Alan Moore's Farewell To The Comics Industry

The comics legend gives a characteristically no-holds-barred interview in the latest issue of SFX’s sister mag, Comic Heroes, and here’s a taster. Interview by Michael Molcher

Comic legend Alan Moore (with a CV of some of comics greatest hits – V For Vendetta , From Hell , Watchmen ) has never been a man to mince his words. He recently gave an exclusive interview with SFX ’s sister magazine Comic Heroes (in issue 2, which is on sale now – click here for more details) which he himself labelled his "farewell to the comics industry". Here’s an extract… you know where to find more!

“I haven’t read a comic in years but I’ve not been tempted to. Other than those by friends and loved ones I’ve not seen anything that has tempted me to pick up a comic book. It looks like it’s stuck in the late ’80s and early 1990s and it’s just going to be an endless cycle of that material. So I tend to suspect that it was probably only me, and a number of my collaborators, who were actually interested in pushing things forward. I think that the publishers are happier with an unending stasis; I think a lot of the artists and writers are. I tended to feel that, yes, I received a lot of admiration but I also received a lot of suspicion and antagonism that, frankly I could do without.

“So although I've had a great love of comics as a medium, I belatedly came to realise that the comics industry does not want progress. In fact, it isn’t capable of it and it doesn’t want it.”

He holds up the steady decline of comic book sales during a time when the money being made out of them is higher than ever as proof of his argument. Comics as a medium are deteriorating to the point where they are beyond retrieval, and he believes the big boardroom takeovers of DC and Marvel only hasten the end.

“It looks to me as if the comic industry is pretty much already getting out of comics,” he claims. “The individual pamphlets don’t sell as much as the collections. The biggest circulating news I saw coming from DC Warner Brothers last year was that they’d sold the rights to use Superman for some sort of online gambling.

“This is basically the only thing the characters are worth now? They’re so debased that they’re only useful for franchises, that you can knock out a few more Batman films, a few more Superman films… once that dries up, then what will there be?”

Declining sales and the wringing of every cent of cash from characters speaks of something much deeper in the industry – he suspects that culture is rapidly becoming “creatively bankrupt”, with re-make comics, re-make TV shows and re-make films.

“It looks like there are no creative resources left,” he says. “With television, I don’t see any indication that the majority of the writers know how to write. They don’t seem to understand the requirements of resolving your plotlines or having an ending in place probably before you start your first episode. You can almost feel the death of narrative looming, you fear that people will soon be so conditioned to accepting stories that don’t go anywhere, that don’t resolve their plotlines, that can be changed at a whim to make it all never have happened. You can imagine that people conditioned to accept those kind of stories might eventually forget that there was any other kind of narrative.”

Wanna read more? Then you can order a copy of Comic Heroes issue 2 right here .