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Alan Moore

Comics as Performance, Fiction as Scalpel

Annalisa Di Liddo

Publication Year: 2009

Eclectic British author Alan Moore (b. 1953) is one of the most acclaimed and controversial comics writers to emerge since the late 1970s. He has produced a large number of well-regarded comic books and graphic novels while also making occasional forays into music, poetry, performance, and prose.In Alan Moore: Comics as Performance, Fiction as Scalpel, Annalisa Di Liddo argues that Moore employs the comics form to dissect the literary canon, the tradition of comics, contemporary society, and our understanding of history. The book considers Moore's narrative strategies and pinpoints the main thematic threads in his works: the subversion of genre and pulp fiction, the interrogation of superhero tropes, the manipulation of space and time, the uses of magic and mythology, the instability of gender and ethnic identity, and the accumulation of imagery to create satire that comments on politics and art history. Examining Moore's use of comics to scrutinize contemporary culture, Di Liddo analyzes his best-known works--Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, From Hell, Promethea, and Lost Girls. The study also highlights Moore's lesser-known output, such as Halo Jones, Skizz, and Big Numbers, and his prose novel Voice of the Fire. Alan Moore: Comics as Performance, Fiction as Scalpel reveals Moore to be one of the most significant and distinctly postmodern comics creators of the last quarter-century.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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pp. 5

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. 7-9

Why a book about Alan Moore? When we talk about comics, it is practically impossible not to recall our childhood and adolescence, for it is there that most of us first came into contact with them. I am no exception to this rule, but I was born and bred in a small Italian town, so the story of my approach to the medium is certainly different from the experience of the average English-speaking comics reader. Nevertheless,...

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pp. 13-26

This book is an examination of some motifs and concerns in the work of British author Alan Moore (1953– ). It stems from a long-cultivated interest in comics as a medium, which I was lucky to turn into the object of my Ph.D. studies at the University of Milan, Italy. Criticism about Moore’s work has been abundant so far, and it has been lately revived by the appearance of the three...

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CHAPTER 1. Formal Considerations on Alan Moore’s Writing

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pp. 27-62

This chapter examines some of Moore’s works in terms of form and structure, aspects of his aesthetics that are crucial to the extent that, in the opinions of a few critics, they turn into an obsession in his latest enterprise Lost Girls (only hinted at here but better explored later in this book). Most of Moore’s comics start from an intertextual assumption: a quotation, or an allusion to an existing ...

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CHAPTER 2. Chronotopes: Outer Space, the Cityscape, and the Space of Comics

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pp. 63-101

This chapter examines two core aspects in Moore’s work—space and time— and, more specifically, the fusion and dynamic relationship that occurs between spatial and temporal dimensions. In dealing with this issue I use the term chronotope, and in doing so refer to Mikhail Bakhtin’s collection of essays The Dialogic Imagination, in which the Russian scholar defines the substantial ...

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CHAPTER 3. Moore and the Crisis of English Identity

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pp. 102-133

This chapter analyzes the relationship between some aspects of Moore’s work and the historical and ideological dynamics that have characterized the development of the United Kingdom and its notion of identity, of “Englishness.” Many of the works examined in previous chapters clearly show the way in which Moore reworks specifically American comic narrative patterns. Nevertheless, it ...

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CHAPTER 4. Finding a Way into Lost Girls

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pp. 134-161

This chapter is devoted to examining how the three key aspects that were developed over the previous pages—structure and intertextuality, the chronotope, and the issue of identity—are addressed in Lost Girls. As mentioned above, this graphic novel was published in summer 2006 after a long period of gestation. Moore and Gebbie started outlining the idea shortly after they met in the late...

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pp. 162-175

This book has tried to build a route into the dense work of one of the most prolific comic book authors of our age. As noted at the very beginning, this study is by no means exhaustive; on the contrary, it has many gaps, for it has considered only some aspects in some of Moore’s works. There is so much in his production that could provide material for further analysis. So, there are a lot of ...


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pp. 176-181


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pp. 182-201


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pp. 203-211

E-ISBN-13: 9781604734768
E-ISBN-10: 1604734760
Print-ISBN-13: 9781604732139
Print-ISBN-10: 160473213X

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2009