Newsarama is running a long interview with Alan Moore - a man who seems only too happy to have a semi-annual talk with the press about how much he doesn’t care about comic books anymore - and they broached the subject of the new DC Universe relaunch. In a lot of ways what DC is doing with the relaunch will be erasing changes that Moore made, folding a number of Vertigo characters back into the main continuity. Moore wasn’t very aware of what DC’s relaunch was all about, but he did criticize the general problem with modern comics, and I think his critiques apply to all sorts of genre entertainment. He’s basically talking about the culture of remakes and homages, the world of Super 8 and the post-Tarantino super-referential cinema as well as continuity-heavy comic books.
I think the point happened probably in the late 1960s where the previous writers, at least at DC Comics, attempted form a union or something foolish like that, and were immediately relieved of their positions and replaced by a generation that were comics fan writers, who were anxious to reference the stories that had affected them when they were growing up.
What this kind of results in is a kind of – in terms of the art form, it’s a kind of incest, a kind of inbreeding, where we – when I dropped out of comics, this was the case anyway – you have stories that are only capable of referencing other stories from five, 10, 40 years before. The point is sorting out bits of continuity that most of the readership that is currently around have never heard of and have no interest in.
Whereas comics was once a form for the imagination, I think those resources have dwindled by the diminishing genetic stock, if you will, if ideas, where everything has to be some kind of reference to some earlier comic. Inevitably, that’s going to make the gene pool dwindle, to the point where you’re going to get some fairly unhealthy specimens emerging from it.
What do you think? Is Moore right? Has imagination been stifled by referencing and homage?