Thursday, March 12, 2009

Alan Moore, author of "Watchmen," reinvented the comic book

By Christopher Borrelli and Robert K. Elder
Chicago Tribune

Over the past 30 years, author Alan Moore has almost single-handedly reinvented the comic book, transforming its language, broadening its scope and deepening its intellect. So, naturally, Hollywood has been poaching his stories for years, the most egregious being the 2003 loud and dumb adaptation of his otherwise highly literate "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen."

There also have been films based on his works, such as "Constantine," "From Hell" and a glossy but tonally faithful version of "V for Vendetta"; both last year's "The Dark Knight" and Tim Burton's original " Batman" owe a debt to Moore's "Batman: The Killing Joke."

This weekend, however, we get director Zack Snyder's sprawling adaptation of " Watchmen," Moore's most celebrated creation. Initially a 12-issue series with artist Dave Gibbons, the collected volume has become one of the most acclaimed graphic novels ever, hailed by Time magazine as one of the best 100 novels of the 20th Century. It's about aging superheroes, nuclear politics and social engineering.

That said, Moore has sworn off movie profits inspired by his books; he recently told the Los Angeles Times that he is opposed to movies based on his work. About "Watchmen" he said, "I will be spitting venom all over it for months to come." As with most of his comics, Moore has insisted "Watchmen" is "inherently unfilmable," heresy in this time of inevitable big-screen adaptation.

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