Craig Fischer is here again, and the clouds have lifted. Today, he returns with a long, close look at the end of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’s Providence, which he believes is “Moore’s meta-meditation on the shape and nature of his comics career, written as he prepares to leave the medium.”
Moore has been leaving comics for a long time. In an interview with Jon B. Cooke in Comic Book Artist #25 (2003), Moore discussed his plans to bring his America’s Best Comics line to an apocalyptic finish in late 2003 (although he left open the possibility of publishing future League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books through ABC/DC). After years of grueling deadlines, Moore wanted to move into more personal and less predictable art-making:
I’m reaching a point in my life where what I want is less security, less certainty. I don’t want to know what I’m doing in a month’s time, or at least I won’t do after this November or thereabouts. I might write another novel. I might write a grimoire. I might waste a lot of time getting back into drawing, doing some more pictures. I might want to do more performances and release more CDs. I might want to write a play. I might want to get into sculpture. I might want to do a lot of things that are not going to obviously have any commercial value, which people might not like. I want to have that freedom. (55)
Luckily, his retirement from comics hasn’t stuck: he’s written plenty since shutting down ABC, including two League adventures for Top Shelf/Knockabout (Century [2009-12], and the Janni Nemo trilogy [2013-15]) and various projects for Avatar (the Providence prequel/sequel Neonomicon [2010-2011], the first six issues of Crossed Plus One Hundred [2014-15], and of course Providence). It’s true, though, that most of Moore’s effort in the last decade has been devoted to non-comics projects like his counter-culture magazine Dodgem Logic (2010-11) and his massive novel Jerusalem (2016). Meanwhile, his disdain for American mainstream comics and the superhero genre has escalated, due undoubtedly to how DC has wrung every cent out of the Moore comics they own while trying to undermine the legacy of Watchmen with irrelevant prequels and integration into “continuity.”
—The Wexner Center for the Arts has posted the audio from Caitlin McGurk’s interview with Chris Ware at this year’s CXC, which Eric Reynolds called “one of the most thought-provoking, live cartoonist interviews I’ve ever had the privilege to attend.”
—Henry Chamberlain interviewed the very smart Hillary Chute about her latest book, Why Comics?
I profile one creator, Harvey Pekar, who is an example of successful collaborative work. But I think you put it really well when you say that something is lost when you get too many hands working on the piece. In my thinking, and perhaps it comes from my background in literature and novels, is the intimacy of comics. I think it’s what you get from seeing one person’s vision: seeing the same hand that creates the images as well as the words. You get a real world-building happening on the page when it’s done by one person. I think there’s something unique about comics in that way. People sometimes call them auteurist comics, which I believe you touch upon in your review. When you think about it, the term “auteur” comes from film, the New Wave French cinema and people like Godard. But, even on a Godard film, there are many people working on that film whereas a cartoonist like Dan Clowes, it’s just him through and through, the whole thing. It’s really a purchase on a person’s aesthetic vision.
Incidentally, it’s nice to see that Chute chose Jaime Hernandez to do the cover (as many wondered about at the time, neither he nor his brother Gilbert was invited to the pivotal Chicago comics symposium a few years back).
—Most of you have probably already seen the Atlantic story on new Marvel editor C.B. Cebulski and his use of the Akira Yoshida pseudonym, which includes, among other things, an updated apology from Cebulski:
I’m truly sorry for the pain, anger, and disappointment I caused over my poor choice of pseudonym. That was never my intention. Throughout my career in anime, manga, and comics, I’ve made it a point to listen and learn from my mistakes, which is exactly what I’ve been trying to do with this misstep. Building honest relationships with creators has always been important to me, and I’ve continued to do that in my new position. I’ve spoken with talent close to this issue, and have had candid and productive conversations about how we can improve the industry and build better stories, while being mindful of the voices behind them. My passion has always been about bringing the best talent from across the world to work on the best stories in the world, and I’m hopeful that fans and creators alike will join us in that continued mission.
I don’t think this story is likely to end here.