Nov 29, 2020

Tom Strong sketch by Dave Gibbons

Above, a quick pen sketch of Tom Strong by Dave Gibbons realized in 2002 during Bristol Comic Festival.

Nov 28, 2020

From Hell oil painting

Art by Eddie Campbell.
Above, via ComicArtFans, cover for the 1999 collected edition of From Hell. The image was also published in From Hell Companion (page 179), where Campbell remarks that the colors were not reproduced quite correctly in the published book.

Nov 27, 2020

Interests in Art

Excerpt from an interview, dated 2016, by Séamas O'Reilly. A shortened version was published in the Irish Times. The complete interview is available HERE. I strongly recommend to read it!
Alan Moore: [...] To describe my interests in art when I was a kid, it would mostly fall under the genre of “things that didn’t happen”. So that would include science fiction, fantasy, myths and legends, superheroes, horror. Once I discovered horror, I began to seek it out ravenously and, from the age of about 7 or 8, I was reading at least mild horror and ghost stories as well as a few of the pre-code horror comic book stories that would show up in the old black and white English reprints. And when I was around ten, eleven, twelve, my tastes started to zero into things that I’d heard about — Dracula, which was a fantastic book and still a very modern read. Frankenstein I did less well with, I was too young for it. [...]

Still around ten or eleven. Also for about a year when I was say, eleven or twelve, I had a brief infatuation with the works of Dennis Wheatley. As Iain Sinclair has said, and I’d agree, that is about the only age when you can take Wheatley seriously. That’s the age before you notice all the creepy right-wing stuff, but that was part of my reading. Around about the same age as I was getting tired of Dennis Wheatley, I discovered Lovecraft, I forget exactly how, but I had seen books by him and I think that I’d read somewhere a brief description of his work that made him sound fascinating. I can remember picking up the Panther paperback edition, with the ugliest cover that I’ve ever seen, of At The Mountains Of Madness and the first book I read, I flipped through until I’d found the shortest one, which was The Statement of Randolph Carter which absolutely stunned me. I went on to read the whole rest of the book which I think included Lovecraft’s Supernatural Horror in Literature essay, a brilliant guidebook to all of these authors I’d never heard of before; Arthur Machen, Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith — all of them, the whole bunch. It was a history of great supernatural and weird writing and that gave me a reading list that would take me through the next couple of years until an enthusiasm for the sword and sorcery of Michael Moorcock. That led to me picking up a copy of New Worlds when I was about 14, assuming it was going to be the adventures of Elric of Melniboné, and opening up instead to, I think, the first chapter of A Cure For Cancer with Jerry Cornelius, who at that time had black skin, black teeth, white hair and was a woman for at least part of the narrative.

The same issue had a brilliant essay by JG Ballard and I was instantly hooked on a new drug. That was my introduction to Modernism, which is what Mike Moorcock was trying to do with New Worlds. He liked Modernist writing but realised that there weren’t really any vehicles around for it, and he looked upon the science fiction genre as a potentially useful vehicle that didn’t seem to be serving any real purpose.

So, in the pages of New Worlds, along with JG Ballard, M. John Harrison, John Sladek, Hillary Bailey and all those people, he kind of reinvented what science fiction could do. He reinvented science fiction as a movement for Modernism. So, probably my relationship with horror, specifically, would have faltered in that time and it only picked up again with the new generation of horror paperbacks that were emerging in the 70s, where you’d got the magnificent Thomas Tyron, first with The Other and then with Harvest Hope. Big, thick horror paperbacks. Then, in the wake of that there was of course the book of The Exorcist, which was enjoyable.
[...]

I haven’t read it for a long time but I remember it being better than the film. Then after that there was the emergence of Stephen King, perhaps inspired by these new big, thick horror books that had over the previous couple of years, and I was interested in King’s work at the time, for a few books there.

[...] I enjoyed them at the time. I noticed that it in a lot of it, it seemed to me, there was something missing in the endings and there was a possibility of formula creeping in there. But, there again, he’s done some remarkable works that have avoided that, so the thing is, Stephen King kind of kicked off a wave of horror writers trying to ride along his popularity and they were generally much, much worse. Obviously, there are huge exceptions, I mean Ramsey Campbell is one of the finest horror writers in the world. Full stop. Again, my tastes in the seventies, I actually was thinking a lot of the time, some of the Modernist literature that I was getting in Picador books seems more genuinely frightening. I think there’s more horror in Flann O’Brien’s Third Policeman.
 
[...] Yes, and it’s timeless because it’s brilliant, original writing, which will be as good, and the ideas as strange, whenever you happen to read them. In many ways, culture still hasn’t caught up with O’Brien. I’d be looking at his stuff, and thinking that yes The Third Policeman is really funny, but it’s also a really frightening supernatural horror. Many people that I know find it difficult to read because they get to the bit where one of the constables is showing the infinite regress of tiny little dressing tables that are inside the drawer of a bigger dressing table. They’ll get to that point and feel vertiginous and a bit sick. I can completely understand that. It’s actually mind-warping stuff. But at the same time, I was reading other books during the seventies. Sadegh Hedayet’s The Blind Owl, which is absolutely terrifying. It’s this recursive fable that keeps going round and round and round. It’s completely different to the Third Policeman and yet you get that same chewing touch of infinity that really gets you in the bone marrow.

So, it was thinking about things like this that made me think that surely it would be best with horror stories to put other elements in, other than just horror. Try and make the horror do something different. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that using it to talk about something else is probably the only serious use of genre but a detective story that is just a detective story is not really something I’m interested in.

Nov 24, 2020

Terry Gilliam, David Bowie and... Rorschach

In 2019, while appearing on BB6’s Paperback Writers, Alan Moore revealed an interesting what-if about Terry Gilliam’s never-made Watchmen movie.
Alan Moore: "I was just remarking that I did hear that when Terry Gilliam was supposed to be doing Watchmen, back in the 1980s. I remember he told me that he had a number of phone calls from David Bowie asking to play the Rorschach character."
More info HERE.

Nov 23, 2020

Magic Moore by Matías Bergara

Art by Matías Bergara
Above, a stunning portrait of Moore by acclaimed comic book artist Matías Bergara
Bergara drew it the 18th of November to celebrate Moore's birthday.  

More info about the artist: HERE and HERE.

Nov 22, 2020

Swamp Thing: Child of God by Jesse Jacobs

Art by Jesse Jacobs.
Acclaimed Canadian comic book artist, illustrator and game designer JESSE JACOBS has created his own unofficial story featuring Swamp Thing. 
It's available here: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3
Enjoy!

Nov 21, 2020

Swampy Moore by Fr3nk Zappa

Art by Fr3nk Zappa
Above a green, creepy but cool Alan Moore emerging from a Lousiana swamp!
Art by Italian illustrator FR3NK, who's also the co-founder and art director of popular streetwear brand Doomsday and regular collaborator of Italian rapper and producer Salmo.
 
Grazie, Fr3nk! ;)

Nov 20, 2020

Alan Moore by Timo Würz

Art by Timo Würz
Above a great portrait of The Man by painter Timo Würz, discovered on ComicArtFans.

Nov 19, 2020

Warrior n.6: Alan Moore replies

Alan Moore replies to a fan from the letter column of Warrior n. 6, October 1982.
The Warrior Team,
I have just bought and read Warrior 1 and must congratulate you on an excellent British comic - one which can hold its head high among the best of the U.S. competition. The variety of the stories and the quality of the artwork were exceptional and the whole thing was a long and satisfying 'read'. I hope that Warrior will continue and find the appreciation it deserves.
I do however have one serious complaint, one which attaches itself to the script-writing of Alan Moore. I am a Christian, as well as a comic fan, and I find his constant use of the name of Jesus as a swearword very upsetting. Apart from this his writing is superb. I would simply plead with Alan to bear my feelings in mind (I am sure many other people would find the stories more enjoyable without the constant blasphemy) and reduce or eliminate these references.
I trust that Warrior will develop into a great comic not only in plot and illustration but also in a sense of moral respect.
--- M.L. Evans, 9 Church Street, Rhondda, Mid. Glam.
Alan Moore replies: The Comics Code Authority. Right. I remember that while I was growing up I found it curious that the characters who populated my four-colour reading material, upon being hit by an Ultra-Beam, Theta-Blast, or just-plain-old-fashioned hail of machine gun bullets, would respond with nothing more spirited than an exclamation along the lines of 'Great Scot!' or, a personal favourite, 'Sockamagee!'
Comparing these to the less restrained exclamations that I heard from my tousle-haired playmates made a couple of facts very plain. Firstly, whatever an Ultra Beam was, it didn't hurt much. Secondly, that these splendid characters in the tights and capes were not in the least bit like the real people of my acquaintance, and thirdly, that nothing they said or did mattered very much in the long run as a result of that. They weren't meant to be real people. They were cut outs.
Now that I have, arguably, grown up and find myself in the enviable position of being paid for something that I would probably do as a hobby anyway, I'm in a position to change that situation a little bit. As a script-writer, I want readers to care about my characters, and to care about what happens to them. I believe that the only way to do this is to make them as real as my meagre talent allows ... real in the way they think, real in the way they act, and real in the way they talk. If they are hurt then they feel pain, they bleed, they need time to recuperate. They don't grit their teeth and say 'It's okay, Sarge, that armour-piercing devastator bullet only grazed my scalp.' If they are in love, they might, on occasion, feel the need to express that love physically. Real women and men don't express their affection for each other by trying to uncover the secret identity of their paramour. If they get hit by an Ultra-Beam, or even get one dropped on their foot, they are liable to sum up the situation in language a little more forceful than 'Holy Broken Bones'.
The Warrior audience, as I see it, is made up of adults of all ages. From the moment a child starts school he, or she, is likely to become rapidly conversant with language far stronger than anything likely to appear in the pages of Warrior. To imply, by means of strict censorship, that there are words or concepts that are just too grown up for the feeble little minds of children is both patronising and insulting. I won't be a party to that, and I imagine my creative colleagues on Warrior feel the same way.
The question of whether the usage of words such as 'Jesus' or 'Christ' is permissible is a slightly more complicated one and deserves a serious answer. I think my position is this: That while I respect the right of anyone to follow their own particular faith, it is not realistic to portray a world in my writing which is only populated by Christians and Christians alone. Surely, a knowledge of the way people speak needn't be seen as an instruction to speak that way yourself? Surely, it doesn't affect your faith one way or the other to know that there are people who do not share it, people to whom words like 'Jesus' and 'Christ' are merely to be used as exclamations with little thought for the ideology behind them? I would have thought that in all Christian literature, the Bible included, there are examples of anti-Christian behaviour of a far more serious nature than that of taking the name of the Lord in vain. I notice also that you voice no objection to the wholesale killing of several human beings throughout the various stories in Warrior 1. Surely this too is anti-Christian behaviour, and, as a Christian, upsetting to you?
Like I said, I respect your sentiments entirely and was very pleased by the polite and civilized way in which you raised your objections. Unfortunately, I don't see what I can do to make you any happier about the situation and remain true to my intentions as an artist to portray reality in the way that I see it. Perhaps other readers may have some thoughts on this issue which might be helpful?

Nov 18, 2020

A.Moore 67

Happy 67th birthday, Uncle Al! 
Above, a great photographic portrait by Piet Corr, published in 2003 on the pages of Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman (Abiogenesis Press).
The Man has style, for sure!

Again... Auguri, Master!

Nov 15, 2020

Discarded Watchmen page

Today, during the Comic Art Live weekend, BritComicsArt.com sold a very special piece of (unfinished) original art and comics history: 
"Rare unpublished Watchmen page of Dr Manhattan on Mars. Drawn for the series in 1986 but discarded when Dave [Gibbons] decided to change the layout. A historical glimpse into the creative process.
Above, the unpublished page (it's page 28, the final one from issue n.4, "Watchmaker"): panel 3 and 4 are not present and caption boxes in panel 1 and 2 are differently positioned respect to the final printed page (below). 
 
I have no details about the final selling price.

Nov 14, 2020

Moore Comics and the City

The book Comics and the City - Urban Space in Print, Picture and Sequence contains two essays about Moore comics:
9. Anthony Lioi: The Radiant City: New York as Ecotopia in Promethea, Book V

12. Björn Quiring: "A Fiction That We Must Inhabit" - Sense Production in Urban Spaces According to Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's From Hell

The volume, edited by Jörn Ahrens and Arno Meteling, is published by Bloomsbury
More details HERE.

Nov 13, 2020

On Harry Potter and... being scary

Excerpt from an interview published in 2004 on comicworldnews.com, a translation from a French interview done for Comic Box. The complete article is available here: Part 1 and Part 2.
Comic Box: As a specialist of magic stuff, how do you look at the Harry Potter phenomenon?
Alan Moore:
Well, I try to think about it the least possible! I don’t want to be rude or insulting for Ms J.K. Rowling, because it is a wonderful destiny for a young single mother to succeed in making a worldwide hit book, written on her spare time. I bought the first book when it came out, because I liked the illustration on the cover, but I never read it. When everybody started talking about it I remember it was that book. So, I forced myself to read the first twenty pages, but I wasn’t convinced. Maybe, it is because it is aimed at children… Still, usually I love children books. I just find that the quality of Harry Potter in terms of writing is not up to the standards I’m used to for children books.

C.B.: You have to admit that considering your style, it’s a surprise to hear you like children books! You do everything in your power to look scary!
A.M.:
And it’s not going to change (laughs). My wife offered me a very very long coat for my birthday. Very gothic, I must say, like the monks’ robe, very frightening (laughs), I like it a lot… But I wouldn’t like to see somebody dressed like that coming out of the mist! I was already scary without the coat! One night I was coming home, I petrified a group of men going out of the pub! And when I moved away I heard them say: «Phew! I don’t even want to know what THAT was!» (laughs).

C.B.: And you also have a lot of rings! Kids remark that…
A.M.: That’s true. But they don’t seem to be scared by that. They don’t necessarily have the references to be scared by someone like me, they’re my greatest fans! I have also some success with the old ladies. When they realize that I won’t kill them or steal their bags, they are so relieved that they find me pleasant. Now I have to convince the people between the young and the old, who represent the major part of humanity, and I should do something good!

Nov 11, 2020

The Man from Northampton by David Roach

Art by DAVID ROACH.
Above, a mesmerizing, awesome Alan Moore portrait, captured in a real moment of grace, by phenomenal British comic book artist, illustrator and comic art scholar DAVID ROACH.
 
It's simply a marvel! Fantastico! Grazie, David!

Nov 6, 2020

Alan Moore on Planetary

Excerpts from Planetary Consciousness, introduction to "Planetary: All Over The World And Other Stories", March 2000, WildStorm Productions.
[...] Warren Ellis and John Cassaday have manufactured an ingenious device by means of which they can exploit the possibilities of our contemporary situation, as described above. The heroes of their tale are neither crime-fighters nor global guardians, but, by some perfect stroke of inspiration, archaeologists. People digging down beneath the surface of the world to learn its past, its secrets and its marvels. In this instance, though, the world that's under excavation is not our immediate sphere, despite the fact that it is almost as familiar. Instead, we dig into a planet that is nothing less than the accumulated landscape of almost a hundred years of fantasy, of comic books. 
[...]
This is an exemplary turn-of-the-century mainstream comic book. During a period when many comics seem to have lapsed into an exhausted mire or else go blundering on ahead without the merest shred of a coherent plan, the work in Planetary has a glow and freshness that is all its own, a signature eruption of the neurons into novel, interesting patterns at the turn of each new page. It is at once concerned with everything that comics were and everything that comics could be, all condensed into a perfect jewelled and fractal snowflake. Read on and enjoy the remarkable comic book product of a remarkable comic book moment. And think Planetary.

    - Alan Moore
    Northampton
    Dec. 14, 1999

Nov 5, 2020

V by Matías Bergara

Art by Matías Bergara
Above, a great V homage by acclaimed Uruguayan comic book artist Matías Bergara who worked - and continues to collaborate - with the most important US publishing houses.
"Remember, remember the fifth of November!"

More info about Bergara: HERE and HERE.

Nov 4, 2020

Constantine says "‘Cheers, man"‘

From Hellblazer n. 120.
Above, page from Hellblazer n. 120, written by Paul Jenkins with art by Sean Phillips, published by Vertigo/DC Comics. It's the 10th year anniversary issue of the series.

Nov 1, 2020

The Show official poster

The Show
 More info HERE.