Alan Moore

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    By Alan Moore and Rick Veitch




    By Alan Moore, David J, Tim Perkins
    By Alan Moore, David J, Tim Perkins
    By Alan Moore and Gary Lloyd



    Interview with Marvin Kilroy
    1963 Interview by Tom Field

    Affable Al Tom Field: I understand that you've got quite a classical background.

    Musty Marvin Kilroy: Yes, yes that's right. I studied at the Sorbonne France. I was there with Picasso and all those deconstructionists--they were idiots. While I was there I studied under the Kabalist painter Edwin D. Babbitt whose principles of light and color became extremely important to me--theories of how light works on the optic nerve, how color defines its spiritual essence of human kind. I kicked around Europe playing with these theories, trying to understand them, trying to integrate them into my own daily existence. Things were very bad in those days. I ended up in England, met a gentlemen by the name of Allister Crowley, spent six years studying under him, probably was not the smartest thing I ever did but I came away with a kind of arcane knowledge that some people kill for.

    TF: That's a classical background. Now how did you happen to come to the U.S. and work for the Sweatshop?

    MK: Well I'd lost my citizenship at this point and I was penniless, but I was able to get smuggled into the country on a freighter. It was owned by Moorie Moorenheimer and he said that if I worked for him, at the time he was publishing Pulp magazines, that I could work off my debt. Over the years I got some of it paid off but the Pulps started to go down hill and Morrie changed to comics, which are colored in this simpleton method. I look at these colors and I see the way they mix, the yellows, the blues, the red in percentages. You see there are numerous arbitrary arrangements that set forth mutual relationships of the planets in the colors like musical notes. I recognized the most satisfactory system is based upon the law of colors. Do you follow?

    TF: I'm following you. So how do you approach the '63 Sweatshop books?

    MK: It doesn't matter what books they are. It's the color. It's a complex, Kabalist synthesis. See that's what you got to understand. I'm working on young minds. Kids out there, reading these things, think they're reading mindless juvenile fantasy--Hah!. What I'm doing is I'm working abstract Kabalist patterns into the color. Do you understand? These are designed to vibrate against the optic nerve in certain patterns, certain resonances, certain octaves, understand what I'm saying? Fundamental notes of the musical scale vibrating inside the optic nerve. This is going to change things in them. They read one of these comics, they're never the same again. Do you understand what I'm saying?

    TF: I'm following you.

    MK: See there's a great deal more to light than anyone has ever seen, and there's also unknown forms of light which no optical equipment will ever register. There are a number of colors which can not be seen, sounds which can not be heard, odors which you will never smell, flavors which will not be tasted, substances which can not be felt. Man is surrounded by a super-sensible universe of which he knows nothing because the centers of sense perception within himself have not been developed sufficiently to respond to the subtle levels of vibration of which the universe is composed. Do you follow me?

    TF: Umm. So all this goes into Mystery Incorporated?

    MK: All my books.

    TF: What's it like working with Affable Al?

    MK: He's an insufferable twerp. I can't stand him. He smells funny.

    TF: Tell me what it's like working with the artists that you work with. Do you work differently with say a Roarin' Rick Veitch or with a Sturdy Steve.

    MK: You see Affable Al is like Crowley. He's got all these people under his thumb. They're all psychological slaves to the guy. You don't work with these people, they're like animals. I wouldn't stick around it's just what I'm doing with the color. See it's the color. Color is like an effluence of form commensurate with sight. I just want to carry out the principle, to affirm it, that nothing is self-existent. Then we shall see that every color--white, black, every other color arises out of the eye meeting the appropriate motion. Do you understand what I'm saying? And that we term the substance of each color is neither the active nor the passive element but something which passes between them. Do you understand how important this is? It's peculiar to each percipient... Are you certain that colors appear to an animal, say to a dog, as they appear to you? No. You understand what I'm driving at? How important this is? How deep it goes?

    TF: It's amazing that all this goes into coloring a comic book page.

    MK: Well let me tell you there aren't many other people who are working this end of the street.

    TF: Do you have favorite characters you like working on?

    MK: [sighs] The characters are nothing. You've got to understand. It's light! It's the basic physical manifestation of life bathing all creation in its radiance! It's highly important to realize in part at least the subtle nature of this divine substance. That which is called light is actually a rate of vibration causing certain reactions upon the optic nerve. Do you understand what I'm saying here?

    TF: Are there other art forms you'd like to work with outside of comics?

    MK: No. It's color, it's color. Color! Color! Color!!

    TF: What do you think you'd do if you weren't doing comics?

    MK: I'd be painting, but no one would see it. The thing about the comics is millions of these little grubby kids out there are reading them.

    TF: They very much enjoy your work.

    MK: I'm imprinting Kabalic symbolism onto their retinas. Do you understand the importance of this? Do you understand what's going to happen in say 30 years? I mean this thing ain't going to go away friend. It's universal energy. Do you understand? Man does not secure nourishment from dead animal or plant organism, but when he incorporates their structures into his own body he gains control over himself or his etheric double. Do you understand what I'm saying?

    TF: I do, but the transcriber's not going to. (NO SHIT. I THINK THIS GUY'S TRIPPING!!!)

    MK: You see there's a magnificent concept called the greek mysteries that defines the relationship between music, form and color. The elements of architecture for example were considered as comparable to musical modes and notes for having musical counterparts. What my discovery was, is that the simple color coding used in comics, the percentages of the yellow, the red, the blue, coincided with the greek mysteries. When you combine these elements, it's likened to a musical chord which is harmonic only when it has fully satisfied the mathematical requirements of harmonic intervals. The realization of this analogy between sound and form leads me to declare that color is crystallized music. Do you understand what I'm saying? A considerable part of these mysteries have rituals. They consist of implications and intonements for which purpose special chambers were constructed in the ancient times. I see these as equal to the panels in comics, in fact that's the reason I insist that all panels in these comics work to the six panel grid.

    TF: I don't think there's anything else I can add to that! [laughing] What's it like to work at the Sweatshop?

    MK: Life is symbolism. Do you understand? The body is symbolically divided vertically into halves--the right half being considered as light, the left half as darkness. To those unacquainted with the true meaning of light and darkness, the right half denominates spiritual and the left half material. Light is the symbol of objectivity, darkness/subjectivity. Light is a manifestation of life. It is therefore posterior to life. That which is anterior to light is darkness. It all works into the comics.

    TF: That's amazing. I've spoken with Marie Severin and she's never told me any of this.

    MK: Well I've tried to explain these theories to my fellow colorists but they just haven't got the heads for it, you know? None of them are classically trained liked myself.

    TF: Merry Marvin you're definitely in a class by yourself. What advice would you give to someone who would want to enter the field of color?

    MK: Study the secret teachings. Don't believe what they tell you in school. Don't believe science. The true meaning in life can be found in masonic and Rosicrucian rituals. The myth of Ishtar symbolizes the descent of the human spirit through the seven worlds or spheres of the sacred planets until finally, deprived of its spiritual adornment, it incarnates in the physical body where the mistress of that body heaps every form of sorrow and misery upon the imprisoned consciousness--the waters of life, the secret doctrine, these diseases of ignorance. And the spirit ascending again to the divine source regains its god given adornments as it passes upward through the rings of the planets! Each planet is a color. You see?

    TF: You mention that divine source. You're not referring to Kooky Kandi are you?

    MK: I suspect she might be the reincarnation of Isis.

    TF: Sounds like a new series.

    MK: You should be reading Horus a little closer my friend.

    TF: I always thought Isis was a Horus, but...[laughs]

    MK: You're making fun of me now. You told me you'd be serious about this. I'm telling you the truth. You young people today just have no understanding of the secret life that's going on all around you. You're walled in by your senses.

    TF: Any last words of advice?

    MK: I'd just like to say that one of the most profound doctrines of the pagan philosophers concern the universal savior god who lifted the souls of regenerated men to heaven through his own nature. This concept was unquestionably the inspiration for the words attributed to Jesus. "I am the way, the truth, the life. No man cometh onto the Father but by me." In an effort to make a single person out of Jesus, Christian writers have patched together a doctrine which must be resolved back to its original constituents if the true meaning of Christianity is to be discovered. What I'm saying is that by living the various stages of the world mystery symbolized by the 33 colors, one might ascend to the heaven-sphere and be reunited with the eternal Father.

    TF: Oh dear, I've run out of tape. I guess we'll have to end it right here... MK: What I'm describing never ends...


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