Posts Tagged ‘Alan Moore’
by T. Hodler
Thursday, October 21, 2010
1. Our own Dan Nadel interviewed Dan Clowes at APE last weekend (armed with questions brainstormed by the CC staff), and from all reports, it went very well. During the conversation, Clowes handicapped the greats (Capp vs Fisher, Swan vs Boring, Cracked vs Mad, etc.), described meeting Al Jaffee and Steve Ditko, and analyzed advice once given to him by Robert Crumb. You can read about it all here, and if the a/v version is ever made available, we will let you know.
2. If you are following along with the CCCBC discussion of Neonomicon (and how could you not be?), a rare Alan Moore essay has come to light that may help illuminate some of the thematic material in that series. If you remember issue 2, when shopping at the Whispers in Darkness store, Agent Brears purchases a copy of The Magical Revival by Kenneth Grant, and later describes the author to her partner Lamper:
This Grant guy, he’s this serious magician who’s still alive in England. He knew Aleister Crowley. … Yeah, well, him, Grant, people like that, they’re serious about all the occult stuff. They treat it like it’s real, you know? Like it’s a science. And Grant, he believed Lovecraft’s whole mythology was genuine in some way. … I just want to see how anybody could actually believe in this stuff.
Anyway, in 2002, Moore used the occasion of a then-fairly-recent Kenneth Grant book to write a fairly lengthy essay on the man and his work, “Beyond our Ken”, which touches on such issues as Lovecraft’s influence, both on literature and “modern magic systems,” magic’s interchangeability with art (“the greater part of magical activity lies in simply writing about it”), and the dividing line between belief and reality. All of these topics obviously come to fruit in various ways within Neonomicon, so those readers not entirely turned off by this kind of arcane subject matter may want to download issue 14 of the occult magazine KAOS, which is available here, and read it.
Labels: Alan Moore, APE, Dan Nadel, Daniel Clowes, magic
by T. Hodler
Monday, October 18, 2010
Welcome to the first official meeting of the Comics Comics Comic-Book Club. Our topic is Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’s Neonomicon. Originally the idea was to discuss each issue as it was released, but we’ve got some catching up to do, so this time we’ll tackle the first two issues together.
Have you finished the assigned reading?
First, of course, you need to read the comics themselves.
Neonomicon is the sequel to Alan Moore’s The Courtyard, which I covered previously here and here. (Writer Antony Johnston wrote in with an interesting comment regarding some of the fundamental language & layout choices.)
Jog has already written an excellent post about issue 2…
…in which he linked to a flawed but fascinating two-part video on issue 1.
And I didn’t mention it, but the re-reading I am assigning for myself before we get to issue 3 is H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, which seems to be the main inspiration for Neonomicon so far, just as “The Horror of Red Hook” served for “The Courtyard”.
Okay, so let’s see if this works at all or if the whole idea is a misfire. Here we go: (more…)
Labels: Alan Moore, CCCBC, H.P. Lovecraft, Jacen Burrows
by T. Hodler
Friday, October 15, 2010
For the first part of this discussion, see here.
In his opening essay, “The Comic of Cthulhu: Being a Letter of Reminiscence and Recollection Concerning The Courtyard”, scripter Antony Johnston discusses the problems he faced when retelling Alan Moore’s original prose story in comic-book form:
One of the main challenges is adapting prose to a visual medium such as comics is that in prose, it’s perfectly acceptable to engage the reader with an inner monologue, and often for some length. These are necessary for exposition, feeding the information vital to understand the story, because in prose you can’t simply show something as you would in a film or comic. You must describe it.
There’s just one problem; during such passages it’s also perfectly acceptable for nothing to happen.
Even more so than the task of condensing a narrative, or deliberating over dialogue, this is the biggest challenge in any such adaptation. In a comic, something must always happen. It can be mundane, it can be remarkable, it can be somewhere between the extremes. But something must happen, visually, in order to justify the form’s usage and make the story feel like it belongs in the medium.
With a few exceptions, this wasn’t too hard a task with “The Courtyard.” Where Moore makes leaps to new locations in a single carriage return, the comic can make the same journey at a more leisurely pace, using space and sequence to pace out a relevant monologue over something so ordinary as Sax lighting a cigarette, or donning an overcoat.
This sounds like a somewhat plausible solution in theory, but turns out to be a mostly deadening misstep in practice. Sax’s Harrison Ford-in-Blade Runner voice-over generally doesn’t interact with the visuals (which, as Johnston admits, mostly involve uninteresting stage business, not important narrative information), it simply dominates them. For much of the comic, you could cover up the panels and understand everything that is happening without even looking at the drawings. (Incidentally, setting this comic next to Crumb’s Genesis shows just how wrong-headed those critics who found Crumb’s illustrations too literal really were—any panel of that book puts this entire comic to shame.)
It’s no accident that the four pages Avatar has chosen to offer as an online preview illustrate one of the very few sequences in Moore’s story where something actually happens. Let’s compare. (more…)
by T. Hodler
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Okay, now that Jog has thoroughly exposed me as a lazy fool (by the way, Joe: you’re fired)—and now that I’ve read the second issue of Neonomicon myself (which I liked, but hooboy), I really have to get this CCCBC thing moving. In my defense I got sidetracked by various super-important historical issues, and only Joe’s post derailed me from my planned 50,000-word essay contemplating the aesthetic and political influence of R.F. Outcault on 1980s phenomenon Shirt Tales. So you’ve been spared that at least.
For now, I’ll finish up The Courtyard
tonight, and then on Monday we can discuss the first two issues of Neonomicon. If you want to participate, your required reading includes the aforementioned comics, Jog’s post, and the videos Jog linked to within his post (which I found unconvincing, but feature a lot of good ideas all the same). Future posts will be closer to a discussion than a lecture, I hope, though it’s possible I have already irrevocably ruined the whole thing. Anyway, until tonight.
Labels: Alan Moore, CCCBC, Jog aka Joe McCulloch
Friday, October 8, 2010
Neonomicon #2 (of 4) (Alan Moore & Jacen Burrows; Avatar, $3.99)
In the interests of promoting inter-website dialogue and peace throughout all free lands, what follows is a response of sorts to the recent, very fine writing-on-comics zine The Prism #1 (PDF download here), specifically its “annocommentations” — a considered set of page-by-page reactions — composed by Mindless Ones site contributors amypoodle, Zom and bobsy, in regards to the recent Alan Moore-scripted bookshelf-type comic The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century #1: 1910.
Three passages in particular seemed relevant to a more recent Alan Moore comic, this week’s Necronomicon #2. In fact, I found the three passages to coincide directly with three extremes active in the work. My duties as a comics critic and obsessive compulsive demand I detail each of them below, in order of growing expanse, as additionally informed by the trio of word-drugs prominent in The Courtyard, this present serial’s overture. To wit:
Labels: Alan Moore, H.P. Lovecraft, Jacen Burrows
by T. Hodler
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Welcome to the preseason for 2010’s Comics Comics Comic-Book Club, which will feature a discussion of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’s new series Neonomicon. Before getting to that, though, it probably makes sense to start with Alan Moore’s The Courtyard, the 2003 two-issue miniseries to which Neonomicon is a sequel.
Garth Ennis, of Preacher and Punisher fame, introduces the comic with some effusive praise:
Here he is now with his latest effort, ably assisted by Antony Johnston and drawn by the always excellent Jacen Burrows: Alan Moore’s The Courtyard. And yes, it’s brilliant, and yes- sob– he’s as good as he ever was, but what The Courtyard really does is confirm the effortless quality of the man’s talent. A story bursting with ideas and characters and nice lines and spooky twists, enough to keep most writers occupied for a couple of years—but where just about anyone else would stripmine a concept like this to death, what does Alan devote to it? Forty-eight pages, no more.
Actually, Moore actually didn’t even devote that many pages to the concept, because Moore is not in fact the author of this comic (more…)
by Jeet Heer
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Autodidacts. I often think William Blake is the prototype for many modern cartoonists. Blake was a working class visionary who taught himself Greek and Hebrew, an autodidact who created his own cosmology which went against the grain of the dominant Newtonian/Lockean worldview of his epoch. The world of comics has had many such ad hoc theorists and degree-less philosophers: Burne Hogarth, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Gil Kane, Neal Adams, Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Gary Panter, Lynda Barry, Howard Chaykin, Chester Brown, Dave Sim, Alan Moore. These are all freelance scholars who are willing to challenge expert opinion with elaborately developed alternative ideas. The results of their theorizing are mixed. On the plus side: you can learn more about art history by listening to Gary Panter and Art Spiegelman talk than from reading a shelf-full of academic books; Robert Crumb’s Genesis deserves to be seen not just as an important work of art but also a significant commentary on the Bible; Lynda Barry’s ideas about creativity strike me as not just true but also profound and life-enhancing. On the negative side: Dave Sim’s forays into gender analysis have not, um, ah, been, um, very fruitful; and while Neal Adams drew a wicked cool Batman, I’m not willing to give credence to his theories of an expanding earth if it means rejecting the mainstream physics of the last few centuries. Sorry Neal!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Hey everybody. Frank Santoro here. I’m still in “pitch mode'”after last week’s awesome convention. So, my post this week is another episode in my obsessive quest to understand mid ’80s independent comics. As usual, I ain’t got nothin’ much to say. Just riffing. Check this comic out if you see it around.
Upshot Graphics, 1986. “A division of Fantagraphics,” it reads on the indicia.(Anyone remember the story with Upshot? Cuz I forget.) It’s called Flesh and Bones. Basically another Dalgoda vehicle. Jan Strnad. Good writer. Did some work with Kevin Nowlan that I like. Dennis Fujitake’s art on the lead story, Dalgoda, is solid, if a little stilted. A little too Moebius for me. But with none of the real drawing chops of Moebius. Anyways. Flesh and Bones was a book that re-presented Dalgoda and also had back up stories. Very good back-up stories.
I’ve seen this book in the bins for years but I spaced on who actually did the back up story. Well, it was Alan Moore. A reprint from a black and white magazine called Warrior from 1983. The story is called the BoJeffries Saga. For this version, it’s been shrunk and colored. A little hard to read at first. But once I got settled it played out like a pleasant little British comedy. You know. That wacky British humor that is sort of really subtle and eccentric at the same time? Yah. Great story. The art is like a leftover ’70s hodgepodge. Not bad. Steven Parkhouse. Cool image on the back cover. Should have been the front cover. I guess Dalgoda had to get top billing.
Moore’s story is about a rent collector. I could sort of read into this story from ’83 and imagine what Moore would go on to do. Basically, I would read into the rent collector character and imagine him to be Rorschach. What if Rorschach was sent around to collect the rent? Hurm.
This is that funny moment in 1986 when there was a sort of “Comics Renaissance” gaining critical mass. Alan Moore was part of that. So was Fantagraphics. And so was Heidi MacDonald.
Look at the article Heidi wrote back when there was no internet. It was a two-page article in this issue of Flesh and Bones. She’s asserting that Kirby, Tezuka, and Hergé are the “Gods of Comics.” Has her Pantheon of Comics Gods changed? I wonder…
Labels: Alan Moore, back issues, Heidi MacDonald, Kevin Nowlan, Moebius
by T. Hodler
Thursday, March 26, 2009
If not, it will be soon:
Big Questions Big Numbers 3!
Of related interest: a big chunk of the issue’s original script.
(Thanks, Sean H.)