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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Moore the merrier, 9 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Magic Words: The Extraordinary Life of Alan Moore (Hardcover)
This is a nice little package, the printing on the cover is oddly luminous, the pages have black edges and there are (as you might hope) plenty of illustrations to guide us through the worlds of Alan Moore. And as another reviewer has commented this is really a quite comprehensive analysis not just of Alan's work (I don't know why I think I can refer to him as Alan, but I do) but also his life. In fact it is the biographical details that make this book so special. Most of the information about his work is familiar stuff to me, but its' the story of his life that is more interesting. Seeing where Alan Moore comes from is a great key to figuring out why he does what he does, and in this book we see where he came from and where he ended up. (Short answer: Northampton.) It doesn't go into minute details about his personal life or his relationships with other people in a tabloid manner, though it has the odd nice domestic detail, like a nice gag towards the end about how Moore not having the internet means he's not likely to know what a hashtag is, unless it's the sticker on a biscuit tin he keeps half-hidden in his kitchen. It's also very up-to-date, with mention of current and upcoming works.

Parkin is also clever enough not to offer just one perspective on things and to challenge the general agreements on the man's works, like pointing out that Watchmen is a very clever, very witty joke or assessing the importance of Lost Girls in terms of what it represents to Moore's goals. And as the other reviewer mentions, Parkin doesn't shy away from shining a light on the fallings out with publishers and collaborators down the years. There is a definite "he said, she said" sense to those situations that the book doesn't get to the bottom of (and probably no one really could), whilst there are suggestions of what might have created the situations if you read closely enough. Certainly Moore is a complicated individual, a complicated artist and a complicated man, and it's good that Parkin doesn't take the tack some biographers do with other equally complicated individuals of trying to resolve that complexity with some simplistic glib assessment of the man.

Which is to say, this is a book I'd wholeheartedly recommend to anyone even slightly interested in Moore's work and/or the nature of the comics industry because there is a lot (again often uncompromising) of detail in the book about how the UK and US comic industries evolved.

If there are any failings to the book they are minor ones, a couple of noticeable typos, an odd decision not to number quotations for easy reference at the back of the book, no bibliography of works (and a noticeable gap in talking about Moore's time with Wildstorm when it was at Image). It would also have been interesting to see some more about the projects that never manifested.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Dec 2013 14:19:40 GMT
Years past, I started collecting and reading articles and magazines that interviewed Moore himself. As I re-read the articles I find Moore does tell some stories again and I try to let the topics converge in my head, on a writer who has always been a bit private (at least with his personal life, if not on his creations and his books).

I am close to thinking that I loved reading the MAGIC WORDS Parkin book, as it ties in many of the interviews and places in the life of Moore that have been heretofore almost untouched.

A fine read. Thanks for your review here.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Dec 2013 13:06:07 GMT
S. Bentley says:
Cheers. Yes, I think the afterword quote to MAGIC WORDS, "I've still got me secrets" is a good one. And I think at the end of the day, while I'm curious as to what happened around some things related in the book, I also like not having a clear picture or blame assigned as life is rarely that clear cut!
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