As Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's latest League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ends, I can't say that I'm very happy about it. Or amused. Or satisfied. Let me first say that I have always enjoyed Alan Moore's work, particularly LOEG, and believe him to be one of the best writers of the last fifty years. However I am amazed by the hubris of the man. The entire gist of Century was the stopping of the Antichrist with the focus being on Mina Murray, a rejuvenated Alan Quartermain and the gender switching Orlando.

There were many parts that I had problems with, not least of which is Mina being assaulted again and she is Moore's primary female protagonist. But the finale was truly dismaying. I read Jess Nevins' annotations (wonderful and intricate as they are) to make sure I wasn't over-reacting. But from those comments, I apparently am but they are Moore-followers and they accept much more than I would or could.

Again this is with SPOILERS.....SPOILERS......SPOILERS

 

 

The Antichrist is .......Harry Potter!!!! Yes, the name is never mentioned but they again walk through a wall at King's Crossing, speak of a magical child, the wreckage of a magical train (littered with the corpses of children), the Whomping Willow, the ruins of a magical school, the killings of his friends (a red-headed boy and brunette girl), a teacher who despised him, exploits "arranged" for him and, of course, the scar! J.K. Rowlings' world, not parodied or homaged but torn to shreds. We literally walk through the apocalypse of her opus. 

Beyond the fact that I have read and enjoyed the Harry Potter series, my nephews and nieces have. As have millions of other readers, young and old. Yet Moore feels compelled to turn it into a grotesque mockery for his own epic. Again, the book's not titled League Vs Potter but anyone reading it could figure it out.

Not to mention that he drags poor Mary Poppins into it as well. He villifies the James Bond character though he does a clever twist on it. But by making two heroes, Bond and Potter, into his antagonists, he appears to be bitter over their success. He uses their fame to fuel his stories, here and in The Black Dossier. And he is not respectful. He is demeaning. He uses sex and violence as character development throughout the various series. The monster Hyde and the terrorist Nemo are his heroes, the established heroes are mocked, lessened and weakened.

It has been rationalized as Moore attacking the collapse of literature and popular culture. The Potter books are flawed, the movies moreso. They are pablum to readers, not nourishing, junk food for the mind. But the fans of the series would disagree, as would the fans of Twilight or The Hunger Games. That is their choice. We all like what we like.

Amazingly Doctor Who, all of them, are spared. As is John Steed. One bright spot is that I might get Mark Waid's Steed and Mrs. Peel book.

Given his vehemence over Before Watchmen, his choices here are puzzling. Does he corrupt Harry because he is one of Warners' cash-cows/successes? Does he care about Ms. Rowlings' rights? Am I wrong? Out-of-touch? Too stupid to "get" what Moore is saying?

Maybe but I also know that what Moore did is creatively wrong, IMHO. It shocks for the purpose of shocking. I see no deeper meaning. If he does another LOEG, I hope he can be more original next time.

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I'm not saying that Moore is saying novels are inherently better - I think he's arguing that the truest form of a character is its initial one. So, yes, movies are movies, novels are novels, and comics are comics. The truest form of Captain Nemo was Jules Verne's version in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, just as the truest version of Luke Skywalker is the one portrayed by Mark Hamill in the first three movies, or the trues version of Jim Kirk is Will Shatner in the original series (although it's a lot harder to make that argument for TV and movie characters, since they are, by necessity, created by committee (writer, actor, director), whereas a literary character is usually created solely by an author). You could argue that Moore is making a very general argument about creator's right, but I sort of think his argument is littler more focused and, to be honest, petty: He feels like Hollywood destroys whatever it touches, and that any movie adaptation of his work, or anyone else's, is a violent act, no matter how well meaning the movie makers.

I'm not saying he's right, I'm just saying that, given his history with DC and Hollywood, I can totally see where he's coming from. And, given my own experience, I think he has a pretty good point. His plaints, as you say, totally wash.

I AM saying, though, that LOEG Century 2009 was NOT an ad hominen attack on Harry Potter, but rather a defense of Harry in his original form. Possibly a condemnation of JK Rowling for pimping the kid out, but mostly, I think it was a defense. I think whatever Moore's view of the original novels, I get the impression he feels the movies did them grievous harm.

Sure, you could argue that Moore's basically doing the same thing - shanghaing someone else characters to enrich himself - and I don't really have a response to that, except to circle back to what I said before... I don't think Moore's making a sweeping statement as much as taking potshots at Hollywood.

But there's nothing in LOEG 2009 about movies at all...

 

I don't think Moore is a fan of even the books of Potter.  The contempt Moore has for the books would appear to be revealed in the line about how the Hogwarts Express actually works.  "It runs on poorly defined magical principles..."

 

Moore's treatment of Harry is somewhat exceptional in the series.  The other important characters are continuations of how they appeared in their original texts, and stay true to form, but Harry is, as Philip says, a perversion of the character in the books.  Well, I suppose some characters, like Rupert the Bear, were perversions too.  But that was due to how Moore synthesised the children's anthropomorphic animals with the text of 'The Island of Dr Morreau', so Harry is still anomalous.

 

(There wasn't anything overtly about Watchmen either, but I thought it fun to speculate, as Moore's treatment of Harry mapped on so well to DCs treatment of his creation, and his anomalous treatment of Harry invited speculation.)

 

You see what I'm getting at, Doctor; Moore's plaints don't wash.

 

What plaints would that be?  There's a lot of posts here about Moore's attitude to movie adaptions, when there's nothing about movie adaptions in the text of LOEG 2009.  Moore has talked about movie adaptions of his own movies, but you'll have to let us know which of those opinion on the record you are referring to Clark. 

I see what you're saying, Dne.

I don't think Moore's making a sweeping statement as much as taking potshots at Hollywood.

 

Are we talking about LOEG 2009 here, or just duscussing Moore's cussedness in a general sense?

I completely understand what you're saying, Dne, and I totally see where Alan Moore is coming from.

I just don't accept the idea that, given that the truest form of a character is the initial one, that any version of a character created by other hands or adapted to another form is without merit, or can't be better -- by any yardstick anyone wants to use -- than the one the author created. That totally doesn't wash for me.

I totally see where Alan Moore is coming from.

 

Where?  What are we talking about here?  Or what are you guys talking about, rather?

 

 

Here is an actual quote from actual Alan Moore about adapting characters from one work to another and one medium to another - from www.seraphenera.org.  As a bonus he mentions the actual League series that we are purportedly discussing in this thread.

 

The League is not an adaptation.  It is not me adapting The Invisible Man.  I'm not taking those peoples' original stories.  I'm against adaptation in general--and this is perhaps a different subject--but generally, and there are exceptions, I don't think it works when you adapt one story to another medium.  However, there is a tradition of what we did in The League in literature. 

 

Notice he says "in general" and "generally" and "there are exceptions".

 

This is his aesthetic opinion as an artist.  Not hard and fast rules that he is claiming have universal dominion.

 

The rest of the interview has Moore's words verbatim, which is handy for anyone discussing opinions that Moore has actually expressed.

 

Also germane: 

 

So, it [LOEG] is done with respect for the material, apart from our satirical touches--in which it is sometimes done with contempt for the material.

 

I think the glee with which Moore and O'Neill depict the massacre at the wizards school by the Potter character betrays their opinion of Rowling's books.  The satire is "done with contempt for the material".

 

Philip is a pretty acute reader and he definitely picked up on it.  He's also laid out the parts of Moore's argument in LOEG 2009 well, even if he hasn't added them up to anything he himself can admire.  The argument Moore is making  - not about movies as far as I can tell, but I'd love to hear any justification for that argument - lies in the relationship between Potter and Poppins, between Bond and Steed, perhaps even between the Doctor and Prospero.  Any discussion about Moore's attitude to various copyrighted characters and how they've been handled fictionally would have to examine those relationships.  I'm still not sure there is much about how they've been handled as properties in the text of LOEG 2009 itself.

Tangential topic: So Moore is against adaptation (in general). That would apply to the Watchmen movie, but he also says, "The League is not an adaptation. It is not me adapting The Invisible Man. I'm not taking those peoples' original sories." Also, "[LOEG} is done with respect for the material." How do both of those statements not apply to "Before Watchmen"? Just asking.

I must admit that the finer points of these arguments are eluding me (largely owing to the relative shallowness of my thinking processes).  My main objection was to the scene itself. I found it distasteful in and of itself. I would not have created a scene like that (were I even remotely as talented as Moore/O'Neill), regardless of any greater point I might or might be trying to make. I'm not disputing their right to make statements, it's just not a statement I would have made, at least not in that fashion.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Tangential topic: So Moore is against adaptation (in general). That would apply to the Watchmen movie, but he also says, "The League is not an adaptation. It is not me adapting The Invisible Man. I'm not taking those peoples' original sories." Also, "[LOEG} is done with respect for the material." How do both of those statements not apply to "Before Watchmen"? Just asking.

Good question. By Moore's lights, adapting stories is bad and doesn't work (which I think is a load of hogwash), but using the characters in different stories isn't? Isn't it all of a piece?

When Moore or his daughter do it to other characters. It is fine. When others do it to characters he "created" then it is bad.

That's one of my main points. More than having Harry be the Antichrist rampaging through his enviroment, it was the meticulous details of said rampaging that were hard to take. Every character, unnamed of course, being systematically slaughtered were more than plot elements. It was more like, "Take that, Warners!" or "I'll show you!" Was he justified? Some may think so but IMHO, it disrespects a fellow (and more prosperous) author and her followers.

If there is anything to the movie debate, it's that Bond succeeded in the movies, evolving beyond his original interpretation. And J. K. Rowlings embraced the process and Moore clearly did not.
 
The Baron said:

I must admit that the finer points of these arguments are eluding me (largely owing to the relative shallowness of my thinking processes).  My main objection was to the scene itself. I found it distasteful in and of itself. I would not have created a scene like that (were I even remotely as talented as Moore/O'Neill), regardless of any greater point I might or might be trying to make. I'm not disputing their right to make statements, it's just not a statement I would have made, at least not in that fashion.

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