Alan Moore Still Knows the Score!

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is it about?
ALAN MOORE:
My first novel [Voice of the Fire, released in the U.S. in 2004] was based upon Northamptonshire [where he grew up], over the course of some 6,000 years. I thought that with this one I would focus in upon this relatively tiny section of Northamptonshire called the Boroughs. So I started to connect different things. I remembered an incident during my childhood when my younger brother, Mike, had choked at the age of 3 or 4, on a cough sweet...and he stopped breathing. Because it was a fairly rundown neighborhood — there wasn't a telephone anywhere and nobody owned a car — a man who lived next door to us who had a vegetable delivery service drove my brother and mother to the hospital. It would have taken about 10 minutes, even at a generous estimate; apparently after two-and-a-half minutes I think it's brain death. However, he was back with us by the end of the week. I've been having some thoughts myself, about life and death, where we go when we die.

Is death a fearful thing to you?
Not at all. Hopefully, if I do this book well enough, it will perhaps take some of the anxiety off of other people's shoulders.... I started to formulate the theory, the idea [of] transience: that time is passing, that life is going away somewhere, that this is an illusion, albeit a persistent one. And I think I can explain that pretty well somewhere in the course of this 2,000-page leviathan.

Is there is an afterlife?
Well, we may not need one. That, just conceivably, we might get this life forever — you'll have to read the book to get the whole thing, but I tend to think that it's a pretty watertight theory: That you don't get reincarnated as somebody else, but that you get reincarnated as yourself, over and over again. You have the same thoughts, and you never know you've done this [before], except for those little moments of déjà vu.

Do you ever relax and just watch television?
Selectively, mostly on DVD. The absolute pinnacle of anything I've seen recently has got to be The Wire. It's the most stunning piece of television that has ever come out of America, possibly the most stunning piece of television full-stop.

That's a great example of storytelling that takes its time.
Absolutely, that is grown-up television! It's novelistic. You get to find out about all these tiny different aspects of Baltimore, to build up a huge picture of the city with all of its intricacies — from the wharf side, to the kids in the projects, to the power structure with the boardrooms and police department and governor's office. And it's got some great writers: It's got George Pelecanos and David Simon. And so many wonderful characters, Bubbles, Omar. So yeah, everything else looks pretty lame next to The Wire.

What did you think of the ending?
We've not seen the final season yet. I'm quite excited — don't tell me anything about it!

With something like The Wire, do you ever think, I might not mind writing for TV?
That would be a possibility — but there again, I know how hard I have to fight. Apparently, HBO is being absolute princes with regards to The Wire. It's never had huge audiences, but they've kept funding it. They realized that this is a timeless, prestige program. This is one of the reasons why I've withdrawn from the comics industry: I do not want to deal with the people in these various industries anymore. But if that could somehow magically be arranged, if I could think of a good enough story, and if it had a chance of being the same caliber as The Wire — then yes, I would perhaps think about it. I do also tend to keep up on comedy programs.

NEXT PAGE: A South Park sing-a-long!

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