Last week saw the announcement that Fox is adapting Alan Moore’s League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen as a TV show, officially starting the countdown clock on when someone would phone Moore for a quote disparaging yet another attempt to adapt one of his works. Turns out that someone was Entertainment Weekly, and the quote is every bit as acerbic as you’d expect. It also includes the word “spittoon”—which you maybe didn’t expect, but you have to admit it fits in nicely with League’s Victorian-era setting:
“Me and Kevin [O’Neill, co-creator] have been chuckling about that one, we only heard about it the other day. When [DC Comics] did the recent Watchmen prequel comics I said all of sorts of deeply offensive things about the modern entertainment industry clearly having no ideas of its own and having to go through dust bins and spittoons in the dead of night to recycle things.”
After pausing a beat for emphasis he added: “The announcement that there is a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen television series hasn’t caused me to drastically alter my opinions. Now it seems they are recycling things that have already proven not to work.”
Of course, one could argue (again!) that—however right he may be about the creative bankruptcy of remakes, or even this idea in particular—Alan Moore’s position is somewhat ironic, considering League is itself built on recycled ideas lifted from the public domain, then repurposed into a superhero comic template. And that it’s an argument made by a guy whose work, however well-honed, is almost always some variation on someone else’s idea, to the point where, the last time this happened, he had to lecture everyone on the difference between “evil” adaptations, which are wrong, and the morally superior “stealing” he says he does as part of a “grand literary tradition,” all with a straight face. And then there's that one time he used the grand literary tradition to recycle fairy tale characters and make them fuck each other.
Or, one could point out that the last time Moore complained about a League adaptation, that film’s producer Don Murphy called Moore a “hypocrite and a liar” who voluntarily took $1 million from Fox for the rights to League, much like he sold the rights to Watchmen and V For Vendetta, then also complained about those. Or one could discuss how Alan Moore is, as Murphy called him, “an old man who smokes too much hash and prays to a lizard god,” and so his opinions in these matters should perhaps always be met with a sense of wry forgiveness, as one would any eccentric talent.
Or we could just skip all that recycling, and instead discuss this new, thematically appropriate Photoshop of Alan Moore that Warren Ellis posted. Your choice.
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