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Comic Book Legend's Comparison Of Trump To Superhero Films Sends Fans Into An Uproar

Alan Moore may be beloved by fans of comics, but the feeling may not always be mutual. In a recent and very rare interview with Deadline, the legendary writer behind such works as Watchmen and V for Vendetta took a metaphorical shotgun and blasted the entirety of the superhero movie genre to bits, going so far as to suggest that the popularity of cape flicks and the election of Donald Trump are tangentially related. 

The famously cantankerous Moore, who has seemingly never had a screen adaptation of his work meet with his satisfaction, didn't hold back in dragging the most popular movie genre in the world today — and, by insinuation, everyone over the age of 12 who indulges in super-cinema. "I haven't seen a superhero movie since the first Tim Burton Batman film," Moore said. "They have blighted cinema, and also blighted culture to a degree."

That's pretty harsh, but as Moore himself noted, it's not as if he hasn't expressed this sentiment before. "Several years ago, I said I thought it was a really worrying sign, that hundreds of thousands of adults were queuing up to see characters that were created 50 years ago to entertain 12-year-old boys," he said. "That seemed to speak to some kind of longing to escape from the complexities of the modern world... [It] seemed dangerous, it was infantilizing the population."

Moore went on to note that in 2016, the year that his native U.K. voted to leave the European Union while the U.S. elected Donald Trump, "six of the top 12 highest grossing films were superhero movies." Charitably, he did include the caveat that he wasn't saying there was a direct correlation there, but that he thinks "they're both symptoms of the same thing — a denial of reality and an urge for simplistic and sensational solutions." This may seem a bit shocking coming from a man whose work in the '80s was instrumental in changing the public perception of comics as mere kid stuff — but in regards to that, Moore seems to wish it hadn't.

Alan Moore has even disowned one of his greatest works

Moore went on to lament the fact that it was "largely [his] work that attracted an adult audience" to comics, saying that he and a few outliers who were telling grown-up stories in the medium led to what he sees as the mistaken impression that the medium as a whole had "grown up," when it "really hadn't." One of his works in particular, he regrets writing at all — and if you're a fan of Batman, you may want to prepare for a jolt.

"I've been told the Joker film wouldn't exist without [1988's Batman: The Killing Joke]," Moore said, "but three months after I'd written that I was disowning it, it was far too violent. It was Batman... it's a guy dressed as a bat. Increasingly, I think the best version of Batman was [the '60s TV series starring] Adam West, which didn't take [the material] at all seriously."

The Killing Joke is, of course, widely regarded as one of the finest superhero stories ever written, which makes Moore's attitude toward it confounding. These days, though, the writer says that he doesn't "want anything to do with" comics, having most recently focused his energies instead on a film entitled The Show, an intriguingly bizarre fantasy set in an alternate version of Moore's hometown of Northampton. Moore also indicated that he'd love to spin the flick off into a TV series, for which he says he has four to five seasons' worth of material worked out. Might we assume, then, that this project represents Moore's complete divorce from his comics history?

"We have a kind of superhero character in The Show," he told Deadline, "but if we get the chance to develop them more, then people will be able to see all of the characters have quite unusual aspects to them." Alrighty, then.

The Twitterverse isn't super-psyched with Alan Moore

Across Twitter, fans of superhero flicks — many of whom, of course, are also fans of Moore — were by turns indignant, surprisingly thoughtful, and characteristically snarky in their response to the writer's equating the golden age of superhero cinema with the rise of Trump and the Brexit movement. User @LMo1914 summed up the consensus nicely, writing, "Bull, how about comics have had a following for decades and when cinema actually invested big production bucks, fans couldn't wait... not everything is politics. Something are just awesome regardless of the time." User @DarkLight333 succinctly pointed out the faultiness of Moore's remarks: "In 2016 the sky was blue, and superhero movies made a lot of money," they wrote. "This means an urge for simplistic solutions."

User @BryanBeaird opined that mainstream film is adapting to the age of streaming in ways that Moore fails to grasp, pointing to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in particular. "He understands that the platform for media has changed immensely, right?" they wrote. "T.V. has usurped films as the preferred entertainment method, more in depth story telling & character development. The reason Marvel is successful is they've done the same over many interconnected movies." User @E28549 called back to a recent controversy involving another entertainment legend whose arguably out-of-touch views on superhero movies made headlines, writing, "Alan Moore about to become the next Martin Scorsese."

Of course, a fair number of Twitterers chimed in to agree with Moore, but they were outnumbered by those blowing raspberries at the comics legend. User @oscardoesntmiss grabbed onto what was perhaps the most shocking of all Moore's comments to offer the crowning observation: "This guy hasn't seen the [Dark Knight] trilogy," they wrote, "and it shows."