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Alan Moore's Writing For Comics Volume 1
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
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.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
I'm a big Alan Moore fan and whilst this book was good in that I enjoyed hearing stuff from the man itself it is painfully short and out of date.
The core of the book was written in 1985 when Alan was riding high after Watchmen, V for Vendetta and his other great work. It gives you a good argument for and against the strengths and weaknesses of comics and talks about visual story telling whilst encouraging you to challenge what is cliche and conventional. all good stuff but still only a twenty mnute read.
Then comes the afterword, written in 2002, in which the Alan Moore we are now familar with comes along and undermines everything in the core of the book. Inviting the reader to igore all of it and do something else. This afterword is refreshingly honsest and very telling of the modern writer's attitudes to the industry and indeed his own work. I even shead a tear reading it, as this is not the sort of thing I expected to be reading in a book of this nature.
Anyway. Is this book worth it. Well, it is quite cheap and it should be for what you get, it's about the size of a comic. I'd be more inclinded to look out for it next time you go to a comic shop or stall and buy it second hand. Or ask around to see if any of your mates will lend it to you.
Not a rip off - just slightly over priced and underwelming.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2009
This slender volume reprints an extended essay from 1985 along with a short follow-up from 2003. The main piece consists of Alan Moore's thoughts on the mechanics and thought processes behind the writing of a comic strip and is illustrated with discussions of examples from his own work and that of other artists (from comics and other art forms). The follow-up essay, in much condensed form, explores some of these same topics from the perspective of a now established, and experienced writer. Most interesting for me is the way Alan Moore describes different aspects of the creative process and some mechanisms he has used or uses to generate "ideas". (I found myself thinking of the BBC Radio programme 'Chain Reaction' where he discusses this in an interview with Brian Eno.)

The main essay is now out of date and this may put potential readers off (but it shouldn't). With regard to the later essay, I had a similar reaction to another reviewer. Slight dismay at the jaded tone towards his previous work. However I was also rather inspired by his injunctions on how to do good work and also to live a good life ! For me, this last essay alone is enough to recommend the book to regular readers of Alan Moore. Another reason is the humorous and generous writing style throughout the volume.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2004
In the afterword to this, the author himself seeks to caveat that which precedes it, which is both slightly churlish and highly entertaining. The text is short and probably of more practical use to beginning writers, but it is nevertheless an important essay.
Moore fleshes out his admirably pithy precis of the writing process with anecdotes, examples and demonstrations that amuse as well as enlighten. It has aged well: the artists he picks out as examples have successfully prospered the 15 years since publication. His afterword is valuable and critical of his older words whilst not fatally compromising the bulk of the book.
At a few quid it is remarkably cheap. Whilst it is obviously far from a comprehensive guide to creative writing, it is fun, thought-provoking, inspiring and eminently re-readable. Personally, I don't like guides that seek to dictate exactly how you should go about writing (regardless of whether it is a comic, a screenplay or a novel). This essay should be regarded as a basic toolset or foundation, and from this perspective is succeeds superbly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great author, great book, the author shares the general guide lines that shaped his unique style, as a teaching book no doubt we all agree, it's not excessive nor thorough, still it's an inside informer of a this first-class comics writer, have you ever wondered why Moore's novels are all "coherent" and solid ? well this is your chance to know the answer. Being in this page means that you are already interested in Alan Moore publications, so what the heck! just go for it, it's affordable by far anyway.
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on 1 May 2014
This rating is based only on the writing and information given. Alan Moore does a great job describing his process, in some areas a little more is given than necessary, and some areas not enough, characterization being one. But overall I learned a good amount and got to peak into the mind of the 1985 Moore.
The art, except for the cover is just poor and irrelevant, but it's not about the drawing.
If you need a bit of inspiration on writing, want to learn about a professionals work process and the things he considers whilst planning, then I would recommend this book. If you are a fan of his work, and want to learn more about writing comics then getting this book is a must.
At £3, you can't go wrong. Note that it is a very short book, extracted from a fanzine, about 1/3 cm thick!
Also an enjoyable read, a bit of a page turner, unlike Will Eisner's books which bore me to tears unfortunately.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2004
Thinking about writing a comic? Rekon you have a good idea but just can't get started? Want to know the secrets of the worlds greatest living creative mind?
Lie back and prepare to be dazzled!
No, but seriously...
In this slender tome (not 50 pages, with illustrations), originaly published in Wizard with a recent afterword, Alan Moore tells us, not just how to write for comics but shares his whole philosophy of writing with us in his disengenuos humble style. Reading the prose you can really see just what it is that makes Alan Moore so special.
Anyone taking, (or teaching) a creative writing course cannot ignore this book. Nor can anyone who considiers themselves a true Alan Moore fan, nor anyone who even takes the medium seriously.
To paraphrase what Warren Ellis says on the back, one for the shelf of any smart comics fan or interested party, next to your McClouds and Eisner.
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on 11 August 2012
The book is only 47 pages long. It's quick, easy and enjoyable to read, and does give you a few good tips on how to think about the writing process.

The basic message of the afterwords, however, is "Ignore everything I said in the previous section of the book" (a quote from the final page). To be honest, that didn't bother me too much, as I like Alan Moore and it was still a fun read, but it might bother other buyers more.

I was also looking for more technical information - techniques I could use to control the pacing of a comic, etc. This booklet didn't provide much of that either and unfortunately I haven't yet found a book that does.

So.. it wasn't what I expected, but I'm still glad I read it.
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on 29 March 2009
Alan Moore has managed to shake up the comic industry from the bottom up. There are no other words for him than visionary, though often self indulgent and purposefully deviant.

This 'snapshot' of his thoughts on writing for comics/graphic novels is an essential quick read, much reduced when compared to the horrific tomes produced by the 'experts' at DC and Marvel who have ridden the gravy train by pumping the same pulp out for the teen market, thus retarding the evolution of 'deeper' comics by several decades.

If you are ever tempted to write something 'worthy', don't hesitate - Order this now!
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on 31 December 2010
This is basically a reprint of an article that Alan Moore wrote for a fanzine back in 1985 with an afterword written in 2003. There is also some artwork from Jacen Burrows.
It is a very interesting little essay from Moore but basically it is the type of thing that you can normally read for free. The artwork is pretty throw-away as well.
The advice that he offers is very good as well, even if he disparages it as very basic in his afterword.
He doesn't seem as cynical in this essay as he does now. His comments about hackneyed comic book plots are accurate and amusing.
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