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Alan Moore: why I turned my back on Hollywood

Art & Revolution

Alan Moore strolls through Northampton town centre carrying a walking stick that's been sculpted to resemble a dangerous snake, and a hairbrush. The 59-year-old writer moves with a slight trip in his step, thus the cane, and keeps the brush to hand because he hasn't visited a barber since he was a teenager. For decades Moore has maintained his tremendous mane of hair, his wizard's beard, through bursts of aggressive combing. "That way it tends to manage itself."

Alan Moore: why I turned my back on Hollywood

Tom Lamont
The Observer
15 December 2012

Alan Moore strolls through Northampton town centre carrying a walking stick that's been sculpted to resemble a dangerous snake, and a hairbrush. The 59-year-old writer moves with a slight trip in his step, thus the cane, and keeps the brush to hand because he hasn't visited a barber since he was a teenager. For decades Moore has maintained his tremendous mane of hair, his wizard's beard, through bursts of aggressive combing. "That way it tends to manage itself."

Kids at the nearby shopping centre sometimes heckle, Moore says, calling him God, or Jesus, "which I'll take, because Jesus died at 33 and they've obviously mistaken me for a much younger man". But to fans of the landmark comic books Moore has written over the years (superhero whodunnit Watchmen, chilly dystopia V for Vendetta) deification might really feel justified. Moore is one of the most revered and influential writers in the country. Also one of the most confounding – perverse and hard to fathom.

The work he did in the 1980s on Watchmen and V for Vendetta, for instance, made an entire industry shift its focus, with publishers targeting more comics not only at pocket-money-splashing kids, or teens, but at adults too. Later, as a wider audience took to his writing, Moore edged away from the mainstream, developing such an aversion to corporate America that he declined large payments for Hollywood adaptations of his work. Five blockbuster films were made of Moore's stories anyway, but only last month did a film get a release that he actually likes and endorses – a low-budget short that Moore scripted, currently available to view for free online. As well as this screenplay, and decades of comics, Moore has written prose fiction, history, protest songs and pornography. Alone among Britain's bestselling authors he describes himself as a practising magician.

Moore is a puzzle, and one of the more startling facts about him is that he has spent his life in Northampton, the UK's 73rd biggest town, rich in terms of local history and deprived in most other senses. "So many of the shops are dying on their arse. The only people prospering are the plasterboard manufacturers."

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