Comikaze 14 (2011)
<<For the love of art>>
Comikaze is a pocket-sized, Mexican comics magazine featuring strips and articles. Issue 14 is dedicated to the work of Alan Moore and, of course, features Swamp Thing.
My Spanish isn’t up to par and will eventually get around to translating the book. For now, I’m excited to share this great little book with you.
Fellow Swamp Thing fan, Marco, was kind enough to translate the articles for me! Please enjoy the translation and his efforts, below.
I can’t thank him enough.
Arriving at the Mainstream: Moore at DC
By Everardo Ferrer
At the beginning of the 80’s Moore arrived at DC Comics, changing the course of North American history forever. With a true tested authorial quality, he was called by Len Wein to take charge of Swamp Thing, a title that in his hands became emblematic and with which he created the new comics genre: sophisticated suspense, which led to the creation of Vertigo, an editorial line aimed at the mature comic reader.
Even though heavyweight characters like Superman, Batman, or Green Lantern passed through Moore’s hands, his work at DC is epitomized by Watchmen and V for Vendetta, important works by this author.
Subversion from the Swamp: Swamp Thing (1983-1987)
By Mauricio Matamoros
“Moore made the Swamp Thing a hero of the tragic court and of Shakespearean philosophy; while his stories made essays of mankind and his world, they were marked by formal experiments and a narrative that reached places untouched by comics. One such subversive act, Moore’s Swamp Thing was converted into the spokesperson of the evolution of comics, with the creation of the character John Constantine as proof.”
To learn more about Swamp Thing read the article that Mauricio Matamoros dedicated to him in Comikaze #5 which we have reproduced here as an excerpt.
Alan Moore and Magic Sex
By Rodrigo Vidal Tamayo
“The cultures that were sexually liberated gave us mathematics, literature, philosophy, civilization, and more, meanwhile sexually repressed cultures gave us the Middle Ages and the Holocaust” – Alan Moore
There exists a common element in (almost) all of Alan Moore’s works. One that is identified and which the author has expressed convincingly as part of his ideology. Similarly famous writers like Marques de Sade, Pierre Louys, or H. P. Lovecraft; Moore has been a slave to sex, as he understands it to be an act of magic more pure than any other idea that exists in this world.
It’s no secret that the English writer has proclaimed himself a wizard, and can be found preparing a grimoire for the sole purpose of uncovering the mysteries that encompass such an odd pastime. But let’s not confuse ourselves, from wizards to witches, what Moore does is not charlatan slight-of-hand, the magic he studies has more to do with animated states, human psychology, and forces based on biology, with sex being the most conspicuous of these.
For these wizards, reproduction is a magical act (in a metaphorical sense), the fact that, aside from the love between two people the action can give rise to a new life is something that has fascinated people since antiquity, and likewise, Moore belonging to a school of thought where repressing all sexual wishes is considered an aberration, ends with the magic not only being in reproduction but with the feelings that are evoked and felt.
It’s because of this that the fat of Alan Moore’s comics have an explicit sexual element or veil, and through this method the writer can deliver the magic of his writing, and also permit a clear exposition of his principles, without also forgetting that sex is an excellent tool for publicity. But this fundamental sexual element is what separates Moore’s comics from any other writer, his ability drive this theme and make it an integral part of the story and present it with its own prevailing identity is something that lost by other artistic ambitions trying to adapt this method.
Probably the only one on this list that he didn’t consciously create, which became one of his most terrific accounts.
We could mention his other near pornographic work, Lost Girls, but that sexual content that is much too obvious (and out of all his works it’s not really a particularly important title), on top of that it was made to justify the use of pornography as a narrative medium.
If you pay attention you might discover that in all of Moore’s great works there has existed a latent sexual element.
For example, in Swamp Thing the main character has found that he has lost his humanity and, with that, all possibilities of having a normal life with his lover. The suffering doesn’t come from not being able to love, but rather from his inability to have sexual relations with his partner. Coupled with the unfamiliarity of his new body, he is taken on a journey of self discovery that includes a new sexuality in the story Rite of Spring (adorned, by far, with the spectacular art of Stephen Bissette and John Totleben).
In V for Vendetta sex provide an escape route for the protagonist, and is one of the tools through which V manages to indoctrinate (or the opposite depending on how you read the book). The way in which Moore drives the theme is so subtle that the writers for the film adaptation eliminated it, delivering a weak product containing minimal ideological weight, insulting the public and author.
The same situation is true for the adaptation of Watchmen where it is clear that Nite Owl is impotent due in part to the eventlessness of the life he leads, this is ominously reduced to a fleeting moment, added simply to include sex in the movie, without having it be a major narrative consequence.
In similar fashion this theme is twisted in the film adaptation for From Hell which is one of the least read works by this author and yet truly fundamental to understanding Alan Moore. The result is a terrifying work not only because it is based on real events but because it was precisely sex that detonated the conflict, as well as exhibit the social inequality fabricated by the different people. This idea, of course, is lost leaving behind the feeling of a vulgar romance movie.
Another point in comics history and sexuality is Moore’s Promethea, a story that itself constitutes the advancement of the grimoire mentioned before, and where magic, self-awareness, and strength, manifest themselves through a woman, and according to certain anthropological theories there was a time when women were venerated as the givers of life. Here the sex manifests itself as more of a social state than as an action. Moore is a supporter of sexual equality and he doesn’t shy away from letting us know in a beautifully illustrated way.
Humorously Moore has also made it clear that all living being are entitled to a full and satisfying sex life. As an example, in the pages of Supreme we are witnesses to the woes of Radar (a version of Krypto the superdog), who is alleviated after being able to bask in and beget a pack of super powered dogs that brought more problems than solutions to planet Earth.
Alan Moore knows that while sex will continue to be a taboo, society will not be able to develop in a sane manner. For Moore sex is not just any act but a link between all living creatures, whose assimilation permits less psychological problems and more freedom, but he is also conscious of the fact that it may be a form of submission. And there resides the magic, we can live without fantasies, without imagination, but never without sex.
The book was accompanied by a really great Alan Moore sticker. I have another issue of Comikaze coming in the mail and am excited to share it as well.