THE YEAR I STOPPED CARING ABOUT ALAN MOORE
2010 will long be remembered for many big comic book news stories. It’s the year that DC almost moved west and Marvel got working restrooms. It’s a year in which Grant Morrison continued to craft some of the most amazingly imaginative Batman stories ever put to paper while I wrote a story where Forbush Man shot me in the face. It’s the year Rick Remender finally started to shave.
But I’ll always remember 2010 for another reason.
It’s the year I finally stopped giving a shit about Alan Moore.
Used to be, I cared a whole lot about Mr. Moore. I was a kid first getting into comics when his landmark “Swamp Thing” run started, and I was as blown away as anyone. I proceeded to seek out everything with Moore’s name on it. I devoured “Watchmen” issue by issue and loved it so much I even convinced my mom to read it (she liked it too). There wasn’t a comic book store anywhere in my area, but I still managed to track down copies of Moore’s Omega Men and Green Arrow back-ups, the Green Lantern Corps shorts, the “Superman Annual” and all the other little DCU tidbits here and there. I still remember how excited I was when I came across his two part Vigilante story on the rack at a used bookstore in my tiny hometown. The first few comic conventions I went to, I eagerly snatched up every old issue of “Warrior Magazine” I could find. I bought “Marvelman”/”Miracleman” in all its various forms. Later, when the first comic store opened nearby, I eagerly awaited every new issue of “Big Numbers” (still waiting) and each new installment of “From Hell” (still my all-time favorite graphic novel). I bought all his Image work, even the really shitty stuff (and c’mon, we can all admit there was some really shitty stuff in there, right?), but I never complained. I loved his run on “Supreme.” I bought every issue of every ABC series. I read his novel and listened to his weird CDs. I sympathized with him as every shitty new movie version of one of his genius books was released. I envied his beard.
In other words, I’ve always been the hugest of Alan Moore fans. I’ve supported pretty much everything he’s ever done. I’ve spent a lot of money on him over the years, at times when I didn’t have much money to spend. That special magic cave he had built under his house was at least partially paid for by me. But just how has Alan Moore seen fit to thank me for all the support and adoration I’ve shown him over the years?
By throwing me under the bus, that’s how.
In case you missed last year’s latest round of interviews, where Moore ranted about DC’s desire to produce “Watchmen” sequels, here are some choice excerpts:
When Dave Gibbons phoned me up, he assured me that these prequels and sequels would be handled by ‘the industry’s top-flight talents’.Â Now, I don’t think that the contemporary industry actually has a ‘top-flight’ of talent.Â I don’t think it’s even got a middle-flight or a bottom-flight of talent…
At the end of the day, if they haven’t got any properties that are valuable enough, but they have got these ‘top-flight industry creators’ that are ready to produce these prequels and sequels to Watchmen, well this is probably a radical idea, but could they not get one of the ‘top-flight industry creators’ to come up with an idea of their own?Â Why are DC Comics trying to exploit a comic book that I wrote 25 years ago if they have got anything?Â Sure they ought to have had an equivalent idea since?Â I could ask about why Marvel Comics are churning out or planning to bring out my ancient Marvelman stories, which are even older, if they had a viable idea of their own in the quarter-century since I wrote those works.Â I mean, surely that would be a much easier solution than all of this clandestine stuff?Â Just simply get some of your top-flight talent to put out a book that the wider public outside of the comics field find as interesting or as appealing as the stuff that I wrote 25 years ago.Â It shouldn’t be too big an ask, should it?Â I wouldn’t have thought so.Â And it would solve an awful lot of problems.Â They must have one creator, surely, in the entire American industry that could do equivalent work to something I did 25 years ago.Â It would be insulting to think that there weren’t.
Alan Moore was a big reason I became a comic book writer. He was my first favorite writer. The first creator whose work I would buy sight unseen, just based off his name. His “Watchmen” scripts were the first comic scripts I ever saw. I remember a few years ago, when I sat down to write my first “Hellblazer” issue, the sense of panic and excitement that rushed through me as it suddenly dawned on me that I was about to put words in the mouth of a character created by Alan Moore. As a comic book writer, I am mostly definitely a child of Alan Moore, whether it shows in my work or not. He had one of the most profound influences on me of any writer in comics.
But I guess all I’ve done is let the old man down.
Apparently it’s my fault, as a modern-day comic creator, that poor Alan Moore continues to be so bedeviled by Marvel and DC. If I just didn’t suck so bad, along with all my peers, then comic book companies wouldn’t have to keep making Moore so miserable. To that I say…
Go fuck yourself, Alan Moore.
And also, goodbye.
With the end of 2010 comes the end of my interest in anything you might ever again say or do. You may go on in your waning years to write the greatest works of your entire career, but you won’t get another dime out of me. Nor will you get any more of my sympathy. This is me officially tuning you out for good. Thanks for the memories.
“That’s too harsh,” you might say. After all, Moore’s a rather squirrelly old man who worships a snake god. He probably doesn’t even know what he’s saying, and he does have every right to be upset about possible “Watchmen” sequels. I mean, as a fan, I don’t want to see those either. And besides, he’s said many times before that he doesn’t even read comics anymore, so he really doesn’t even know what he’s talking about. It’s certainly nothing I should take personal.
But I do.
As a fan, I’d just rather not support someone who so blatantly insults me and my friends.
I know comics has always had and will always have its share of bitter old men. And usually those guys have every right to be bitter as the industry has a long track record of fucking over creators. But I’ve never had one of them actually blame me for their problems before. And I won’t stand by and let Alan Moore do it either, no matter how amazing his beard might be.
So goodnight Alan Moore, wherever you are. I’d wish you happiness in the New Year, but you probably wouldn’t know what to do with it, would you? Just stay bitter. And those of us in today’s comic industry will stay shitty. And hopefully the two of us will never meet again.
To the rest of you I say, Happy New Year.
Jason Aaron is an Eisner and Harvey Award nominated comic book writer whose current work includes the critically-acclaimed crime series “Scalped” for DC/Vertigo and “Wolverine,” “Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine” and “PunisherMAX” for Marvel. He was born in Alabama but currently resides in Kansas City. You can follow him on Twitter (@jasonaaron) or his blog. His beard is bigger than yours.