Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Alan Moore on superheroes: "They have blighted cinema, and also blighted culture to a degree"

Alan Moore
Alan Moore
Photo: Kevin Nixon/SFX Magazine (Getty Images)

Alan Moore, the genius creator of Watchmen, has emerged once again from his bearded cocoon to make you feel like a Class-A Dummy for liking it when super men in spandex leap tall buildings. Several years back, the cantankerous creator riled up the masses by calling pop culture’s superhero fixation “tremendously embarrassing and not a little worrying,” and now, in an interview with Deadline, he’s back to spray shit all over your good time.

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“I haven’t seen a superhero movie since the first Tim Burton Batman film,” he said. “They have blighted cinema, and also blighted culture to a degree.”

He continues, “Several years ago I said I thought it was a really worrying sign, that hundreds of thousands of adults were queuing up to see characters that were created 50 years ago to entertain 12-year-old boys. That seemed to speak to some kind of longing to escape from the complexities of the modern world, and go back to a nostalgic, remembered childhood. That seemed dangerous, it was infantilizing the population.”

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Infantilized? Our culture? Come now, it’s not as if we live in a society where fans demand studios remake movies they didn’t like or call politicians “mommy.”

Speaking of politics, Moore draws a theoretical line between the election of Trump and the box office popularity of superhero movies. “Not to say that one causes the other but I think they’re both symptoms of the same thing—a denial of reality and an urge for simplistic and sensational solutions,” he says.

Echoing recent comments made by his daughter, who defended his crankiness by noting that “the medium he adored was ruled by corrupt despots,” Moore continued, “All of these characters have been stolen from their original creators, all of them. They have a long line of ghosts standing behind them.”

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But all of this is just dressing for Moore’s The Show, a film with a trailer that more or less baffled us. Described as an exploration of “the British nightmare,” the movie follows a man of “many talents, passports and identities” as he sinks in a “quicksand twilight world of dead Lotharios, comatose sleeping beauties, Voodoo gangsters, masked adventurers, unlikely 1930s private eyes and violent chiaroscuro women.”

According to Deadline, Moore hopes to pivot the independent production into a TV series based on the same characters. “We hope that it’s enjoyable as a thing in itself, but to some degree it could be seen as an incredibly elaborate pilot episode, we think there’s quite an interesting story that we could develop out of it as a TV series, which would imaginatively be called The Show,” he says, adding that he’s already “worked out about four-five seasons of potential episodes.”

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The Show debuts online via the Spanish genre festival Sitges on October 8.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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