Legendary comic creator Alan Moore has long been vocal about his distaste for superhero movie adaptations. Now, in a newly resurfaced 2017 interview with Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo (via BBC), we now know just how deep that loathing goes. Speaking candidly, the Watchmen writer argued, “I think the impact of superheroes on popular culture is both tremendously embarrassing and not a little worrying.”
He went on to discuss how these characters are meant for a “twelve or thirteen year-old audience,” and the strange turn things have taken with films geared towards adult crowds. “The continuing popularity of these movies to me suggests some kind of deliberate, self-imposed state of emotional arrest,” he elaborated, “combined with a numbing condition of cultural stasis that can be witnessed in comics, movies, popular music and, indeed, right across the cultural spectrum.”
Moore didn’t stop there. A newly published transcript of the full interview (via the Alan Moore World) reveals he then chided the creators of these characters, people who “never stood up for their own rights against the companies that employ them.” Moore said they allow their superheroes “to be largely employed as cowardice compensators, perhaps a bit like the handgun on the nightstand.” (Editor’s Note: There’s a long history in the industry of creators being unfairly compensated or acknowledged for the characters they’ve created. Moore was connecting a thread from that “cowardice” to the fact that their superhero creations lead to “emotional arrest.”)
(Read: Mystery Men, The Boys, and the Uncomfortable Truths of Misanthropic Superheroes)
He also touched on comics’ lack of diversity, something which is slowly changing with releases like the recent female-led Capitan Marvel, the Asian-led Shang-Chi film, and the highly diverse The Eternals. “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,” Moore commented.
The opinions expressed would almost indicate Moore regrets creating Watchmen altogether. He didn’t go quite that far, though he did note, “I don’t think of Watchmen at all.” It should be noted, however, that Moore is staunchly opposed to all adaptations of his work and refuses on-screen credits and royalty payments,
The comic book writer isn’t the first to criticize the superhero industry. Last month, director Martin Scorsese said he viewed Marvel movies not as cinema, but more as “theme parks.”
Still, Moore’s comments have resurfaced at a strange time considering the recent premiere of HBO’s new “remix” adaptation of Watchmen from Damon Lindelof. Though surely Moore wouldn’t care, the series has been gaining solid reviews. Additionally, you can check out the recently released soundtrack, created by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.