'Watchmen' creator Alan Moore says superhero movies have 'blighted culture'

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3 mins read
Alan Moore, pictured at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2010. (Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)
Alan Moore, pictured at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2010. (Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)

Alan Moore has created some of the most memorable comic book characters ever committed to the page, but he has no time at all for superhero movies.

In a rare interview with Deadline, the Watchmen and V for Vendetta creator said he believes comic book films have “blighted culture” and are responsible for “infantilising the population”.

He said he hasn’t watched a superhero movie since Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989.

Read more: Damon Lindelof on making Watchmen series without Alan Moore

The 66-year-old added: “Several years ago I said I thought it was a really worrying sign, that hundreds of thousands of adults were queuing up to see characters that were created 50 years ago to entertain 12-year-old boys.

“That seemed to speak to some kind of longing to escape from the complexities of the modern world, and go back to a nostalgic, remembered childhood.”

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in the finale of <i>Avengers: Endgame</i>. (Disney)
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in the finale of Avengers: Endgame. (Disney)

Moore made a connection between the rise of superhero movies and the public votes that led to Donald Trump’s presidency and the UK’s exit from the European Union.

He said that six of the top 12 movies at the box office featured superheroes in 2016, when both votes took place, calling the movies and the politics “symptoms of the same thing”.

The British writer retired from writing comics in 2018 and has now penned surreal mystery film The Show, which is set in his hometown of Northampton.

Read more: BBFC reveals complaints about Joker rating

Moore also criticised one of his own works, dismissing the iconic 1988 Batman graphic novel The Killing Joke — a big influence on the Oscar-winning 2019 film Joker — as “far too violent”.

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in 'Joker'. (Credit: Warner Bros)
Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in 'Joker'. (Credit: Warner Bros)

He added: “I have no interest in superheroes, they were a thing that was invented in the late 1930s for children, and they are perfectly good as children’s entertainment.

“But if you try to make them for the adult world then I think it becomes kind of grotesque.”

Read more: Damon Lindelof wants to work with Marvel

Moore’s works have been adapted for the big and small screens on numerous occasions — usually without the creator’s explicit blessing.

The 2019 miniseries adaptation of Watchmen earned widespread critical acclaim and won 11 gongs at the Emmy Awards earlier this year.

Poster art for the 2019 'Watchmen' series. (Credit: HBO)
Poster art for the 2019 'Watchmen' series. (Credit: HBO)

Moore’s comments have echoes of the debate sparked by Martin Scorsese last year, when the Goodfellas director made a series of comments comparing superhero movies to theme park rides.

“It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being,” he said.

Read more: Scorsese spent four years mulling Joker project

The filmmaker’s comments received support from the likes of Ken Loach and Francis Ford Coppola, while Marvel alumni lined up to back the genre.

Marvel boss Kevin Feige said: “I think myself and everyone who works on these movies loves cinema, loves movies, loves going to the movies, loves to watch a communal experience in a movie theatre full of people.”

Watch: Alan Moore in conversation with Stewart Lee