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He may have created Watchmen , one of the most popular superhero comics of all time, with a television adaptation currently airing on HBO, but Alan Moore is worried about the impact of the genre.
In a 2017 interview with Brazil’s Folha de São Paulo , which was published in English for the first time this week on a Moore fan blog , the writer said he believes that superheroes are “perfectly suited” for children and their scale of imagination. They are not, in his view, meant for adults, for whom they serve a “different function, and are fulfilling different needs,” and are likely allowing them to never leave their “relatively reassuring childhoods.”
In fact, he added, “I think the impact of superheroes on popular culture is both tremendously embarrassing and not a little worrying.”
Moore wrote Watchmen in 1986. The story, which follows a group of vigilantes in an alternate reality where their presence changes the course of history, was one of the first to introduce a darker take on the genre, and influenced many series after it.
He added, in the interview, “The superheroes themselves – largely written and drawn by creators who have never stood up for their own rights against the companies that employ them, much less the rights of a Jack Kirby or Jerry Siegel or Joe Schuster – would seem to be largely employed as cowardice compensators, perhaps a bit like the handgun on the nightstand. … I would also remark that save for a smattering of non-white characters (and non-white creators) these books and these iconic characters are still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race. In fact, I think that a good argument can be made for D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (1915) as the first American superhero movie, and the point of origin for all those capes and masks.”
Birth of a Nation is one of the most controversial films in history, as it portrayed the KKK as a band of heroes, and black men as aggressive, simple monsters (who were played by white actors sporting blackface).
The debate against the superhero genre has only grown in recent months after director Martin Scorsese argued they are not cinema, telling Empire , “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019