Alan Moore—the comic-writing legend who co-created influential titles like V For Vendetta and Watchmen—has announced that he’s planning to retire from the comic book-penning game. Moore made the announcement during a press conference for his new prose novel Jerusalem this week, telling The Guardian that he’s got “about 250 pages” of comics writing left in him. That includes some “very enjoyable” work on his H.P. Lovecraft-influenced series Providence, the movie-themed anthology series Cinema Purgatorio, and a final volume of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. And after that, he’s done.
“I think I have done enough for comics,” Moore told reporters. “I’ve done all that I can. I think if I were to continue to work in comics, inevitably the ideas would suffer, inevitably you’d start to see me retread old ground and I think both you and I probably deserve something better than that.” Ironically—given his notably dismissive take on the movies that have been made out of his books over the years, one of several bones of contention in his long-soured relationship with his old publishers at D.C.—Moore said he might be getting into filmmaking next.
Moore’s comic-writing career stretches back to the late ’70s, when he started penning stories for the influential British sci-fi comic 2000 AD (probably best known to non-comic fans as the birthplace of Judge Dredd). With his work on projects like Miracleman and D.C.’s Swamp Thing, Moore quickly garnered a reputation as a writer who could find and draw out the most interesting facets of supposedly moribund characters, a trait that reached its zenith in Watchmen, which took D.C.’s recently acquired stable of old Charlton Comics superheroes and used them to tell an era-spanning story of human frailty and interconnection. (He’d apply similar techniques to his independently published work, like the public domain grab bag of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or Lost Girls, his pornographic take on Alice In Wonderland, Peter Pan, and The Wizard Of Oz.)
Moore’s feelings on the current landscape of comic-dom—and its meteoric rise in recent years—can probably best be summed up in the following passage from Jerusalem, a million-word novel tracing the history of Moore’s hometown of Northampton: “He never looks at comics these days, even though they’ve become fashionable to the point where adults are allowed to read them without fear of ridicule. Ironically, in David’s view, this makes them a lot more ridiculous than when they were intended as a perfectly legitimate and often beautifully crafted means of entertaining kids.” (The writer confirmed that the passage was “probably an author’s message.”)
But even though he’s “sick of Batman,” Moore still had a few kind words for the medium that made him a household name (in a particular kind of household, at any rate): “I will always revere comics as a medium,” he told reporters, even as he discussed his excitement to move on to something new. “It is a wonderful medium.”