Top critical review
42 people found this helpful
on 19 May 2004
Hmm ... this is an interesting one. I'm a wannabe comics writer, and I'm a huge fan of Alan Moore. Somehow, though, I'm not entirely convinced that his obvious genius for the medium has quite translated into this essay.
The most valuable part of Moore's advice here - and it's worth getting this book just for that - is his comments on characterisation and world-building. Basically, he encourages people to write 3- and 4-D characters and worlds, not just plots that move predictably from A to B, and outlines some useful ideas and techniques to help people start doing that.
However, the insights on the actual writing of a single comic that he chooses to share with us come across - to me at least - as a little insipid. Perhaps this is because the essay was written at a relatively early period in his career, so the writing techniques he mentions are a bit hackneyed - and to be fair, Moore has added an epilogue admitting exactly that.
Nevertheless, it still stands: Moore has an incredible knack for pacing his stories, marrying words with pictures, weaving details within details and levels of meaning within levels. Somehow, precious little of that knack - precious little craft - is revealed to us in this essay.
Then again, perhaps that's the point. Moore frequently points out that there's no mileage in him teaching hundreds of people to Write Comics The Alan Moore Way. The essay emphasises above all else how important it is to work hard at writing good, original work, instead of just rehashing what's gone before.
All in all, I guess you buying this essay depends on where you feel you are as a writer. There's a lot in here that I'd already figured out for myself from reading Moore's and others work; there's also a lot in here that was new to me. But in any case, it's Alan Moore and it's dirt cheap, so it'll never be a waste of money.
If I sound unsure, then that's exactly how this essay left me, so do what you will with that.