'Watchmen' Creator Alan Moore on Superhero Movies: "They've Blighted Cinema and Culture"

"All of these characters have been stolen from their original creators, all of them"
'Watchmen' Creator Alan Moore on Superhero Movies: 'They've Blighted Cinema and Culture'
Photo: Matt Biddulph
In 2017, Watchmen creator Alan Moore slammed society's fixation on superhero movie franchises, calling it "tremendously embarrassing." As a new interview shows, his opinion on the matter hasn't changed all that much.

Speaking with Deadline, Moore explained how his decision to retire from writing comics in 2018 dovetails with how "most people equate comics with superhero movies now."

"I haven't seen a superhero movie since the first Tim Burton Batman film," Moore told the site. "They have blighted cinema, and also blighted culture to a degree. 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. That seemed to speak to some kind of longing to escape from the complexities of the modern world, and go back to a nostalgic, remembered childhood. That seemed dangerous, it was infantilizing the population."

Moore added that upon the election of Donald Trump and the U.K.'s vote to leave the European Union, six of the top 12 highest grossing films were superhero titles. "Not to say that one causes the other," he explained, "but I think they're both symptoms of the same thing — a denial of reality and an urge for simplistic and sensational solutions."

Asked whether he had ever sat down to watch "something a bit offbeat, like Joker," Moore responded, "Oh Christ no I don't watch any of them."

"All of these characters have been stolen from their original creators, all of them," Moore expressed. "They have a long line of ghosts standing behind them. In the case of Marvel films, Jack Kirby [the Marvel artist and writer]. I have no interest in superheroes, they were a thing that was invented in the late 1930s for children, and they are perfectly good as children's entertainment. But if you try to make them for the adult world then I think it becomes kind of grotesque."

Moore's interview with Deadline also examines his forthcoming film project The Show, and he clarifies that he is still writing — just not for comics.

"I'm finishing off a book of magic now. It's been stalled for a while but I'm also working on an opera about John Dee with [musician] Howard Gray," he shared. "I've got some short stories coming out. And I've also been thinking a lot about what we want to do after The Show feature film. We hope that it's enjoyable as a thing in itself, but to some degree it could be seen as an incredibly elaborate pilot episode, we think there's quite an interesting story that we could develop out of it as a TV series, which would imaginatively be called The Show."

Watchmen was adapted for an HBO series last year, which Moore did not approve of. Ultimately, director Damon Lindelof told him, "Fuck you, I'm doing it anyway."

The Show is expected to see wide release in 2021, and you can check out its newly shared trailer below.