5 March 2009


The movie is coming out tomorrow. It'll be huge. A lot of people I know are excited. I am not one of them.

I find the original author, Alan Moore, (even though he has distanced himself from the movie) to be unlikable. He has on occasion re imagined the works of others to create his own works and worlds. there is, for example, From Hell, in which he re imagines the Victorian world around the Jack the Ripper murders, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which the main characters of several Victorian era novels- Captain Nemo, Quartermain, Hyde, and so on- form a quasi superhero team, and Lost Girls, in which Alice, Dorothy and Wendy get together and reminisce about their sexual awakenings, and proceed to have sexual experiences with each other and anyone else. Sex plays a role in much of Moore's writing, but Lost Girls is the only work of his of which I am aware which is focused on sex. Without touching upon sex at the moment- I'll get to that in a minute- I must say, I never cared much for this kind of pastiche writing, or re-imaginings, or whatever catch-phrase an author likes to dress up his work.

Years ago when I was a kid I discovered the Conan stories. I thought they were great. (Did I mention I was kid?) I then discovered the original stories by Robert E Howard, and I was overjoyed. These were the real thing. Finding the original stories ruined the later pastiches, but that was an acceptable price. The pastiches, I discovered, used the name "Conan", but the character resembles the original, the real character about as much as I do. Why, then, didn't the pastiche authors simply take Conan as an inspiration and then write their own stories about a barbarian swordsman? Because the stories would never have sold. But put the name on it, and there is an established audience waiting. It's a dishonest trick to grab some cash, but at least it's an honestly dishonest trick. I have seen this trick applied to other characters down through the ages- Sherlock Holmes, for example, or the various Draculas and Frankenstein monsters.

Moore, on the other hand, gives interviews in which he claims to be a/ releasing the original subtexts submerged within the works- which is a way of saying that Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland are really about sex, and Moore is working to liberate us from our Victorian shackles. Dealing with the second one first, I must admit I find it amusing to still find people claiming to be fighting a war of liberation against our Victorian ideals. I have an announcement: The war is over. Has been for a long time. The Victorians lost. The battles were fought by people other than the current crop. Moore and his ilk are neither warriors nor thinkers. They are more like Miles Gloriosi- the bragging soldiers- who show up on the battlefield when the fighting is done, and start killing the wounded. If they had a symbol it would be the vulture, feeding off a corpse, claiming victory.

As for the first claim.... In a world of relativity, where books are texts of no determinate value or finalized meaning, interpretation becomes unstable, and any book can become anything anyone wants it to be. But this raises a question: Why write about Alice, Dorothy and Wendy? Why not leave them and their fans in peace, and create three characters, give them new names, and go tell the story that way? Because no one would care. Because no one would bother to read or ban the books, as they did when Lost Girls came out. Moore is dishonestly dishonest.

There once was a time when the artist sought to enlighten humanity, and to lift humankind up from its animal nature. The modern and post-modern artists feels s/he has struck a blow for freedom and liberty if they say the word 'f*ck' often enough.

So, there was a time I liked and even admired the works of Alan Moore. However, now I find the man so pathetically unlikable, I want nothing to do with him. The movie can be huge without me.

No comments: