James Robinson, who in a past life wrote the League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen screenplayand is a close friend of Blackest Night writer Geoff Johns, twittered about the Mania interview with Alan Moore that set the net abuzz this week.
I was thinking about Alan Moore's remarks about Blackest Night. And albeit this is me, here, the guy who made such a mess of LOEG but he's basically saying that comics are dead because they dare to draw from past continuity, which is actually I believe one of the appeals of comics to some degree. Comics are a medium that has since the 60s at least built stories on the stories that have gone before.
As to the subject of originality, let's not forget that while the stories Moore has told were incredible and Watchmen may well be a work of genius, with the exception of Big Numbers which was never finished, everything of note he's written was the reinterpretation of someone else's work. Marvelman, Swamp Thing, Watchmen (Charlton heroes) even From Hell (although he denies it) borrows greatly from Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution by Stephen Knight which was very much the read du jour back in the day.
And let's not forget that Watchman, as brilliant as it was, had an ending taken from an episode of the Outer Limits. I know this sounds mean, but all I'm saying is that comics are a medium where one creator feeds off the work of others. That's the nature of the beast (I guess I should amend that to say superhero comics). I love reading Moore's work, but I find a sliver of hypocrisy in him taking such holier than though view of things. But then as talented as he is, if he has a flaw it, it's that he's always taken himself too seriously.
Oh and while I list the major works of Moore that wouldn't exist without the prior work of others how could I forget Lost Girls and LOEG? Now him being a warlock and all he's probably going to send a homunculus to get me. It's taken me this long to train the one have to do the dishes. I don't know if I have the patience to go through that all over again. And my apartment building has a rule about too many pets.
There's a definite point here, can Alan Moore really critcise people for basing work on past continuity when that's arguably what he's based much of his career on, though I do think James argument overegged and inaccurate in places. And naturally I couldn't stand back and joined the twitterati. Alan seemed more to be criticising that everything is based on past continiuity, rather than just saying that some superhero comics were. He wrote at length in the From Hell footnotes that The Final Solution was the inspiration, and his decision to tell the most interesting story rather than the right one. And I'd consider the likes of V For Vendetta, Mirror Of Love, Voice Of The Fire, A Small Killing, In The Light Of Thyn Countenance, Moon And Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre Of Marvels, Halo Jones and BoJeffries to be works or note without such direct influence, and neither Promethea or Tom Strong are that directly influenced. But this only dilutes James' point, it doesn't destroy it.
Mind you, one indicator of Alan Moore's influence on the comics industry is that we're still talking about this well over a week after the interview.