Facetious question up there, but here’s my tuppence ha’penny worth.
I knew Alan slightly way back when. I’d moved to Northampton to work and I met him by chance in a new comic shop that had opened up in the town. Obviously, I was bowled over meeting one of my heroes and I’m sure I muttered something imbecilic and fanboyish to the great hairy god that was asking about a book on Steve Ditko. But to my joy, he invited me for a drink with himself and Melinda Gebbie and I couldn’t be so churlish as to refuse. My first meeting with Alan left me with the thought that I had met a very nice man, witty and intelligent and with an optimistic outlook on life and maybe a little mischevious into the bargain. Not a bad mix if you ask me.
Now I’d been brought up on a mixture of Dandy, Beano and Mighty World of Marvel, with 2000AD, Tiger and Hotspur thrown into that mix. Whizzer and Chips was a favourite, but the first time I came into contact with “AMERICAN COMICS” was an issue of Spectacular Spider- Man and I was hooked, superheroes was the thing for me, I loved those four-colour spandex-wearing critters ( though Superman was never a fave for me) and when I heard that Captain Britain was coming, I was weeing myself with excitement, though ultimately a little disappointed with the final result from Claremont and Co. It wasn’t long after that I gave up reading comics, GIRLS had begun to loom on the horizon by this time and the ham-fisted fumblings in dark corners at the back of the disco were far more interesting than who Hulk would smash that week.
Fast forward a couple of years and I was buying a packet of 10 Benson and Hedges ( do they still do packs of 10 cigarettes?) in the local Martins‘ newsagents when my eye was caught by a red, white and blue wearing on the front of a new breed of MWoM. It was Captain Britain in a new suit, and it looked exciting, so I stumped up the dosh and surreptitiously scampered from the newsagents, lest any of my friends would see me buying…COMICS!!!!!!!
It was the new era and the story was written by “Affable Alan Moore“, I was hooked again and went back to buying 2000AD every week and MWoM, then The Daredevils every month, then Warrior and then taking trips down to The Smoke to poke around in sweaty, dusty dank little shops that sold exclusively comics of the American Kind. I was introduced to the joys of Los Hermanos Hernandez and a host of other people that weren’t in colour and didn’t leap over buildings in a single bound, or have great responsibility with their great powers. But I always bought a book if it was written by Alan. Then came Swamp Thing and his stuff at DC ( I even read Superman because he wrote it), I loved Marvelman at both Warrior and then at Eclipse, and was over enjoyed when V for Vendetta was finished up at DC.
Then came WATCHMEN. Shit, it knocked my socks off. I can remember reading the first issue and sitting around for about half an hour after, then reading it again to see if it was as good as I had imagined it, and yes it was. Sitting down to read the collected book is an experience that no one should ever put off. The writing and art blend so perfectly together, it makes you weep to see such a perfect use of the form that we call graphic, the medium we label comics. It’s like watching Citizen Kane for the first time, or the Godfather. Hearing Sgt Pepper’s or The Door’s:The End for the first time. Moving one on such a profound level that it can only be called “ART” with the big A there on the front.
Alan Moore is an artist, WATCHMEN was his “obra mestre” as much as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was to Michelangelo, or Guernica for Picasso. Would it be too much to ask that it be left to stand on its own? Is it too much too give the creator his due? Apparently for DC it is, and with the new regime there, nothing is sacred. At least Paul Levitz understood this, even though Alan and Dave got railroaded over WATCHMEN, it was left to stand.
This has been written in response to this article over at Bleeding Cool.
Tom Sturgeon has written this great post in defence of Alan’s attitudes here at his blog.
And in a sense of fair play here’s what the Comic Alliance has to say about the subject.