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Watchmen‘s legacy: ’20 years of very grim and often pretentious stories’

by  in Comic News Comment
<i>Watchmen</i>‘s legacy: ’20 years of very grim and often pretentious stories’

Alan Moore

Wired magazine has a lengthy Q&A with Alan Moore that’s just paragraph after paragraph of entertaining reading. It’s like the “Best of Alan Moore,” with the writer holding court on the impact of Watchmen, superheroes, his relationship with DC Comics, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and what comics does better than other mediums.

It’s filled with quotes that likely will leave critics of Moore, and/or fans of superhero comics, seething, and the writer’s devotees nodding in agreement. A little sampling:

On superhero comics: “I have to say that I haven’t seen a comic, much less a superhero comic, for a very, very long time now—years, probably almost a decade since I’ve really looked at one closely. But it seems to be that things that were meant satirically or critically in Watchmen now seem to be simply accepted as kind of what they appear to be on the surface. So yeah, I’m pretty jaundiced about the entire ‘caped crusader’ concept at the moment.”

On the impact of Watchmen: “At the time I thought that a book like Watchmen would perhaps unlock a lot of potential creativity, that perhaps other writers and artists in the industry would see it and would think, ‘This is great, this shows what comics can do. We can now take our own ideas and thanks to the success of Watchmen we’ll have a better chance of editors giving us a shot at them.’ I was hoping naively for a great rash of individual comic books that were exploring different storytelling ideas and trying to break new ground.

“That isn’t really what happened. Instead it seemed that the existence of Watchmen had pretty much doomed the mainstream comic industry to about 20 years of very grim and often pretentious stories that seemed to be unable to get around the massive psychological stumbling block that Watchmen had turned out to be, although that had never been my intention with the work.”

On DC’s purchase of Wildstorm: “When I returned to work for—well, I didn’t return. I was kind of press-ganged. I had DC buying the company I had just signed contracts with, which is flattering in one way and very creepy in another. It’s like being stalked by a very rich demented girlfriend who can just buy your entire street in order to be close to you.”

There’s much more at the link — six pages, in all.

The magazine also interviews Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, who talks about the movie adaptation, and working with Moore on the miniseries.

Related: Tom Spurgeon’s 10 ways to read Watchmen

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