07 October 2007

Faith and Moore

One day back in August I was thrilled to read memorable interviews in the Daily Telegraph with Michael Parkinson and the Archbishop of Canterbury ; they're thoughtful and fascinating and well worth reflecting on.

I often read the Telegraph while travelling; people tend to leave it behind, and like a print-crazed magpie I'm always there to swoop. Friends can look at me a tad askance on realising that I'm an occasional Torygraph reader, but aside from its tendency towards dishonesty on all issues European it's generally a pretty good paper.

Today's paper features a great article about the world's greatest living comics creator. Susanna Clarke, author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which I keep meaning to read, introduces her subject by raving about Watchmen, arguably Moore's masterpiece, and then goes on to analyse his latest opus, Lost Girls, an attempt sixteen years in the making to see if pornography can be art. Clarke's feeling is that the book is a true thing of beauty, much of which she attributes to the coloured pencils of Melinda Gebbie, Moore's partner, but is ultimately unconvinced:
There's no doubt that Lost Girls is stimulating and erotic and that Gebbie's art matches the sensuality of the material, but it feels as if Moore the writer is firing on fewer than usual cylinders – which may say something about pornography's limitations as a literary form. The shape of a pornographic narrative is easily guessable in advance; the climax of the story must be, well, a climax. [. . .] One of the assumptions of the fantasy world that pornography inhabits is that sex should be consequence-free. Pornography by its very nature has a deadening effect on story.
I'll be looking to read it soon enough, for all that. Even Moore's failures are usually fascinating, and this sounds like no failure - merely a qualified success. Even minor Moore is special; I still treasure those first two issues of the abortive Big Numbers, after all, and suspect that if Moore had finished it that it'd be the benchmark by which all his other work is judged.

Speaking of which, Mr Moore was alluded to a recent issue of the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic. Issue six of Joss Whedon's Season Eight has Giles hauling Faith off to England to deal with a slayer who's about to cause a whole world of trouble. Trying to stress just how serious the situation is, Giles informs Faith that:
If the girl in question were merely guilty of the same mistakes you once made -- considerable though they may have been -- I would opt for rehabilitation.

But according to every augur in my employ, including the great bearded wizard of Northampton, unless this young lady is terminated before the fall's end, she will usher in --
Alan Moore gets namedropped and once they get to England our heroes come very close to bumping into a certain Converse-trainered Timelord and his rather minxy companion.

It's a good issue for pop culture.

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