If there was a Mount Rushmore of comic book creators, Alan Moore would be right up there next to the greats like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, and others. In addition to writing what many believe to be the greatest superhero story put to paper, with “Watchmen,” Moore has also contributed incredible stories to some of the great icons of the genre, including Batman and Superman. But to hear his comments about superheroes in a recent interview, you can’t help but be shocked at Moore’s complete disdain for the characters and their effect on modern pop culture.
The interview in question is from a 2017 issue of Folha de São Paulo, a Brazilian outlet, but has recently been released online. And over the course of the interview, Moore is asked a variety of questions about his career and work, but really gets candid when talking about superheroes.
READ MORE: ‘Watchmen’: Damon Lindelof’s Confounding & Brilliant Riff On Alan Moore’s Ideas Of Superheroes, Conspiracy Theories & Questionable Morality [Review]
“I think the impact of superheroes on popular culture is both tremendously embarrassing and not a little worrying,” said Moore. “While these characters were originally perfectly suited to stimulating the imaginations of their twelve or thirteen-year-old audience, today’s franchised übermenschen, aimed at a supposedly adult audience, seem to be serving some kind of different function, and fulfilling different needs.”
He continued, “Primarily, mass-market superhero movies seem to be abetting an audience who do not wish to relinquish their grip on (a) their relatively reassuring childhoods, or (b) the relatively reassuring 20th century. The continuing popularity of these movies to me suggests some kind of deliberate, self-imposed state of emotional arrest, combined with a numbing condition of cultural stasis that can be witnessed in comics, movies, popular music and, indeed, right across the cultural spectrum.”
For those that have followed the career of Moore, his comments about superheroes and modern culture are pretty consistent over the years. However, it appears that his vitriol for the films based on these heroes has been growing recently.
In fact, the “Watchmen” writer goes a step further with his disgust with superheroes, by claiming that, even with the growing diversity in the genre, the whole idea of people dressing up in masks and capes to stand up for what’s right is part of the “white supremacist dreams of the master race.”
READ MORE: ‘Watchmen’ EP & Director Nicole Kassell On Building A Post-Squid World [Interview]
“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 said. “In fact, I think that a good argument can be made for D.W. Griffith’s ‘Birth of a Nation’ as the first American superhero movie, and the point of origin for all those capes and masks.”
Martin Scorsese says superhero films are “theme park rides” and people freak out. Yet, here we have Alan Moore comparing them to “Birth of a Nation.” Fans are likely not going to be happy with this comparison, even if it does come from the mind of one of the greatest comic book creators to ever grace the planet.
Interestingly enough, you can see a bit of this racism and its effect on superheroes in Damon Lindelof’s current “Watchmen” series on HBO.