Sunday, March 27, 2011

Alan Moore...

Honestly, I'm not sure where I stand on the great comic book geek opinion scale when it comes to Alan Moore.

He's generally regarded as one of the greatest comic book writers ever, and is almost certainly the most influential. Personally, of the other writers on that list, I greatly prefer Neil Gaiman, but that's not the point.

See, Mr. Moore's status is generally derived from one particular work: Watchmen. It was a twelve issue series published monthly during 1986. Right around that time, Mr. Moore also wrote V for Vendetta and From Hell. All considered masterpieces, and they've all been turned into movies. I've never read V for Vendetta or From Hell, so I can't really comment on those, but I don't really like Watchmen. I can see why other people do, but it's just not my thing. It has compelling characters, unexpected plot twists and simple vibrates with story power.

I can't put my finger on precisely what it is that makes me not like Watchmen. The art is really well done. The story is just so dense. Maybe some day I'll try reading it one chapter a week. Space it out. See if that helps.

Honestly, my favorite work by Mr. Moore is Top Ten. It's a twelve issue series about the police force for a city where everyone is a superhero or villain. Everyone. It's a great idea, but where the book shines is the character work. These characters are all so fully realized. None of them is a one-dimensional parody.

There is one character, not even my favorite, but when she dies, I choke up. Every time I read the book. Sometimes I can't even see the page.

Mr. Moore also writes the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, wherein some famous literary characters, such as Mina Murray, Allen Quartermain, Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are a team of agents working for the British Government. It's a brilliant idea and well executed. They made a movie, but it was rather awful, in my opinion.

Mr. Moore also has some works that I want to read. Promethea for one. I have no idea what it's about, but every review I've read raves about it, but can't really describe it. That intrigues me.

I kind of want to read Lost Girls, but I don't think I ever will. The basic premise is that Alice, Wendy and Dorothy get together and recount their sexual exploits. In an interview, Mr. Moore said something to the effect that he wanted to write literature that was porn. I don't know if I'll ever know if he succeeded.

When you see pictures of Mr. Moore, he comes off rather frightening. Huge beard, long bushy hair, circles under his eyes, rings and talismans on each finger. And he's a practicing witch. But he's rather soft spoken and gracious. I listened to a recording of a radio interview he did when Lost Girls came out. He sounds like a happy, friendly Brit. And I'm sure he is.

It'd be interesting to sit down with Mr. Moore and chat with him, but I have no idea what I'd say or ask. At the very least, I wouldn't ask him about Watchmen, which would be somewhat refreshing for him, I'm sure.

I'm fascinated by Alan Moore, but he's not my favorite writer.


refugee from reason said...

I know absolutely nothing about the new, or even the last generation of comic books, except that I find the charcterization "graphic novels" at least somewhat pretentious. Your post didn't do so, however, what it did do is show you a have a clear, budding talent for criticism. This is a very nice, intesting piece, notstanding my lack of interest in the topic -- and, that is the sign of a good writer, one of them anyway. Thank you.

Adam said...

Thank you! I'm almost tempted to go through and read his works, just to be able to turn this into a full piece. Almost feels like an abstract.