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Friday, August 05, 2011 

Alan Moore on the state of today's industry

Newsarama interviewed Alan Moore, who's largely out of the comics scene today and working more on books, and he's not optimistic about its future:
Nrama: Well, they’re relaunching everything with new number ones in September, and folding the Vertigo “Mature Readers” characters back into the DC Universe proper. Part of this involves Swamp Thing literally being resurrected as Alec Holland and turning into a plant elemental –the opposite of “The Anatomy Lesson,” basically – and John Constantine will be running around the DC Universe, and Barbara Gordon is Batgirl again and out of the wheelchair from The Killing Joke. Some people have made the point that it’s a “Post-Alan-Moore DC Universe.” Have you any commentary on that?

Moore: No, not really. I’m not surprised. From where I am – I have no interest in comics any more. The entire world of comics seems to me, from what I’m reading in the proper newspapers over here, on the point of collapse. It seems that both of the major companies are going through some rather frantic thrashings as they try to retool their kind of flagging cosmoses by pulling the usual tricks, because, really, I don’t expect them to have any new ones.

Some characters will be killed off. But this being comics, that will only be until they generate enough interest in them that they can be revived again. They can take these characters back to some pre-Alan-Moore state, if that is indeed what they’re doing, but I hope they remember what that state was! (laughs)

Like I say, it’s not really a field I think about any more. I think it is probably still in death throes, and they will perhaps continue for a while longer, but I’m kind of somewhere else now, and I don’t have any thoughts about that scene now. I can only say that yes, this doesn’t surprise me. It sounds like the kind of lame reboot that a major comic company might try, but this is fairly endemic across the industry.

I recall coming across a story in the Sunday papers a few months ago where you’ve got the head of Marvel Comics saying that Marvel Comics was gazing into the abyss, without actually coming out and saying that, though it’s been doing that for a while, so I would guess the word he was looking for was “plunging!” And I suppose things aren’t any better at DC.

So I guess we can expect a lot of revisions and overhauls and reboots from the companies that portend to represent the dying gurgles of the industry, and to a degree it’s its own fault. As you know, if what you say about DC is right and they’re doing these regressive moves back to a time when they still sold more comics, presumably, then, you know, it would seem that’s kind of predictable, because it seems to me comics have kind of gotten themselves in a position where they cannot imagine a future, and are endlessly trying to retreat back to a past where they felt more comfortable.

And all the while, they are dealing with a shrinking marketplace, and let’s face it, it’s been a while since that marketplace was composed of enthusiastic nine-to-thirteen-year-olds. The shrinking market is largely one of people between their thirties and their fifties, who clearly have a nostalgic connection to the reading material of their boyhood, and that’s fine. But we’ve gotten to a state where the entire industry is predicated on that.
Whether he's retired from the comics scene, he still seems to have a pretty good idea of what's going wrong with it. And wouldn't you know it, among the stuff they're going to reboot is all the hard work he did on Swamp Thing, turning the walking plant creature into what only they consider suitable whether it works or not.

Maybe DC's biggest problem is that unlike Marvel, they never tried to come up with anthology series like What if...? nor did they ever make a serious attempt at alternate universe lines where they could at least have relegated some of their more gruesome ideas and also the more PC multi-culti stuff, rather than foisting them upon their mainline. And the Vertigo line, of course, is being largely discontinued, and who knows if they'll even keep on with the independent works they've been publishing under it much longer?

Again, I reiterate my idea of how to help salvage mainstream comics is to turn them into separate companies from the movie and toy businesses that have eclipsed them. But for now, sadly, it's still a very distant pipe dream.

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*applause* My fucking hero!

DC's not only shitting on his work with Swamp Thing but Wein and Wrightson's as well.

Wait, what about DC Elseworlds' line? Was that discontinued, as I haven't seen a new one in a while? Either way, Moore's rather accurate, and taking things rather well, I'd say.

Between the older demographic, and the rise of the new female one, it's going to be an interesting few years, yes?

Yep. Elseworlds is dead, hence the delayed Teen Titans special with JFK in was shelved for awhile

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