Alan Moore says he only has a few more comics to write, and he’ll be concentrating on other things for a bit. But comics, he’s almost done with them.
To be honest, I seem to remember him retiring before, and this every time a new issue of Providence of LOEG or anything else came out I was surprised. Pleasantly surprised.
I think I first reported this in mine very own Alan Moore profile, but I kind of buried the lede:
With Jerusalem set to either enshrine him as an important prose author or else a prolix Northampton eccentric, Moore still has a few comics projects in the works, including a final volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But then he wants to concentrate on other creative challenges. In the past he’s recorded albums and published a magazine, and recently he’s been collaborating with filmmaker Mitch Jenkins on a series of short films. Retirement is nowhere in sight. “I think that I’ve contributed probably enough to comics. I can kind of round off that period. What I’m looking forward to is to exploring all of these neglected areas.”
But he made it official at a press conference last week::
At a press conference in London for his latest work, Jerusalem, a weighty novel named after William Blake’s poem exploring the history of Moore’s native Northampton through several lives, Moore said he had “about 250 pages of comics left in me”.
He added: “And those will probably be very enjoyable. There are 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. Me and Kevin will be finishing 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.”
My thought is that the 62-year-old Moore is pretty much allowed to do whatever he wants from here on out. especially as Jerusalem hits this week. While he won’t be doing a signing tour, he is getting a lot of press from the major outlets including a profile in The New Yorker by novelist Nat Segman, who seemed uncharmed by Moore, although he did make the comparison to William Blake that I forgot to put in my piece:
With his long, graying hair and extravagant beard, Moore resembles Blake’s mythical creation Urizen, who, in “The Ancient of Days,” crouches outside space-time to measure the universe with a pair of celestial compasses. I had first met him a few weeks earlier, at the Odditorium, and had remarked on his Dalmatian-print winkle-picker shoes. (Moore likes to dress up; on the occasion of Britain voting to leave the E.U., he performed a rap about demagoguery in a “three-quarter-length white-satin frock coat,” with his face painted to resemble a mandrill, “the best-looking creature in the world.”) Today, apart from a knuckleful of sorcerer’s rings and a walking stick made to resemble a snake god, on the handle, he looked relatively ordinary, as we made our way past W. H. Smith, the newsagent shop, down the street.
In case you don’t know, Blake’s Jerusalem is the basis of the hymn and title of Moore’ book, and with his wife Catherine ran their own self-published print business based on the poets own heterodox beliefs and invented mythology. I’ve often thought that they must have been the first insufferable couple SF couple, if you know what I mean.
Moore also supplied a reading list to the New York Times:
The books that would be currently piled on my (at this point wholly aspirational) night stand include “Playing the Bass With Three Left Hands,” by Will Carruthers, a ruinously frank and funny account of the emergence of both Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized from the sonically celestial squalor of nearby Rugby that features a number of close friends amongst its stagger-on cameos; “Content Provider,” by Stewart Lee, in which the hostile below-the-line comments from Lee’s online readership are almost as funny as the columns and essays that they’re vilifying, and so go some way to explaining this brave and doomed comedian’s innovative technique of spraying his own audience with caustic bile; “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy,” a brilliantly lucid and informative account of the evolution of Anonymous and LulzSec by Gabriella Coleman; Jon Ronson’s thoughtful and troubling “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”; plus two or three books of essays — “Consider the Lobster,” “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” and “Both Flesh and Not” — by my recent infatuation, the late David Foster Wallace, whom I’m currently gorging on indiscriminately in a manner that I’m told betrays my standing as a poorly disciplined autodidact. I’ll try not to burden this volley of questions and answers with too many mentions of David Foster Wallace.
And more reviews of Jerusalem:
EW’s Darren Franich:
In Alan Moore’s own masterpieces – Watchmen, From Hell,Promethea, Miracleman, I could go on all day – there is frequently a character who transcends time, staring down across the whole sweep of existence like a map of the world. Think Dr. Manhattan, or the ascended madman William Gull. In that sense, Jerusalem is Moore’s apotheosis, a fourth-dimensional symphony of his own beloved city. Drawing on his own history as a lifelong resident of Northampton, Moore mixes together macro-historical figures with local personalities and characters based on Moore’s own family. In the first millennium, a monk travels from the Holy City. In 2006, a local artist plans a new exhibition. As Moore’s narrative shifts through time, it also shifts upwards, into an eternal life-beyond-life, where four angels decide the fate of the universe in a never-ending game of snooker. (No, even Moore can’t really explain snooker.)
And a Jerusalem reading diary by Zak Salih who took a mere two weeks to read the book, an admirable feat:
Jerusalem is a startling expansion on these ideas. While ideas of space-time have appeared in nearly every chapter so far, they’re concentrated in one marvelous section I’ve just finished. Snowy, a member of the Vernall clan (of whom the siblings Mick and Alma Warren are present-day descendants), hangs off the top of a building while below, in the gutter, his wife gives birth to a daughter. During this moment of suspended time, Snowy explores the idea of the world as an “eternal city” — one in which everything has been preordained.
There’s something frightening (and oddly comforting) about this philosophy, which borrows from the poet and mystic William Blake (an influence on Moore’s work), Friedrich Nietzsche’s myth of “eternal recurrence,” and the ideas of like-minded thinkers. We’re meant to see this idea as not a curse but a kind of hope.
I’ll refrain from more blow by blow review updates about Jerusalem, unless Moore does something particularly newsworthy.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.