- Posted by Johanna on April 21, 2007 at 12:58 pm
- Category: Books and Prose
- CREDITS: by Bill Baker
- PUBLISHER: Airwave Publishing; $9.95 US
Bill Baker, author of the previous Alan Moore interview book Alan Moore Spells It Out, has a new one. Alan Moore’s Exit Interview contains a three-hour talk conducted in May 2006 “on 25 years of creating comics, the state of the medium and the industry, and what the future may hold for all concerned.”
My biggest problem with the first book (and an area of improvement Baker himself agreed with) was its layout. Baker had a graphic artist, Paul Michael Kane, design this slim volume, and it looks much better. (I know it’s superficial, but it’s much more enjoyable to read a well-laid-out book than a kludgy one.)
Moore here talks about business dealings, including some of his more idealistic/ impractical/ foolhardy (depending on one’s perspective) dictates, such as refusing to have anything (including payment) to do with film adaptations or wanting his names taken off his works when he doesn’t own the copyright or cutting publication ties with DC Comics.
The thing about this book for me is, I’d rather read a conversation with Moore than an interview. The people that interview him these days seem to be so awed by his career and his works and his personality that no one challenges him on anything. They take dictation and write it up and it’s a fine way to capture his thinking at a particular point in time, but if you’re not inclined to agree with him, it’s a bit frustrating.
Not to mention that I would love to see fact-checking on some of this. It’s not that I think Moore is misrepresenting anything, just that I would have appreciated footnotes saying, for example, “Moore is referring to a quote that appeared in Variety on March 6, 2004.” It’s all his point of view only, and we know that he experiments with various perceptions of reality.
Since this is only his self-representation, he tries to paint his requests as simple and utterly reasonable, but a third party can see it’s really all-or-nothing: “put out a press release saying I want nothing to do with this film or I’ll cut all ties and disown all the works of mine you put out.” A black-and-white worldview is a lovely self-indulgence if you can get away with it, but the rest of us live in an environment that’s got a lot more grey. It makes him seem like a touchy artist. (Maybe that’s an accurate portrayal.) He’s bitter and still feeling burned over events of the 1980s.
I fear he’s reached a point where he’s looking backwards, whether at grudges or history, more than forward. In response to the question, “what is your ideal vision of the medium?”, Moore starts talking about beginning to read comics when he was seven and going to an early convention in 1969. A couple of pages later, he’s finally gotten around to saying that he is “still strongly committed to the idea of progressive comic books”.
He laments a lack of experimentation in comics, but there’s more diversity out there now than ever. Has trying to remove himself from the problems of the industry resulted in also not being aware of the positives? His recommendations are Dan Clowes, Robert Crumb, and Will Eisner, who aren’t exactly the young forward-thinkers. He later says new energy must come from mavericks, which is true enough… I’m just not sure he’s made the connection that he’s 20 years away from filling that role and he won’t be able to ever again.
Lots of this will be familiar to anyone who’s followed comic news discussions involving Moore over the past couple of years. For reference, it’s nice to have it all in one place, but as a reading experience, I recommend this most for Moore completists.
(A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)