This panoptic exchange appeared on Salon as the first of my two-part interview with the mindscape of Alan Moore, circa 2013.
“I’m remote from most technology to the point that I’m kind of Amish,” admits the legendarily bearded author without an Internet connection, mobile phone or even a functioning television.
But Alan Moore — the soft-spoken sage behind prescient comics like “V for Vendetta,” “From Hell,” “Watchmen” and many more — nevertheless does have a Kickstarter project up for procuring finishing funds for his short-film series, “Jimmy’s End.” It’s his second trip through the crowd-funding concept, having previously signed up alongside “V for Vendetta” artist David Lloyd, “Maus’s” Art Spiegelman and scores of other talents for Black Mask Studios’ sprawling Occupy Comicsseries, which too started life on Kickstarter.
The series started as a photo essay about burlesque for Moore’s indie zine Dodgem Logic with artist (and spouse) Melinda Gebbie and fellow Northamptonian photographer Mitch Jenkins. Jenkins came up with the idea of a short film based on the shoot using the same uncanny characters, then investors asked for a series of short films and maybe a television series, and the next thing you know, the productive Moore had written an interlocking narrative for all of them as well as a feature film spinoff called “The Show.”
Moore spoke with me by phone from Northampton, the ancient riverside British hood where he lives, about film, comics, funding and seeing Patrick McGoohan’s psy-fi classic “The Prisoner” everywhere we turn. Especially now that our openly secret, often ludicrous surveillance state — which he envisioned decades ago in dystopian influentials like “V for Vendetta,” whose striking Guy Fawkes mask has become an inextricable part of Anonymous and Occupy’s iconography — has thankfully wormed its way back into the news cycle. MORE @ SALON
MOORE @ MORPHIZM
I’ve spoken with Alan Moore quite a bit since 9/11. Here’s where it landed.
On Monday, the visionary whose work and iconography have found their ways from comics to blockbusters to Occupy to Anonymous launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund and wrap Jimmy’s End, his indie film series with photographer and fellow Northampton homeboy Mitch Jenkins.
In related news, Alan Moore is still writing a speculative epic called Jerusalem that’s longer than the Bible, for Christ’s sake.
Although it his prescient comics like V For Vendetta, From Hell, Watchmen and many more that have memorably illustrated our panoptic, dystopian urges and stratagems, the visionary Moore has always been a multimedia talent. But it is Jimmy’s End that is Moore’s first properly earnest foray into film. None of the comics-based blockbusters opportunistically birthed from his futurism ever came into being with his blessing.
To help navigate that cinematic divide, Moore and Jenkins are asking for their fans to help them bring their seedy screen dreams to life. Moore and Jenkins’ first Kickstarter campaign will directly fund His Heavy Heart, the final installment of five Northampton noir films located in the psychogeographical setting of Jimmy’s End. Starring Sherlock and Torchwood‘s Siobhan Hewlett and Dirty Pretty Things and Royal Shakespeare Company grad Darrell D’Silva, Jimmy’s End‘s four shorts have been shot and edited, leaving only His Heavy Heart in the balance. Also planned is a full-length feature film called The Show.
‘The Majority of Us Folded like Bitches:’ Alan Moore Takes on the ’60s, Superheroes, and American Impunity
Image: Top Shelf
Visionary comics writer Alan Moore has largely migrated beyond the madness of the faltering comics industry, which is being overshadowed by film and television at Comic-Con International. But, lucky for us, not entirely.
During the annual San Diego convention this week, Top Shelf Productions will show off the psychedelic majesty of Moore and longtime artistic collaborator Kevin O’Neill’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1969, due in August and previewed in the gallery above.
The pop overload of LXG: 1969 is shaping up to part the seas this year, at least when it comes to comics. It’s easily one of the best of the year, from its acid-trip showdowns on the astral plane to its head-nods to The Beatles (er, I mean, The Rutles), Mick Jagger’s literal satanic majesty, and the monochrome comedown of punk rock’s nihilistic birth in the ensuing ’70s.
No matter how much Moore tries to escape comics, we just keep pulling him back in, although he said “the League is my only expression in the comics field, and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.”
This in no way suggests Moore is slacking off. In fact, he has been quite busy on a variety of fronts, from transforming his indie print magazine Dodgem Logic into an exclusively online publication to fomenting science-magic escapades with physics geeks like professor Bryan Cox and finishing off his long-awaited literary tome, Jerusalem. Which, if you must know, just so happens to be longer than the Bible.
“There has been a suggestion that I print it on Bible paper,” Moore laughed. “I’m hoping that in the future, in whatever format we put it out, that Jerusalem will become known as the Really Good Book.”
I interviewed Moore at length by phone, talking about the promise and face-plants of the well-intentioned ’60s in comics and reality, the League’s technocultural exploits in 2009 (and maybe 2109), the rise and fall of the comics industry, metatemporal detectives, psychedelic derangement, why The Prisoner ruled and Lost choked. Read about those things and much more in the spirited interview below.
Alan Moore Gives Watchmen the Gas Face
Image: DC Comics
Hungry for some comics intrigue? Visionary writer Alan Moore claims that this week DC Comics made him an astounding offer that only he could refuse.
“They offered me the rights to Watchmen back, if I would agree to some dopey prequels and sequels,” the influential comics legend told me Wednesday by phone from his home in Northampton, England. The subject came up in a wide-ranging interview about his Moore’s multimedia spoken-word box set Unearthing and other topics.
“So I just told them that if they said that 10 years ago, when I asked them for that, then yeah it might have worked,” he said. “But these days I don’t want Watchmen back. Certainly, I don’t want it back under those kinds of terms.”
After producing some of the most ground-breaking graphic novels in history, Moore and DC Comics have since experienced a mythic falling-out over everything from allegedly interrupted payments and perceived editorial interference in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to the publisher’s track record of making unimpressive, and often terrible, movies out of Moore’s stunning works.
A frustrated Moore finally demanded removal of his name from any film adaptations of his comics, and even refused royalties. The drama has taken its toll on him, and even estranged him from the comic synonymous with his storied name.
“I don’t even have a copy of Watchmen in the house anymore,” he said. “The comics world has lots of unpleasant connections, when I think back over it, many of them to do with Watchmen.”
Alan Moore Gets Psychogeographical With Unearthing
Image: Lex Records
After having explored science fiction’s outer limits, comics great Alan Moore gleefully dug into a fellow writer’s earthly origins story.
In his new multimedia box set, Unearthing, Moore explores the magical mind of fellow British comic book writer Steve Moore (no relation) through the geography of his subject’s hometown district, Shooter’s Hill in London.
“We all grow out of the environment and times which we are born into,” Alan Moore said by phone from his home in Northampton, England, ahead of Monday’s release of Unearthing. “They have an influence upon us. I’m not sure the position of remote astrological constellations has any influence on us, although I’m open to opinions on that. But the place and time from which we emerge shapes all of us.”
MORE @ WIRED
Alan Moore’s Dodgem Logic Asks: Are You Ready For Post-Civilization?
Image: Jose Villarubia
Alan Moore has taken up a new mission for our age of global depression: Bringing back the underground fanzine.
The first issue of Moore’s print zine Dodgem Logic, released last month in the United Kingdom, is an engaging, educational and often hilarious read. The new publication is stuffed with subcultural snark as well as post-civilization how-tos on guerrilla gardening, dumpster diving and surviving the econopocalypse.
Perhaps most promising, Dodgem Logic’s spirit of triumphant creative individualism celebrates Moore’s individualist philosophy, delivering a perfectly timed message for a world filled with failing states and superpowers.
“This might be the time in which big, centralized authorities prove that they are no longer capable of running the show, or even pretending to run the show,” the always eloquent Moore told me by phone from his home in Northampton, England. “Increasingly, it is going to be up to us if our culture gets through these next couple of decades in any shape at all.”
We Are All Complicit: Alan Moore On Lost Girls, Sex, Morality, Hypocrisy and Getting Married
Image: Alan Moore. Photoshopping: Morphizm
Even though we have spoken at length before about his seminal works like V For Vendetta, Watchmen, From Hell and more, Alan Moore’s interests lie far beyond comics, fiction and metafiction. There are few novelists out there, to say nothing of comics notables, with such an encyclopedic grasp of culture, history and the tragicomedy that engineers both of them.
He’s also a riotously funny dude, as well as a believer in the dark arts rather than your traditional monotheistic hallucination. And he’s absolutely fearless when taking an idea to its logical, uncompromising limit.
Enter his latest tome Lost Girls, a collaboration with his longtime partner and new spouse Melinda Gebbie. An intertextual erotic tale reimagining the familiar narratives of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Wizard of Oz — with all the sex, loving and otherwise, put back into them where they originated and belong — Lost Girls promises to stir the family values shit harder and longer than anything Moore has ever written.
Mainly because he set out to save pornography from itself, and used Western culture’s master narratives of budding maturity to make it happen. No squares allowed.
The Man Who Invented the Future
“What good is knowledge if it just floats in the air? It goes from computer to computer. It changes and grows every second of every day. But nobody actually knows anything.” – Don DeLillo, White Noise
“The whole thing is a movie,” says Alan Moore. The comic-book visionary behind such epoch-changing works as “Watchmen,” “V for Vendetta” and “From Hell” is actually talking about the war in Iraq. But the statement could sum up his view of the ceaseless complexities of 21st century life, where reality TV and celebrity culture have usurped individuality, and the human body has become not much beyond more information needing to be assimilated.
Every once in a while we are horrified by a beheading (albeit one seen only on videotape) and human culture remembers that it is not much more than a vulnerable collection of flesh, bone and nerve endings. “This is what wars are; it’s not Hollywood,” Moore cautions.
But ultimately we return to the womblike safety of our media universe with its push-button wars and Internet porn, where sex and death are hidden behind splashy corporate graphics. The funny thing is that Alan Moore hates to talk about film and television, because, as he explains later in our interview, both “have a lot to answer for.”
He’s not talking about how they’ve distilled his densely researched, intricate tales of socio-historical interrogation, like “From Hell” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” into narrowcasted popcorn movies. Instead, he means the way they’ve had such an impact on human consciousness that many people were only able to articulate the horrific reality of 9/11 by comparing it to a disaster film.
Moore clearly believes that the same mechanism has foisted a deadly, unwanted and unnecessary war upon the world. “Television and movies have short-circuited reality,” he asserts. “I don’t think a lot of people are entirely clear on what is real and what is on the screen.”