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T. Campbell On Why He Will Continue To Mock Alan Moore, Part 02
posted September 28, 2010

Tom, your last sentence in your reply is on the right track. I do take the whole Alan Moore thing seriously, and I've written in here every once in a while because I feel we're on a wavelength in many ways.

I'll agree to disagree about whether or not the comics world loves a story of corporate betrayal. From where I sit, that seems like a major preoccupation shared by many artists and critics. It's certainly a worthy subject, but one that leads to many oversimplifications, and crowds out other issues worth discussing. Still, maybe this clash of perspective comes from differences in the people we talk to, and the writers we read.

On the other hand, you've put a lot of words in my mouth that I don't remember being there. Those words might be the opinions of other "Moore-baiters," but they're not mine. Granted, if they were all mine, then your characterization of my stance as that of a "spoiled child" would be difficult to refute.

I couldn't care less about whether I'd like to hang out with Moore at the Bayfront Hilton: I expect that'd be awkward, but I'd say the same thing about many people I admire. I never said he was a hypocrite, only that his earlier statement seems wiser than his recent interview behavior. I never said that he owed me anything at all. If he wants to ignore me, he's entitled. If he wants to read and then dismiss me and my favorite authors, he's entitled. Hey, he wouldn't be the first, or the last.

I stand by my claim he's a role model. It would be nice to think we could "find solidarity with Moore as a fellow industry figure with something to tell us," but I don't see how it's practical to do that with every fellow industry figure with something to tell us, since that would include Paul Levitz too. By this, I only mean that his status explains why we all care. I don't ask anything more of Moore than the baseline good behavior I ask of everyone.

But I do expect that much. I don't like it when bad behavior is presented as appropriate. Calling it "human" and saying "oh, haven't we all?" are easy dodges, to my mind. Your other excuse seems to boil down to "If I'd been through the things he's been through, I'm sure I'd be as bad or worse." Now, if you were trying to study Moore without judging, this would be a good way to begin. But you led with "Moore sounds perfectly reasonable to me."

Bottom line: I don't see how there is anything "reasonable" about dismissing large bodies of work, and indeed entire media, that one claims not to have consumed. I can't help but see a parallel between that kind of closed-mindedness and the closed-mindedness that keeps many people from reading comics.

Tom Spurgeon Responds: I don't see much for me to talk about here, except of course to note I disagree with your arguments and your characterization of my own.

It's perhaps only useful to specifically reject the construction that I'm making excuses for Alan Moore. I would see that as presumption, and the mirror image of the presumptive investment seemingly held by many of those criticizing Moore -- that he needs to act a certain way they demand he act because they're a fan of his. I have sympathy for a lot of what he said, and I don't believe that his reaction or his statements were out-sized or worthy of ridicule given their context. That's about as far as I'd carry it.