Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Alan Moore

Alan Moore: Comics as Performance, Fiction as Scalpel

Annalisa Di Liddo
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 192
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Alan Moore
    Book Description:

    Eclectic British author Alan Moore (b. 1953) is one of the most acclaimed and controversial comics writers to emerge since the late 1970s. He has produced a large number of well-regarded comic books and graphic novels while also making occasional forays into music, poetry, performance, and prose.

    InAlan Moore: Comics as Performance, Fiction as Scalpel, Annalisa Di Liddo argues that Moore employs the comics form to dissect the literary canon, the tradition of comics, contemporary society, and our understanding of history. The book considers Moore's narrative strategies and pinpoints the main thematic threads in his works: the subversion of genre and pulp fiction, the interrogation of superhero tropes, the manipulation of space and time, the uses of magic and mythology, the instability of gender and ethnic identity, and the accumulation of imagery to create satire that comments on politics and art history.

    Examining Moore's use of comics to scrutinize contemporary culture, Di Liddo analyzes his best-known works--Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, From Hell, Promethea, andLost Girls. The study also highlights Moore's lesser-known output, such asHalo Jones, Skizz, andBig Numbers, and his prose novelVoice of the Fire. Alan Moore: Comics as Performance, Fiction as Scalpelreveals Moore to be one of the most significant and distinctly postmodern comics creators of the last quarter-century.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-476-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
    (pp. 7-12)
    (pp. 13-26)

    This book is an examination of some motifs and concerns in the work of British author Alan Moore (1953– ). It stems from a long-cultivated interest in comics as a medium, which I was lucky to turn into the object of my Ph.D. studies at the University of Milan, Italy. Criticism about Moore’s work has been abundant so far, and it has been lately revived by the appearance of the three volumes ofLost Girls, the result of sixteen years of work with artist and partner Melinda Gebbie. Significant contributions toward an analysis of his wide artistic output have appeared...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Formal Considerations on Alan Moore’s Writing
    (pp. 27-62)

    This chapter examines some of Moore’s works in terms of form and structure, aspects of his aesthetics that are crucial to the extent that, in the opinions of a few critics, they turn into an obsession in his latest enterpriseLost Girls(only hinted at here but better explored later in this book). Most of Moore’s comics start from an intertextual assumption: a quotation, or an allusion to an existing character, a distinctive genre, or a particular work. They are built on a proper web of references that are not only mentioned or suggested but challenged and recontextualized in order...

  6. CHAPTER 2 CHRONOTOPES: Outer Space, the Cityscape, and the Space of Comics
    (pp. 63-101)

    This chapter examines two core aspects in Moore’s work—space and time—and, more specifically, the fusion and dynamic relationship that occurs between spatial and temporal dimensions. In dealing with this issue I use the termchronotope, and in doing so refer to Mikhail Bakhtin’s collection of essaysThe Dialogic Imagination, in which the Russian scholar defines the substantial interconnection between space and time as the organizing center of the novelistic form. Bakhtin focuses on the “representational” (250) significance of this interconnection, which provides space and time with narrative substance. Even though Bakhtin’s studies originally had nothing to do with...

    (pp. 102-133)

    This chapter analyzes the relationship between some aspects of Moore’s work and the historical and ideological dynamics that have characterized the development of the United Kingdom and its notion of identity, of “Englishness.” Many of the works examined in previous chapters clearly show the way in which Moore reworks specifically American comic narrative patterns. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that his graphic novels also retain a very tight bond with distinctively English cultural, social, and aesthetic contexts, which are often exposed through parody or subtle criticism; this bond has become stronger in a few recent developments of his work....

    (pp. 134-161)

    This chapter is devoted to examining how the three key aspects that were developed over the previous pages—structure and intertextuality, the chronotope, and the issue of identity—are addressed inLost Girls. As mentioned above, this graphic novel was published in summer 2006 after a long period of gestation. Moore and Gebbie started outlining the idea shortly after they met in the late eighties, and the first six chapters of the comic book were serialized inTaboomagazine (issue 5 through issue 7); reprinted by Tundra publishing; and later collected in two booklets printed by Kitchen Sink Press (see...

    (pp. 162-175)

    This book has tried to build a route into the dense work of one of the most prolific comic book authors of our age. As noted at the very beginning, this study is by no means exhaustive; on the contrary, it has many gaps, for it has considered onlysomeaspects insomeof Moore’s works. There is so much in his production that could provide material for further analysis. So, there are a lot of things about Alan Moore’s work that this book has not said. But of course there are also things ithassaid, and it is...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 176-181)
    (pp. 182-202)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 203-211)