Alan Moore rarely does interviews but he’s resurfaced for a new one, and it may not surprise you to learn the Watchmen creator – who has disowned some of his own work and largely disowned the adaptations of his graphic novels – doesn’t really care for the boom period of superhero cinema we’re currently in.
Moore opened up to Deadline that he thinks superhero movies are a blight and an “infantilizing” influence on the culture. “Most people equate comics with superhero movies now,” he said which he finds troubling.
“That adds another layer of difficulty for me,” he continued. “I haven’t seen a superhero movie since the first Tim Burton Batman film. They have blighted cinema, and also blighted culture to a degree.”
Moore would then add, “Several years ago I said I thought it was a really worrying sign, that hundreds of thousands of adults were queuing up to see characters that were created 50 years ago to entertain 12-year-old boys.”
“That seemed to speak to some kind of longing to escape from the complexities of the modern world, and go back to a nostalgic, remembered childhood,” he continued further. “That seemed dangerous, it was infantilizing the population.”
Moore then expressed his belief the phenomenon of 12 of the highest-grossing movies of 2016 being comic book-related has something to do with Trump being elected – whom he calls “a National Socialist satsuma” – and the UK leaving the EU.
“Not to say that one causes the other but I think they’re both symptoms of the same thing – a denial of reality and an urge for simplistic and sensational solutions,” he said.
The writer also shared he wants nothing to do with comics after retiring permanently from the industry in 2018. He thinks they’ve lost their edge.
“When I entered the comics industry, the big attraction was that this was a medium that was vulgar, it had been created to entertain working class people, particularly children,” said Moore.
Now, he says, they are marketed too much toward middle-class people. “The way that the industry has changed, it’s ‘graphic novels’ now, it’s entirely priced for an audience of middle class people,” he stated.
He added, “I have nothing against middle class people but it wasn’t meant to be a medium for middle aged hobbyists. It was meant to be a medium for people who haven’t got much money.”
In his mind, what’s wrong is people wanting to read comics – art made for children – “as they always had…and still feel sophisticated.” The form grew up, after all.
But Moore feels they didn’t make the inroads with adult comics that they would, instead causing readers to take the hero characters too seriously. They’ve become “grotesque” in his view as they got more adult.
He sees Adam West’s portrayal as a more faithful adaptation of a man dressed as a bat. “Increasingly I think the best version of Batman was Adam West, which didn’t take it at all seriously,” said Moore.
Reflecting the words of Jim Campbell, Moore likewise contends “these characters have been stolen from their original creators, all of them,” singling out Marvel and Jack Kirby, most of all.
Moore has a film he was plugging, The Show, so he has a new ambition. As for comics, the retired Killing Joke author is adamant: “I have no interest in superheroes, they were a thing that was invented in the late 1930s for children, and they are perfectly good as children’s entertainment.”
What do you make of Moore’s comments regarding superheroes, comics, and comic book inspired film and TV?