Alan Moore is one of the most well-known names in modern comics. Even if you're not a comic book fan, you've probably at least heard of the guy. There's a good chance you have at least a passing familiarity with his wild, unkempt mane, or the fact that he's a practicing wizard.
He's also known for being, erm, not the happiest person on the planet. He even voiced a parody version of himself on an episode of The Simpsons, reveling in the glory of his own crotchety reputation.
This year, Moore celebrated his 66th birthday by announcing his plans to vote in a general election for the first time in 40 years, in order to stop "this ravenous, insatiable Conservative agenda before it devours us with our kids as a dessert." But the meaningfulness of his actions was largely overshadowed on social media by the fact that Moore is still a miserable old witch and did you know there's a great new Watchmen show out.
Moore's voting pronouncement was made on the social media accounts of his daughter, Leah, who's a successful comic book creator in her own right. So Leah had to deal with a lot of these comments. And she made clear, she's had enough of people slagging on her father. Sure, she's aware of his faults. But if you understand where he's coming from, it will absolutely break your heart — just like his heart was repeatedly broken by the superhero comics he loved so much.
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This lovely cover was heard in the seventh episode of the new Watchmen TV show, titled "An Almost Religious Awe." The track will appear on Reznor and Ross's album "Watchmen: Vol. 3 (Music from the HBO Series)" due out December 16.
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Back in September, a rare print edition of Space Adventures #7—originally published by the new-defunct Charlton Comics in 1953—sold for $1,800.
The comic book speculator market isn't normally the kind of cash cow that the 90s thought it was going to be. Unless you've got one of those very rare early superhero origin comics—or you happen to sell something random like Avengers #257 at the exact right time for a convenient movie tie-in—you're typically lucky to make even a dollar on an old comic.
Space Adventures #7 has nothing to do with superheroes, or non-superhero movie adaptations. But it's still coveted, probably because it contains a pre-Comics Code story called "Transformation" that was illustrated by Dick Giordano, who went on to become the Executive Editor at DC Comics, and written by a curiously uncredited author.
What's more interesting about the comic, however, is that it deals unexpectedly with transgender issues.
Here's a basic synopsis of the 8-page story from Comic Book Plus:
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Anticipating nuclear war that would leave Earth barren of life, Lars Kranston convinces his colleagues to go to Mars. His paramour Betty Stone insists that she go as well. The ship crashes on Mars. Everyone but Lars and Betty are killed, but Lars thinks she died too. Betty wakes up suffering total amnesia. Lars decides to use the supplies that survived the wreck. He manages a complete sex change. The tumultuous situation on Earth dies down. The predicted war never occurs. Betty remembers the journey.
Though the wonderful wizard of Northampton may strike me down, I must confess: HBO's new Watchmen series is really, really good. I would argue that it actually has more in common with Moore's adaptive approach to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen—alluding to some established literary canon, but remixing the elements into a story all its own.
Just as the original comic featured news clips and other articles at the end of every issue, the TV show has an online "Peteypedia," a collection of supporting text documents that exist within the world of the series. For example: a social work pamphlet about "Extra-dimensional Anxiety and You." This is, of course, supposed to be a reference to the climactic events of the 30-year-old graphic novel, where a (fake) squid-like alien is sent through an extra-dimensional portal into the middle of Manhattan, killing millions of people, traumatizing millions more with telepathic psychological damage, and, ultimately ending the Cold War by uniting USA and USSR against a common enemy.
But honestly it…just kind of sounds like living in the United States in 2019 in our own reality. The pamphlet warns of the common PTSD-like symptoms of EDA such as flashbacks and obsessive rumination; hyperavoidance and hypervigilance; negative changes in identity, relationships, or worldview; and paranoia, thrill-seeking, or suicidal thoughts. While, yes, it is supposed to be a somewhat-satirical riff on the generic language of support groups, it also feels like an accurate and relatable description of social media in the Trump years. Read the rest
Polygon interviewed Watchmen costume designer Meghan Kasperlik, who described the movie magic used to bring Looking Glass to life:
“We had five different masks,” the designer says, explaining that exactly what Nelson was wearing would change depending on the demands of the scene. Some of the masks were for motion tracking, featuring a special print that would aid with motion capture and tracking, keeping track of the orientation of Nelson’s face at all times. Others were purely green screen or spandex, while yet another — the only mask that wouldn’t require the reflectiveness to be added via CG later — was made of lamé, a type of fabric that has metallic fiber woven throughout it, meaning only one of the actual masks used during shooting was that distinctive silver.
Den of Geek talked to Tim Blake Nelson about wearing the mask:
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“The mask is fine to wear. I really like it,” he says. “Actually it furnishes a wonderful challenge that is specific to itself. In drama school we did mask class and the reason they taught that was to take away the visage, which is an essential form of expression that we have, and force the actor to use only body and voice. I looked at this as a really fun exercise over an entire season of television in which I would get to explore that. And moreover going in the opposite direction with this character. Rather than amplifying body and voice to use the mask to pull back even more.
Five years after giving his supposedly-last interview, the Great Wizard of Northampton Alan Moore has once again deigned to allow someone to record a conversation with him for public consumption. This time, it's part of Paperback Writers: Graphic Content, a new BBC series where comic book writers discuss their musical influences.
Moore is surprisingly delightful over the course of the two-hour interview-slash-DJ-session, sharing great songs alongside tidbits from his life. He talks a bit about the end of his comic book career, as well as his upcoming work in opera and film. In a rare instance, he also talks briefly about adaptations of his work. Not the upcoming HBO TV sequel-adaptation of Watchmen, of course—rather, Terry Gilliam's attempted adaptation during the late 1980s. Moore says:
I did hear that when Terry Gilliam was supposed to be doing Watchmen back in the 1980s. I remember he told me that he’d had a number of phone calls from David Bowie asking to play the Rorschach character. There’s an alternate world we can only imagine.
As if I needed any more proof that we're living in a divergent Hellworld that splintered off the main timeline after Bowie's death. Now I'll be cursed with dreams of another, even better world where Bowie played Rorschach in a Joel Silver-produced Terry Gilliam movie penned by Gilliam's Brazil co-writing partner, Charles McKeown. (Okay so maybe that Joel Silver part still would ruined it.)
You can listen to Moore's two-hour BBC interview here. Read the rest
Kristian Williams created this compelling video essay analyzing why Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's Watchmen was "unfilmable" without, well, ruining it.
"If we only see comics in relation to movies then the best that they will ever be is films that do not move," Moore once said.
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