MOORE, Alan
(1953-)
   UK COMICS illustrator and writer, mainly active in the latter capacity for the GRAPHIC NOVELS that made him famous; all of these, including WATCHMEN, were illustrated by others. On rare occasions, beginning with "Sawdust Memories" for Knave in 1984, he has also written prose fiction.AM's first professional work was as an artist and illustrator, beginning with a 1969 ad for the London sf bookshop Dark They Were and Golden Eyed. As Curt Vile, he began creating comics with 2 series- Roscoe Moscow (Mar 1979-July 1980) and The Stars my Degradation (July 1980-Feb 1982; continued with a different scriptwriter but drawn by AM until the Mar 1983 issue) - for the weekly music paper Sounds; another Curt Vile strip, Three Eyes McGurk \& His Death Planet Commandos (Dec 1979in Dark Star) appeared in the USA in Rip Off Comics \#8 (1981). As Jill de Ray, AM wrote and drew the weekly Maxwell the Magic Cat (Aug 1979-Oct1986) for the Northants Post. Perhaps fortunately - his drawing style was an anaemic rehash of underground-comix cliches - this was his last work as an illustrator.The appearance in the UK in 1977 of the weekly sf comic 2,000 AD - the birthplace of JUDGE DREDD - had provided a forum for a newgeneration of writers and artists, of which AM soon became a prominent member. With scripts for MARVEL COMICS UK's Dr. Who Weekly/Monthly (June 1980-Oct 1981), he began to work for the commercial-comics industry, andwas intensely active for the next half decade. For the Future Shocks section of 2,000 AD itself he wrote 26 sf shorts (July 1980-Aug 1983); most of these were later assembled as Alan Moore's Shocking Futures (graph coll 1986) and Alan Moore's Twisted Times (graph coll 1986), both with various illustrators. During the same period, he wrote 5 stories for Marvel UK's STAR WARS comic (Nov 1981-Aug 1982), and 20 episodes of thePARALLEL-WORLDS Captain Britain sequence for various other Marvel UK comics. Aside from Captain Britain, most of this early work was comparatively journeyman.In March 1982, with \#1 of the anthology-comic Warrior, this all changed. In that issue, AM began 2 series ofconsiderable significance. Marvelman was a radical POSTMODERNIST reinterpretation of a SUPERHERO (CAPTAIN MARVEL) from the 1940s. After Aug 1984, the strip was removed from Warrior, and in retitled formreprinted and completed in the US anthology-comic Eclipse; the full strip was then assembled as Miracleman (graph coll 1988 US), The Red King Syndrome (graph coll 1990 US) and Olympus (graph coll 1990 US), withvarious illustrators, including Alan Davis and Garry Leach. (Just as the original Captain Marvel was plagued by litigation, so was the new: the US MARVEL COMICS, which had begun its own Captain Marvel comic in 1967,insisted on the AM strip being retitled Miracleman in the USA; in retaliation, AM refused Marvel UK permission to reprint any of his early work, which remains uncollected.) The second series begun in that first issue of Warrior was V for Vendetta, which pits an anarchist hero against the fascist regime of a NEAR FUTURE, post-Thatcherite UK. V for Vendetta also moved to the USA (after Feb 1985), being published there by DC COMICS, and was assembled as V for Vendetta (graph coll 1990 US) illusDavid Lloyd.Other UK work during this period included The Ballad of Halo Jones (July 1984-Apr 1986 2,000 AD), set in a variety of sf locales and later collected in 3 vols as The Ballad of Halo Jones, Book 1 (graph 1986), \#2 (graph 1986) and \#3 (graph 1986), all 3 being later assembled asThe Complete Ballad of Halo Jones (graph omni 1990), and all illus Ian Gibson. Skizz (Mar 1983-Aug 1983 2,000 AD), an sf tale reminiscent of E.T. : THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, was collected as Skizz (graph 1989) illus Jim Baikie; and D.R. and Quinch (Apr 1983-Summer 1985 2,000 AD), a comedy about ALIEN juvenile delinquents, was collected as D.R. and Quinch's Totally Awesome Guide to Life (graph 1986) illus Alan Davis and D.R. andQuinch (graph 1991).In 1984 AM began to work directly for US firms, becoming the writer for DC's Saga of the Swamp Thing (in Nov 1984 the title changed to SWAMP THING), the eponymous monster being a 1970s antihero now revived in the wake of the poor 1982 film. AM's 44 Swamp Thing stories (Jan 1984-Sep 1987), which were collected in 11 vols withvarious illustrators, perhaps take the "orthodox" sf/ GOTHIC only-partly-human-superhero theme as far as it could be taken within the framework of the conventional comic, which is distributed through newsstands and must operate in constant fear of censorship. The Grand Guignol violence of AM's imagery, and the disturbing psychosexual impactof his storylines, established Swamp Thing as probably the seminal comic of the 1980s.The success of Swamp Thing led directly to WATCHMEN, a graphic novel whose 12 chapters were first published as individual comics (Sep 1986-Oct 1987 Watchmen), but which are best read in their intendedbook form as Watchmen (graph 1987 US; with additional material 1988 US) illus Dave GIBBONS. Set in an ALTERNATE WORLD distinguished by the fact that the existence of costumed superheroes has subtly modified the history of the 20th century, Watchmen is both a satirical analysis of the human cost of being (or needing) a superhero, and an extremely distressing tale of a nearly-terminal holocaust fomented by one of these iconic figures. The impact of the tale - and that of its sophisticated visual language,through which subtexts and subplots interweave with (in hindsight) the utmost clarity - was enormous.After finishing the last parts of V for Vendetta and a Batman book, The Killing Joke (graph 1988 US) illus BrianBolland, AM left mainstream comics, forming Mad Love (Publishing) Ltd in 1988 with his wife Phyllis and Debbie Delano, through which he edited and self-published ARRGH! (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia) (graph anth 1988). Subsequent work has tended to move away from genreconcerns, though A Small Killing (graph 1990) illus Oscar Zarate is fantasy, and From Hell (graph 1991) begins a long fictional investigation of Jack the Ripper; two instalments of his major project, the non-genre Big Numbers, appeared in 1990. Lost Girls, a psychosexual study of Wendy,Dorothy and Alice, who meet around the time of WWI, began in Taboo \#5 (1992). For sf, AM remains of central importance for Watchmen, where the long history of sf visual material in comics form was finally connected to an sf plot of great interest.
   RH/JC

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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