...but Alan Moore wants more, more, more credit for destroying comic books than any single human being should ever be forced (or allowed) to assume.
In this interview at mania.com, interviewer Kurt Amacker sets the agenda right off:
"...it seems like almost all heroes follow the model you created with MARVELMAN and WATCHMEN."
And Alan Moore is pleased to agree in all particulars:
"And can I just say I'm sorry? That was never my intention for every book to be like that."
Yes, Mister Moore, I think you should say twelve Hail Marys (whether you're Catholic or not) and beat yourself with a scourge until your back bleeds for the horrible, horrible things you've done to the superhero comics industry. You did it all; before you, no one had ever had the notion of making mainstream superheroes and their kindred engage in dark or disturbing storylines.
Except, oh, maybe-- let's see, which ones did I cite here? Neal Adams, Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas, Barry Smith, Michael Fleischer, Len Wein, Dave Cockrum, Chris Claremont, Ross Andru, and Frank Miller were in there, and I may have missed some. I even noted that Miller began to influence the dominant trends in comics some time before Americans knew Alan Moore from a hole in Blackburn, Lancaster. (I still like that line, but no one appreciated it. Sigh.)
Most of the creators I cited in the above essay did their takes on the dark and disturbing (aka the "grim and the gritty") during the early part of the Bronze Age. Alan Moore is at least *aware* of this time-period. For him it is the "mud age," in which mainstream comics "seemed to have lost their way." He claims that MARVELMAN was "rebelling against" this "tepid" period.
I have a different interpretation. Though 1970s mainstream comics can be fairly criticized on a lot of levels, many of them aren't substantially different from Moore's early work stuff except in terms of how far they were willing to go in quest of "grim and gritty" thrills. Indeed, given that most of the attempts at "dark and disturbing superheroes" even predate the appearance of Frank Miller, I imagine that even if neither gentleman ever worked in comics, comics would probably have pursued the same journey into the Superheroic Heart of Darkness, if only in quest of new and older readers.
Alan Moore's endless hand-wringing is beginning to sound like the egoistic moan of the reformed sinner who wants to buttonhole you, Ancient-Mariner style, and tell you over and over about his monumental sin.
Note to Mr. Moore: When even your interviewers begin to echo your estimations of your vast and terrible crime, it might be time to start talking about something-- anything!-- else.
It shouldn't be difficult, Mr. Moore being so bountifully full of ideas and all.
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