Alan Moore Criticizes Modern Superhero Stories as 'Unhealthy Escapism'

Iconic comic book writer Alan Moore is widely regarded as one of the medium's greatest creators. His notable works -- "Watchmen," "V For Vendetta," and "Batman: The Killing Joke," among many others -- are widely regarded as some of the best comics out there, often cited for influencing generations of creators. However, Moore is known as an opinionated sort, having vocally expressed his particular dissatisfactions with other creators and companies he was formerly closely associated with.

During a recent interview with Vulture, the author addressed his issue with modern comics, superheroics, and the growing adult audience.

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After admitting that he no longer felt the same enthusiasm about writing comics as he once did, Moore was asked about his feelings on the core of the comic book audience. Moore responded that he believes the average reader age is now 30-50 years old. This, the author believes, is a bad sign:

"People have been saying since the mid-'80s that 'comics have grown up.' I don’t think that’s factually true. I think what happened was that there have been a couple of comics that seemed to be reaching for a more mature readership, and that has coincided with the emotional age of the mass audience coming the other way."

Specifically addressing modern superhero movies, and the lasting power of iconic Marvel and DC characters, Moore added:

"What are these movies doing other than entertaining us with stories and characters that were meant to entertain the 12-year-old boys of 50 years ago? Are we supposed to somehow embody these characters? That’s ridiculous. They are not characters that can possibly exist in the real world. Yes, I did Watchmen. Yes, I did Marvelman. These are two big seminal superhero works, I guess. But remember: Both of them are critical of the idea of superheroes. They weren’t meant to be a reinvigoration of the genre."

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Moore summed up his argument against the current state of superhero comics, simply calling them "unhealthy escapism":

"The superheroes of my youth had dogs that dressed in capes and masks! It’s obvious they stand for nothing other than the power of the imagination. I tend to see a lot of these current figures as the focus of a kind of unhealthy escapism...I can understand the desire to hang on to your childhood but, it turns out, you can’t. There’s nothing wrong with having fond thoughts about this or that but you don’t have to carry it with you your whole life like some sort of suit of magic armor."

As the author himself put it, he seems to be in a "really bad mood about superheroes."

Moore recently announced his intention to retire from comics altogether. His latest work, "Jerusalem," was released Sept. 5, 2016.

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