extraordinary encounters and intuitive ways of knowing. The series is created and hosted by Greek writer and journalist, long-time UK resident Lena Korkovelou. Enjoy the show!

Jan 12, 2020

Alan Moore by Andrew Jones

Art by Andrew Jones.
Above, a portrait of Alan Moore by cartoonist and writer Andrew Jones
More about Jones at his Behance page, here.

Jan 8, 2020

1984 Alan Moore by Stephen R. Bissette

©1984, 2020 Stephen R. Bissette.

Stunning, powerful portrait by the great Stephen R. Bissette posted on this blog with the artist's permission. "Drawn in 1984, shortly after I first met Alan", Bissette said.

Grazie, Steve! ©1984, 2020 Stephen R. Bissette.

Jan 7, 2020

Turning to steam by Samanta Flôor

Art by Samanta Flôor.
Above, an illustration - related to The Mindscape of Alan Moore documentary film - drawn by Brazilian artist Samanta Flôor.

For more info regarding Flôor, visit her site HERE.

Jan 1, 2020

Tenuous virtues

Frame from Alan Moore: Don't let me die in black and white film, 1993.
Excerpt from "MAINSTREAM COMICS HAVE, AT BEST, TENUOUS VIRTUES", an interview conducted by Gary Groth and published on The Comics Journal n. 152, August 1992.
GARY GROTH: I wanted to ask you a question which you wouldn't anticipate. Can you tell me if you think mainstream comics have any virtues?

ALAN MOORE: I think that mainstream comics have, at best, tenuous virtues. I think it would be fairly dishonest of me to completely rubbish mainstream comics since I did my apprenticeship, or what I considered to be my apprenticeship, in mainstream comics. I learned most of the storytelling techniques and ways of using the media that I'm now employing in what I consider to be my serious work. I think there is something quite useful in those regular solid deadlines and formulaic structures when it comes to actually creating, and when it comes to educating new creators. On the other hand, you have to wonder what exactly "educating" them means. I don't know; it would seem that most creators do not build upon their knowledge of comics once they have reached a certain plateau of competence. They don't build on their knowledge of storytelling to create anything terribly worthwhile. It seems that most creators become completely hard-wired with the "superhero" mentality which makes them only suitable to turn out superhero comics for the rest of their lives.

GROTH: That the deadline meaning becomes an end in itself?

MOORE: Yeah, that's about it. I mean, in my case, there were some benefits to be had from mainstream comics. I think that could be true of a number of creators. On the other hand, when you see the creators who started outside the field of mainstream comics - people like Dan Clowes and the Hernandez brothers, who have produced work far better than anything in mainstream comics without that apprenticeship - I guess you have to wonder just how valuable it is. I suppose what I'm saying is that in my case, there was some benefit to my years spent in mainstream comics. Uh, I'm not making a very good case for the mainstream, am I?

GROTH: Very disappointing.

MOORE: In my heart, I feel it has very few virtues at all. I'm not prepared to dismiss them 100 % outright because I think that I and a few other creators do owe something to mainstream comics. Also, I suppose, looking at people like Dan Clowes and the Bros, they owe something to mainstream comics, even if it's comics from a bygone era or even if it's only as a kind of negative influence.

GROTH: Well, Art Spiegelman owes something to the Holocaust but that doesn't necessarily validate it...

MOORE: (laughter) I wouldn't compare mainstream comics to the Holocaust. I think that with someone like the Bros., you've obviously got an influence there from people like Kirby, from Ditko, Gil Kane, Archie comics. . . with Dan Clowes, you can see an awful lot of '50s comics books distilled in that vision. Sometimes these old mainstream comics can be used as an influence or they can be useful in telling you what not to do. I don't think that makes a very good case for their continued existence, but they do have some value. I think their virtues are largely unintentional. I think that you do get some very fine creators passing through mainstream comics but that alone is probably not a good enough reason for their continued survival. If I was God, Gary, I'd have to consider this one very carefully. [laughter] If I did have the power to just remove any lifeforms or organisms from the face of the earth that I didn't consider to be productive, then mainstream comics would have to watch themselves.