The Honest Alan Moore Interview – Part 2: The Occupy Movement, Frank Miller, and Politics

Here’s the second part of our interview with comic book legend Alan Moore, in which the creator of Watchmen and V for Vendetta speaks about the Occupy protests, Frank Miller (and Miller’s trenchant anti-Occupy stance), and what needs to change in politics. You can read the first part of our interview HERE and the final part HERE. Our thanks once again to Alan Moore for his time.

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With the Occupy movement, it seems you and Frank Miller have conflicting views. Would you say that he’s against it and you’re for it?

Well, Frank Miller is someone whose work I’ve barely looked at for the past twenty years. I thought the Sin City stuff was unreconstructed misogyny, 300 appeared to be wildly ahistoric, homophobic and just completely misguided. I think that there has probably been a rather unpleasant sensibility apparent in Frank Miller’s work for quite a long time. Since I don’t have anything to do with the comics industry, I don’t have anything to do with the people in it. I heard about the latest outpourings regarding the Occupy movement. It’s about what I’d expect from him. It’s always seemed to me that the majority of the comics field, if you had to place them politically, you’d have to say centre-right. That would be as far towards the liberal end of the spectrum as they would go. I’ve never been in any way, I don’t even know if I’m centre-left. I’ve been outspoken about that since the beginning of my career. So yes I think it would be fair to say that me and Frank Miller have diametrically opposing views upon all sorts of things, but certainly upon the Occupy movement.

“[The Occupy movement] is a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it.”

As far as I can see, the Occupy movement is just ordinary people reclaiming rights which should always have been theirs. I can’t think of any reason why as a population we should be expected to stand by and see a gross reduction in the living standards of ourselves and our kids, possibly for generations, when the people who have got us into this have been rewarded for it; they’ve certainly not been punished in any way because they’re too big to fail. I think that the Occupy movement is, in one sense, the public saying that they should be the ones to decide who’s too big to fail. It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it. We would definitely have to agree to differ on that one.

What do you think needs to change in our political system?

Everything. I believe that what’s needed is a radical solution, by which I mean from the roots upwards. Our entire political thinking seems to me to be based upon medieval precepts. These things, they didn’t work particularly well five or six hundred years ago. Their slightly modified forms are not adequate at all for the rapidly changing territory of the 21st Century.

We need to overhaul the way that we think about money, we need to overhaul the way that we think about who’s running the show. As an anarchist, I believe that power should be given to the people, to the people whose lives this is actually affecting. It’s no longer good enough to have a group of people who are controlling our destinies. The only reason they have the power is because they control the currency. They have no moral authority and, indeed, they show the opposite of moral authority.

In the sixth issue of Dodgem Logic, I remember doing an article and I was trying to think of possible ways in which our society might be altered for the better. I’m not saying that any of these ways would necessarily be practical but it’s important that we try to think these things through. It’s probably more important now than it ever has been. There is a sense that we don’t have an infinite amount of time to get these things right.

“I think that since our leaders are not going to address any of these problems then we really have no choice than to attempt to wrest the steering wheel from them.”

With politics at the moment seemingly determined to keep ploughing on their same destructive course because they can’t think of anything other to do, when we’re facing the possibility of an economic apocalypse, of potentially an environmental apocalypse, we don’t necessarily have an infinite amount of time. I think that since our leaders are not going to address any of these problems then we really have no choice than to attempt to wrest the steering wheel from them. If they’re aiming at the precipice with the accelerator pedal flat to the floor, then we don’t have any other choices left. Do it now, in this generation, because we don’t how many more there’s going to be.

The economic problem is a strange one…

Economics is always strange. You’re not talking about anything that’s actually real. Researching a chapter for Jerusalem, I read a couple of books on economics to see if I could get my head around the facts of the situation. I was astonished when I found out the value of derivative bonds, in 2008. These are bonds that have a value in themselves that were once connected to a real thing, there might have been a bond made for the sale of a herd of sheep, but that can be sold on and they gain in value. The notional value of the world’s derivative bonds was in the region of sixty trillion. Exactly ten times the economic output of the entire planet, which is around six trillion. That means that the gap between what economists and what the world’s economic forces and the banks thought they had to play with and what actually existed was fifty-four trillion. That would seem to me the depth of the hole we are in.

So something has to be done about that. I would suggest beheading the bankers, but while it would be very satisfying and would cheer us up, it probably wouldn’t do anything practical to alter the situation. Behead the currency. Change the currency, why not? It would disempower all the people who had bought into that currency but it would pretty much empower the rest of us, the other ninety-nine percent.

Monday: Alan Moore on Comics and How To Break into Comics

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15 Responses to “The Honest Alan Moore Interview – Part 2: The Occupy Movement, Frank Miller, and Politics”

  1. [...] be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of Honest Publishing’s interview with Alan [...]

  2. Justin Barker says:

    Always a pleasure to read an interview with Alan Moore. I especially enjoyed reading his views on the current political climate, and agreed with every word.

  3. A gentleman who uses right words and brain, a pleasure to read.

  4. Ahmed says:

    A genius. The interview only proves that he’s still relevant.

  5. Chris Reilly says:

    Great interview. I am glad to see someone who back in the early 80’s was such an enthusiastic Frank Miller fan speak out against how the guy has just gone rotten over time.
    I presume Frank Miller’s next comic will be about the heroic adventures of Police Lt. John Pike and for no apparent reason will include a hooker with a sword and swastika earnings.

  6. oliver clothesoff says:

    He starts by criticizing Miller’s comic work – what does that have to do with Miller’s OWS stance? Guess a chance to take a shot at Miller’s comics can’t be passed up

    He describes Sin City as misogyny . Yeah, I guess depicting gay heroes, depicting lesbian families in a positive light, and more, is misogyny.

    As far as his criticism of Miller’s OWS letter – Moore is as one-sided on OWS as Miller. One guy depicts them all as miscreants and pond scum, the other guy gives them all the credit for their goals, while ignoring their faults.

    Moore may have come off as more level-headed – but it appears Miller has paid more attention to the facts about OWS than Moore has.

  7. Kari says:

    I’m a fan of both Moore’s and Miller’s work, as many of us are. Their off-the-page spat is childish and lame, but expected when you’re dealing with such massive egos. I appreciate Moore’s articulate explanation of his viewpoint, but it no less convinces me he’s as self-absorbed in his own perceived wisdom as Miller may be (I think the OWS use of the “V” mask has thrown gasoline on Moore’s ego, even if it’s appropriate). His blunt jabs at Miller’s work is fine as it’s his opinion – not shared by me however. As for politics and economics…he speaks the truth on some self-evident aspects but frankly, I’m not going to turn to a self-wise graphic novelist for advice on how to fix the global political and economic systems.

  8. Butch Audacity says:

    Dear Oliver, what is wrong with showing the links between Frank Miller’s writing and his messed up political views? As for Moore being one sided, he is far more articulated and thoughtful than Frank Miller could ever hope to be.

  9. oliver clothesoff says:

    Butch – because there is not link – if anything, it is a contradiction. Family Values – the entire book – is about a lesbian family. It juxtaposes the republican’s “family values” mantra at the time versus a family that consists of 2 female partners. And, as I already said, Hell and Back had a major character who was gay.

    Furthermore, there was nothing homophobic about 300. Having a character say something bigoted does not make the author a bigot. Unless you want to argue that Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis, and many others were glowing racists. I’m surprised that Alan Moore is unable to see this.

  10. Adam says:

    Question: Who would win in a fight, Alan Moore or God? Answer: It’s a trick question, Alan Moore is God.

  11. oliver clothesoff says:

    For that matter – I suppose Moore is a racist because he had a character (My Hyde) in one of his comics say racist slurs

    Do you see how ridiculous this gets

  12. Fantastic! Thank you Alan Moore.

  13. [...] You can read more of his interview here, and more about his thoughts on Frank Miller and the Occupy Wall Street Movement here. [...]

  14. twoo says:

    Hello Honestpublishing,
    I know what you mean, Superlatives can sometimes be given carelessly, and can lose meaning. When one thinks of the ultimate deconstruction of the superhero genre, however, there is one piece that lives up to that superlative. For the past two decades, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen has captivated comic book fans and the uninitiated alike. This work paved the way for later writers to write what we think of as the modern graphic novel. It also helped people to see how serious superheroics can be, and how imperfect these larger than life people actually are.
    Thx.

  15. deadhead fred says:

    Moore is looking at Millers work as a mirror of Millers cognitive processes. Though I’m not as well read in eithers work as most of you may be, I have to agree with Moores assesment. What I’ve seen of Millers work can be summed up as senseless violence, never felt moved by it, not thought provoking, just alot of blood. Moore’s work however has moved me and made me think. Just read Millers letter about OWS, LULz now I fully agree with Moore. Miller seems to be working from the headspace of 6 yr old pulling wings off flies, not that I haven’t been there I just didn’t get stuck. Moore has a social awareness that Miller will never aquire.

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