Alan Moore



Time Out


I'VE LONG BEEN wary of 'grown up' adventure comics . their pages always seemingly clogged with the swashbuckling doings crazy creatures perennially saving civilisation from the clutches of ... fiends from beyond.

Not so with 'V For Vendetta', a strip which appears in the monthly Warrior. Chew on this brief synopsis. It's 1998, World War Three has fizzled out with the warring factions retreating in embarrassment.

In Britain, has resulted in the Norse Fire, a right-wing coalition, forming a government while Zara, the 16-year-old daughter of the present Princess Anne, sits on the throne as token monarch. The Thames Barrier has burst due to climatic changes following the nuclear ping-pong, there is food rationing and an outbreak of diseases not known since the Middle Ages.

Waging a solitary crusade against the lot is the enigmatic V. After escaping a Wiltshire concentration camp he stalks around, often attired as Guy Fawkes or Mr Punch, occasionally blowing up Parliament or taking over the TV station.

'I've tried to boil down the main worries and nightmares of the twentieth century like fascism and nuclear war,' says V's creator Alan Moore. 'If you write about the present, there are a lot of emotional things which obscure the issues. By extrapolating into the future they can be examined without the emotional clutter. I've tried to delve seriously into the fascist mentality, not just have them with monocles and University of Heidelberg duelling scars.'

Moore, himself with heroic time warp visage of waist-length hair and jungly beard, began drawing and writing in 1979. Being a confessed lousy,artist, he concentrated on scripting and contributed a host of tales to 2000AD and 'The Daredevils'.

The uniqueness of 'V' is furthered by 'This Vicious Cabaret', a record with music by ex-Bauhaus bassist David J. One side is a loosely Brechtian prelude and the other a rambling, menacing instrumental. 'I've always thought of strips as being like films. This provides a soundtrack. David Lloyd's (responsible for "V" artwork) illustrations are like a printed version of a video.'

With its pacy, labyrinthine plot, disturbing believability, 'V For Vendetta' has won a handful of' Eagle awards, comicdom's approximation of the Oscar. The prestige of such honours Stateside has led to Moore being engaged by American giants DC on the likes of 'The Swamp Thing', 'Vigilante' and 'Batman'. But can the 'V'-style political edge be maintained in these stalwarts?

'I don't want to beat people round the head like the "message" books of the '60s' says Moore, 'but something like "Swamp Thing" provides the right environment to work on the ecology angle. There's a character who is like a wino but who drinks radioactive sludge, staggers around with a luminous lace and wraps himself in newspaper clippings about nuclear dumping. There's not much you can do with "Batman", though.'



mick sinclair

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