Friday, September 19, 2008

My Moore Memories

It's linked in every entertainment blog by now, but I first read it in today's LA TIMES while drinking my first cup of java. It's a smoking piece about Alan Moore by Geoff Boucher.

Spurge has a really great critique of the piece and Alan's positions stated in it.
I really can't add much more to that, but, having spent time on both sides of the fence over the years, I agree that Alan's opinions really are well worth considering.

I do look forward to viewing The Mindscape of Alan Moore when I have opportunity to do so.

I only met Alan once, when he came to Comic Con in 1985 in the midst of the Miracleman launch brouhaha--the details of which I'd long forgotten but this article refreshed my memory. It was my first Comic-Con. I was a bit overwhelmed by it's size and pace (which is quite funny in hindsight, considering how incredibly small it was then compared to now!)

But I met Alan Moore right before, during, or after he signed the certificates. He knew that I'd created the Miracleman ads for Eclipse and he complimented me on them. Then he blew me away, by saying some amazingly kind and incredibly insightful words about Beanworld.

He even offered to write a back-up story for me which, really quite honestly, left me speechless. I'll be frank, I never would have taken him up on the offer. Hell, I only had two issues of TOTB under my belt at that point and I was scared to death he might see something in Beanworld that I'd totally overlooked and freak me out into a state of absolute paralysis.

My other conversations with Alan were on the phone. In 1993, at the tail end of my tenure at Moondog's, I did a bunch of freelance ad work for Jim Valentino's studio, Shadowline, for the marketing of 1963. I remember that I had a lot of fun writing and designing these ads. I'm sure others had input in them, I don't really remember the details. (Jimmy V and I have been best pals for almost 25 years--but when it comes to remembering who did what in almost anything we collaborated on--we both tend to remember that me, not the other guy, did most of it. I kid you not. At this point, I think we both find it funny, and in most cases, beyond confirmation anyway.)

These ads definitely were links in the chain of events that eventually landed me in the Executive Director position at Image Comics. After I arrived at Image, I talked sporadically to Alan on the phone about various things he was working on in the Image pipeline. He worked on books for Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and Jim Lee and I think I got into various bits of the marketing that I needed his point of view on--something like that.

But the best thing was something indirect--I will never forget listening to his verbal synopsis of his graphic novel WarChild he created for Rob Liefeld. It was a dystopian retelling of the Arthurian mythos done in a crazed version of LA. When he got to the center of the mythos, which was that "Arthur puts the sword back into the stone" I swear my hair stood on end, it was such an engrossing tale.

The first script was amazing. Every artist that tried pencilling it choked. As far as I can tell, it was never produced and I haven't a clue as to what happened to it or who owns it.


Unknown said...

Alan Moore is such a polarizing writer. On one hand, I nearly always love what he writes... nearly. The run on Supreme was fun, at first, but then the whole 'we interrupt this story with a golden age retelling that never really happened' just became irritating to me, and got in the way of the story.

1963 I loved while it lasted, especially what seemed to me to be his take on Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk.

However, when Moore misfires on me, I really find I dislike the story on a grand scale. Like, I loved Promethea for the first couple of books... even though it was kind of recycling the idea again of multiple versions of the same superhero throughout history, yet his was giving another brilliant spin on it.

Towards the end of the series, when he started using the book to flesh out his theory of magic (or whatever... I actually never really understood what he was doing), it lost favor for me.

I really wish the whole Miracleman thing would get resolved. I just read the whole run again, and am shocked at how it still holds as much power as it ever did.

Jim Hanley said...


There's a bit of info that seems to have been missed on Four Color Heroes site regarding the San Diego Limited Edition Marvelman ("He isn't really called Miracleman at all") #1s.

The first two issues were printed in Europe (Spain, I believe) in a co-publishing deal with Dez Skinn. Several different languages were gang-printed, with the black plate being switched out. Eclipse editions were sent by sea freight to New York, where Seagate (the late Phil Seuling's distribution company) acted as forwarding agent to other distributors. There was a delay, possibly due to slow customs clearance, and copies did not get released in time for San Diego.

The copies that did arrive came via air freight. Eclipse was uneasy about selling an unreleased book at the convention, so an old friend of ours suggested the Gold Edition / Blue Edition ploy as a way of recouping Eclipse's cost of bringing Alan Moore to the Con.

As he's no longer able to tell the story, I won't reveal our friend's name, but he mentioned several times over the years that he felt a little embarrassed about starting the whole multiple edition thing. He just meant it as a way to help some friends out of a jam.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Marder, would you take Mr. Moore up on writing a Beanworld back-up now, if he offered again? The idea intrigues me, especially as, with the letters and the Do-It-Yourself Beanworld contests, your brilliant series always felt collaborative.

Larry Marder said...

Jim, I'd forgotten about the gang printing. But I remember that now. Also, my memory is that MM #1 was printed in Finland, of all places, and a whole lot of 'em got damaged in transit.

Derek, I probably would be agreeable to it now, if it ever came up again. Particularly now that so much of Beanworld has been defined with a certain amount of clarity.
Remember that in the summer of 1985, we hadn't even met Beanish yet, let alone Dreamishness, the Pod'l'pool Cuties, Goofy Jerks, Mr Teach'm, and everyone (and everything) else that has arrived in Beanworld since then.

Jim Hanley said...

Larry: I wasn't buying from Seagate regularly anymore, when the Marvelman issues arrived. However, the guys there told me that the "mostly damaged" story was hype from Steve Milo, who wanted to spike demand for his supposedly pristine copies.

They WERE evidently shrink-wrapped loose on skids (or possibly slip-sheets), but the Seagate guys said that there were relatively few damages.

Eclipse's decision to stop gang-printing with Dez and to switch to printing at Ronalds may have had other explanations, but the damage situation and the long ship times may have been the official story.

Of course, the 75¢ pricetag wasn't viable at Ronalds, but it never seemed to be the selling point for Marvelman (nor for DNAgents, for that matter) anyway.

Now, to go read Alan's LA Times piece, before it goes away.