Alan Moore, the legendary comic book writer behind such masterpieces of the medium as League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell, appears to have signed off on superheroes for good.
In a 2014 interview with Pádraig Ó Méalóid at Slovobooks that once again started trending this week thanks to a Guardian summary, Moore makes mention of how superheroes are an outdated cultural device from another era and how they are proving to be “culturally catastrophic” in a 21st Century where it seems like a new superhero film is released every week.
He also seems to identify superheroes as for children and feels adult obsession with the fictional creations is unhealthy. These are his exact words.
“To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children’s characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence. It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite ‘universes’ presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.”
Alan Moore has been decidedly anti-mainstream for a while now, stemming from a falling out that he had with DC over his grown-up superhero epic Watchmen.
A reading of that previous series shows that Moore already had cast a somewhat cynical eye on the superhero genre.
By now, the series has been printed and reprinted several times and has even been given movie life by fanboy favorite director Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice). Even so, I’ll go ahead and tag this with a big SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t read it.
In Watchmen, one of Moore’s superheroes brings about wide scale death and makes it look like an alien invasion, thus bringing the feuding governments of the world together against a common (yet fictional) enemy. The other superheroes, upon seeing how mass murder has unified the world, decide to conceal the truth and go along for the ride, save for one — Rorschach, who is vaporized for wanting to tell the truth.
Most of the superhero characters essentially act as gods that basically turn their noses down at humanity, so this opinion shouldn’t come as a surprise.
But Alan Moore definitely offers some food-for-thought if you plan on watching Ant-Man this week. What do you think, readers? Is he right to call superheroes “culturally catastrophic”?
[Image of Alan Moore via Bleeding Cool]