Alan Moore on the V for Vendetta movie

Lying in the Gutters:

Earlier in the year, Moore received a call from "V For Vendetta" writer/producer and "Matrix" director Larry Wachowski, but told him politely, "I didn't want anything to do with films and had no time this year, being in the middle of work, my day job, writing, I wasn't interested in Hollywood."

Shortly afterwards, Alan Moore was made aware of a press release sent out covering a press conference producer Joel Silver and the cast had held. Joel Silver said of Alan, "he was very excited about what Larry had to say and Larry sent the script, so we hope to see him sometime before we're in the UK."

Alan instructed DC/Warner Brothers to issue a retraction against these "blatant lies - that's the phrase I'm groping for."

Most surprising detail: Moore's royalty cut for the movie rights (which he gave to the artist, after having his name taken off the film) was only $8k!

Speaking of Moore, has he been up to good stuff lately? I haven't heard about much. The most recent things I've read by him were the first trade paperback of "Promethea" and the first couple issues of "From Hell". Promethea did nothing for me, really (the art wasn't bad, but I felt like I'd read it all before.) I couldn't get into "From Hell" because I really didn't like Eddie Cambell's art. I enjoyed his "Bacchus", but something about the art in "From Hell" just didn't do it for me. (Call me a philistine, but it's rare that a black-and-white comic will grab me. I usually find them hard to read.)

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28 Responses:

  1. sim_james says:

       Promethea is fairly good for what it is; a quick and basic introduction to Western occultism, coupled with a diverting side-story that may well prove to be far more interesting in the long run than the apparently primary plotline. The first four trades are available in paperback, and I’d recommend you have a look – it’s a very inexpensive way to decide if you like a series.

       If you’re already really into the occult, or conversely not into the occult at all, then Moore’s “Magic for Dummies” might not hold your interest. But it’s fairly neatly done, and very prettily illustrated.

       By contrast, From Hell is very much a political commentary. Although there are a lot of ritual Masonic and supernatural trappings, they are almost incidental to what I believe the story is actually about. I’m sorry to hear that you don’t like the illustrative style, it will be very hard to read the whole thing – and it is very long!

    • The first TPB is more like standard superhero stuff... it wasn't too far off from the old Doctor Strange, except with real deities instead of made-up ones. After that it really takes off: Less telling, more showing. Sometimes it goes a step further and evokes something instead of just showing it to you. The Tree of Life storyline is especially good at that.

      But yes, you need to be either interested in Western occultism or have some tolerance for deeply interesting ideas metastasizing into batshit insanity.

    • solios says:

      Personally, I've always thought that Book Four : Magick In Theory And Practice is a quick and basic introduction and overview of the western method. It also scores bonus points for being written as a manual instead of a work of fiction.

      My roommate, who's no slouch on the sephiroth, is extremely into Promethia. It doesn't do anything for me at all, but then, I like my occult and my comics straight, as opposed to mixed.

  2. yozlet says:

    Of the recent Moore work, I thought The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was fantastic and Top Ten was excellent too. Both show Moore in a more relaxed frame of mind; they're less about creating massive Watchmen-style masterpieces and more about having fun, though there's still plenty of intricacy in League. And Top Ten (kind of Watchmen redone as Hill Street Blues) has some fantastic gags in it.

    Supreme is an interesting muckabout with the concepts of comic continuities, in particular with regard to Superman - but Moore couldn't use Superman, so he created a very obvious clone instead. Tom Strong is a return to older styles of comic narrative, and not something that really grabbed me (since I'm one of those johnny-come-lately "graphic novel" fans with no proper comics grounding), but I can understand why others are so into it.

    • The first volume of League is worth it just for the letter columns and advertisements. The one about "why your deities have multiple arms and so many of them seem to be holding kives" was especially genius.


    • jwz says:

      Yeah, I read the League books, they were great.

  3. ciphergoth says:

    I'd echo League and Top Ten as top Moore picks. He knows the score, you know.

  4. korgmeister says:

    Word appears to be that he's going for a Dave-Sim-esque degree of "religious interestingness" except minus the paranoia and general misanthropy, so it appears to be regarded as generally forgivable.

  5. waider says:

    I bought the compendium version of From Hell and found it a fascinating read. I'm not much driven by the artwork either way - the astonishing depth of the research (illustrated by the fact that there's a huge page-by-page footnotes section at the end) is what hooked me.

    • king_mob says:

      I pretty much had the same reaction. I do also remember that while I was reading it I had to ask waider to explain British currency to me(e.g., what the fuck is a farthing?).
      I liked League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Tom Strong a lot and read the first dozen or so issues of both before scheduling concerns prompted me to completely abandon comic books; I didn't really get into Top Ten and Promethea.

  6. solios says:

    No surprise that Moore's had nothing to do with the film versions of V or Watchmen. Given the boring Dragonball Z bullshit festivals that were the last two Matrix movies, I hold absolutely no hope of V being a quality adaptation.

    As for Moore, he's still doin' ABC comics last I checked*- my roommate is madly in love with Promethia, though I'm really not interested in the ABC lineup outside of Top Ten and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen- The League is just fun reading, while Top Ten has the perverse attraction of having far too much in common with a project I've kept on the back burner for too long.

    * I haven't checked in awhile - since your popery post put Cerebus on my radar, it's a safe bet to say that Dave Sim is man of the season in terms of my comics-buying dollar. I take Moore's current issues with filmmaking and DC as further proof that Sim's path is ultimately the Right Way To Go.

    • jwz says:

      I gave up on Cerebus part way into Jaka's Story. I loved it as a comedy, but when he started to start doing Serious Explorations of a Talking Aardvark's Relationship With Women, I went yawn.

      • solios says:

        I've read the first four volumes and have held off on plunging further into the story for various reaons (need to replenish my stock of Transmet trades, as those always seem to disappear). Dave Sim The Personality is (for me) a more interesting read than his actual body of work. Perils of working on my own project - I've found myself looking into creator opinions and experience with issues that concern me - namely publishing - and Sim has quite a bit of interest to say on the matter.

        • korgmeister says:

          I know what you mean about Dave Sim the personality. You might want to get a copy of his "Collected Letters, Vol 1" if that's what interests you. No shortage of material about Dave Sim himself there.

          He'll also answer pretty much any mail you send him, which is very nice.
          He reminds me alot of my uncle, except without the deism and obsessive focus on social darwinism.

          • solios says:

            I've read up enough on Sim to find that he's very deeply into his correspondance, and have contemplated writing the guy. It's largely a matter of figuring out what, exactly, I want to say to him - in a fashion that wastes neither his time nor mine.

            The guy makes me wish I had a laser printer - the various big bits of his I've found online (correspondance with Moore, Rants, etc.) are too much for my web browser attention span.

  7. jwm says:


    I've got an interview with Moore from some BBC Radio 4 series, where they get the person interviewed last week to interview the next person (Chain Reaction, I think it was called). In it, Moore talks about deciding to do the whole overreacting thing to all the Holywood stuff, amongst other things, and he interviews Brian Eno the week after.

    I have no where to put them, but I can email them to you if you want a listen.


  8. diemoniker says:

    Nonetheless, I've never quite gotten over the fact that Terry Gilliam decided to do "The Fisher King" instead of "Watchmen."

    "From Hell" is only interesting if one can manifest a sustained interest in the Masons.

    Promethea has its moments, like the unexpected kink-fest when Stacia and Grace Branaugh become AN ITEM. Any of those issues where the characters travel through polychromatic layers of spiritual existence, though, leave me with the conviction that Alan Moore is just trying make his penchant for overdoing it on the psychadelics vaguely profitable.

    Once I got to read a few issues of the ultra-rare "Miracleman" (thinly disguised ripoff of "Marvelman" the thinly disguised UK ripoff of "Captain Marvel.") Sooooo good.

    • rednfiery says:

      yes, i was wondering if anyone knew about miracleman! i don't think it was a rip off of marvelman, though. i'm pretty sure it was a reprinting for the US market...eclipse comics didn't want to deal with (potential?) trademark issues with marvel comics over the name marvelman.

      just as an aside, in case you can get your hands on other issues -- neil gaiman took over the writing in later years. i think he ended up with (most of) the rights to the title/story when eclipse went under.

      anyway, yeah, miracleman's great. i highly recommend it.

      • will_sargent says:

        From what I've heard, the rights to Miracleman were tied up in a lawsuit once Eclipse went bankrupt. Something like five different companies (including the guy who does 2000AD) claimed to have interest in them.

        I believe that Neil Gaiman is working on getting the rights pulled together so he can finally finish the Silver Age, but who knows if that will amount to anything. I think that's what the 1702 series was all about... he was getting legal funds together.

  9. amacker says:

    Moore is working on his own flick:
    Shadowsnake Films has released the trailer for the upcoming film, The Mindscape of Alan Moore. In the film, Moore himself takes the viewer on a shamanic journey from his childhood, to his career in comics, and beyond.

    and woah, Natalie goes bald for Vendetta...

    i am still trying to track down the bastard who "borrowed" my DVD of From Hell...

  10. cortejo says:

    I'm somewhat shocked I didn't read about this ( here first.

  11. immersionist says:

    If you're interested in my opinion, I'll encourage you to reconsider both Promethea and From Hell. Both are undeniably dense, especially to get started, but both overcame my initial scepticism to become among my favorite Moore works.

    Like you, Eddie Campbell works for me sometimes and not others. I couldn't penetrate Bacchus to save my life, though I love his slice-of-life work. With From Hell, it takes about three chapters to keep up to speed with his style there, but it pays off in the long run. In particular, his style makes possible the most sneaky and underhanded plot twist I've ever read from Moore (which, when you consider Watchmen's mischief as a whole, is really saying something).

    At this point, I'd still recommend Watchmen as anyone's ideal introduction to Moore, but when all is said and done, I think From Hell will be his greatest contribution to literature in comics. It's even more monumental, substantial, and deeply gratifying in the end. And I've now happily gone back to re-read it several times. Like Watchmen, it gets better with every read. (And like Watchmen, the "liner notes" at the end are an awesome contribution, though totally different in nature.)

    Your take on Promethea was more surprising to me until I got my head straight. I was like, "How on earth could this guy read 'Sex, Stars, and Serpents' and feel he'd 'read it all before?!?'" And then I realized that the ultimate ass-kicking putting-it-all-in-context chapter doesn't come until Book TWO. But when it comes, whoo-boy!

    I find the art sometimes successful and sometimes not so much. Frequently, especially in the "real world" tech-futuristic setting, Williams' art is far too cluttered for me, and therefore more difficult to read. But outside reality (where more than half the series takes place), Williams does fine justice in the imagination. He pulls off a variety of stylistic looks and several of them end up quite breaktaking. Heaven forbid that Sandman's art had been so consistently good.

    Honestly, I liked Sandman but never completely loved it. I felt like Gaiman plumbed far too little of the potential of the theme. On the other hand, if we observe Sandman and Promethea as thematically-related (i.e., the correlation between dreaming and imagination as phenomena), Promethea is more thorough, potent, and rewarding in the end, and considerably more daring. Most of Moore's ABC comics struck me as more "pulpy" disposable fiction (though I adored Tom Strong), but Promethea stood tall above all the others for me. (Only LEG has seemed comparably meaty to me of his recent work.)

    Anyway, makes no difference to me if you take me seriously or not. I just found your entry by accident and thought I'd share my take on Moore's greatest recent works. They're dense and require some effort to penetrate, but to my mind are among the best things he's ever written. It's almost as if with slower getting-up-to-speeds in each series, he's separating "the men from the boys," and each ends up more profound in the end.

    • dibsy says:

      The sad fanboy in me got a real kick out of spotting the Watchmen dialogue being quoted inside a different comic in Promethea. Which is just so Alan Moore.

      I still love his work on Swamp Thing. It's so sad to see other writers attempt to match it.