In probably one of the most hilarious demonstrations that comics may change, but fan complaints sure don’t, Comics Alliance has unearthed an essay by Alan Moore about the desperate state of the comic book industry.
Written in 1983.
See if any of this sounds familiar…
Alan Moore on comic book adaptations…
Stan Lee is the name of the flawed genius responsible for the Marvel Comics empire in its entirety. Without Stan Lee, you would not be reading this. Without Stan Lee there would have been no Fantastic Four, no X Men, no Hulk, no Thor, no nothing. Without Stan Lee there quite probably would have been no Conan movie and it is almost certain the comic book industry as a whole would be vastly different, assuming that it existed at all.
On the other hand, without Stan Lee you wouldn’t have to sit through such marrow-chilling dreck as the Spider-Man television show. I suppose it’s a case of having to take the rough with the smooth.
Alan Moore on how comics were better back when he was a kid:
“I’ll never forget turning the last page of that particular issue of Journey into Mystery to be confronted by the full-page spectacle of a massive organic planet with the grafted-on face of a malign octogenarian.
Believe me, when people my age wax lyrical about the sense of wonder to be found in those old comics, that’s the sort of thing they’re talking about. It was the sort of once-in-a-lifetime utterly mind-roasting concept that made you wonder just long Lee and his Bullpen buddies could keep up that sort of pace and style.
The answer was, sadly, not long.”
Beyond being a hilarious demonstration of a comics writing god as a raving idiot fanboy, and it wouldn’t shock me very much if Moore has disavowed a good chunk of this essay, it does illustrate why comics don’t change: Stick around long enough, and you’ll hear it all again.
Of course some of this is true. DC and Marvel both have been struggling creatively, in some cases for decades. Far too many great writers, especially ones that aren’t established names, struggle with editorial mandate. Both have essentially become intellectual property factories for movie studios, although that happened to DC in the ’80s and it weathered the change pretty well.
But some of it is the same old story, same old song and dance. Just something for all of us to remember, the next time we complain.