Alan Moore recently called on readers to eschew the film Hercules, based upon comics written by his close friend Steve Moore, on the basis that Steve did not wish his name to be attached to the film and yet following his death, his name appeared prominently in advertizing for the film. But Alan Moore has also spoken to Bleeding Cool about the wide-ranging and much to be celebrated achievements of Steve Moore in his varied career as a major influence upon the development of the "comics scene" in Britain from the late 1960's onwards, as a notable IChing and Classical scholar, and as a man whose legacy is far from complete while several posthumous works and collections are still in process.
Alan Moore celebrates Steve Moore's impact on many cultures in the following interview:
Hannah Means-Shannon: What's your take on how people have reacted to the passing of Steve Moore and what still needs to be done to secure his legacy? Are there works that might not be done yet, out there yet, or release yet?
Alan Moore: For one thing, it's going to take everybody a long while to actually unpick Steve's cultural importance because it was an importance which spread over so many different cultures. His contribution to The Fortean Times, for instance. Bob Rickard has acknowledged that without Steve's help and encouragement in those early days, who knows whether The Fortean Times would have survived to become the institution that it is at present? With all the things that have grown out of that.
His contribution to IChing Studies is immense. We were contacted by Louis Andrade, who is an IChing scholar, who had been in contact with Steve. He was expressing just what an enormous loss it was to the IChing community because Steve was one of the most radical and innovative writers on the IChing to have emerged, probably in the last century. His book, The Trigrams of Han, was a radical reinterpretation of the IChing. He was saying "Yes, it was an oracle, and it's also for other things as well. It's a table of elements. It's an astrological chart. It's basically a composite glyph for the entire worldview of Han Dynasty China". Of course, this is a bit obscure and a bit rich for some people. But people in the IChing community appreciated what an enormous contribution that was.
As for his contribution to comics, I think that the current comics landscape would be unrecognizable without Steve Moore. Steve more or less created even the idea of a "comics scene" in this country when he put together the first comic convention in 1969. Within two or three years, Steve was tired of the enterprise. He was tired of comic conventions and he was withdrawing from his fan involvement. I tended to drift away from the fan scene at roughly the same time. When I was later exposed to it, it was very different to the one that Steve had created. But those first two or three years, those first two or three conventions, even though they were attended by only perhaps a few score of people, more likely a few dozen, if you look at the list of attendees, there were all of these names: my own, Jim Bakie, Steve Parkhouse, Kevin O'Neill. All at the first convention in 1969 that I went to.
These were most of the people in attendance. It's like Brian Eno's quote about the Velvet Underground, regarding how they only sold a few thousand copies of their early albums, but all of those people went on to form bands. And that's something of what Steve accomplished simply by being in the most progressive part of British comics in the late '60's when he was 16 and 17 years old. He was able to be massively influential.
And then he, of course, was at the forefront of nearly everything innovative that happened in British comics after that. When 2000AD started up, Steve was there creating the Future Shocks format, and then scripting the revived Dan Dare. I think he would have been happier scripting an un-revived Dan Dare but that wasn't his brief. And of course, Warrior. Steve was the person who put that together for Dez Skinn, who wrote the contracts for it, who assembled a lot of the talent. Without Warrior, I probably wouldn't have been working in American comics, and a lot of things that did happen perhaps wouldn't have happened. So Steve's importance there is monumental. His importance as a human being is going to take a little bit of consideration.
Concerning the time around Steve's death, the funeral was quite wonderful. It was not an entirely tragic time. There was a luminousness about it. That's the best way that I can describe it. And yet there are various loose ends.
The project that Steve that was working on when he died, literally, has yet to be released and will possibly be remembered as his greatest work. It is a book about the Greek goddess Selene that he'd been working on, on and off, for 10 years. It was an attempt to actually give a serious examination to the body of myths around this frankly little known mythological figure. I mean, I suppose the name is widely known but very little is known about her, even in the original Greek myths, of which there are only a handful and then some variants. But Steve was trying to put this together in an attempt to rescue the goddess from some of the misunderstandings that have been piled on top of her by such things as "women's mysteries" which have tended, on the say so of Robert Graves, to lump Selene in with his triple Moon Goddess. Steve is at pains to point out that this is something where you can say that, but that has nothing to do with the way that she was originally conceived at the time. It's a marvelous book. Steve himself was worried that it wasn't quite finished, hence, I suppose, his frantic working on it on that Friday [of his death].
But we've given it to the brilliant counter-cultural historian John Hicks, who has gone through it. He's made a couple of small alterations to it where he thinks it has been necessary, but I've read it as well and I think that it's finished. It seems like a wonderful book. It'll probably be coming out from Strange Attractor. And that is probably how Steve would most probably like to be remembered, as a Classical scholar.
William Christensen at Avatar Press has expressed an interest in the Pressbutton work. I think the people at 2000AD are agreeable to collecting his Telguuth strips at the same time that Mark Pilkington at Strange Attractor will be collecting Steve's exquisite Telguuth prose stories. The Pressbutton material, which Steve had just received the rights back to recently, had originally appeared in Warrior. It's a character that Steve originally created for Three-Eyes McGurk and His Death Planet Commandos strip that Steve and I worked on for Dark Star, a West Coast Music magazine. It kind of grew out from there into the series version by Steve Dillon, with various incarnations and spin-offs from it. Steve had just gotten all of the rights back [at the time of his death] and he was looking forward to seeing Press Button back in print in some way. And William Christensen has expressed some interest in that, so we're working on that at the moment as some sort of Commemorative Edition. There's a load of stuff that's going to be going on for a while yet, and there's a 30 Years Dream Record [of Steve's]. Mitch [Jenkins] and I have got a project in mind that might provide a really excellent home for that.
There is a lot of Steve Moore's legacy left to unpack. The Hercules film is not part of it, and that doesn't need to be unpacked. It needs to be buried. It's been an unusual time on all sorts of levels. There have been things that have needed addressing, and continue to need addressing, but I'm probably going to end up with one of the finest and most worrying collections of swords in the country [from Steve Moore].