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Alan Moore And The League In 1969

The Guardian holds an excellent Q&A with comics’ writer Alan Moore, one of the modern doyens of the genre, focusing in particular on his series of comics and graphic novels beginning with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and how he views the third volume in the saga:

‘When we started the third volume of League, we got a vague idea of how the plot would progress and would enable us to use characters and situations from respective Leagues – 1910, 1969 and 2009. But as the book has actually progressed as it has been written, the prevailing thing about it seems to be a critique of culture. And the most noticeable thing is the decline if you like – diversification. It’s always the most healthy thing for a species and it’s probably the same for culture as well.

When we start out in 1910 we have a fairly rich background to draw from – we’ve got Brecht’s Threepenny Opera which was set around that time, we’ve got all of those wonderful occult characters that were being created around then. By the time we get to 1969 we’ve got some equally interesting characters but they’re a kind of different category. They’re more often drawn from popular culture, because of course popular culture has expanded incredibly in the 50 years since 1910 when culture was still largely the preserve of an educated elite. But changes in society over the first 50 years of the century meant that by the middle years culture had changed. Certainly by 1969 where pop culture was predominant and previous culture was perhaps in danger of becoming increasingly marginalised. And by the time we return to the League story in 2009, it’s a much bleaker cultural landscape still.

So I suppose inevitably you’re going to find in this book that there are contrasts that are going to arise between the different eras. And there’s also a marked sense that culture is possibly contracting in certain areas. There is the thing of the richness of the Victorian or the Edwardian era. That the range of characters and ideas to draw upon have nowhere near the same breadth that they seem to back in the day. This is something that has purely emerged from the story. Wasn’t anything that we necessarily set out to write. But it seems to be the case.’

He also talks about working with long time creative partner and acclaimed comics artist Kevin O’Neill:

‘It is an absolute pleasure to work with Kevin. He is one of the finest and most distinctive comic book artists this country has ever turned out. Also, he is the only one of my mainstream collaborators who is from a similar background to myself and who has ever taken my side in any of my bust-ups with the comic companies. This is why Kevin is the only person that I’m still working with. During the unpleasantness with DC, he was taking the brunt of it. Because I’d walked off and he still had to finish the book. They were very angry that we got sick of them and were taking it to another publisher. He is as good an individual as he is an artist.’

For some more on graphic novels and comics visit here.

 

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