Famed comic writer/chaos magician/curmudgeon swore back in 2014 that he would not be doing any more interviews. But he made an exception in order to hype the release of his new film The Show, which premieres this month at the Sitges film festival in Spanish (after a planned premiere at the cancelled South By Southwest).
As always with Alan Moore, this Deadline interview is full of some cutting industry insight. While his trademark cynicism is still present, there is a surprising lack of bitterness. Perhaps that's because he's given up on comic books entirely — although of course, he couldn't avoid touching on the subject.
For example, Moore expounds upon the impact of COVID-19 on the comic book industry:
The mainstream comics industry is about 80 years old and it has lots of pre-existing health conditions. It wasn't looking that great before COVID happened.
Most of our entertainment industries have been a bit top heavy for a while. The huge corporations, business interests, have so much money they can produce these gigantic blockbusters of one sort or another that will dominate their markets. I can see that changing, and perhaps for the better. It's too early to make optimistic predictions but you might hope that the bigger interests will find it more difficult to manoeuvre in this new landscape, whereas the smaller independent concerns might find that they are a bit more adapted. These times might be an opportunity for genuinely radical and new voices to come to the fore in the absence of yesteryear.
He also talks about what drew him to the medium to begin with:
When I entered the comics industry, the big attraction was that this was a medium that was vulgar, it had been created to entertain working class people, particularly children. The way that the industry has changed, it's 'graphic novels' now, it's entirely priced for an audience of middle class people. I have nothing against middle class people but it wasn't meant to be a medium for middle aged hobbyists. It was meant to be a medium for people who haven't got much money.
But ultimately, he blames corporatism and escapist desires as the source of everything that has plagued the comic book industry — and nowhere is that more manifest than in superhero movies:
Several years ago I said I thought it was a really worrying sign, that hundreds of thousands of adults were queuing up to see characters that were created 50 years ago to entertain 12-year-old boys. That seemed to speak to some kind of longing to escape from the complexities of the modern world, and go back to a nostalgic, remembered childhood. That seemed dangerous, it was infantilizing the population.
This may be entirely coincidence but in 2016 when the American people elected a National Socialist satsuma and the UK voted to leave the European Union, six of the top 12 highest grossing films were superhero movies. Not to say that one causes the other but I think they're both symptoms of the same thing – a denial of reality and an urge for simplistic and sensational solutions.
All art-forms are potentially [escapism]. But they can be used for something other than escapism. Think of all the films that have really challenged assumptions, films that have been difficult to take on board, disturbing in their messages. The same goes for literature. But these superhero films are too often escapism.
Superheroes aside, you can watch Moore's new film The Show online through the Sitges film festival website. Here's a synopsis:
Fletcher Dennis (Tom Burke), a man of many talents, passports and identities, arrives in Northampton – a strange and haunted town in the heart of England as dangerous as he is. On a mission to locate a stolen artifact for his menacing client, Fletcher finds himself entangled in a twilight world populated with vampires, sleeping beauties, Voodoo gangsters, noir private eyes, and masked avengers. He quickly sinks into a bizarre and delirious black hole, that is hidden just beneath the surface of this seemingly quiet town. Soon enough Fletcher discovers that dreams and reality have been blurred and there might no longer be a real-world to go back to…Welcome to The Show.