At a press conference in London for Alan Moore’s recently released epic novel Jerusalem, the mastermind behind, among others, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, The Killing Joke, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the creation of iconic DC character John Constantine (along with Steve Bissette and John Totleben), announced his retirement from the comic book medium, leaving millions of fans wondering who could ever replace him. This is the second such blow to the comic industry, after the recent retirement of J. Michael Straczynski.
The Reason for Alan Moore Retiring
Like Straczynski, Moore’s decision to leave the industry came from his passion for the art. He says he is unwilling to continue producing comic books as one day soon, he will have to start regurgitating the same material, and so “inevitably the ideas would suffer.” He believes that his readers deserve better than refried characters and plots, and therefore wants to shift his creative genius to a new medium, such as more novels or even films.
To Moore, the whole comic book industry is in need of an overhaul. In the 1980’s, Moore had a falling out with DC Comics, and believes that they, and others like them, are what’s holding the comic book medium back. Instead of attempting to make old superheroes fit the needs of this new generation, like DC continues to do with many unsuccessful reboots of Batman and Superman, Moore believes that “this century needs, deserves, its own culture. It deserves artists that are actually going to attempt to say things that are relevant to the times we are actually living in. That’s a longwinded way of me saying I am really, really sick of Batman.”
Luckily for us readers, Moore isn’t quitting cold turkey. He concedes that he has about 250 good pages of comics left, and writing them will “probably be very enjoyable.” The last round of comics Moore is going write before his official retirement include, “a couple of issues of an Avatar [Press] book that I am doing at the moment, part of the HP Lovecraft work I’ve been working on recently…, Cinema Purgatorio and we’ve got about one more book, a final book of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to complete. After that, although I may do the odd little comics piece at some point in the future, I am pretty much done with comics.”
In addition to being completely heartbreaking, Moore’s retirement is going to leave a large hole in the comic book industry that we can only hope someone will fill, and soon. His politically-minded, relevant, and sometimes controversial comics help to propel the human race forward by creating new arenas for discussing many societal and political constructs in a way that encourages a younger generation to think more about the world around them in more critical and active ways.
There will never be another V for Vendetta, but let us hope that Alan Moore retiring will inspire up-and-coming artists to take up the reins in creating comics that are not only fantastically entertaining, but culturally important as well. To soothe the pain in the hearts of so many sci-fi addicts caused by this news, here’s a list of 6 comic book writers that tackle big ideas and frightening future realities like the great Alan Moore did.
Featured Image: DC Comics