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Absence & Alan Moore on the telly

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(I don’t know – you get a pain on the coccyx and the next thing you know, you’re in hospital. Life is strange, isn’t it? Anyway, this might seem a little late, but this would have been my post had I not been unable to do anything for the last week or so.)

Alan Moore, a self-proclaimed recluse, appearing on national television is a thrill for a fan of the undisputed best writer in comic books. It was such a buzz to be able to turn on your television and see him on BBC2, at just after 7.00pm on a weekday, in The Culture Show. His bizarre demeanour, his low, gravelly voice, the excessively large and bushy beard, the surplus of large rings; it brought a smile to my face.

However, this interview was not the best use of Moore; a basic grounding into his world, his anger at the Hollywood treatment of his work, and faintly embarrassing filmed snippets of him wandering around Northampton posing for the camera in lieu of him talking straight to camera (which surely is the point of an interview?). The production designer went heavy on the comic book graphics, using panel transitions and images turned into comic book panels, to emphasise to the viewer, ‘This man writes comic books but it’s serious, honest.’

It didn’t seem like Moore at all, sometimes, having him read a copy of his own graphic novels as if nobody was watching him, and describe them to the camera. The posing for the filmed segments seemed particularly silly. They mentioned some of his works, but the emphasis was on the ones turned into films, as if this legitimised the piece, as it was the week before V for Vendetta came out.

Personally, I would have preferred to have just him talking to the camera – the bit where he read out his panel description from his script for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was hilarious. He is obviously an interesting chap and they could have had him for the whole hour of the show and not scratched the surface. What we got was about 10 minutes, including Jonathan Ross saying how good he is.

Even when we did get some chat that was interesting, as he talked about his feelings about the films, some of his anger escaping, it didn’t mention details of the lawsuit against the film LXG or the incident with Joel Silver and the press conference. I wanted so much more but perhaps this is what we get for ‘the most obscenely underrated artist working today’ (as Ross described him); a snippet, a tiny glimpse of a genius, before he returns to his routine existence of producing works of staggering genius.

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