I’m not really a devotee of graphic novels, though I have nothing against them at all. I grew up reading comics, and I’m convinced that those comic books of the classics got me started on a life long reading journey. I just never got into graphic novels, and sometimes I regret this. The documentary The Mindscape of Alan Moore is a forum for Mr. Moore, an imposing figure, to espouse his views on almost any subject you might think of. Moore, the writer responsible for such iconic GN’s as V for Vendetta and Watchmen, plays to the galleries in a wide-ranging and free wheeling verbal assault.
Moore grew up in Northampton, England, a poor working class city smack in the middle of the country between Manchester and Brighton. You know you’re in for a verbal treat immediately when he says that comics were a staple of the working class, “like rickets”. As a younger child, Moore was at the top of his class, but when he graduated to grammar school, he slid to near the bottom. It was here that he discovered the “middle class”, admitting that throughout his life, if he couldn’t be at the top, he’d not struggle to achieve, preferring to yield to the inevitable.
He moves from topic to topic with abandon, nothing is out of bounds, or beyond his scope. Somewhere there is a comprehensive world view here, but don’t try to pull it all together. Rather let Moore pull you along.
On fame: Fame he says, has replaced “the sea” as the element of choice for adventure in young people. He himself struggles with ‘fame’ and being called a genius.
On magic: Magic is literally art, just the manipulation of images – the artist as shaman. The job of an artist is to give people what they need, and this seems an arrogant statement, but he always explains himself clearly, and makes a good case for his thought processes.
On erotica: He was moved to create a work of erotica with a colleague, and offers that the difference between erotica and pornography is largely dependent on the income bracket of the buyer. Hard to argue, in many respects.
He compares magical thinking and monotheism and when the priest came between God and man, the direct relationship was lost “with the godhead”. Salve et coagula, the tenet of alchemy that “separates” and then “joins together”.
On conspiracy theories: No one is in control, thus they spawn.
It’s the riff he does on the “doubling of human information” that is the real mind-fuck. He traces it back several thousand years, a process that is exponentially spinning until in 2015, human information will be doubling at the rate of once every 1,000th of a second. Boing!
Moore waxes poetic on the notions of time too, from the primitives concept of time to our present day understanding. Time is a bead on a wire, “sliding from past to future”.
Dig this: Do we understand the whole universe or the insides of our heads only? Hmmm? And is there a difference?
Apocalypse as the end of the physical world? Or ideas? History as the beat of human information. When culture reaches the boiling point, will it turn into steam and evaporate? Hmmm?
This doc is a real trip. You have to see it. Seriously.