Comics god Alan Moore has issued a comprehensive sign-off from public life after shooting down accusations that his stories feature racist characters and an excessive amount of sexual violence towards women.
The Watchmen author also used a lengthy recent interview with Pádraig Ó Méalóid at Slovobooks entitled “Last Alan Moore interview?” – to expand upon his belief that today’s adults’ interest in superheroes is potentially “culturally catastrophic”, a view originally aired in the Guardian last year.
“To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children’s characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence,” he wrote to Ó Méalóid. “It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite ‘universes’ presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.”
The award-winning Moore used the interview to address criticism over his inclusion of the Galley-Wag character – based on Florence Upton’s 1895 Golliwogg creation – in his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics, saying that “it was our belief that the character could be handled in such a way as to return to him the sterling qualities of Upton’s creation, while stripping him of the racial connotations that had been grafted onto the Golliwog figure by those who had misappropriated and wilfully misinterpreted her work”.
And he rebutted the suggestion that it was “not the place of two white men to try to ‘reclaim’ a character like the golliwogg”, telling Ó Méalóid that this idea “would appear to be predicated upon an assumption that no author or artist should presume to use characters who are of a different race to themselves”.