Funnybook Babylon

March 3, 2009

FBBP #93 – 1987

Filed under: Podcasts — Joseph Mastantuono @ 1:29 am

Hang onto your Glycon amulets! FBB looks to the Reagan Era, reviewing DC’s first collection of Justice League International. Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire were putting this book out concurrently with Watchmen, and while that comparison doubtlessly does JLI no favors, it’s repeatedly invoked.

Speaking of Watchmen, we check in on Alan Moore’s Wired interview, where he talks about why no one should care about these dumb superheroes, be it 1987 or 2009. MANDRAKK THE MONITOR STRIKES!


  1. I’m normally a defender of Alan More, even at his most curmudgeonly. That Wired interview really creased me, though. I can take a little arrogance or presumption, but he had nothing to back it up. I’m not inclined to write him off as a crazy old guy yet, but it does make me think I should stop reading these interviews.

    Oh, and I left you guys an iTunes review. Hope the listener-drive goes well; you all deserve it.

    Comment by nick — March 3, 2009 @ 11:59 am

  2. You might’ve spent more time considering Moore’s points instead of dismissing him as a self-promoting eccentric.

    Comment by JDS — March 3, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

  3. let’s just be honest here. Alan Moore is a genius, but can also be a hard-headed asshole. He simply thinks he knows everything there is to know about everything (probably one of the reasons he refuses to even touch a computer/internet). great podcast, guys.

    Comment by pcastelar — March 3, 2009 @ 12:26 pm

  4. It’s always hard to distinguish Alan Moore the person from Alan Moore the salesman. He’s so invested in his image that it makes me wonder how much of those Liefield comments about him are true. I don’t doubt he’s not at least 99% of who he says he is but still…

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — March 4, 2009 @ 10:31 am

  5. Hmm, I am actually more disappointed in our noble podcasters. Nothing in the Moore interview read anywhere near as badly or offensively as the podcasters suggested. Most of the interview seemed sensible and suitably self-deprecating, not pedantic or bitter. At worst it, as the podcasters pointed out, Moore may be ignorant of the great work that has come after him.

    My criticism of the podcasters, who admit that they may not have read the interview all that carefully, is that they seem to enjoy being offended and taking a defensive position more than engaging with the actual substance of the interview where Moore seems to be advocating for an almost Morrisonian approach to Super-heroes (more spectacular adventure, less soldiers and boys with their sick toys).

    I think the podcasting crew really diminishes themselves when engaging in the posture of offense that seems more appropriate to a bunch of pathetic grad students. The ease and subjects of your offense really bugs me.

    Comment by Adam Aaron — March 4, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

  6. I don’t disagree with general idea that comics could use more of a Morrison approach to Superheroes. We have numerous articles and podcasts dedicated to that beautiful wonderful idea. I avoided it because I found it more interesting that Alan Moore was talking up an idea that already existed in a medium he has a 10-15 year old disconnect from.

    It reminded me of how even during this period, where he made his own work and told his own stories, he didn’t approach them with a “Morrisonian” mindset. He told well constructed stories that were less about “spectacular adventure” and more inline with his previous works. There’s nothing wrong with telling stories in that fashion. I get offended when you say “People are not doing this thing I believe they should be doing” because he’s not doing that and other people clearly are.

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — March 4, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

  7. I actually disagree slightly, Pedro. But I think we are of a closer mind than you realize.

    While I agree with Morrison’s assessment that Alan Moore’s work is a little too dry, cold, and clockwork, I don’t think that we give enough credit to Moore that the ABC (esp. Tom Strong and Promethea) and Supreme books, his last mainstream efforts, were some spectacular adventures.

    I don’t think that Moore’s reputation of being grim and gritty (which is what I assume you are saying hasn’t changed) matches the ultimate message or texts of Moore’s works (which for me boils down down to the panel in Swampthing where the Devil and God shake hands: coexistence, trust, and wisdom).

    His core moral and ideological message has remained consistent: the only thing that really changed is his approach to Super-hero comics. He has pulled back from a frontal assault on the Super-hero tropes, to an occasional ironic gesture or joke. Even his vile Hyde ends-up becoming something of a hero in the end.

    Comment by Adam Aaron — March 4, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

  8. For what it’s worth:

    Alan Moore is by far my favorite comics writer ever. Promethea ties Nausica√ɬ§ as the most life-changing pieces of fiction I’ve ever experienced. Let me put this another way: The way objectivists feel about Ayn Rand and “Atlas Shrugged” I feel about Alan Moore and Promethea.

    I don’t think I got this across in the final podcast (partially due to my editing of what was REALLY boring parts of me trying to pontificate) but I think Alan Moore does raise some issues in the interview that are valid and could be addressed seriously. However the interview made the mistake of chatting to Moore about shit that Moore doesn’t really care about anymore.

    Nothing against Moore for that, I have much the same reaction when anyone tries to talk to me about independent film. I just spit bile, vitriol, and broad generalizations. When you make sausage, sometimes you lose taste for it.

    And thanks for the feedback Adam, it’s good to know people are listening.

    Comment by Joseph from FBB — March 4, 2009 @ 11:11 pm

  9. Here is a much more interesting interview with Moore,

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — March 5, 2009 @ 11:20 am

  10. Switching from Alan Moore to JLI, I read it as it came out and while it was often very enjoyable, I get far more misty eyed about Suicide Squad. I also think it is THE most influential book behind the tone of the DC universe at present (although all the good stuff about it is absent – consequences of violence, the necessity of compromise). Winnick, Meltzer, Rucka and Johns are all mining seams from Suicide Squad.

    Comment by Paul Hicks — March 5, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

  11. Oh look, Moore talking about how superheroes are dead and they’ve got nothing new to say and nobody should ever waste their time reading superhero books. He sounds exactly like every music critic since about 1972, telling us that rock is dead and it’s got nothing new to say and nobody should ever waste their time listening to rock.

    Comment by DensityDuck — March 20, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  12. The Alan Moore criticism came across as a bit whiny, to be honest – you lot came across as being a little thin-skinned and overly defensive.

    Comment by Al Ewing — April 3, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

  13. I know this is a super, super late, comment. However, one of the things I notice when people like Alan Moore decry the “wastefulness” of the entertainment industry is that they forget that movies and television shows, even bad ones, employ a lot of people. Yes, it’s true that those 100 million dollars spent to create some flashy computer fireworks could be better spent on more humanitarian efforts, and that executives are greedy, but at the same time, it puts food on the tables of the families of the gaffer, the camera crew, etc.

    That said I think the “Alan Moore and his magical cave” stuff was a bit defensively dismissive… while still being funny. Warren… I… switched from… three spliffs a day… and a huge meal… to… two spliffs… and two meals… and I feel positively energized.

    Comment by Lugh — May 1, 2009 @ 10:50 am

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