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Alan Moore 
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Post Re: Alan Moore
just finished v for vendetta.

at first i'd seen the movie, and kinda liked it. now, i think the movie lost a lot of things. some of the best things even. the graphic novel itself was great.
absolutely loved the vicious cabaret, by the way. :D

watchmen, on comparison....well. i dont know. i really cant compare the two. maybe watchmen eclipses this one. but it certainly is brilliant work the man is doing. next up - from hell, then league of ..... . and who knows...maybe even lost girls. i am quite...nervous about that one.

thats right,
having myself an alan moore mini marathon this week. maybe end it with watchmen.


Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:05 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
I can positively vouch for all of those titles except for Lost Girls, which is out of my price range at the moment.

One thing I forgot to mention in my long-winded spiel about Watchmen is that, while it is dense, I wouldn't call it slow. Comics do not have an intrinsic pace. How quickly or slowly the story moves is up to the individual reader. The fact that Watchmen is so dense in its narrative and visual details merely provides extra layers by which it can be enjoyed. You can whip through it and devour the story, or you can go over it panel by panel to savor its intricacies. This applies to all comics, but to Watchmen especially. (My personal course of action was to read it at a fairly brisk clip the first time through, with the understanding that I'd immediately revisit it and spend more time with it.)


Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:29 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
hmm...i kinda disagree. i think the amount of dialogue in watchmen and the intricacies of the panels...definitely slows the experience down. sure, one could argue about reading speed and all, but on comparison to other comics, that one was definitely slow, while not long. although it was quite a while back, i remember it took me quite a long time to read it.

two things:
1.anyone seen this? if you've read v4vendetta you've gotta listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZZCTgu8BJI
the guy sang it a little faster than i had imagined it. also, i can't read music so this was brilliant!

2.i know its almost criminal, but i have missed the killing joke. i know its reputation and all, i even know the whole plot, but someone tell me - does it stand anywhere among the likes of watchmen and all?


Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:10 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
My only point about Watchmen's pace is that there isn't one--at least, not one applied to it by anybody but the reader. You can spend days, weeks, or months on one reading. To an extent, it does demand to be read slowly in order to fully enjoy what it has to offer, but again, it's ultimately the reader's decision. Film, on the other hand, is an example of something that does have an intrinsic pace, wholly out of the control of its audience. Authors working in comics have relatively little input on pace, by contrast.

The Killing Joke, in my opinion, is not very good. It doesn't have much to say. The themes aren't particularly relevant to anything. In fact, it reminds me more of something Moore's superficial post-Watchmen imitators would have written, rather than Moore himself. Brian Bolland's artwork is really nice, though.


Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:28 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
Ken wrote:
I can positively vouch for all of those titles except for Lost Girls, which is out of my price range at the moment.

One thing I forgot to mention in my long-winded spiel about Watchmen is that, while it is dense, I wouldn't call it slow. Comics do not have an intrinsic pace. How quickly or slowly the story moves is up to the individual reader. The fact that Watchmen is so dense in its narrative and visual details merely provides extra layers by which it can be enjoyed. You can whip through it and devour the story, or you can go over it panel by panel to savor its intricacies. This applies to all comics, but to Watchmen especially. (My personal course of action was to read it at a fairly brisk clip the first time through, with the understanding that I'd immediately revisit it and spend more time with it.)


I'm not big on re-reading things, I mean why read something again when I can read something new? Watchmen is one of the few exceptions though. I think I might have noticed more of these "visual details" on the second read than on the first.

Ken, do you read a lot of graphic novels in general, or is it mostly Alan Moore? I'm shamed to say that I've read a grand total of 2 graphic novels, but am looking for recommendations. So far I'm planning to check out virtually everything from Moore, Spiegelman's Mausand Gaiman's Sandman.

The other one I've read is Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Lots of people cite this and Watchmen to be the "best" graphic novels, but this Dark Knight left me slightly underwhelmed. It was certainly a good read, but to me, nowhere as good as Watchmen.


Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:20 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
I've read a fair amount of comics. I wouldn't say I'm hugely knowledgeable, but I've got enough titles under my belt to have a working knowledge of the medium. One genre I'm not big on is superheroes, although I do make exception in a few cases here and there. When push comes to shove, Moore is my favorite comics author, but he's by no means the only one I'd hold at that level of esteem.

Maus is good. It deserves more credit than it gets for the way Spiegelman handles the parallel past and present story threads, which is just as interesting as the Really Heavy Holocaust Drama stuff that the series is known for. Sandman takes a little while to pick up steam, but Gaiman proves himself to be every bit as inventive and imaginative as his reputation suggests. (I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't read the entire series. I got through most of it years back, but I have yet to pick up the last two volumes. Even an excellent series such as this gets a little taxing after a while, so I felt the need to take a break.)

The Dark Knight Returns is, in my opinion, a fine book. While it's definitely out on a limb in its radical take on the character, it's such a strong document of the time in which Miller was working. Very few superhero titles can do more than pretend at having something relevant to say about society, so in that respect, DKR is a treat. I wouldn't say it compares to Watchmen, because the two books have very different goals and were written by two very different people.

Per Moore himself, From Hell is the most stunning work of his that I've read. To touch back on the subject of Watchmen for a moment, it kind of reminds me of something Paul Schrader once said. Following Taxi Driver, a journalist asked him if he felt any obligation to live up to the standard he'd set for himself. He responded by saying it was actually a relief to prove he could make such a major artistic statement so early on, because so many young artists who don't will end up laboring under the pressure to do so for years.

To me, From Hell is what happened when Moore, having gotten over with the business of shaking comics to its core, was free to do whatever he wanted with himself. He chose murder as his next subject, believing it to be one of the most extreme and rare events of the human experience, and thus, an interesting one to examine in a social context. He also, partway through, accidentally formulated his theory of magic as a metaphor for art, which has informed his work ever since.


Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:43 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
Ken wrote:
The Dark Knight Returns is, in my opinion, a fine book. While it's definitely out on a limb in its radical take on the character, it's such a strong document of the time in which Miller was working. Very few superhero titles can do more than pretend at having something relevant to say about society, so in that respect, DKR is a treat. I wouldn't say it compares to Watchmen, because the two books have very different goals and were written by two very different people.


A treat it is. I'd go further and say Chris Nolan's Batman films would not have been nearly as good if it weren't for DKR. My problem is more that I didn't like some of the characters, specifically the new
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Robin (although the gender swap was an interesting take) and Superman. I don't have anything against the Man of Steel, I just thought the comic would've worked just fine without him.


I don't want to go too far off topic or bore you with with all these questions, but have you read any Preacher? I'm tempted to add one of the paperback compilations to the old Amazon wishlist and would be glad for a bit of input.


Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:22 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
[Reveal] Spoiler: DKR ending
Perhaps Superman isn't necessary for plot purposes, but if Batman is Miller's avatar for one side of the superheroic coin, then it's hard to argue with his choice of Superman to represent the other side. Prior to DKR, it was still fashionable to depict these two characters as close allies, so having them duke it out at the end held great symbolic weight.

Of course, from then on, it became more fashionable to depict Superman and Batman being at odds with one another, though none of the subsequent authors understood the reasons why quite as well as Miller did.


And I have not read The Preacher, though I currently have pirated copies of it on my computer, courtesy of a well-meaning friend. I might get around to looking at it.


Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:10 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
i read the preacher the first time around when i was around 15, i think. it was a truly awesome experience. one of my first graphic novels.
not to give anything away, but the way it handled religion was quite original. a lot of it feels like a western. actually it is a western.
it's got a lot to say about pop culture too(one character basically exists just for this purpose).

i must say though, its crude humor and the way violence and sexual things are depicted...its too much. or rather, it was too much for a 15 year old.
worth it, but
[Reveal] Spoiler:
you maybe disappointed with the end. of the main story. a side story also exists involving the angel of death, but that is the best ending EVAR!!


Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:01 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
Sounds like the kind of stuff that I like ;) . Now I just have to resist the urge to reveal your spoiler.


Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:46 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
ed_metal_head wrote:
Sounds like the kind of stuff that I like ;) . Now I just have to resist the urge to reveal your spoiler.

the spoiler, it doesn't give anything substantial away, but does give my reaction to the ending.
EDIT:forgot to say, the character that i mention in the spoiler is the most badass one ever dipicted. anywhere. the most badass character EVAR!!!


Last edited by aameen on Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:52 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
aameen wrote:
the spoiler, it doesn't give anything substantial away, but does give my reaction to the ending.


Oh my God, I clicked it! Now I'll never unread aameen's reaction now!


Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:56 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
Patrick wrote:
aameen wrote:
the spoiler, it doesn't give anything substantial away, but does give my reaction to the ending.


Oh my God, I clicked it! Now I'll never unread aameen's reaction now!

:lol: :lol: :lol:


Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:06 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
Ken wrote:
One thing I forgot to mention in my long-winded spiel about Watchmen is that, while it is dense, I wouldn't call it slow. Comics do not have an intrinsic pace. How quickly or slowly the story moves is up to the individual reader. The fact that Watchmen is so dense in its narrative and visual details merely provides extra layers by which it can be enjoyed. You can whip through it and devour the story, or you can go over it panel by panel to savor its intricacies. This applies to all comics, but to Watchmen especially. (My personal course of action was to read it at a fairly brisk clip the first time through, with the understanding that I'd immediately revisit it and spend more time with it.)

I'd disagree. Both the amount of text on a page, the amount of detail in a panel, and the size and arrangement of those panels affects the pacing of the book. Not to mention choices made in the storytelling. It's true that the reader can choose to linger as long as he wants over a comics page, and one person reads faster than another, but those things will still affect how quickly someone parses what's on the page.

ed_metal_head wrote:
I don't want to go too far off topic or bore you with with all these questions, but have you read any Preacher? I'm tempted to add one of the paperback compilations to the old Amazon wishlist and would be glad for a bit of input.

Preacher is a lot of fun, although some might find it a bit too happy to roll in filth, crassness, depravity and blasphemy for their tastes. I think that's silly, but your mileage may vary. :D

DC comics has a bunch of first issues from their series available online, Preacher amongst them, so you can try before you buy.


Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:09 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
Sören Höglund wrote:
DC comics has a bunch of first issues from their series available online, Preacher amongst them, so you can try before you buy.


Thanks for that tip, I wasn't aware that they do that. The first hit is free; a smart move from DC.


Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:15 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
Sören Höglund wrote:
I'd disagree. Both the amount of text on a page, the amount of detail in a panel, and the size and arrangement of those panels affects the pacing of the book. Not to mention choices made in the storytelling. It's true that the reader can choose to linger as long as he wants over a comics page, and one person reads faster than another, but those things will still affect how quickly someone parses what's on the page.
Already addressed earlier:
Quote:
My only point about Watchmen's pace is that there isn't one--at least, not one applied to it by anybody but the reader. You can spend days, weeks, or months on one reading. To an extent, it does demand to be read slowly in order to fully enjoy what it has to offer, but again, it's ultimately the reader's decision. Film, on the other hand, is an example of something that does have an intrinsic pace, wholly out of the control of its audience. Authors working in comics have relatively little input on pace, by contrast.
The author and artist can use many devices to influence the way the reader receives the work, including charming the eye or momentarily weighing it down with detail, but it's one half of a compact to which the reader has no obligation to agree. Comics do not and cannot force anyone to proceed at a rate that is not of their choosing. An intrinsic rate of progression is a quality fairly unique to the media of film, television, and theater.

---

I'm thinking about writing a blog entry examining Moore's views on magic, which are, to say the least, very interesting. While I find them intriguing and possibly useful as a creative exercise, they may be the most significant element of Moore's work that I don't find endlessly charming.


Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:12 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
Ken wrote:
Sören Höglund wrote:
I'd disagree. Both the amount of text on a page, the amount of detail in a panel, and the size and arrangement of those panels affects the pacing of the book. Not to mention choices made in the storytelling. It's true that the reader can choose to linger as long as he wants over a comics page, and one person reads faster than another, but those things will still affect how quickly someone parses what's on the page.
Already addressed earlier:
Quote:
My only point about Watchmen's pace is that there isn't one--at least, not one applied to it by anybody but the reader. You can spend days, weeks, or months on one reading. To an extent, it does demand to be read slowly in order to fully enjoy what it has to offer, but again, it's ultimately the reader's decision. Film, on the other hand, is an example of something that does have an intrinsic pace, wholly out of the control of its audience. Authors working in comics have relatively little input on pace, by contrast.
The author and artist can use many devices to influence the way the reader receives the work, including charming the eye or momentarily weighing it down with detail, but it's one half of a compact to which the reader has no obligation to agree. Comics do not and cannot force anyone to proceed at a rate that is not of their choosing. An intrinsic rate of progression is a quality fairly unique to the media of film, television, and theater.

That's a pretty narrow view of pacing, and ultimately a less useful one I think. In my book, pacing has more to do with how quickly a thing moves from scene to scene, story beat to story beat. A novel that spends five pages ruminating on one action reads slower than one that dwells on it for a paragraph, and not using "pacing" to describe this because a reader can stare on one word for a week seems a bit silly.


Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:01 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
Perhaps it seems silly, but we're discussing this in a very important context. If this were a forum dedicated to comics, I might be less careful with the word. But given that this is a film-based forum, I'm finding it important to make a distinction between cinematic pacing and general narrative density. I think pace is the kind of thing you don't notice unless it's going wrong, and in order for it to go wrong, it has to transpire in a way that doesn't gel with the audience's requirements. In literature, this doesn't really happen, because the reader can control his experience according to his requirements.

Again, I haven't denied that the writers and artists of comics have some initial input into which panels or bit of dialogue are particularly attention-arresting. But I'd hesitate to call that pacing, as it is understood by the vast majority of people here. It suggests a process that is much more exact and unilateral on the part of the creators than it actually is. To put it another way, when you were a kid, you might have put little flaps and notches on your paper airplanes to influence the way they flew, but you probably didn't call it steering.

At best, I am ambivalent about the assertion that Watchmen is slow-paced, but I'd certainly agree that it is a dense book, and is probably best enjoyed if read carefully and slowly.

This is beginning to look like the Watchmen thread, which is unfortunate. For one thing, it's hardly the only Alan Moore comic book worth discussing, and for another, Moore--particularly these days--is involved in more than just comics. For example, he's currently working on his second novel, and also has a "grimoire" (his word choice) in the works.


Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:41 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
Being so careful is completely unecessary. The real-estate in movies is time. Comics deal in panels and dialogue bubbles. Books deal in words. Expecting people to apply the proper measure for each medium doesn't seem like it's asking too much.

Pacing in a comic is not just down to where and how the panels draw the eye on a page, but how many of them you use for an action, which is definitely something the creators have control over. You seem to argue that because the reader can skip the chapter in which Alan Moore talks about the architecture of London, From Hell moves at the same pace as Nextwave, or that all the elven poetry and scenery descriptions in Lord of the Rings don't have any effect on the reader's experience because you can skip it. Which, again, is just silly in my book, and tantamount to arguing that Solaris moves at the same pace as The Dark Knight.

I suspect this is something we'll have to agree to disagree on though.


Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:28 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
Just discovered this thread, and had a good time catching up on impressions of Alan Moore and graphic novels in general. Anyone who thinks graphic novels are easier to write than straight prose probably hasn't tried to write a novel of either type. I've written a few (unpublished) prose novels, and IMO, prose is MUCH easier to pull off. I can think in words, as it were, and get my ideas across on paper fairly well. But ask me to illustrate, compartmentalize, pace the story, and use the left side of my brain to that extent, and I wouldn't have a clue how to begin. My hat's off to anyone who can write a graphic novel.

Ed Metal Head (and anyone else interested in graphic novels):

I enjoyed Preacher immensely, but it's not for the faint of heart. Ennis tends to go overboard sometimes, just for the sake of being extreme. Still, in the end, it's a remarkable work. Opens up a lot of discussion about the nature of religion, and made me think long after I had finished it. If you want something of Ennis' that's a little less extreme, and even more fun, see if you can pick up his Hitman series (NOT the videogame/movie of recent years). This one's about an Irish hitman with superpowers. Lots of fun, especially Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium. You haven't lived until you've seen zombie penguins getting their heads blown off!

Alan Moore -- nobody's mentioned Top Ten, which is probably my favorite of his works. A futuristic mutant cop series, a little more lighthearted, very entertaining. Also, Tom Strong is good stuff.

The Goon by Eric Powell. Awesome!

Invincible by Robert Kirkman. One of my favorite running titles.

Ed Brubaker did a series called Gotham Central which is a very good, gritty, realistic cop drama. Batman plays a very peripheral role. He also did some Catwoman books, which are great if you can get your hands on them.

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale have a number of great stories together: Superman For All Seasons, and their Batman series (The Long Halloween, Haunted Knight, and Dark Victory) are great.

Anything by Darwyn Cooke. Seriously, he's exceptional. His new Spirit reworking is great, and Selina's Big Score is an excellent caper/heist story starring Catwoman.

AND, he did D.C.: The New Frontier, the best graphic novel ever written (and yes, I will defend it against Watchmen).

Hope this helps!


Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:36 pm
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