Over the past several decades comic books have gradually evolved from a niche hobby into the most valuable intellectual property in Hollywood. One person who has been around the industry during every step of that evolution is Alan Moore, who wrote landmark comics like “Watchmen,” “V for Vendetta,” and “Batman: The Killing Joke.”
While Moore was an essential figure in the artistic legitimization of comic books, that doesn’t mean he’s thrilled to see what the industry has turned into. In a new interview with The Guardian, Moore expressed his concerns about our culture’s newfound obsession with superheroes.
“I said round about 2011 that I thought that it had serious and worrying implications for the future if millions of adults were queueing up to see ‘Batman’ movies,” Moore said. “Because that kind of infantilization – that urge towards simpler times, simpler realities – that can very often be a precursor to fascism.”
He continued: “Hundreds of thousands of adults lining up to see characters and situations that had been created to entertain the 12-year-old boys—and it was always boys—of 50 years ago. I didn’t really think that superheroes were adult fare. I think that this was a misunderstanding born of what happened in the 1980s—to which I must put my hand up to a considerable share of the blame, though it was not intentional—when things like ‘Watchmen’ were first appearing. There were an awful lot of headlines saying ‘Comics Have Grown Up’.”
Moore gets plenty of credit for turning comic books into an art form adults, but he’s not sure that’s what they actually are.
“I tend to think that, no, comics hadn’t grown up,” he said. “There were a few titles that were more adult than people were used to. But the majority of comics titles were pretty much the same as they’d ever been. It wasn’t comics growing up. I think it was more comics meeting the emotional age of the audience coming the other way.”
While Moore is proud of the work that he’s done in comic books, his distaste for everything that surrounds them prompted him to move on to other kinds of writing.
“I will always love and adore the comics medium but the comics industry and all of the stuff attached to it just became unbearable.”