Alan Moore is a man who wears many hats: an author, a magician, a man of principle. Variety reports (via The Telegraph) that the comics writer and novelist no longer wants anything to do with any adaptations DC Studios does with his work. In fact, he’d rather they send his royalty checks to Black Lives Matter instead since they betray his works “original principles.”
The news should come as no surprise for those familiar with Moore. He’s frequently critical of adaptations of his work and the contemporary superhero movie craze. But refusing royalties takes the writer’s curmudgeonly stance to another level entirely. When The Telegraph asked if he still divides the money he makes from film and TV adaptations of his work, Moore corrected the publication. “I no longer wish it to even be shared with them,” he explained. “I don’t really feel, with the recent films, that they have stood by what I assumed were their original principles. So I asked for DC Comics to send all of the money from any future TV series or films to Black Lives Matter.” Moore continued that he’s not interested in money and instead chooses to live in seclusion in Northampton, England, where he’s lived his entire life.
Moore has been exceedingly vocal about superhero movies and the state of the entertainment industry in recent years. Back in 2020, he told Deadline that he considers superhero movies a “blight” to cinema and “also to culture to a degree.” He followed that up with more pointed words while on his press tour for his short story collection “Illuminations” last Fall. Regarding Damon Lindelof‘s HBO series “Watchmen,” Moore told GQ that he “disowned the work in question, and partly that was because the film industry and the comics industry seemed to have created things that had nothing to do with my work, but which would be associated with it in the public mind. I said, ‘Look, this is embarrassing to me. I don’t want anything to do with you or your show. Please don’t bother me again.’”
And Moore went even further in an October 2022 interview with The Guardian. He told that publication that the superhero crazy operates as a cultural “infantilization” and also “a precursor to fascism.” And Moore takes some of the blame for the current state of comic books and superhero popularity. “Hundreds of thousands of adults lining up to see characters and situations that had been created to entertain the 12-year-old boys — and it was always boys — of 50 years ago,” he continued. “I didn’t really think that superheroes were adult fare. I think that this was a misunderstanding born of what happened in the 1980s — to which I must put my hand up to a considerable share of the blame, though it was not intentional — when things like “Watchmen” were first appearing. There were an awful lot of headlines saying ‘Comics Have Grown Up.’”
Moore doesn’t agree with that assessment. “I tend to think that, no, comics hadn’t grown up,” he continued. “There were a few titles that were more adult than people were used to…I will always love and adore the comics medium but the comics industry and all of the stuff attached to it just became unbearable.” In his more recent interview with The Telegraph, Moore said whatever appealed to him about comics books is “no more.” “Now they’re called ‘graphic novels’, which sounds sophisticated and you can charge a lot more for them,” added the writer. “These innocent and inventive and imaginative superhero characters from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s are being recycled to a modern audience as if they were adult fare.”
So, suffice it to say that Moore will likely continue his recent creative trend of literary fiction instead of returning to comic books. And since he no longer receives royalties from films and TV shows made of his work, it’s almost as if he’s entirely severed himself from his superhero past. Again, this isn’t a major surprise for those familiar with Moore. But it’s refreshing to see an artist devoted to their principles and stick up for his work’s integrity in the face of an industry ultimately concerned with generating revenue. As the Emersonian adage goes, nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles; and there’s no doubt that Moore is resting easy at night, with or without his royalty checks.