Making his latest trip out of his self-imposed semi-exile to criticize the current state of the industry, iconic comic book author Alan Moore has expressed concern over adults actively enjoying comic book media, as he believes them to be engaging in a “kind of infantilisation that can very often be a precursor to fascism.”
The legendary Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke scribe reaffirmed his disdain for the comic book industry’s current direction during a recent interview given to The Guardian in promotion of the upcoming publication of his first short story collection, Illuminations.
Speaking to one of the stories included therein, What We Can Know About Thunderman, Moore described it as a “good riddance” to the industry before turning to assure The Guardian’s Sam Leith, “I’m definitely done with comics.”
“I haven’t written one for getting on for five years,” he added. “I will always love and adore the comics medium but the comics industry and all of the stuff attached to it just became unbearable.”
To this end, Moore explained that he took particular issue with how the demographic of the entire medium had shifted from young boys to grown adults, as he found it odd that “Hundreds of thousands of adults [are] lining up to see characters and situations that had been created to entertain the 12-year-old boys – and it was always [emphasis Moore’s] boys – of 50 years ago.”
“I didn’t really think that superheroes were adult fare,” continued the From Hell creator. “I think that this was a misunderstanding born of what happened in the 1980s – to which I must put my hand up to a considerable share of the blame, though it was not intentional – when things like Watchmen were first appearing.”
“There were an awful lot of headlines saying ‘Comics Have Grown Up’,” he recalled. “I tend to think that, no, comics hadn’t grown up. There were a few titles that were more adult than people were used to. But the majority of comics titles were pretty much the same as they’d ever been.”
“It wasn’t comics growing up,” opined Moore. “I think it was more comics meeting the emotional age of the audience coming the other way.”
This cannibalization of modern culture by superhero fare was particularly worrying to Moore, as he believed this widespread fanaticism towards characters and stories intended for children was served as the perfect primer for the acceptance of general fascism.
“I said round about 2011 that I thought that it had serious and worrying implications for the future if millions of adults were queueing up to see Batman movies,” stated Moore. “Because that kind of infantilisation – that urge towards simpler times, simpler realities – that can very often be a precursor to fascism.”
In support of this argument, Moore noted that “when we ourselves took a bit of a strange detour in our politics” with the 2016 election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, most of the major films at the time were ones based on superheroes, such as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Deadpool, and Captain America: Civil War.
Closing out his thoughts on the topic of comic books, Moore was asked by Leith how he felt about the Guy Fawkes mask used by the titular protagonist of V for Vendetta, to which the bearded writer replied, “I can’t endorse everything that people who take that mask as an icon might do in the future, of course. But I’m heartened to see that it has been adopted by protest movements so widely across the world.”
“Because we do need protest movements now,” he concluded. “Probably more than we’ve ever done before.”
Alan Moore’s Illuminations hits shelves on October 11th.