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Interview with Alan Moore
1963 Interview by Tom Field
I sat in the bar and grill located across the street from the 1963 Sweatshop, strangely confused. As phenomenal an experience as my exploration of the 1963 was for me, it had left me with some unanswered questions. Some of the opinions stated by Al's artists actually made it sound as if their boss was not such a great guy to work for! Clearly, I had been doing a poor job of interviewing.
As I pondered my dilemma, I began to nod off and my head rested on the bar. There, carved with a knife, I saw Al's first name, number, and the word "anytime." It was 1 a.m., but if Al could be ready to talk on the phone anytime, then I should do the same!
Affable Alan Moore: Huh? Goddamit, who the **** is this? Wilma, is this you? I told you not to keep calling me!! She isn't here, okay? I didn't even see her at the office today!! Now, will you...
Tom Field: Uh, Mr. Moore?
AA: What? Wilma?
TF: Is that Affable Al Moore? This is Comic Talk magazine. [long silence]
AA: Comic Talk magazine?
TF: That's right. I wondered if you had any response to the comments from your co-workers that appeared in the copy of the interviews that we sent you? Woman's voice in background: Al? Who is it, honey? Is it HER? I'm getting lonely here all by myself...
AA: [muffled, hand over receiver] Shut up you dumb (inaudible) and put some clothes on. It's those geeky kids from the (inaudible) magazine!
TF: Uh, look, if I'm calling at a bad time...
AA: Uh, no, no, this is good for me. Uh, so, uh, traveller, what can I do for you?
TF: Well, like I say, we wondered if you wanted to respond to the comments that your co-workers made in our interviews with them?
AA: Wait a minute...what co-workers is this? Who did you interview? I thought you just interviewed me and whatzisname, the blind guy who does the inking. Totleben. I remember I was there when you interviewed him, but...
TF: Well, we interviewed Sturdy Steve and Roarin' Rick...
AA: [shouts] You did what?? Oh my God, what did they say? What lies did they tell you? You have to understand, kid...uh, incidentally, what's your name, son?
TF: Uh, Tom.
AA: Tom. Do you mind if I call you "Tough-Talkin' Tom"? It's just this thing I have, it makes me feel more comfortable around people is all. Do you mind?
TF: Uh, well, no, I guess not.
AA: Good! Well, anyway, Tough-Talkin' Tom, you have to understand that Sturdy Steve and Roarin' Rick...well, God bless 'em, but they're very sick men. And I mean that in a nice way, wayfarer, believe me! What did they say, anyway?
TF: Well, we sent you that copy of the interview...
AA: Look, I don't read any of that crap that turns up at the office. Either Kandi deals with it or it goes in the shredder with the used artwork. Just give me edited highlights of what they said is all I'm asking.
TF: Well, Rick said that in the early days you used to sit on a filing cabinet and have people bow to you as they came in to work...
AA: That just isn't true. In fact, what it was, it was only on their way out or work on Friday night that I'd sit on the filing cabinet. See, like, I was only 14 at the time and I had to sit there so I could see eye to eye with the guys when I was handing out their pay-packets. And what I used to do, as a kind of a little joke, was when they reached out for their wages, I'd pretend to accidentally drop the packet on the floor and then they'd have to get down on their knees and grovel for it, and we'd all laugh, or anyway, I would. It was just one of the wacky gags I pulled to maintain a sort of laugh-along working atmosphere! Veitch just misinterpreted a boyish prank is all...
TF: Okay. Well, look, Steve Bissette said something about you turning down a book that Cheerful Chester Brown proposed to you...
AA: Brown. Brown...he's the skinny Canadian guy with the funny laugh, right? You interviewed him?
TF: No, no, it's just that Steve Bissette said he proposed a comic book to you, called Yummy Fur, and you turned it down because...
AA: Wait a minute, I remember this, this "Fur" thing! I remember I had trouble following it, when he showed it to me. Isn't that the one when the hero doesn't appear throughout the whole book?
TF: The hero?
AA: Yeah, this "Yummy Fur" guy. I read it all through and Yummy Fur never shows up. I remember that I told him he should make Clown-Man into the main character, but give him more powers.
TF: You mean Ed the Happy Clown?
AA: Sure. Clown Man. Anyway, I told him that the book lacked conflict! Just like all the great works of literature through the ages, like War & Peace, Hamlet or Mystery Incorporated #4, it needed conflict and a good super-villain! I suggested he use The Unstoppable Man...
TF: This is one of Chester's characters? I don't remember...
AA: Sure! You remember! He's the guy whose origin is that he's sitting on the can one day, and...
TF: Oh, you're talking about "The Man Who Couldn't Stop."
AA: Sure. So like my idea is, the Unstoppable Man is the villain, but, like Clown-Man stops him with his, uh, Clown powers.
TF: And what would they be?
AA: Look, I don't know. That's the sort of detail that you can leave to the penciller. Anyway, my point is that if whatzisname, the Canadian guy, if he'd come up with something like that then maybe I'd have been interested! It's the same thing I told those two Mexican guys who did that Loverocket book, but you know how it is with these kids, they won't listen. Anyway, who else did you talk to?
TF: Well, there was Jovial John Workman...
AA: Hmmm. Well, that's okay. Workman doesn't complain much. We just give him some of that sweater stuff to draw and he's happy. Who else?
TF: We talked to Marvin Kilroy...
AA: Kilroy? Christ! Listen, whatever he said, don't print any of that stuff, okay? Was he talking about his color theory and all about the devil-worship and like that? The stuff with the orgies and the infant sacrifice?
TF: Uh, well, all he said was...
AA: I don't wanna hear it! He doesn't even really work for us, okay? He just inked up some samples and that was that!
TF: Well, actually, he's a colorist and his work has appeared in quite a few of your titles...
AA: Look, believe me, you don't want to print any stuff that Kilroy said! The cops are already suspicious, they found all those bottles of Dr. Martins inks at the site of those cattle mutilations, and if they read him talking about...no. Just don't print it. Don't you have any other interviews you could maybe expand a little to fill the space?
TF: Well, there's the piece we did with Ed "The Emperor" Evans...
AA: No! No, no, no, no, no! I am not hearing this! Evans? You interviewed Evans? I knew it!! I knew I should have had that dumpster towed further away from the office!! Listen, Evans and Kilroy, dump 'em both. Both the interviews. Just dump 'em, okay? I mean, there's gotta be some other stuff you can run instead!
TF: Well, all that leaves is the talk we had with Dashin' Dave Gibbons... [long silence]
AA: [weakly] Gibbons?
TF: Dave Gibbons. He's the inker on...
AA: [screams] I know who Gibbons is, Goddammit! What I wanna know is what he said!! What did he say? Tell me!!
TF: Uh, well, we had a nice talk about his lifestyle, the Playboy mansion and stuff like that...
AA: [impatiently] Uh-huh, uh-huh...
TF: ...and he told us about his work and how he sees it...
AA: Uh-huh. What did he say about me?
TF: Well, he said you and he went back a long way...
AA: Uh-huh. Good. That's good. What else?
TF: Well, not a lot. He seemed very cautious in his comments about you...
AA: [relieved] Whew! Thank God! Good old Dave. Best buddy a guy could have, lemme tell ya! Y'know, he doesn't usually have much to do with the comic book scene.
TF: No, that's right. He seemed surprised that we were interested in his work, and he just couldn't believe it when we told him that there were people who were prepared to spend a lot of money on original artwork. [long silence]
TF: Hello? Hello, are you still there?
AA: I'm dead.
TF: Excuse me?
AA: Load everything into the car, you stupid bitch! We have to get out of here right now! No! No, don't go near the windows! Get down on the floor like me and crawl!
TF: Uh...I'm sorry? What do you...?
AA: I wasn't talking to you! Look, why don't you just leave me alone, okay? Haven't you done enough damage?
TF: Uh, are you talking to me, or...?
AA: Of course I'm talking to you! Who else would I be talking to? Who else has ruined my life by telling that son of a bitch Gibbons about the original artwork deal?
TF: Gee, I'm sorry. We didn't mean to...
Woman's voice in background: Honey? There's somebody at the door. Shall I get it?
AA: [shrieks in panic] No!! No, you half-baked little tart, get away from there!! Don't open that Goddamn...
[Muffled noises in background. Long pause. Sound of receiver being placed back in cradle.]
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