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Alan Moore thinks superheroes ‘can be a precursor to fascism’


Photo: Colin Hutton (HBO)

Despite Spider-Man: No Way Home: The Funniest Version swinging in theaters last month, watchmen Author Alan Moore still isn’t a fan of superheroes. Talk to The Guardian last week, Moore spoke with his typical candor, saying bluntly that our cultural obsession with superheroes “can very often be a precursor to fascism.”

“I said around 2011 that I thought it had serious and worrying implications for the future if millions of adults lined up to see Batman movies,” Moore said. “Because that kind of infantilization — that push toward simpler times, simpler realities — that very often can be a precursor to fascism.” His proof? Most of the biggest movies in the world were superhero movies.

He wouldn’t be the first to notice the number of declining democracies and the rise of authoritarian governments around the world from the mid-2010s. While correlation doesn’t imply causation, Moore’s assessment is entirely consistent with his writing in the genre. watchmen made a Comic-Con favorite of the fascist superhero Rorschach, who many read as a review of Batman. Meanwhile, V for Vendetta‘s V is perhaps the most famous anarchist in comic book history.

Moore’s comments also have deep precedent in Moore’s public statements, which often focus on how superheroes have screwed up a lot of brains. For example, in 2014 he warned Pádraig Ó Méalóid to Slovobooks of a similar infantilization. He writes:

In my view, this adherence to what were unambiguously early child characters in the mid-twentieth century seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence. It seems to me that a significant portion of the public, having given up trying to understand the reality they actually live in, instead thought that they might at least be able to understand the meaningless expanse, but at least – yet finite “universes” presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic for the ephemera of a previous century to hunker down possessively on the cultural stage and refuse to allow this surely unprecedented time to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient. for his time.

Moore remained consistent with his views in 2019 when he said The Guardian that the term “graphic novel” was created to “validate [adults] the continued love of Green Lantern or Spider-Man without somehow appearing emotionally subnormal. We would ask Moore never to change, but it seems like he never will be.

Sadly, while Alan Moore is still delivering searing takes on the comic book industry and our own crumbling culture, he’s definitely out of comics. Company. “I’m definitely done with comics,” he said.. “I will and always will love the medium of comics, but the comic book industry and everything related to it has become unbearable.

Fair enough.