ComicBook.com is proud to present an exclusive excerpt from an extensive and previously unpublished Alan Moore interview.
The interview was conducted by Gavin Edwards and originally intended for Rolling Stone back in 2006, and will now finally see the light of day in the pages of Full Bleed, the first volume of Dirk Wood’s deluxe hardcover quarterly from IDW Publishing.
In the excerpt, Moore talks about London in the 60’s, his thoughts on how American comics have changed since then, and what inspired him to create America’s Best Comics.
Per the Kickstarter campaign Wood launched to fund the magazine, "Full Bleed is a brand-new quarterly, hand-crafted PRINT-ONLY 200-page hardcover 'magazine,' curated and edited by IDW Publishing’s Dirk Wood and Ted Adams.
"By merging the best in comics, fiction, non-fiction, deep dive interviews, opinion, history, think-pieces and more, Full Bleed will be a reading experience like no other, and a beautiful artisan addition to any bookshelf. Looking through an international lens, but filtered through the unique perspective of the IDW:PDX satellite office in Portland Oregon, Full Bleed will tackle all aspects of the creative culture, and beyond — comics, music, film, tv, fine art, photography, design, politics and more.
"Full Bleed seeks total diversity: diversity in content, diversity in creator and contributor, diversity in genre. Every page turned will reveal a surprise."
You can see an excerpt from Edwards's interview with Moore below.
GAVIN EDWARDS: Do you remember your first trip to London?
ALAN MOORE: I think so. It was in a hired mini-bus with my uncle and my parents and my cousins and my brother. It was in the very early '60s and there were milk bars everywhere, which we thought terribly exotic.
Inspirations for America's Best Comics
GE: I've heard of milk bars, but I've never seen one outside of A Clockwork Orange. Did they literally serve milk, or were they ice-cream shops?
AM: I'm not even sure. I think it was a kind of café with coffee, tea, and milk. It seems strange looking back now — they can't have served just milk. It was very bohemian in London in the '60s. I presume they just didn't serve alcohol and there was presumably a pretty fast trade in pep pills going on instead. I remember going to the London Zoo and finding that a bit unnerving — I didn't like seeing animals in cages — except when there was an elephant that evacuated its bowels all over one of its keepers spectacularly. I shall never forget that.
That was when I was six or seven. I didn't go to London again until I was a teenager and starting to get involved with the early part of comics fandom. I could never live there — it's a bit of a nightmare — but it's a fascinating city. I still go down about once a month.
GE: You referred earlier to Promethea as an American comic book — do you think of your projects as having a national identity?
AM: Well, my relationship with America and American comics has changed quite a lot. When I started out, there was an English comics industry and there was this glittering, colorful American comics industry over the sea. I'd grown up reading the British comics but I'd also grown up reading a huge amount of American comics: they were in color and there were more of them. I was really excited when, in my mid-20s, I was brain-drained and I went to work for America. Since then, I've seen the English comics scene more or less atrophy because most of the big talents went overseas.prevnext
American Comics cont'd
I have a much more jaded image of the American comics industry now. In fact, at this point I would say that the mainstream American comics industry is the single thing that poses the biggest threat to the comics medium. The American comics industry thinks of creators as fuel cells that are to be used and then thrown away, which is done with every major creator that has ever graced its halls. It has grown up and made concessions only when it absolutely has to—and if it had the chance, it'd claw those concessions back.
I have a huge number of friends in America and they are wonderful people, but America as an entity is the ugliest I've ever seen it. It's come to me to feel as if the policies of the comic-book industry are pretty much American foreign policy, but writ small. It's the same mixture of greed and deceit and gladhanding. I have started thinking that perhaps it would be good to distance myself from the big American companies because I don't want to end up like Hergé; I don't want to be remembered for having made a fantastic contribution to graphic literature but too bad he was a Nazi collaborator. I don't want to be a Vichy comics writer.
GE: Did you name America's Best Comics yourself?
AM: Yeah, just because it sounded corny and archetypal. I wanted something that sounded like it had been around since the '40s. They're a lot more knowing than something like Watchmen — there's an ironic distance in the storytelling.0comments
GE: Was the motivation for doing those comics, like Tom Strong and Top 10, that you wanted to expiate for the imitators of Watchmen?
AM: Yes, I wanted to at least leave the American comics industry in the state that I found it, as you would any hotel room. With all this dark stuff, I felt that it had, through no fault of my own, had an influence on the mainstream industry that I didn't like. It seemed to have removed a lot of the joy and imagination that attracted me to comics in the first place in favor of a relentlessly dark, pessimistic sort of phony cynicism—a knee-jerk cynicism that I didn't think that the innocent characters of American comics had really been designed to carry. It was an experiment: I wanted to reinvest the mainstream with some of those elements that I felt had been thrown out with the bathwater back in the '80s.prev