Robot 6

Quote of the day | Alan Moore on constantly going back to the well

Alan Moore, by David Ma

“At the end of the day, if they haven’t got any properties that are valuable enough, but they have got these ‘top-flight industry creators’ that are ready to produce these prequels and sequels to WATCHMEN, well this is probably a radical idea, but could they not get one of the ‘top-flight industry creators’ to come up with an idea of their own? Why are DC Comics trying to exploit a comic book that I wrote 25 years ago if they have got anything? Sure they ought to have had an equivalent idea since? I could ask about why Marvel Comics are churning out or planning to bring out my ancient MARVELMAN stories, which are even older, if they had a viable idea of their own in the quarter-century since I wrote those works. I mean, surely that would be a much easier solution than all of this clandestine stuff? Just simply get some of your top-flight talent to put out a book that the wider public outside of the comics field find as interesting or as appealing as the stuff that I wrote 25 years ago. It shouldn’t be too big an ask, should it? I wouldn’t have thought so. And it would solve an awful lot of problems. They must have one creator, surely, in the entire American industry that could do equivalent work to something I did 25 years ago. It would be insulting to think that there weren’t.”

Alan Moore, in a lengthy interview on Bleeding Cool about Watchmen, any potential sequels to it and his thoughts on the comic industry



As I was reading this interview on a different website, I got to this part and I was like, man, I could see this on Robot 6’s creator quotes.

A bit of egotism there I think. The reason Marvel are churning out your Miracleman stories is because they’ve been out of print for nearly 20 years and people want to read them, also its probably Gaimans stories people are more excited by since we’re still awaiting a conclusion to that.

I accept your challenge, Mr. Moore.

I love how he then goes on to say elsewhere in the interview that he doesn’t think the industry has top flight, middle flight or even bottom flight talent.

The man’s a genius and his impact will never be deniable, but anything I could say here after noting that is not pleasant, so I’ll keep it to myself.

Someday the world will run out of bridges, because Alan Moore will have burnt them all.

That’s like saying Moore should have never written Miracle Man or Watchmen because they were based on older ideas (properties) too.

“, also its probably Gaimans stories people are more excited by since we’re still awaiting a conclusion to that.”

Came here to say that. It’s more about getting to a point where Gaiman’s issues can be published and finished off. And there’s money to be made from reprinting Moore’s stories since they aren’t in print.

He’s right on the DC thing though, it’s a stupid idea to touch Watchmen. Just leave it alone.

But Marvelman, Gaiman’s at least, was left unfinished. It has become a thing of legend, the end of Gaiman’s Silver Age and the Dark Age.

And personally, I hope they reprint Apocrypha, because it’s the first place I ever read anything by Kurt Busiek and a bunch of other folks.

If it makes anyone feel vindicated, I, as someone who has defended Moore for a long time, must admit that he does sound even to me like he’s getting a bit… needlessly tetchy, shall we say.

On the other hand, I recommend people read the interview (or at least skim it) because bits of it are quite amusing, such as Moore’s questions about whether “the people at DC always know what they’re doing,” especially in regards to what they own and don’t own.

Even cranks can make witty observations, at least.

I don’t get it. Watchmen was a sequel to the Charlton ‘world’, Miracle Man was a sequel to the work that was done decades earlier, Swamp Thing was a continuation of what was done before…

Does the very act of using something else as a launching point make it creatively bankrupt? For all he knows, a Watchmen sequel could be an amazingly different take on what came before, something creatively bold and interesting. I don’t really want that watchmen sequel, but you can’t decry it at base if you’ve ever written any company owned character.

I think a lot of Alan Moore’s comments are very much steeped in him having not kept up with the American comics industry at all since stepping out of it himself. He constantly talks about how no one has created a comic that has matched “Watchmen” in the 25 years since he and Dave Gibbons released it, but I think there have been a multitude of works by other creators in years since “Watchmen” that at very least could be rated as being in the same ballpark as “Watchmen”, including (but not necessarily limited to):

The Sandman
All-Star Superman
DC: The New Frontier
The Walking Dead
The Long Halloween
I Kill Giants
Kingdom Come
Essex County
Y: The Last Man
The Other Side

Posting to agree with Whitster. Moore’s Marvelman comics have been out of print for a generation. Literally. I have never read them, and have only seen scattered issues in person. Great works of literature stay in print so future generations can enjoy them. There’s no reason to needle Marvel for (hopefully) bringing a well-regarded work back into circulation. I understand Moore’s embrace of his work, but he should keep in mind that Marvelman in particular is half-forgotten these days since the current generation of fans under 35 haven’t read it.

His comments on the industry’s current talent pool aside, am I the only one who thinks that Moore’s attitude towards Watchmen and Miracleman is actually lacking in egotism? He’s basically saying, “Why should anyone care about my old stuff? Create something new.” He’s actually undercutting his own importance.

@Brad Rzanka: Only if you go by this part of it. Elsewhere he talks about how it revitilized a moribund industry, how they were fine pieces of art that has been raped. Everythings a conspiracy that revolves around him.

I don’t know, this is just my opinion, but I do think there’s egotism in there.

i love interviews with moore almost as much as i love the reaction to interviews with more

I wonder how much of this vitriol is just built up because he’s ALWAYS being asked about it.
If you asked me once how I felt about this I’d be “eh, leave well enough alone.”
Ask me 1000 times and I’d probably go off like a mad dog.

Eh, the internet hates Alan Moore. What’s new?

Well, his argument really makes no sense. Even if DC could crank out a “Watchmen” level property every two or three years, I doubt that would stop them from “trying to exploit a comic [he] wrote 25 years ago,” for the simple reason that there is money to be made by it.

Watchmen is an amazing book, one of the all-time greats, but Moore seems to believe that its success stems entirely from the level of craft on the part of himself and Gibbons. Not so, not entirely. The success (in sales) of Watchmen owes a great deal to its reputation as a masterpiece, which has grown over time to make it into the mainstream cynosure that it is today.

In a way, Watchmen is like the Shakespeare of the superhero industry. Both Watchmen and the plays of Shakespeare represent early instances (relative to their form) where the work attained both critical and popular regard. People who never read anything but the newspaper KNOW somehow that the plays of Shakespeare are GREAT literature, and people who wouldn’t be caught dead reading a superhero comic KNOW that Watchmen is a GREAT “graphic novel.” So although comics of equal quality to Watchmen have been produced since, none of them possess the same level of recognition, as being the “first-best” of their industry. Profit-seeking publishers are aware of the “first-best” instant-recogntion factor, and this is why they continue to publish books about Shakespeare and his characters (for example, IDW’s recent “Kill Shakespeare”), and why Watchmen ancillary titles continue to be a goal of DC’s.


September 9, 2010 at 6:47 pm


Moore doesn’t actually follow American comic books except through second hand word, so I’m not sure why people keep asking his opinion on them.
You could ask why Alan Moore in the 80’s was trying to exploit a property created 25 years before with Marvelman and Watchmen.
He’s angry that Marvel wants to republish his old stories – with someone elses character – but also doesn’t want DC to do new Watchmen.
(I agree with the latter, but if Marvel are wrong and DC are both wrong, why was it right for Alan to work with other peoples properties? Both of these properties were revamps of other peoples works.)

Also, quite odd in the extended interview that he is using mistake people at DC made in the 60’s as being similar to situations today… his phrasing makes it sound like it’s the same people doing it, when he knows ownership has changed and it was entirely different people there when he started, let alone now.

“Now, I don’t think that the contemporary industry actually has a ‘top-flight’ of talent. I don’t think it’s even got a middle-flight or a bottom-flight of talent.”
– Alan Moore, proving he doesn’t know shit about comics.

I find it weird that a lot of people feel the need to attack Alan Moore for considering his own multi-million dollar critically acclaimed work a masterpiece, and yet feel the need to ignore that he’s right. Why wouldn’t they want to field the next Watchmen? Why not encourage creativity instead of hoping there’s still more water at the bottom of the well?


September 9, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I find it weird that a lot of people feel the need to attack Alan Moore for considering his own multi-million dollar critically acclaimed work a masterpiece, and yet feel the need to ignore that he’s right.

But is he right?
Look at his conspiracy theory there – they are using his mates family problems as a negotiating tool?
He won’t talk to any one from comics, because Dave Gibbons talked business with him after telling him he’d talk business?
Most of that stuff is outright loopy, and based on no evidence whatsoever.

Why wouldn’t they want to field the next Watchmen? Why not encourage creativity instead of hoping there’s still more water at the bottom of the well?

Why not do both?

Sure, another Watchmen spin-off is creatively bankrupt, but it’s likely to bring in easy cash.
Making lots of money for your corporate owners – shareholders – means you’ve got more of a chance to try new things and find the next Watchmen, and can afford to have a few Camelot 3000’s along the way.

why does Dave Gibbons want to talk business with Alan Moore after telling him not to? he must not respect Alan Moore much.

Speaking of the evils of recycling, Alan Moore’s rant above sounds a lot like he’s recycling his rhetoric from an earlier rant: the protest against DC using an old GREEN LANTERN story he did for BLACKEST NIGHT.

With the regularity of the seasons changing, yet another lament from the Crabby Hermit…triggering the clockwork response of deploring/defending him from the usual quarters.

It’s all so tiresome, isn’t it? Why do we have such an appetite for arguing the same arguments over and over and over again? Could we have a moratorium on “Alan Moore thinks DC is Satan” articles for at least a year….or until he actually says something new or interesting?

I think Moore plays the “Mad Hermit” card a little too much, But in this case I agree with him totally. Why can’t any of the so-called “top-flight” “rockstar” “genius” creators of today come up with anything original that has the impact on today’s society that these old properties did decades ago? (I feel the same about the music industry – stop with the robo-voices and the piss-poor covers of oldies how about something that will last beyond the next “Now that what I call…” compilation.)

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