In reference to

Specifically

It would be nice if someone sent

Photo by the lovely Jose Villarrubia

a copy of

so he could stop giving that quote in interviews, cuz that shit ain’t true.

&

- Christopher


26 Comments on “Prescription For An Improved Outlook”

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  1. William George says:

    As much as I love Alan Moore, I’m in agreement on your assessment of what he thinks comics are. Good call.

  2. Travis McGee says:

    I’ve seen Moore make these remarks before and it does puzzle me a little. It seems like he is functionally incapable of making himself aware about what has happened in the last decade or so of comics … I find this puzzling because the pastiche of Gary Groth in “Tomorrow Stories” gave me the impression that he was aware of the current expansion in content and quality the medium was (and is ) undergoing …

    Let’s hope he doesn’t further lapse into willful curmudgenhood and start making scoffing remarks about manga, or the like…

  3. Brandon Graham says:

    This is brilliant, I couldn’t agree more.

    I think this is a good lesson to remember, if comics stops seeming new and innovative it just means you have not been digging deep enough.

  4. chris beckett says:

    It’s pathetic how people like to bring others down just because we don’t agree with them, or are unwilling to allow that maybe, taken within its greater context, what Moore is saying is correct.

    cmb

  5. DerikB says:

    Wait… what is Moore’s throwback hippy newspaper doing to “address our problems”?

  6. Bitter Matt says:

    It’s probably worth considering this in the context of Alan, last I knew, still living a pre-internet (no www, no e-mail) existence.

    Which I completely respect, being a fairly-curmudgeonly late-adopter myself, but it does probably explain a few things.

  7. Sean T. Collins says:

    I hope you dodgem the lectures I get every time I say something like this about him.

  8. Tara Tallan says:

    I have a similar reaction whenever I hear from certain industry professionals that there are so few women in comics.

  9. Chris says:

    Dear Chris Beckett (CMB),

    It is just precious the way you feel personally insulted when someone tries to “bring down” one of your heroes, but if you can get over feeling indignant, for a moment, just look what’s actually up there.

    Simply: It would be nice if Alan Moore stopped saying things that aren’t true.

    You’re talking about context here, and fine, I’ll talk about context. In the interview he wasn’t talking about the comics industry, but the comics medium, and why he specifically was moving in another direction with his new product. Because he’s still quite actively participating in the comics industry with that new product, though it is largely absent of comics as a medium. That’s the context of that quote. It’s you who’s taking it out of context to make some other point that, frankly, Moore wasn’t addressing at all.

    What he’s saying isn’t true. And actually, just because you need to have your eyes opened, it isn’t even true in your “larger” context, which you outlined at the comic geek speak forums. These days even the “Comics industry” is more than Marvel and DC, your amusing Diamond charts don’t take into account that many publishers do the majority of their sales outside of the direct market. You are being informed in your opinions entirely by direct-market superhero-comics centric message boards, and it behooves you to pull back and do a little research before flapping your gums.

    The reality of the situation is that I really like Alan Moore’s work and I like him as a person, but by all accounts of friends and well-wishers he simply doesn’t have a lot of access to or interest in the vast majority of the medium of comics. That’s totally fine, he’s an elder-statesman of the medium and under no obligation to me, or you, or anyone else. But he is obligated, if he’s going to step up to the plate and talk about the creative actuality of either the medium OR the industry, to back those statements up with something other than someone sending him a Blackest Night PR and him getting into a funk about it. Blackest Night would put me in a funk too.

    He needs to stop giving quotes to media outlets that don’t apply to the actuality of the medium he’s discussing, or he’s going to get called on what he’s saying. And frankly, I can’t think of a more gentle way to do so than with less than 30 words and some very large images to make my points. No vitriol, no shouting.

    - Christopher

  10. Chris says:

    Sean: I’m getting called a “f*ckwit” on the “Comic Geek Speak” forums by a dude who only identifies himself as “Lobo”. He is the moderator there.

    Bahahahaa…

    I think I can handle it.

    - Christopher

  11. Sean T. Collins says:

    I made the mistake of calling him a crank the last time and I got rained on. I think your gingerly rebus-based approach was the way to go!

  12. Alex says:

    I wish people would stop defending Moore – he’s still a curmudgeon despite his status in the comics medium

  13. Dan Coyle says:

    Sometimes I think guys like Moore say fatalistic horseshit like that because it’ll galvanize the troops into proving him wrong. I’m sure since it hasn’t fucking worked the previous 10-15 years he’s said it, it’ll surely work now.

  14. Stuart Immonen says:

    I’m no fan of Moore as anyone who knows me can attest, and surely I get your point, but might I humbly suggest that both DC and Marvel also publish work (including Moore’s own) with original voices?

    No, really.

  15. Chris Beckett says:

    Yeah. I figured I would be attacked for my response. Glad to see you term it as “precious,” that’s fairly adult.

    I made note that the figures over at CGS were from Diamond (probably needed to elucidate the masses more as to what I meant, as it seems you need to cherry-pick your “context” and dismiss the entirety of statements being made).

    And if you wish to rail against Moore’s declaiming against the “medium” you might include a quote at the top that states “comics medium,” not “comics industry.”

    If you need to lift yourself up by railing against Alan Moore, who laments (in your chosen quote) that there are too “few original voices” creating “some great comics out there still,” then have at it.

    But please, don’t lecture me on context. Judging by how you read Moore’s quote, and my argument at CGS – which you assume must be where I get all of my information – I don’t see how you really have much footing upon which to stand in this regard.

    cmb

  16. Chris says:

    Stuart- I own enough books by Marvel and DC to testify to that, sure. I don’t think Marvel and DC are bereft of “original voices” in the slightest. My issue is more that Moore seems to think that they (almost entirely) are, and that they are the totality of the industry or medium. At least in quotes he gives.

    Chris Beckett- Yes yes, I’m a monster, trying to tear down your beloved Alan Moore because that’s the only way I can lift myself up… I’m sure it’s all crystal clear in your head. Good luck on that comic career of yours, with your attitude, you’re going to need it.

  17. Jim Ottaviani says:

    In the last interview of Alan Moore I read he talked about not having read any new comics for a long time — years, if I recall correctly. So when I got to the bit later in that same interview (and now in this one) where he bemoaned the lack of good ones I knew how well-informed his opinion was.

    He speaks like someone who loves comics but
    has found that they — or at least comics of a certain type, and the companies that dominate that very large corner of the market — don’t love him back in the same way. His dismissal and disappointment may be justified, but it’s not coming from a lofty critical distance.

    And because I’ve enjoyed his work over the years and assume he’s a thoughtful writer, I hope the man whose reputation was made by working on other people’s creations (Swamp Thing, the Charlton superheroes that turned into the Watchmen, the League of Extraordinary Public Domain Characters, etc.) is speaking ironically when he talks smack about lack of new ideas.

  18. Evan Dorkin says:

    Steven Grant said something very similar in his comments on why he was taking leave of writing his CBR (iirc) comics article. In both cases I found it incredibly ill-informed, and just cranky-sounding and dismissive, as well as ill-serving two smart people who you’d think would know better. Or at least would know not to toss off such an unsubstantiated generalization/opinion. Both seem unaware of what’s happening in comics as a whole these days, not to mention online, imported/translated material, etc. An entire medium can’t be judged by the top Previews books or whatever Moore seems to be going by. A whisper of a hint of a vague notion. Moore’s been saying stuff like this for years, sometimes you have to wonder if he thinks Amazing Heroes and Comics Scene is still around. It’s not his job to keep on top of comics as closely as some folks do (geek typing this raises hand…slowly) but if you’re gonna make such wide, sweeping comments about an entire medium, well, walk the trenches a while first. At least Eddie Campbell — Moore collaborator, world-class cartoonist and fellow curmudgeonly type — knows what’s out there when he declares comics to not be “art” (I think Campbell’s an artist, and Alec is a work of art, but what do I know?)

    Additionally, re: Chris Beckett’s comments — that’s not tearing people down, that’s arguing against statements made and offering a difference of opinion. Alan Moore doesn’t seem to need defending here, and the comments sure as hell aren’t character assassinations. Lighten up, Francis.

    And I think Stuart Immonen is peachy, btw.

  19. Sean T. Collins says:

    Jim and Evan–I wonder if at this point Moore is not being ill-served by his interviewers. Anyone who does a little Google research before getting on the horn with him knows you can get some good get-offa-my-lawn quotes out of him, simultaneously making for great copy and a piss-poor public face for one of the medium’s great talents. I’d love to see an interviewer bypass the usual “So, what do you think about the state of comics today?” and instead ask him “So, what do you think about Asterios Polyp? Footnotes in Gaza? Body World? Ganges? Big Questions? Pluto?” and on and on and on.

  20. Jim Ottaviani says:

    Sean: Excellent point, and I agree that those are much better questions. And it’s not like they’re mutually exclusive, since it would be illuminating to read “Never read it.” “Didn’t see it.” “Never heard of it.” etc. as follow-ups to baseless assertions in response to the broader question. (And just as interesting to find out that he had read such books and was still dismissing the medium, and why.) Heck, it would even make good copy — though that might be the last interview Moore gave to *that* person/publication.

    But even so, I don’t think this is really about the interviewer(s). Alan Moore is being ill-served by his own words, the ones he speaks with his own mouth.

  21. Tim O'Neil says:

    After all these interviews saying roughly the same thing, I’m surprised that more non-superhero publishers don’t comp Moore stuff in the hopes of getting blurbs. I still see Stan Lee giving blurbs to new books occasionally, to say nothing of McCloud, Gaiman, Morrison, etc. Based on nothing more than my limited exposure to PR on the comics internet, I think that if *I* can get multiple publishers to comp me books on the chance I might say something nice about them on my blog, they would be thrilled to send a book to Moore on just the thin chance he would give a pleasant blurb to, I dunno, Brian Chippendale or Kevin Huizenga.

  22. Scott says:

    He’s clearly talking about the industry, not the medium, and largely Marvel and DC at that. Whether he would agree that Fantagraphics or other small publishers are publishing terrific new material or not, who knows?

    Webcomics are cool, but I don’t think Moore would like most of the ones that actually make money on the Internet, like Penny Arcade. Whether or not someone with a day job doing a brilliant art comic is properly the “comics industry”, or whether Moore meant the indies when he said “comics industry” is a really dull point of discussion.

    “I don’t think Marvel and DC are bereft of “original voices” in the slightest. My issue is more that Moore seems to think that they (almost entirely) are, and that they are the totality of the industry or medium. At least in quotes he gives.”

    I suspect they are bereft of original voices. Would be interesting to hear what you recommend from Marvel and DC. If it has “Blackest Night tie in” on the cover, I’m not going to suffer through committee plotting to look for the glimmer of original voice, though… in fact, anyone who’s book is obviously co-plotted by their editor is immediately off my “original voice” list.

    Moore is a big fan of Undertsanding Comics, to the Scott Mccloud panel above is rather abrasive and condescending. I’m sure Scott Mccloud knows a lot of broke comic creators, so I’m not sure what the Understanding Comics panel says about the health of the industry.

    “Diamond charts don’t take into account that many publishers do the majority of their sales outside of the direct market. ”

    Just want to point out that stating “They sell books elsewhere” isn’t the same as “they sell a lot of books elsewhere”. Got any numbers?

  23. Dan Coyle says:

    In my experience, when Evan Dorkin thinks you’re being a fatalistic crank, it’s time to face facts: You’re a fatalistic crank, Mr. Moore.

  24. Dani Nyder says:

    Chris said: “In the interview he wasn’t talking about the comics industry, but the comics medium, and why he specifically was moving in another direction with his new product. Because he’s still quite actively participating in the comics industry with that new product, though it is largely absent of comics as a medium.”

    I think you have very idiosyncratic (i.e., incorrect) definitions of “industry” and “medium”. First, contrary to what you say, Moore WAS referring to the industry; he says he’s basically “given up on the comics industry”. So, yes, he’s talking about the industry. “Industry” as in the framework dominated by big businesses. So, yes, he must be referring to Marvel in DC specifically. His statement that he’s “given up on the industry” is akin to a musician who is going the true indie route. Take the example of any musician who was once on a major record label but now continues to make music that only comes out on smaller labels: this hypothetical musician obviously doesn’t care about huge promotion or profits and as such has “given up on the industry”. This is what Alan Moore has done.

    Your cartoon, suggesting he read an indie book and telling him comics aren’t all about Marvel & DC misses the mark. It’s like telling Lou Reed (or somebody like that), “Dude! Have you heard the good news?? YOU need to realize that there’s more to music than what you see on MTV!! Here, try this CD from this local band!! They’re not on Interscope or Columbia Records, but they’re pretty good, man!!!”

    Alan Moore obviously knows that here are there pockets of creativity are sure to be found. This is why he tends to qualify his comments with words like “largely”, and “few”. His statement that there are “so few original voices” actually is evidence that he thinks are are at least a “FEW”! Unless you think he’s slamming all his former collaborators, which he obviously isn’t. If you do think his statement was so sweeping, then why don’t you make a news item with the headline “Alan Moore hates J.H. Williams’ work on Detective!” or “Alan Moore: Thinks Asterios Polyp was COMPLETE GARBAGE!” or “Alan Moore Thinks Everything David Lloyd Has Done in his Life since V for Vendetta has been WORTHLESS!!” But Moore is not really being as sweeping in his condemnations as you might think. His statements mostly boil down to an opinion that the “comics industry”–the INDUSTRY itself, as an industry–is pretty lackluster. He is not judging any and all of the creators in it. To take the music example, again: If someone says “The music industry sucks”, that doesn’t mean they don’t think there are any good guitarists, singers or songwriters left in the world.

    You say that he’s “still quite actively participating in the industry”, though. Why? Because he still releases comics through small publishers? He is basically a recluse. He is not “quite actively participating”. He does not go to cons. He does not do many interviews. He’s “quite actively participating” in the comics industry the way Thomas Pynchon has been “quite actively participating” for the last thirty-some years in the book industry: hardly “participating” at all.

    Next you say that his work “is largely absent of comics as a medium”. Are you writing “medium” when you mean “community”? Because it is logically impossible to release comic books that are not part of the comic book medium. Medium means type of communication. Unless he is actually hiding audio tapes or video game cartridges in between the covers of his comics, then he is still working within the comics medium. I can’t find any logic in your statement. Do you say that because he has been writing a novel (so have tons of comic writers), or because he has that little magazine or whatever too? He also has been doing actual comics. One of them was released this week. There was also an ongoing League project, I believe. These are comic books. Their medium is “comic books”. You can’t have a “comic book” that is not a “comic book”.

    Look, of course Alan Moore is a bit of an asshole. Most great artists/writers are. They’re this way because their own standards are so high. The painter Francis Bacon, who was the highest-selling living artist when he died, said that the greatness of an artist is proportionate to his critical ability and, in effect, his negative judgments about other people work. It’s how great artists are. When someone is up on a mountain, they can’t NOT look down on everybody else’s molehills. People just need to not hero-worship so much. People shouldn’t expect Alan Moore to be as nice as whatever struggling artist or up-and-coming, low-key, nervous, self-conscious writer you meet at a con.

  25. Peter says:

    Chris: “…by a dude who only identifies himself as “Lobo”. He is the moderator there.”

    No he’s just a forum member. Not a moderator. Just wanted to clear up the confusion.

  26. Earned Retirement From Comics at Comics212 says:

    [...] no apologist for Alan Moore, but it seems like more than anything Alan Moore just wants to be left alone to [...]

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