Jun 25, 2020

Alan Moore on The Silver Age of Comic Book Art

The Silver Age of Comic Book Art (Revised Edition)
Above, a review of The Silver Age of Comic Book Art (Revised Edition), a book by American popular culture expert Arlen Schumer
A lovingly crafted tribute to the superhero comic of the 1960s, The Silver Age of Comic Book Art (Revised Edition) recaptures the four-color visionary surge of the era, its jet-age psychedelic rush of imagination and the titanic, luminous figures, both real and imaginary, that glittered in its firmament. For a brief moment in the late 20th century, it seemed as if the spirit of the age wore a vivid leotard, a chest emblem, and traveled in a strobing blur of speed lines. For anyone with any interest in or affection for that moment, this beautiful volume is indispensable. Alan Moore
For more info about Schumer visit his site HERE.

Jun 22, 2020

ABC time: I'm potentially explosive

Excerpt from an interview by Brad Stone posted on CBR site on the 22nd October 2001.
The complete interview is available here.
CBR: Tell us about the conception of Top Ten [an NYPD Blue-like story about a police department of super-heroes in a city where everyone has supernatural powers.]
I remember being a kid in the early 60s. And Batman got a computer. He put in facts and got punch type. Mr. Fantastic, Man from Uncle, all these superheroes got computers. It was part of their super powers. Now everyone has computers. And soon we'll all be hovering, if forecasts are to be believed. Compared to where we were in 1960, we are all super heroes now, and we still can't solve our problems. We still have disasters even though we can sum up more computing power than even Isaac Asimov imagined. That's the appeal of Top 10. It's a fantastic city full of unbelievable people, what a modern urban city feels like.

I was a big fan of Homicide and NYPD Blue. And I was thinking about [comics about] superhero groups, why they don't work. But Steven Bochco seems to be able to handle huge casts of characters very well. So I was thinking it through. Why don't groups work? Hill Street Blues works. So what if you could have a superhero cop book - at that point the light came on. It can be really funny and you can talk about stuff you cant talk about in super hero books. Like the prejudice against robots. Joe Pi [a police robot] - I'm really pleased with him. It's fun playing against type.

In the next chapter, if there is one, they'll go to Tin Town. The robots are all wearing cogs around their neck. And we have Malcolm Ten as a robot with his own ideas on how machines are treated, and saying to Joe Pie, aren't you selling out your brothers?

What are the obstacles to producing more Top Ten?
Well Jim Lee's Wildstorm was bought by DC. It's always precarious. I don't work in harness, I'm obviously a valuable commodity in the comics world. If I start to feel squeezed, I rise up spitting black blood with snakes coming out of my mouth. I'm potentially explosive. I don't trust em. Anytime something could drop and offend me enough to pull the plug. I won't want to do it forever. But another 12 issues of top 10? You can't stop the thoughts and ideas from occurring. I want to find a way to get them out of my system.

And how about your other super hero title, Tom Strong?

I wanted to do something sweet. It's lazy writing. Something about simplicity which seems to be what people enjoy. Surprisingly, I keep getting these bravery letters for putting in an interracial marriage. There aren't many mixed relations in comics. Since 1939, apart from the X-men, which was ambiguous, it hasn't happened. I hadn't thought about that. How shameful that is. How backward this medium is.

So the other title that seems to be very close to your heart is Promethea [which explores Moore's own fascination with magic and the land where ideas and myths take shape.]
Yes it's a thinly disguised magical rant, that you know you know that just happens to look a bit like a comic book. I'm really enjoying that.
The complete interview is available here.

Jun 21, 2020

Tom Strong by Gianfranco Loriga

Art by Gianfranco Loriga.
Above, a great Kirbesque Tom Strong drawn by friend and Italian comics expert Gianfranco Loriga. Gianfranco had a brief career in comics in the 90ies but he preferred to focus on... selling comics & sharing and spreading the love for the medium all around. 

The illustration was created in 1999 and it has been "published" in Clark's Bar, a fanzine I collaborated with back in the days.

Jun 20, 2020

Watchmen's crime scene by Eduardo Risso

Above, an exceptional illustration by acclaimed Argentinian artist EDUARDO RISSO that captures Watchmen's fundamental crime scene featuring detectives Steven Fine and Joe Bourquin, and dead Edward Blake. The image has been realized as contribution to Watchmen 20 anni dopo, an Italian tribute book to Watchmen published in 2006 by Lavieri.
I must confess something: I read Watchmen for the first time not so long time ago. Almost at 20 years of its first publication. I had heard a lot about its story, and I wanted to give me the possibility to be introduced into the world of superheroes starting with that incredible and exciting history. I had been a kind of “superheroes’ culture ignorant” – not by election, just by a lack of opportunity to get those comic books in my hometown when I was younger.

And how big was my surprise… Those were the heroic characters I always wanted to see! Those ones which lived a simple life, like every one of us, and they became heroes just to choose to fight for an ideal, a principle or for someone beloved.

Basically, I could have chosen anyone of them to illustrate in this opportunity, because all and each one of them deserve my great affection, my greater respect and my eternal gratefulness… and so their authors. - Eduardo Risso, 2006.

Jun 19, 2020

The prime motive is...

Excerpt from an interview titled "The unexplored medium" by William A. Christensen and Mark Seifert, published in Wizard magazine, volume one, n.27, November 1993.
Wizard: You seem to have an interest in the comics medium over everything else. Why is Alan Moore a comic book writer instead of a novelist or screen writer?
Moore: I think one reason I'm very interested in comics is that basically, it's an unexplored medium. Most of the other media have been explored thoroughly. Film has had its Citizen Kane, and literature has had its War and Peace. That is not to say there won't be other great works in those media, or that they are not worth exploring, but comics are relatively unexplored. There have been some notable works, but probably, we have yet to produce the first great comic novel. That excites me as an artist - the sense that you can actually make a difference in comics because you are there on the ground floor. You can actually influence the way in which comics will be perceived, the way in which they will grow; all of that stuff is very, very tempting for an artist. That is not to say that I don't have interests in the other fields. At the moment I am writing my first novel without pictures. I wrote a screenplay for film once. I handed in a script, and it was never made, because by the time I had gotten onto it they had already had three other writers, and the film was way over its deadline and budget, and so, like many other projects in Hollywood, it never got made. Although it was enjoyable, I realized it was probably enjoyable because the film never got made, because the film would have been nothing like my screenplay. This is why I turned down the offer to write the Watchmen film. I told Terry Gilliam that he shouldn't try to make a Watchmen film, because it was practically unmakeable. This is why when they asked me to write RoboCop 2, I begged off of that, and when I was asked to do the Silver Surfer film, I said I didn't want to do it. I'm not interested in writing for films; not because I don't think films have a lot of potential, but because of the way that the industry is set up. I recognized that any screenplay that I wrote would probably be handed to other writers to do rewrites, because Hollywood tends to work on the assumption that if a thing has been written once, it is good, and if it has been written twice, it is very good, and if it is written three times, then it is excellent. By the end of the day, what is going to appear on the screen is only going to have a coincidental resemblance to the script that the writer originally put down. In comics, I have complete control, other than the input of my artists, which is always respected and valued. Every full stop and comma that I put down on that script is going to end up in the finished comic, and it just seems foolish to relinquish any of that control just because of the financial inducements of Hollywood. The money has always been very welcome, but at the same time, that has never been the prime motive. The prime motive is to have fun creatively.

Jun 18, 2020

Alan Moore and the Long-Distance Cartoonist

Alan Moore's review for The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist by Adrian Tomine:
In this heartfelt and beautifully crafted work, Adrian Tomine presents the most honest and insightful portrait you will ever see of an industry that I can no longer bear to be associated with.” ― Alan Moore, author of Jerusalem
More info about Tomine's book HERE.

Jun 16, 2020

Bernie and Bernard by David Hitchcock

Art by David Hitchcock.
Above, an intense portrait of Bernie and Bernard at the newsstand, plus a well known shadow. Art by English cartoonist DAVID HITCHCOCK
The illustration has been realized as contribution to Watchmen 20 anni dopo, an Italian tribute book to Watchmen published in 2006 by Lavieri.
I felt that the news-vendor was an integral piece to the puzzle that would become Rorschach. - David Hitchcock, 2006.
For more info about David Hitchcock: Blog - Twitter page

Jun 9, 2020

Alan Moore on Joshua Spiller's debut novel

The 8th Emotion
Joshua Spiller, from an email that he has sent me: 
[...] Alan’s been my favourite writer since I was about 14, and when I recently finished my debut novel, I gave him a proof copy on the off chance he’d be willing to provide a quote for it. Incredibly, and very generously, he did.

Not fantasy so much as post-science Science Fiction, not a game of thrones so much as a game of misunderstood antique recliners, Josh Spiller’s striking debut shows us Utopia dwindled to an underfunded sink estate and threatened by the discovery of a devastating new colour in the spectrum of the heart. ‘The 8th Emotion’ marks the emergence of a fascinating fresh voice in the field, and I urge you to feel it as soon as is possible.
– Alan Moore
[...] Alan’s approach to storytelling was (and is) hugely formative for me.
The book is available HERE. 
Joshua Spiller's Twitter page, here; Tumbr, here. 

Jun 8, 2020

Moore for Mechanics

Below, the introduction written by Moore for Mechanics n. 1 (October 1985, Fantagraphics Books), written and drawn by JAMIE HERNANDEZ.
Alan Moore: The worst thing about being a mature and discerning comic enthusiast who's fiercely committed to the elevation of aesthetic standards within the medium is that you have to hide all your copies of Herbie and Atomic Mouse when your friends call round. Much as you might be dedicated to sweeping radical change in the field of graphic narrative, there still remains a sloppy and nostalgic longing for the way Lee Elias drew the Black Cat or the precise feel and smell of a Giant-sized Li'l Archie Special, and the difficulty of reconciling a thirst for the magnificent with an appetite for the inane is something that makes hypocrites out of the best of us. We all want progress, but we don't want to watch while the bulldozers of cultural advancement roll forwards over the crushed and bloodied remains of Betty, Veronica, and the Fighting American.
That's why MECHANICS, along with the rest of the work that the Brothers Hernandez have been perpetrating within the pages of LOVE AND ROCKETS, comes as such a bloody RELIEF. There's enough style, content, and persistent narrative ingenuity to satisfy the most wild-eyed and slavering progressive, but somehow it's been accomplished without sacrificing any of the sheer silly-assed vitality that gives the medium so much of its appeal. In MECHANICS, Jaime Hernandez seems to have somehow synthesized a complete and satisfying comic-book world out of all the things that, for whatever reason, he loves about comics.
There's a sense that the world inhabited by Maggie and her friends exists in the backstreets of the regular funnybook universe. You know that if you took the crosstown bus from Barrio Hoppers 13 you'd find Riverdale High School, sheltering out in the more sedate residential districts uptown. You know that somewhere far away there's a Metropolis where the super-people are punching each other through buildings, even though the sound of conflict seldom filters down to street level. All the familiar icons dotting the comics landscape are filtered through a unique and lucid personal vision, providing a rich, evocative backdrop for the meticulously observed and vividly human characters to perform against, and the mix is as perfect as it is consistent.
Relentlessly charming despite its hard cutting edge, MECHANICS is a comic strip for the future with a keen grasp of what was valuable about the strips of the past. If there's a more exhilarating or compelling book on the market at the moment, I haven't heard about it.

Jun 3, 2020

Tom Strong by Claudio Villa

Above, a powerful and graceful portrait of Tom Strong by Italian acclaimed comic book artist CLAUDIO VILLA. The illustration has been realized as contribution to the sold-out  Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman (2003, Abiogenesis Press). 

Jun 2, 2020

Minutemen by Jay Stephens

n cartoonist JAY STEPHENS.
Above, a group portrait of the Minutemen by Canadian amazing comic book artist and animator JAY STEPHENS.

The illustration was part of the homage gallery included in Watchmen 20 anni dopo, an Italian tribute book to Watchmen published in 2006 by Lavieri.

Jun 1, 2020

Alan Moore by Agustin Sciammarella

Art by Agustin Sciammarella.
Above, an interesting and oblique portrait of Alan Moore by Argentinian illustrator Agustin Sciammarella, regular collaborator of El País

For more info regarding Sciammarella, visit his site HERE