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Care for Moore?

I’ve finished my first read-through of “The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore.” It’s an entertaining book-length interview of comics’ greatest writer with tributes by his collaborators.

Don’t be fooled by the title, though; the most fascinating aspects of the book aren’t about his works but about the man himself. His major works have been dissected elsewhere and there aren’t any major revelations about them here but the man has been something of an enigma to me until this book.

The very first question, the standard when-and-where-were-you-born, leads him to relate the history of his birthplace all the way back to the times of Boudica. It’s typical of his replies but fortunately for readers, he’s never less than engaging at any point during the interview. I had wished more than once while reading the book someone would set up an audioblog for this man. Who wouldn’t want to hear the sociopolitical viewpoints of someone who worships a snake god? Clearly, there is a niche to be filled here.

The book includes excerpts from his works and this includes unpublished scripts. I found his Maxwell the Magic Cat strip the most jarring of the lot. How does one reconcile a Peanuts-Garfield amalgamation with Watchmen and V for Vendetta? But then Moore is remarkably versatile. Rivetting neurotics-in-tights fare one minute and an exposé of the CIA the next.

The photos of his formative years are great (I loved his amusing captions) and I suspect more than a few fans might be startled to discover he wasn’t born with a shaggy beard. Some of the more recent ones are initially odd (what is with the poses?) but the one thing you’ll take away from the book is the realisation he’s a performance artist who always seems to be performing. Whether it’s his fashion, his poses, his writing or his music, it’s all art and thus an opportunity to be creative.

There’s a bibliography at the end of the book and as a fan, it is simultaneously dejecting and exhilarating to find there’s huge amount of his writing that I haven’t read yet. I expect I’ll be spending most of 2006 acquiring reading Moore material.

If you’re a fan, you probably have this book. If you’re not, I can only imagine it’s because you haven’t actually read any of his major works. Seek them out. When you’re done reading and have been converted, I expect you’ll want to know more about the writer. At that point, get this book.

Posted in Books, Comics, Reviews.


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