Alan Moore Talks To RT TV About Heroes, KKK, Magic And Wearing Masks

Whenever I discuss the work and reputation of Alan Moore, I am usually smacked up against a wall of online commentators who tell me how gloomy he is, how morose he is, and why does he keep whining about the past. Which is utterly at odds with the man I've met, occasionally interviewed, and even more occasionally drunk with. Who is good-humoured, witty, and above all, self-deprecating. But this is when he is speaking, and when you can hear it in his tone – something which vanishes when someone else takes those words and types them up. This is why, when reading a spoken-word interview with Alan Moore, I always urge people to listen to his voice first, to get used to the ebbs and flows, before reading his words. Well, with his interview with Sophie Shevardnadze as part of her Visionaries series on Russia Today (RT) about Jerusalem, V For Vendetta, Doomsday Clocks, Tunisia, masks, anonymity, and eternity ahead, you can just watch and listen before quoting him out of context and maybe, just maybe, keep that tone in mind when doing so…

As well as revealing his belief, intrinsic in his novel Jerusalem, that we live our lives over and over again, occasionally interrupted by deja vu, and the best approach to our life is to live in a way we can bear ourselves living again. He revisited his comments made to Brazilian media about the relationship of superhero tropes to the KKK. "I've been quoted, when I was in a bad mood about comics – and that could have been any time during the last sort of 40 years – but I was asked about the origins of capes and masks in the superhero genre. And I said, look, all you need to know about capes and masks in American superhero comics can be learned by a close viewing of D. W. Griffith's 'Birth of a Nation'. Because I genuinely believe that, that that is where it all comes from. We don't have a tradition of masked heroes really anywhere else in the world apart from America. I mean, Guy Fawkes, who the V for Vendetta mask is based upon, that wasn't a mask, that was his face. It's like, Robin Hood. That was his name. He wasn't wearing a mask. But I think that there is something that possibly dates back to those… the Ku Klux Klan intervention in 'Birth of a Nation', the idea of dressing up in a mask, so that what you do doesn't get back to you. It's a form of evasion so that I can completely understand it in the context of the modern protest movements."

"It is an everyday heroism to choose to do the right thing, rather than not to do the right thing. These are moments of heroism, and they're basically what hold the culture, the species together. Without them, we'd be nowhere. So they are vitally important. I'm all for heroes…" He was asked which of the heroes he has written is most like him. "It's all of them, that's what being a writer is. They are all facets of you, all of us have everyone inside us somewhere, it's a matter of searching through the files until you find the right one, boosting it a little bit… but they're all me, basically." And he also talked at length about how magic was the natural way of seeing the world, and that it was the origins of all modern culture "possibly aside from sport, which might have been the hunters showing off." And how "art and magic are both concerned with taking something that does not exist and bringing it into manifestation" before he is happy to admit that it may all be some psychotic delusion.

As ever it's always worth listening, or watching, the whole thing… just over twenty minutes if you have the time. I did…

Alan Moore Talks To Russia Today About The End Of The World
Alan Moore RT screencap

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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