Monday, November 19, 2007

Alan Moore gets animated

Damn you Alan Moore, when the hell is The Black Dossier going to be published already!? It's over a year late, dammit!

Wizard Universe conducted an interview with Moore about his animated stint on The Simpsons as well as some tidbit info on his new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen book:

The acclaimed writer discusses his upcoming turn on ‘The Simpsons’ and teases a bit about The Black Dossier

By Kiel Phegley

Posted November 16, 2007 1:00 PM

After creating a body of work that’s illuminated comics fans on topics from the darker side of Victorian literature to how to be a practicing magician, Alan Moore has discovered a new path to happiness he’s more than willing to share with his fans.

“It is quite nice to see yourself with three fingers and yellow,” laughs the legendary writer. “It’s probably something that everybody should try to do once in their life.”

Moore is, of course, talking about his impending guest spot on Fox’s long-running animated series “The Simpsons,” which airs at 8 p.m. Sunday. In the episode “Husbands & Knives” the writer of comics classics from Watchmen to Lost Girls plays himself arriving in Springfield in the company of fellow renowned comics creators Art Spiegelman and Daniel Clowes when a new, high-end comics shop (run by a character voiced by actor Jack Black) springs up to compete with longstanding shop The Android’s Dungeon.

“I met Art Spiegelman once, but that’s it,” notes Moore of his onscreen chum. “I’ve not actually met Dan Clowes. I guess that, for what it’s worth, that would be some sort of virtual meeting.”

Moore did have an actual meeting with producers from the show when it came time to record the episode’s dialogue in his hometown of Northampton, England. “We’ve got a local recording studio here which I used for two or three of the CDs that I recorded my performances on a few years ago. It’s a little tiny studio that’s been useful for shooting little television interviews and things like that. So I think that I suggested it to the ‘Simpsons’ people when they got in touch with me. We went down there with Tim Long, who’s one of the writers, a very, very nice engaging chap. I’d been sent the script sometime before that and so we just went down to the recording studio and I ran through my lines, and they seemed to be quite pleased with the performance.”

And although the writer has yet to see the final product, he did give approval for his animated counterpart’s look. “I saw the character sketches that they had done of me,” he says with a chuckle. “I think that they showed me my printout on the Net. Yeah, I looked very good. They probably caught my essence, and I shall probably have to get one of those coats that they’ve dressed me in—otherwise my audience will be disappointed when they see me on the streets.”

It’s a busy week for Moore, at least in terms of releases bearing his name and/or likeness: Wednesday finally saw the release of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier—the long-delayed new entry in he and Kevin O’Neill’s series of “Victorian Literature Adventure Comics” although as with anything the writer works on, there’s much more to the book than the base description.

“With The Black Dossier, which is a very bittersweet book for both me and Kevin, in some ways it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done,” explains Moore. “It’s a completely new form. It manages to take the elements that have always been there—the text features and the comic strip sequences—and it adds a few more things to the mix, then puts them together in what I believe is a fairly unique way.”

Despite the complications leading to its release, both Moore and O’Neill are excited at the prospect of the book reaching audiences, particularly so they can show it off. “I suspect that it does make a lot of the other product being put out look a little bit lazy and perhaps a little tiny bit illiterate. But you have to judge for yourself. I might be blowing my own trumpet too much.”

As for his own future and the future of the League, both will be moving to indie publisher Top Shelf in 2008, a move which Moore believes synchs up well with modern trends of publishing comics for a broader audience. “A lot of the big-time, serious, legitimate book publishers are getting in on the act and bringing out a huge number of really entertaining books,” he says. “Increasingly, there’s interesting books in the graphic novel section of the chain bookstores over here along with all the superhero collections. I hope that this signals a general absorption of comic book material into mainstream culture, which would take it away from these little enclaves that have controlled the destiny of comics for the past…goodness, man, can it really be 70 years?

“It would be nice to think that the basic structure of the industry is changing, that the traditional comics industry is perhaps withering and dying. I, for one, am quite interested in seeing what springs up to take its place.”

For more on The Black Dossier, check out Wizard #195, on sale in comic shops Nov. 21.

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