Alan Moore Interview

by John Holbo on January 26, 2014

I have no basis for judging the Alan Moore vs. Grant Morrison feud, but Moore’s droll elaborateness about that, and everything else, can just roll on and on and on, as far as I’m concerned.

Ty Templeton’s take on the Moore-Morrison feud is highly partisan, but the grandness of love surely is a flag around which we can all rally. (“I’m camink” is a Herrimanesque neologism of a talk bubble one cannot unsee. Setch diktion! I’m an Offisa Pup-type.)

UPDATE: Grant Morrison’s point-by-point rebuttal is pretty sober and compelling. Since there are actual persons involved, I should probably make clear that I don’t regard ‘droll elaborateness’ as anything like evidence of truth. If anything, the opposite. Moore comes off as manic (as befits his reputation as a magus). That’s what I should has said. He’s so droll yet so manic, the elaborate lengthiness of it serving as a kind of insulation, to keep those two moods from annihilating one another. But if what Moore says about Morrison isn’t true, the sheer entertainment value of the way he says it shouldn’t count for much. Except for entertainment purposes. Perhaps not even that.

{ 38 comments }

1

Bruce Baugh 01.26.14 at 10:33 am

Moore recently convinced me that he’s too disconnected to be reliable.

In an interview with Alison Flood, Moore says:

“Why should murder be so over-represented in our popular fiction, and crimes of a sexual nature so under-represented?” he asks. “Surely it cannot be because rape is worse than murder, and is thus deserving of a special unmentionable status. Surely, the last people to suggest that rape was worse than murder were the sensitively reared classes of the Victorian era … And yet, while it is perfectly acceptable (not to say almost mandatory) to depict violent and lethal incidents in lurid and gloating high-definition detail, this is somehow regarded as healthy and perfectly normal, and it is the considered depiction of sexual crimes that will inevitably attract uproars of the current variety.”

This is not a man who has the first damn clue what’s going in the world at large.

Out in the real world, rape, threatened or committed is so common a fate forced on female characters as to be entirely cliche. It’s been noted some, to put it mildly,

2

Nick 01.26.14 at 11:48 am

I suppose its possible both for Moore to have a more than critiqueable attitude towards sexual violence, and yet for the people at the forefront of the criticism with it to be creepy self-serving hacks.

3

soru 01.26.14 at 1:22 pm

<i.This is not a man who has the first damn clue what’s going in the world at large.

True if by ‘world at large’ you mean ‘the internet’.

4

Alison P 01.26.14 at 2:11 pm

My son worked with an older guy who said he was at school with Alan Moore (not implausible, Northampton is just up the road). He said Moore used to declaim prophecies in the classroom.

I like the guy but I think he is being disingenuous in this interview about how he portrays sexual violence. His wide range includes some of the best and worst ways of handling that subject.

5

Bruce Baugh 01.26.14 at 2:50 pm

Huh. Had a 2-link reply go into moderation hell. So sad.

6

Mercy 01.26.14 at 3:22 pm

Thought that Morrison aquited himself well on the issue in the Comics Beat piece linked in the comments. I’m struck though, that while I think Moore comes across as the more petty of the two in interviews on the topic, and Morrison the more constructive, their references to it in their work give the exact opposite impression: Moore just poked fun at a Morrison once in his comics that I’m aware of (with the Billy Friday character in Supreme) whereas it’s hard to find a Morrison comic nowadays that doesn’t star a bearded, cynical demiurge who tries to degrade and corrupt the optimistic hero stories, only to get killed off in an over the top fashion. Certainly the recurrence of this trope in Final Crisis, right on the heels of Seven Soldiers, was a little much to take (okay, Mandrakk didn’t have a beard, but I thought the reference to Moore was fairly unambiguous nevertheless).

7

Cian 01.26.14 at 4:49 pm

Hmm don’t really care about either writer any more, but moore’s version of morrisson’s early career is pretty inaccurate. Which may be his memory playing tricks of course. And he still had a grudge over a mildly satirical column from over 20 years ago. Weird

If i was looking for influences on morrison, pete millar and brendan mccarthy are way more obvious ones.

8

Doug M. 01.26.14 at 9:41 pm

Moore’s capacity for holding grudges is justly famed.

At this point in his career, he seems to be walking down the same path Dave Sim did 20 or so years back. In all sincerity, I hope it doesn’t lead to the same place — Dave Sim’s not doing so great just now.

Doug M.

9

Doug M. 01.27.14 at 9:29 am

Morrison’s rebuttal was actually published two years before Moore’s attack. The funny thing is, it still works pretty well — Moore is still making many of the same accusations and arguments. The “everything he’s ever done was COPYING MY STUFF” thing, in particular, is very long past its sell-by date.

Watching a once-beloved and respected creator gradually turn into Gollum isn’t very pleasant.

Doug M.

Doug M.

10

heckblazer 01.27.14 at 9:38 am

I still don’t think Moore’s attempt to bring back the innocence and joy of minstrelsy was particularly wise. Where he says “Upton dressed her creation in the black suit that was the standard formal attire of her day” is completely wrong; he wore a colorful outfit that was typical of the costumes worn in minstrel shows. Moore also seems to completely miss that minstrel shows were already well established decades before Ms. Upton and her mother created their Golliwog, and her character is an animate doll based on the stereotype. Thanks to the miracles of Project Gutenberg and Google Books I’ve been able to read some of the actual books. Whatever the intent, the illustrations definitely are of a piece of minstrelsy stereotypes. I’ve only found one small picture of it, but the scene where the Golliwogg is attacked by African cannibals also looks. . . unfortunate.

And the only other sympathetic black characters of the time were Uncle Tom and Nigger Jim? Really? Stagger Lee (in some versions at least), John Henry, Daggoo and James Wait don’t count?

11

tomsk 01.27.14 at 1:05 pm

I don’t have any real view on who’s in the right in this particular beef, but I feel a lot more inclined to be charitable towards Moore than towards Morrison because his work has stood up so much better. Moore’s comics can actually be funny for one thing; can’t recall too many laughs on the arid steppes of occult jiggery-pokery that Morrison’s increasingly gone in for. I tried re-reading The Invisibles last year, and gawd it’s looking a bit ropey. The extremely variable quality of the art was always a clear weakness, but from here the whole thing just seems so terribly of its time, like a more counterculturish, wildly pretentious X-Files. And The Filth… well, I know people who seem to like it.

12

Katherine 01.27.14 at 5:37 pm

I read and have read one or two comics/graphical novels – Watchmen, the Sandman series, a couple of others – so I’m not in the world of comics at all, but consider the good stuff to be good stuff. And I’ve got to tell, reading through the comment thread on the Morrison rebuttal piece is hi-larious. It’s like watching a soap opera. It’s the comic-world version of office gossip.

He said this, but then he said that he’d said that, no that was before that, and ee, isn’t that just terrible what their Alan said about our Grant. Someone should write a comic about it.

13

Bruce Baugh 01.27.14 at 6:42 pm

A really good review of what’s wrong with the interview and also a great example of owning to one’s own failures.

14

DaveL 01.27.14 at 8:38 pm

@11. I don’t have a dog in the fight; I’ve read some Moore, don’t know Morrison, etc. However, Julian Darius’s piece was the most self-flagellatory work I have seen in a long time. Since I didn’t see the original he yanked, it’s hard to be sure, but from internal evidence he doesn’t know what “plagiarism” means any more than Moore does.

(The article is nonetheless good, it just needs about 100% removal of the “OH I HAVE SINNED! /whack” parts.)

(As a long-time fan of Michael Moorcock, I find his being peripherally involved in it a reminder that the world of SF is full of feuds and egos and trivialities amped up to apocalyptic proportions, too.)

15

Wonks Anonymous 01.27.14 at 9:55 pm

#1, Bruce Baugh, its prevalence in the real world could just serve to bolster Moore’s argument that it’s under-represented in art relative to murder. My response to him is simply that its unpleasant and I don’t want to think about it that much in a work of fiction (not making an absolute prohibition, just a barrier that has to be surmounted for its inclusion to be worthwhile and not a cheap way to generate a reaction). Murder is objectively terrible, but we (the English in particular, as Orwell once noted) find it intellectually interesting. Real murders tend to be less interesting, one impulsive young male kills another over something vulgar. But we love fictional murders where a respectable seeming person kills another to protect their reputation. Hence more murders in a season of “Law & Order” than actually occur in Manhattan in a year.

16

SusanC 01.27.14 at 10:50 pm

I find the recurring sexual violence in Alan Moore’s work one of the most problematic things about it.

In works like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Neonomicon he’s adapting source material that’s not always acceptable to modern day sensibilities, but his tendency to add rape or assault scenes often makes his reworkings worse than the originals.

It’s not just the frequency of these scenes in his work, it’s how they are treated.

The Western comic may be a particularly tricky genre for sexual violence: even the most innocuous scene often takes on the aura of pornography when illustrated by the typical comic book artist (e.g. the much derided chain-mail bikini outfit); a baseline of every scene looking like porn is perhaps a poor starting point for a story line in which a character is assaulted.

[Of course, it is theoretically possibly to draw a comic that doesn't look like porn; some even exist; the problem is, as John says, an ecological one of the genre, and its conventions]

17

Martin Bento 01.28.14 at 5:23 am

I think Mercy’s observation that Morrison keeps murdering Moore in his comics, assuming this is accurate (I personally don’t know), may be more important than it seems. Most of us here, I assume, would regard such a thing as juvenile, perhaps dickish, maybe even funny, but let’s remember what Morrison by all evidence seriously believes or makes himself believe. He believes that, as a chaos magician, he can shape reality by representing intentions symbolically. For example he has stated that with chaos magic, one could anytime win the lottery by creating a “sigil” (magical symbol) representing his winning it, masturbating while meditating on the sigil, having the sigil fill his mind at the moment of orgasm, and (this part is important! he says) buying a lottery ticket. He says this technique never fails. He also believes he can create sigils in comic book form and says the entirety of The Invisibles was a sigil directed at magically creating cultural change in the world. And he believes getting an audience focused on the sigil increases its power. So, if he is symbolically murdering Alan Moore repeatedly in his published work, this may suggest some seriously bad intent and a somewhat demented attitude. It also belies his tone that all this is, from his perspective, just silly. I realize that most people giggled at my descriptions of a sigil, and are going to have trouble taking them seriously. I’m not saying they should be taken seriously as a real thing, but they do seem to be very real, powerful, and important in Morrison’s mind.

And, of course, Moore believes this stuff, or something like it, too. That may be what is really bugging him. He can’t just say in an interview “Grant Morrison is trying to kill me with magic spells” – then he will really sound like a paranoid old nut. I also don’t know whether a chaos magic “death spell” would imply an intent of literal death or just severe misfortune – I don’t know much about this, so I don’t know how literal it is. But this business about Moore cutting himself off from anyone who has worked with Morrison, and asking people who read Morrison not to read him may just sound petty, but could be an attempt at a sort of psychic quarantine to protect himself. At least, I think that’s how that stuff works.

All of which would probably make a great comic. Two comic writers conducting a covert magick war in their stories. Who thinks like that? Well, these guys.

18

Nine 01.28.14 at 6:45 am

“He believes that, as a chaos magician, he can shape reality by representing intentions symbolically.”

Does he really believe all this ? I did once hear him say something of the sort at a convention but he seemed to have tongue planted firmly in cheek at the time & the audience tittered along with him. Moore, on the other hand, sounds very convinced about his chaos magic skills.

19

Nine 01.28.14 at 6:48 am

“He can’t just say in an interview “Grant Morrison is trying to kill me with magic spells” – then he will really sound like a paranoid old nut.”

Why not ? He talks crazy every time he opens his mouth these days.

20

Petter Sjölund 01.28.14 at 7:19 am

Wonks Anonymous: “My response to him is simply that its unpleasant and I don’t want to think about it that much in a work of fiction”

That is a very good summary of an anti-rape-in-fiction stance that I could get behind. It’s an aesthetic judgement, not a moral one. Many people argue that rape in fiction is wrong because it trivializes and maybe even encourages real-life rape. But those same people almost never have seem to have a problem with non-sexual violence in fiction.

To me that fact that I and so many others find the Alan Moore rapes unpleasant and problematic is a reminder of how desensitized we are to non-sexual violence in fiction. There are only cultural reasons why we don’t find every comic book fight as unpleasant and problematic, no rational ones.

When I grew up in Sweden in the 70′s, the general trend was too teach even young children about sex but keep them away from violent entertainment. There’s not much left of that any more. Somehow the American cultural imperialism won out in the end.

21

Martin Bento 01.28.14 at 8:08 am

I read an interview with him on this topic in a Weird Culture collection. He sounded very glib, but sincere at some level. Also, I gather one of the principles of chaos magick is believing what it serves you to believe – consciously using belief as a tool – so what he “actually” believes may not be a straightforward question. He spoke with a brash, irreverent style, but I get the impression that a lot of chaos magic is like that – it’s not the traditional stuff, it’s the hip modern stuff from the 70s, bit ironic – pomo occult, I guess. He also seems to be of the “everyone is doing psychic stuff all the time, they just don’t know it” school. I get the impression he’s gone on too much about this too long for it just to be some kind of joke. He says himself in that reply article that he’s been talking about this since the late 80s and evidently he is still talking about it. A joke would get old. On the other hand, maybe he doesn’t mean it as literally as he sometimes puts on. Or he does, but is using irony as camouflage. I don’t know much about him, really, and have barely read him, but this business of killing Moore over and over struck me as strange if this whole thing is, from his perspective, about nothing.

But everything I said in this thread is just an hypothesis, because I don’t really know much about this guy or his work, I just happened to have read that interview, and thought he sounded a bit nuts.

22

Jesús Couto Fandiño 01.28.14 at 9:50 am

#18 Who knows. His brand of “pop” magic makes it difficult to tell it apart from a marketing stunt.

23

Cian 01.28.14 at 5:25 pm

Tomsk:
Has Alan Moore really aged well? Or is that just nostalgia. I was looking at his stuff the other day and it just feels really dated.

And neither has produced anything to compare to the Hernandez brothers (say).

On the other hand – Cerebus is becoming unreadable now…

24

dk 01.29.14 at 5:50 am

“Droll elaborateness”? Try “pompous windbaggery”.

25

Martin Bento 01.29.14 at 8:24 am

Well, those Guy Fawkes masks show up everywhere – Occupy, anonymous – so, at a minimum, Moore and David Lloyd have given us our symbol of rebellion and an accompanying mythos, 3 decades ahead of time.

26

Anonymous 01.29.14 at 8:43 am

The connection between V for Vendetta and the Anonymous masks is rather indirect. 4chan was using the mask as an intentionally foolish character of “Epic Fail Guy” and then when people from that website started doing some anti-Scientology stuff it got spin off into more serious activist behavior. It could have been any bit of cultural ephemera, it’s just a happy coincidence that something with an already political message was what got coopted.

27

SusanC 01.29.14 at 10:06 am

“Covert magic war between two comic books artists” could work really well as a comic plot, or as a campaign in a roleplaying game (Unknown Armies, maybe).

Now that I think about it, those Guy Fawkes masks everywhere could be the sign of a spell in action. At least, if you’re in a Secret History/Conspiracy Theory RPG. Typical game mechanics for this kind of spell would be that you need a better die roll to enchant people into doing something they’re not naturally inclined to do, so a mass effect revolution spell is only doable against a population that is already inclined to revolt, for conventional Marxian reasons … unless the person casting the spell is really high level.

28

rea 01.29.14 at 3:54 pm

He says this technique never fails.

So, how many times has he won the lottery?

29

A Guest 01.29.14 at 3:56 pm

Out in the real world, rape, threatened or committed is so common a fate forced on female characters as to be entirely cliche. It’s been noted some, to put it mildly,

Sigh. What is it about some parts of the feminist movement that they’d much sooner take offence and be ideologically pure than actually pay attention to when in the “Real World” they did have allies, but are now doing their utmost best to drive them away?

Your claim is not just objectively wrong, it’s actually what Alan Moore states in that very same interview;

“This, given the scale upon which such events occur, would have seemed tantamount to the denial of a sexual holocaust, happening annually. “

Moore then proceeds to explain, in enormous detail that

a.) Rape and sexual violence in general occurs far, far more often than any murder.
b.) Murder is generally an even worse crime.
c.) Society finds it more acceptable to be titillated by the less common but far more horrendous crime, and so applies selective moral outrage.
d.) And the true artist should, if he intends to tackle actual suffering in the world, address sexual violence far more often than murder, because in the real world, it’s far far more common.
e.) Thus he’s not rape fixated, but if you’re going to pretend to be socially conscious, you need to be writing about it.

Honestly… how could you POSSIBLY read the entire article and assume Moore doesn’t know sexual violence is unfortunately a common experience? Indeed, you prove Moore’s central thesis by completely distorting the interview he gave to say the outright opposite of his claims, simply to fuel an exciting sense of moral outrage against him. So why should be bother giving any interviews on the topic at all?

Thus, congratulations; by driving away a famous, powerful and connected potential supporter, that’s one less voice arguing for the very fight you claim you want to win. So who REALLY is supporting “Rape Culture” here by, through complete misreading of direct stated comments, is encouraging people to disengage and just shut up?

Holy Dr Manhatten, save us from the people who claim they want to save us…

30

Martin Bento 01.29.14 at 5:10 pm

Dunno, but he complains of not being rich (in the context of saying The Matrix is a ripoff of The Invisibles), so my guess is zero.

Susan, good point. Though I would quibble with the implication that the masses must be primed for revolt for Marxian reasons – there are all kinds of reasons people rebel.

31

Mercy 01.30.14 at 6:40 pm

@Martin Bento, I was pretty sure Morrison’s repeated destruction of Moore esque figures is intended as a spell, but one aimed at his influence on superhero comics, rather than his life (most of them are really generic Bad Father figures you wouldn’t necessarily connect to Moore except for the feud, like Anti-Dad). Now you have me worried.

As to ripping off, the side stories are funnier: Moorecock’s mad at Morrison for the Jerry Cornelius pastiche in The Invisibles, though he’d intended the character to be used by other writers and it’s about as appropriate an occasion for pastiche as possible (the work of an in-fiction imaginary writer). Morrison thinks The Matrix was ripped off from The Invisibles, though he intended the comic to work as a spell which would cause it’s themes and ideas to permeate the collective unconsciousness. Though I guess that tells us whether he really believes in this chaos magick lark or not, which is a relief.

32

Mercy 01.30.14 at 6:54 pm

Okay I should clarify since I think I’ve given the wrong impression, a lot of Morrison’s more recent work has focused around evil father/demiurge figures who corrupt the innocent, make the world grim and dark and bitter, and retroactively alter the past so that it’s always been that way, who must be defeated by the voice of youth and imagination. Only a few of these are direct parodies of Moore (ex. Zachary Zor in Seven Soldiers), but given the context I’ve always thought the generic ones were meant to be as well.

33

Martin Bento 01.30.14 at 7:06 pm

30 in response to 28. 29 slipped in out of moderation.

Bruce and DaveL, I think it is impossible to evaluate Darius’ self-flagellation without seeing what he is so ashamed of, so leave that aside. He evidently feels he wrote something so bad that he cannot even attack Moore on what he regards as the central issues because he will be seen as tainted and covering his ass.

I’m surprised anyone is impressed with the cogency of most of the arguments he does make though.

Let’s take the list of 8:

1. Moore is unkind to Morrison and therefore automatically loses the intellectual argument.

No, he doesn’t. Whether Morrison is stealing Moore’s ideas, or whether accusations of sexism or racism against Moore are well-founded does not hinge on whether Moore is sarcastic regarding Morrison. *That* is anti-intellectual.

Besides which, a lot of this seems to have started with some columns Morrison wrote that he himself now says “make my blood run cold” and were “daft comments spoken in jest”. Well, Moore is also being funny. What is said in Morrison’s defense? He “was just being punk”. Well, that’s no defense. If Moore shaved his beard and got a green mohawk, his mordant comments on Morrison’s interest in his todger would therefore be acceptable, and he would win the intellectual argument? Also, Morrison says he had an editorial mandate to be provocative, and the column was not intended to be taken seriously. Well, OK then. He was a court jester. But this kind of removes his right to object to rudeness, or for others to object on his behalf. If you’re going to “take the piss out” of people professionally, you can’t complain when your own piss is drained, nor can others on your behalf.

But Sneddon says Moore is still being attacked with what Morrison said, and Morrison says if people are still taking what he said seriously, he is the real victim – it is his reputation that has been hurt. Well, if Moore is the one being attacked, I don’t think so.

Was one of the “daft comments spoken in jest” an attack on Moore for his treatment of sexual violence? Because, if so, there are obviously people taking that seriously and invoking Morrison’s name in support. If he wishes to disown the charge, he should at least state that he considers it unserious and ask those making the charge to not use his name or imply his endorsement. Has he done this? Otherwise, he should stop acting like Moore is overreacting to a joke. And if his allegations about sexual violence were made elsewhere than in Drivel, he shouldn’t imply that Moore is just reacting to a satire column. He can’t have it all three ways.

2. Moore is saying the “Batman scholar” must think like Batman, which is degrading to all scholarship and anti-intellectual.

No, Moore is suggesting the “Batman scholar” is dumb, and Batman the character is extraordinarily intelligent, so he is strongly denying a similarity in their thinking.

Moore’s underlying argument is that Batman is too trivial a subject for a scholar to legitimately build a career on, because he is a shallow character in a fundamentally juvenile literature. One can agree or disagree with this assessment, but a general attack on scholarship it is not. Saying Batman is not worthy of extended serious study is not the same as saying the Big Bang is not, nor even that Dante is not. Strictly speaking, it is not even the same as saying Spiderman is not, though I’m sure he would make the same argument about Spiderman. Saying something is not worthy of scholarship is not the same as saying nothing is worthy of scholarship, and it is difficult for me to take seriously someone who claims it is.

And it is hard for me to avoid the impression that this is where a lot of the animosity to Moore is really based. He has had as much as anyone to do with getting comics, especially superhero comics, taken seriously. And he seems to feel he has created a monster. The high priest has become an apostate. Very dismaying to the congregation.

Though it must also disturb the apostate. Moore has dedicated his career to and been very successful at creating comics derived from the superhero tradition and related ones that have come to be accepted as works of art. Late in life, he seems to have doubts about the legitimacy of the whole enterprise. It is really pretty sad and must be eating him up at some level. A lot of people seem to think he sounds dotty and bitter now. Maybe so. I don’t go around reading a lot of Alan Moore interviews. But if he really has this much contempt for superhero comics, he must have some serious regrets about how he has used his talents.

3. Moore disrespected the Internet.

Not actually relevant, but also much exaggerated.

4. Moore is a conspiracy theorist for thinking that Morrison and Sneddon are hostile to him and working together.

Well, Sneddon puts Morrison’s response under her byline, interspliced with other material, so they are clearly working together. Sneddon admits she is partial to Morrison. “Conspiracy theory” is a term stigmatized by reference to the most outlandish hidden truths anyone believes, and then that stigma is applied to someone suggesting two people might be united in hostility against him – an utterly everyday matter that clearly happens all the time.

5. This is a retread of 1 – Moore was too rude – but with Sneddon added too.

6. Moore’s account of Morrison’s early career and their interactions is inaccurate in ways that diminish Morrison.

This seems to be correct. Moore said his memory might not be reliable, though that could be an excuse. There’s not a lot hinging on this though.

7. Moore’s allegations of idea-stealing, even if true, are not plagiarism.

That’s true in a legal sense, and Moore does use the word “plagiarist” once, but I think it’s clear he means that Morrison is stealing his ideas, which is not legal plagiarism, as you can’t copyright ideas. Writers often use that term more loosely than the law does.

8, He is “troubled” that Moore is writing off Morrison collaborators.

Well, he concedes that Moore has a right to do this, and this whole list is full of things that “trouble” the poor man. It is a very aggressive attack, posing as a litany of woe.

Then there are the other two he adds.

1. Moore is defending against straw men. The actual attacks on him, at least the ones whose authors Darius names, are more sophisticated than his responses imply.

This may well be true. I haven’t read those attacks, so I can’t say.

2. Moore is guilty of plagiarism, because he quoted Brooker without naming him.

No, he isn’t. Moore made perfectly clear that he was quoting someone else. If you’re not claiming authorship, and especially if you explicitly disavow authorship, you are not plagiarizing – either legally or in the looser sense that authors often use the word.

34

Nigel 01.30.14 at 7:37 pm

Mark Millar, of all people, was the first time I encountered the argument that rape is common as murder in the real world, yet categorically not worse than murder, so why shouldn’t rape be as common in comics as murder? Moore, of course, makes his case with considerably more thought and eloquence than Millar could ever hope to summon, but my response is the same: you want to culturally reduce rape to the same level of triviality as murder, in comics, just because it’s out there and it ought to be? Murder is used for: comedy, plot mechanics, pathos, vengeance fuel, trauma fuel. Violent deaths that presumably all qualify as murders occur in comics, superhero comics in particular, in multiples of tens, hundreds, thousands and even millions. How enriching, what fun, such sensitive exploration of the issues if quick panels of snappy dialogue in the midst of adrenaline soaked colourful superbattles feature Iron Man reporting to Cap a rape-toll of thousands in the Peruvian incident site. We do not need the deaths and murders that occur in comics to remind us that death and murder occurs in the real world, we hardly need a few on-panel rapes every issue to remind us the same about sexual violence. Please note, I am not, as Moore seems to enjoy straw-manning, saying rape is not a fit subject for any form or medium. I am just curious as to why anyone would think reducing rape to the same cultural level as murder in all its common triviality would be a good thing. They’re not the same. Death comes to all of us. It’s a shared fate. When superheroes throw around death tolls, or whodunnits turn death to manageable puzzles, we are being entertained by something horrible that is part of us. Rape does not. It is something many are thankfully excluded from, and others are not. That puts the writer and the reader in a different position. Having said that, I don’t think I’ve ever been offended by Moore’s over-use of rape, but it is disappointingly lazy. What was horrific and heartbreaking in Miracleman was ugly and callous in LOEG: Whatever The One With The Singing And Nemo’s Daughter Was. I’m finding this whole thing, the attacks on Morrison and Sneddon and others, deeply unedifying.

35

Nigel 01.30.14 at 8:30 pm

‘I’m surprised anyone is impressed with the cogency of most of the arguments he does make though.’

‘But Sneddon says Moore is still being attacked with what Morrison said, and Morrison says if people are still taking what he said seriously, he is the real victim – it is his reputation that has been hurt. Well, if Moore is the one being attacked, I don’t think so.’

Just… yeah. It’s a good thing none of the parties involved are relying on your paraphrasing of their arguments.

36

Martin Bento 01.30.14 at 8:33 pm

Mercy,

Maybe what Morrison’s attitude towards The Matrix tells us is that he thinks he should get royalties on the effects of magic spells. Although he does say they had access to the material. Again, plagiarism as a legal matter is much narrower than stealing ideas, and I’m sure The Matrix is not plagiarism. Is it actually that much like The Invisibles though?

Are Moorcock’s charges as baseless as that? Aren’t Moorcock’s ideas all over fantasy, comics, games? Does he normally complain about this? Why is he singling out The Invisibles?

37

Bruce Baugh 01.30.14 at 9:11 pm

Speaking here as someone who’s read a whoooole lot of both Morrison and Moorcock, yes, his charges really are baseless. There’s one sequence in The Invisibles where one of the heroes has been captured and is resisting interrogation partly by pulling his interrogators’ psychic probes through layers of constructed memories. The character, King Mob, has a lot of Morrison in him, including a cover identity as a writer of various sorts of sf and fantasy. In his youth he did some stories with a character named Gideon Stargrave, who looks like this and has a sister who looks like this, and so on.

It’s very, very much in the Jerry Cornelius line…but it’s acknowledged within the story as King Mob following in the heels of other writers and in the letters page as an homage to the work of a major influence. It’s also something like a dozen pages over the course of an issue or two, in a series that had fifty-odd issues total.

And there’s just no Moorcock precedent I’m aware of for a whole lot of Morrison’s work, from elements within The Invisibles (the Burroughsian hyper-alphabet stuff, the UFO and black trains/FEMA folklore, etc.) to greatly different pieces like We3, All-Star Superman, the role of Niles Calder in Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol, and so forth and so on.

For what it’s worth, I can’t see any ground for Morrison’s complaint about The Matrix, either.

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Nathanael 02.01.14 at 9:05 pm

Meh. I think Morrison and Moore are both decent writers…

I’ll take no side — as long as I don’t have to read Frank Miller. Ever.

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