Terror and Terraformation: Alan Moore

Like your comics, Jimmy’s End seems meticulously constructed, but estranged enough to stand apart in separate narratives.

Alan Moore: We kind of constructed this, as the title of the hoped-for feature film suggests, as a show. We’ve constructed it as a series of reveals. For example, Act of Faith is complete as the story of a really tragic autoerotic accident. It would have a certain impact, although more sensational than me and Mitch originally intended, as a decent short film with an emotional punch. But when added to Jimmy’s End, you realize there is a bigger picture involved, although you’ll have to wait until you’ve seen the other three short films before you get an inkling of how big the picture is. So Jimmy’s End is kind of a conjuring trick with narrative: Just when you think you’ve got an idea to what it’s about, it opens up into a different story. That’s what we’re hoping for anyway.

So when it comes to The Show and its possible television show, we have known since before we commenced the filming of the Jimmy’s End what will be the last shot in the final episode. We know exactly how the story resolves, and everything that happens in the series is in the service of that story. Even the brand names we introduce are part of the narrative, in that they are making little hints, suggestions and clues. So we have conceived this in the round.

When it became apparent to me that Jimmy’s End was going to be more than just a 10-minute film for Mitch’s show reel, I had to take on board the fact that in the modern world, as much as it might distress me, any film will inevitably be spun out over multiple media and realized in a variety of forms, none of which may have been intended by the person who created the work upon which the film is based. Which has been a lot of my problem with the many films that have been created based upon my work. They weren’t meant to be like that. Now this is where I am actually writing the film in a way that I would like it to be made. If I take on board the fact that yes, there would be computer games and all these spinoffs, then what if I thought it through beforehand and worked out a structure in which the spinoffs are part of the central narrative. They all add to it rather than simply make it into a franchise.

So that’s the plan. How much of it we will get to realize, at this moment, is largely down to the audience for Kickstarter. We’ve certainly got it planned for the long haul, and I think if we do get to realize half of it, I don’t think the audience will be completely disappointed. We’ve got some pretty good ideas, and that I hope with Act of Faith and Jimmy’s End so far, we’ve proved that we are capable of doing a pretty decent job.

I don’t think either of those movies look like the first film. I don’t think they even particularly look like indie films, and that’s not a slur against indie cinema, which is the only cinema that’s really functional. But nevertheless, I don’t think the the values that Mitch is bringing to these films are standard indie values. It’s a high production standard. Of course, the same goes for the music of Adam Drucker and Andy Broder from Crook and Flail, which is also one of the things we’re most proud of. If the production goes no further than His Heavy Heart, we’ve already got a wonderful album using just the musical pieces generated by the films, with artists like Alan Sparhawk from Low. The soundtrack alone is pretty classic. It’s a good jukebox.

Have you had a chance to work on anything else? I know Jerusalem is already longer than the Bible, but I’m wondering if it could be longer than two Bibles by now.

Alan Moore: Well, at the moment I’ve got Jerusalem on the screen in front of me, chapter 34 out of 35, the last of which is an epilogue. So yes, I’m on the last chapter. I’m also doing a piece for Avatar Press called Providence, which is hopefully emerging some time next year. I’m doing that with Jacen Burrows, one of the best young artists out there, who I worked with on Neonomicon. Providence is an expansion on some of Neonomicon‘s ideas, which is currently leading me to an awful lot of HP Lovecraft research. I mean, my armchair on the other side of the room is practically walled in by Lovecraft reference books and critical studies. So I’m taking this very seriously. [Laughs] It’s a 12-issue series, and I’ve got five issues written, and it’s coming on great. It’s some of the most…hmm, unsettling stuff I’ve written in a long time. I’m really having a lot of fun with Lovecraft and his world, both the world of his fiction and the early 20th century New England in which he lived. That’s been a very productive landscape for me.

I’m also still working on the The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic with Steve Moore. We were just doing the latest in our series, “The Lives of the Great Enchanters,” which is up to William S. Burroughs, who is like number 47 or 48. We started out with the dancing sorcerer found painted in the Trois Freres cave in France, which the earliest image of a shaman that we have. We’ve taken him as our first, and are proceeding through history, and I think we’ve been very comprehensive. There are only 51 or 52 of them, so we’re almost at the end of that project.

I’m also near the very end of Jerusalem. And I just finished writing Roses of Berlin, the follow-up to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen‘s recently released Nemo:Heart of Ice. It’s another 48-page album, but features Janni Nemo in 1941 instead of 1925, which is where Nemo: Heart of Ice falls in our fictional version of WWII. Kevin is nearly finished doing a beautiful job on the art for that; I think he only has about 15 or 16 pages to go. After that, I presume there will be another Janni Nemo story before we get back to doing the fourth volume of the League.

Are we going to see LXG: 2099?

Alan Moore: Well, volume four would start where Century roughly left off in 2009. That would be kind of climactic volume of LXG. We’re not saying it’s the last, although if it was it would be a really good way to go out. But given the nature of the League, we’ve got so many options. Even if we were to make this chronologically the last League story, we could still do some very interesting things with many of its earlier incarnations, including in the 17th and 18th centuries and any future versions beyond the 21st century.

So it’s a pretty busy time at the moment, one way or another, and I’ve probably forgotten a few things I’m already engaged in. But luckily, I’ve written all the scripts for the films. Mr. Metterton doesn’t appear in His Heavy Heart, so I don’t have to sit through having my hair backtoned and my face painted gold. Yeah, I probably should have thought that through a bit more. I didn’t realize how grueling the makeup application was going to be, although the young ladies who did it were very nice and did a quick job. But it was getting it out afterwards that was the main problem.

I suppose the only thing left is to ask about The Squirrels.

Alan Moore: Actually, we have rather shot ourselves in the foot there. I really want to see that film, especially since Mitch already got Kristian Hammerstad to create storyboards for the harrowing sequence where Faith is just sitting in the playground, as more and more squirrels climb into the playground. But yeah, I really want to see that movie made, probably more than I want to see His Heavy Heart. [Laughs] In fact, I’ve changed my mind about the whole cinematic thing: I want to see Siobhan Hewlett menaced by squirrels. And I think that the world does too, but we shall have to see.

Speaking of Hitchcock, I think every film should have an Alan Moore cameo, where you just walk across the frame or get on the bus before the film starts.

Alan Moore: I think most films would be terminally derailed by an Alan Moore cameo. Please, if the audience out there thinks that by contributing to Kickstarter they are encouraging me in a film career, I’d like to assure them that nothing could be further from the truth. I really have no great ambitions as a movie performer. This is just Northampton stuff really, at the end of the day, with people I’ve known for years who are great artists, and also happen to live right around the corner. We just thought, “What could we do with the people and talents that we know, and the places we know and have access to, the stuff that’s laying around?” This has been our aesthetic from the start.