Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Alan Moore: A Warning From History.

Tonight, for my own reasons, I was re-reading this rather famous document by Alan Moore. And as I read it, I sensed that Moore wrote it while looking through a crystal ball at the comic industry of today, an industry addicted to crossovers and their own insanely rigid notions of continuity. Here's hoping Grant Morrison is bearing these words in mind as he plots FINAL CRISIS, and can resolve the problems Moore foresaw:

"so on one hand we have an audience thirsty for the stability that an ordered continuity gives them, and on the other hand we have good creative reasons for throwing continuity to the winds altogether. Is there any way that these two apparently conflicting notions can both be accomplished at once? Yes, I believe there is. I think it is possible to create a limited run series that would embrace both these attitudes comfortably and fulfill all the other requirements that we've gone over concerning crossovers of this type before. I think we could come up with a story that... casts new light upon all the DC characters, and yet does no violence to however their creators and current creative teams are handling them in their own titles. Something that pulls together the threads of the DC Universe in an interesting and revealing way, while at the same time remaining simple enough in construction so that the chances for any screw-ups in the crossover continuity are diminished or avoided altogether."

But there are also words of warning here that should reach through time to Dan DiDio, the man who directed DC into its current phase of crossover addiction:

"Of course, this approach isn't without its problems. If you don't do it right, if your assembled multitude of characters look merely banal..., then your entire continuity is cheapened in the long term along with its credibility, whatever the short term benefits in terms of sales might be. When this happens, your only recourse is to greater acts of debasement in order to attract reader attention, more deaths to appease the arena crowd element in the fan marketplace, eventually degenerating into a geek show."