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Thursday, November 21, 2019 

Alan Moore thinks superhero influence on culture is embarrassing, but so is at least one comment he makes

I don't know if Alan Moore's truly left comicdom, as he's said he intends to, but a 2017 interview turned up on a blog dedicated to his writings, translated from a Brazilian paper, where, not unlike Martin Scorsese, he takes a dismissive stance on the medium, only in Moore's case, he makes a statement that's extremely galling:
What was the impact of popular heroes comic books in our culture? Why are people fascinated by alternative realities?

I think the impact of superheroes on popular culture is both tremendously embarrassing and not a little worrying. While these characters were originally perfectly suited to stimulating the imaginations of their twelve or thirteen year-old audience, today’s franchised übermenschen, aimed at a supposedly adult audience, seem to be serving some kind of different function, and fulfilling different needs. Primarily, mass-market superhero movies seem to be abetting an audience who do not wish to relinquish their grip on (a) their relatively reassuring childhoods, or (b) the relatively reassuring 20th century. The continuing popularity of these movies to me suggests some kind of deliberate, self-imposed state of emotional arrest, combined with an numbing condition of cultural stasis that can be witnessed in comics, movies, popular music and, indeed, right across the cultural spectrum. The superheroes themselves – largely written and drawn by creators who have never stood up for their own rights against the companies that employ them, much less the rights of a Jack Kirby or Jerry Siegel or Joe Schuster – would seem to be largely employed as cowardice compensators, perhaps a bit like the handgun on the nightstand. I would also remark that save for a smattering of non-white characters (and non-white creators) these books and these iconic characters are still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race. In fact, I think that a good argument can be made for D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation as the first American superhero movie, and the point of origin for all those capes and masks.
Well this is certainly disappointing he's saying something almost like what Fredric Wertham might've said in his since discredited writings on comicdom. All, I presume, because Moore's fed up that he'd been cheated out of too many writings by the company bigwigs? He's not going about it the right way if he takes out his anger upon any component of comicdom and science fiction.

It may be overlooked by some, but early in his career, Moore did write at least a few superhero stories for Marvel's UK affiliate in the early 80s, like Captain Britain's early adventures in a publication called The Daredevils (which also reprinted some Daredevil stories by Frank Miller), and he was also the co-creator of mutant Roma girl Meggan in Mighty World of Marvel #7 in late 1983 with fellow UK native Alan Davis, himself a talented artist with an impressively cartoony style. Chris Claremont, also from the UK, would later make most charming use of Meggan as a cast member of the 1988-98 Excalibur series, where she would marry Captain Britain at the end of the run. I think Moore also has a handful of Night Raven stories to his credits. Does Moore now reject his stories for UK publications along with the rest? Well it's a real pity he's taking it so hard, to the point where he'd say something so alienating, and he makes everything worse by hinting he thinks whites literally comprise too many cast members, much like the social justice advocates in the US.

He's at least half correct about the situation with creators today: unlike in the 70s, when Siegel and Shuster fought for recognition as the co-creators of Superman, I doubt many now would back them up, and Kirby was only half successful in reacquiring the rights to his art drafts during the mid-80s. But Moore's analogy of superheroes to a white supremacist vision is insulting to those past veterans too, because all the aforementioned 3 were white, as were their famous creations like Superman and Captain America. So too was the late Len Wein, co-creator of Swamp Thing, Moore's most notable work in an ongoing series during the mid-80s. And I think a terrible shame Moore went overboard, because, whatever problems he had with any publishers years ago, his work on Marvel UK and the Swamp Thing from the 80s still holds up very well, and now, more than ever, he's forcing everyone to take his past work with a grain of salt.

So if he does retire from comicdom, it'll be for the best, as he's not doing any favors for the medium's reputation if he keeps up that attitude. He has written a few novels, and maybe he'd do well to just stick with that for the future. Though it'd be best of all if he didn't talk about comics again so long as he retains his denigrating positions.

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" it'd be best of all if he didn't talk about comics again so long as he retains his denigrating positions."

it doesn't seem fair - this blog denigrates comics and superhero movies all the time! Why shouldn't Alan Moore be allowed to be cranky too?

The British wave of creators paved the way form the sjw creators of today.
They opened the door for m'ladies and in some instances, directly mentored them.
Warren Ellis comes to mind.
For all their efforts, comic books have become less popular in the mainstream. There is more interest in academia, Hollywood, and Broadway but less interest in

comics, overall. Many of the free newspapers that are thriving today have dropped cartoons as they are too expensive. Respect comes at a cost of profitability of

the actual comics.


That said,

Alan Moore is hypocritical and is stupid.
Alan is directly responsible and has spend most of his career contributing to--NOT STOPPING--
the phenomenon of

"an audience who do not wish to relinquish their grip on (a) their relatively reassuring childhoods, "

Instead of deconstructing superheroes in the 1980s, Alan showed nerdy fanboys that they could take their power fantasies into adulthood and be taken seriously

if they seemed sophisticated enough. There is quite a huge gap between Alan's intention ("grow up,loser") and the result " (ACKTUALLY, superheroes are very adult. Look at Captain Person addresssystemic prejudice and late-stage capitalism. ")

If Alan had grown up, he would never had done a tribute to the Superman comics he read as a child with his run on Rob Liefeld's SUPREME.
He had an opportunity to make superheroes for kids again with America's Best Comics and he chose to be an smug hypocrite
deconstructing while looking back fondly at superheroes and reconstructing them. "Yes, they're fascist but not so if we put a brown female front and center.

Brown people can't be fascist. "


"originally perfectly suited to stimulating the imaginations of their FIVE to thirteen year-old audience, today’s franchised übermenschen, "
Alan has no idea or no interest in making content for the traditional market for superheroes, hence his constant attempts to get Serious People to take comics

seriously as Literature that can be read by Adults.

" deliberate, self-imposed state of emotional arrest, combined with an numbing condition of cultural stasis that can be witnessed in comics, movies, popular music

and, indeed, right across the cultural spectrum."

Alan is the last person to comment on popular culture looking back at the past and re-hasing it. Culture is a form a stasis, there are rules and customs

that tend to remain static (change slowly). All his non super-hero work has been , with few exceptions, rehashes of old Victorian fiction and culture. It is almost

impossible to understand Alan Moore's work since it references things outside it so much. Oh, I get it, it's bad when lazy rich kids who want to play around with a

career as an artist and sample an old song, or remake and old tv show, but it's not bad when Alan does it in a literary context.




" I would also remark that save for a smattering of non-white characters (and non-white creators) these books and these iconic characters are still very much

white supremacist dreams of the master race. "
Superheroes were created by Jews. Not exactly white supremacists.

However, when we think about the kinds of people who want to uphold the law in Western, industrialized societies and do well in hard sciences, well, they aren't

going to be intersectional Muslim feminists so complaining about a lack of diversity, is stupid. Most none-white men would be more likely to be villains than

heroes if superheroes were "realistic." They don't actually identify as heroes.Many progressive creators have admitted that they identify more with the villains than the heroes --more so than creators in the past. Since Alan Moore has

released the killing joke, seeing villains as misunderstood heroes has gained more and more traction, In the past when villains became heroes, they reformed. But

now, no, what they do is not wrong they were VICTIMS.

It's "white" people who feel like they have a moral obligation to save the world, Tikkun Olam, Spread democracy. Play "world police" as South Park put it. Look out

for people outside their culture.
You don't see the same amount of concern from (middle class) Indians, Negros, or Asians about strangers.
The manga equivalent of superheroes often only have superheroes saving the homeland, where everyone is the same ethnicity.




Simply put, superheroes were relic of a more homogeneous society and are increasingly irrelevant in a increasingly diverse society where people look at each other as enemies. You are either being exploited or you are the exploiter.


Demanding diversity from superheroes is like demanding people in wheelchairs for war stories or asexual people in romance stories. The end result will not be

superhero stories or romance stories but agitprop.


Alan Moore's influence is partially why comics is a bourgeoisie niche only available near "college towns".

While I disagree with the author of this article https://bleedingfool.com/blogs/obsession-with-now-retired-alan-moore-creates-bad-writers/#comment-4550416338 about the quality of Moore's work, I do think his influence on comics has been terrible. Moore knows it. People simply learned the wrong things from Watchmen.

Just because something has been influential does it mean the influence is good.

Maybe things are the way they are because people are doing their damnedest to keep comics a small niche. Looking at all the people rushing to defend Moore on a Comicsgate page.


https://bleedingfool.com/blogs/obsession-with-now-retired-alan-moore-creates-bad-writers/#comment-4550416338
"Alan Moore destroyed comics? Art reflects life. Alan Moore has inspired and influenced a lot of people over a long time... Alan Moore has contributed so much that he has literally influenced generations of comic book readers and comic book writers to think a little differently about how the medium can be used to tell a story."

I would argue that comics have stopped telling stories many years ago. What Moore did was instead of raising standards was that--he lowered standards where social commentary and agitprop have substituted for story or narrative. I swear, half the comics released seem like they were done by someone with autism. None of the characters behave like normal people, nothing that happens to them seems recognizable. It's like
People with no sense of humor, who are over-analytical producing incredibly sterile shit. Bryan Hill's Romulus is a perfect example.

"All his non super-hero work has been , with few exceptions, rehashes of old Victorian fiction and culture. It is almost impossible to understand Alan Moore's work since it references things outside it so much."

Moore is a great mimic, but I never found it necessary to know the original source to understand his work; knowing the references is like an Easter Egg. And his sources are broader than just Victorian culture; Tom Strong was a homage to American pulp fiction and old comic books, Extraordinary Gentlemen includes references to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Mary Poppins and Harry Potter. Swamp Thing channeled Pogo as well as Wein. I am not Moore fan, but I like his sense of humour and he has written some good work.

"Most none-white men would be more likely to be villains than

heroes if superheroes were "realistic."

Actually, white vigilantes running around in masks have been more likely to be villains than heroes in real life. Think KKK and lynchings. Or bank robbers in ski masks. How many heros run around in masks in real life? Only the villains.

"Simply put, superheroes were relic of a more homogeneous society and are increasingly irrelevant in a increasingly diverse society where people look at each other as enemies."

You have got to be kidding. Superheros started in the 1940s. That society was way less homogenous than now. That was the era of segregation in the South and Jim Crow everywhere. Immigrant communities living in ethnic neighbourhoods and reading newspapers in their own languages abounded. Television was a rarity, the national hiwghway system didn't exist and travel was rarer, local accents were stronger, the population was less educated, national media had less cultural influence and local or regional cultures were more significant. People of one racial or ethnic group had far less contact or affiliation with people of other groups than now.

World War II and army service helped break down a lot of those old barriers.

The reason white nationalists hate America is exactly because it has become so much more of a mixed culture.

Mike said:
'It's "white" people who feel like they have a moral obligation to save the world, Tikkun Olam, Spread democracy. Play "world police" as South Park put it. Look out for people outside their culture.'

But why the scare quotes around 'white'? I gather that for you some whites are whiter than others, and that believers in tikkun olam are not white enough to be part of your club. Why spend so much time ranting on the site of a guy who belongs to an ethnic group that you think isn't white enough for you?

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