Is Alan Moore Right? Do Comic Book Movies Make People Fascists?
Legendary writer Alan Moore apologizes for his “responsibility” for the popularity of comic book stories because he believes they prime people for fascism. Is the Watchmen author right?
Comic books as an art form have faced a lifetime of mostly scorn from people who see it as low art, if art at all, and claptrap for kids. This perception changed in the late 20th Century in no small part to the work of writer Alan Moore on titles like Swamp Thing, Watchmen, and The Killing Joke. He injected maturity, political worldview, and pure comics spectacle in his stories, proving that this visual medium is capable of delivering an engaging artistic experience for adults. Unfortunately, the now novelist and screenwriter, thinks that was a huge mistake. In an interview, he said that he thinks the idea of adults lining up to see “Batman movies” is terrifying, suggesting that they are infantilized and yearning for better days, thus primed to succumb to fascism.
Moore is obviously referencing the rise of authoritarianism, nationalism, and xenophobia in Europe and the United States. To even ask if he’s correct is as arrogant as interrogating the notion from Martin Scorsese about Marvel (and others’) movies and their relation to cinema. Still, as someone who is both keenly aware of the modern comic book culture and documented the rise of these proto-fascists during the 2016 election, Moore’s analysis doesn’t pass the gut check. Moore’s relationships with comic books has been strange since his heyday in the late 20th Century. He’s always hated adaptations of his work, yet something is different now. He never let the failed movie franchise attempts sour his time working on his other books, like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. That movie ‘s adaptation was the worst of all of them.
Those who know this story especially aren’t surprised to hear him decry a pop culture that looks back with nostalgia rather than forward with curiosity. Today he has written a novel, there was a film awhile back. I know he had a diversion into erotica with women characters from children’s literature in comics. I personally didn’t investigate those books further. The point is that…