Trust me. This is going somewhere. Remember that famous scene at the end of 1992's Rob Reiner-directed A Few Good Men? Tom Cruise's Lt. Kaffee has Jack Nicholson's Colonel Jessup on the stand as Kaffee tries to get to the truth surrounding a "code red" executed by two soldiers that left another soldier dead. Kaffee knows that Jessup gave the order, but he needs Jessup to admit to it on the stand, or the case is sunk. And that's when Kaffee hits Jessup with that beautiful contradiction that brings the entire house of cards crumbling to the ground. And the fact that it was so simple is what made it that much more beautiful. Jessup said that nothing (and he meant nothing) goes on under his command that he doesn't know about or approve of because that's at the core of how the military operates. You follow orders, no questions asked. So if that's the case, then either the two soldiers who executed the "code red" were either following orders or going against orders… which Jessup said does not happen. So between the choice of perjury and military prosecution or looking like he's not in charge, Jessup goes all-in on the former in that famous courtroom moment. So what does any of that have to do with comics legend Alan Moore? More than you'd think…
Well, in the interest of full disclosure? This isn't really so much about Moore as it is about a certain very loud & vocal percentage of his fanbase. Personally, I think Moore is one of the best comic book writers to ever grace the page with their words. Both his "Swamp Thing" run and Watchmen are works I revisit every year. I respect his view on how the comic book industry (and entertainment industry overall) have treated him over the years. I completely understand & respect his disinterest in having anything to do with any adaptations of his works that he disapproves of or having to discuss them in any way. In fact, it would be nice if the media took the ten-ton hint Moore's been putting out there to stop asking him about films and series based on his works. It's a lazy, clickbait move that wastes an opportunity to ask him about a hundred other things that would make a good headline.
But that fanbase I mentioned earlier? Yeah, that's the problem. And the reason why I'm bringing it up now has to do with one of those "perfect storms" of pop culture moments coming together. Between Moore's name being thrown around a lot on social media lately, a doc on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre that I caught the other day, and the fact that the anniversary of Damon Lindelof's Watchmen prequel/sequel/remix is coming up this October, this thing that's been buzzing around in my head finally found the open window to fly out of. Because the HBO series was a perfect example of the Kaffee/Jessup scene. As soon as Lindelof announced what he was planning in an inspiring "personal manifesto," the "Moore-ons" (if that's not copyrighted & trademarked already, it is now) came out to start shitting on the show's Corn Flakes before a single word had been written or a single scene had been filmed. Thankfully, the series proved to be the Emmy-worthy series that some of us knew it could be and then some. And the best way to know it was quality? The "Moore-ons" quietly moved on to pissing all over DC's Doomsday Clock.
But it left me wondering. So if Moore doesn't want anything to do with film & series adaptations of his works, and has no interest in even discussing them, then why do some of his supposed "fans" keep dragging him back into the conversations? Again, putting the Kaffee/Jessup scenario into play, we have two options. First, Moore actually likes seeing adaptations of his works being undercut & shitbagged by his fans while keeping enough "plausible deniability" distance to keep an aloof public face on the matter. Do I believe that? Absolutely not. I truly believe that Moore couldn't give two shits about anything having to do with his works that he doesn't have a hand in (as long as they don't violate legal matters, obviously). The man has too many other things going on (and amen to him for it). That leaves us with the second… that the "Moore-ons" do it because they think Moore needs defending despite his telling them over and over again that he doesn't care. Essentially, the fans of the artist think they know better than the artist itself. There's a dangerous arrogance to that, the kind that stifles artistic creativity and exploration in the name of gatekeeping. Unfortunately, that's a "truth" that some of them can't seem to be able to handle.