MOORE IS ALWAYS BETTER by Joseph P. Rybandt
Before this interview, I was a little nervous, after all this is Alan Moore. This is the man who wrote Watchmen and V For Vendetta, who revitalized Miracleman and Swamp Thing. Hell, his work on WildC.A.T.S. was brilliant.
To this day he continues to push the medium further with From Hell and Lost Girls, and here I am talking to him about Supreme? Supreme!? I could fill pages of this magazine talking about his other work, but Supreme? Man, was I in for a pleasant surprise!
SUPERMAN VERSUS SUPREME: ROUND ONE
Since the inception of Supreme, or any other-worldly do-gooder for that matter, comparisons have been made to Superman. This is an idea that Moore is not backing away from, "The way I figure it, there's an archetypal superhero that is probably mostly built around Superman, the big guy in the cape basically. I guess Supreme was intended to be Image's version of Superman done right." This notion of Superman was part of the appeal to put some much needed zip into the character, "Superman himself seems to have been a bit lost for a number of years, it's not the character I remember. What made the character appealing to me seems to have been stripped away in a tide of revisionism. Given that I was somebody who sort of helped bring in the trend of revisionism in comics, I've got to take some of the blame for that. But it seems to me that there might have been a case of the baby being thrown out with the bathwater with the original Superman."
With Supreme, Moore is looking back to what Superman was to him, pure wonder and awe. "What it was with Superman was the incredible range of imagination on display with that original character. A lot of those concepts that were attached to Superman, which may seem corny and dated now, were wonderful at the time. The idea of the Bottled City of Kandor, Krypto the Superdog, Bizarro, all of it. These are fantastic ideas, and it was that which kept me going back each month to Superman when I was ten. I wanted to find out more about this incredible world with all of these fascinating details."
Flash forward to 1996 and enter Supreme, "What I decided to do was recreate that sense of richness, something that had the same range and splendor as the original Superman mythos." Moore is not here to retell old Superman stories, but to start something new. "In the original Superman mythology you had Brainiac, who was wandering around shrinking cities and saving them in bottles for no apparent purpose, other than some sort of collector mania. [With Supreme] we have a villain called Optilux who transforms whole worlds into a form of coherent light which he stores in prisms. He's on almost a religious mission to transform everything material in the universe into light. It's reminiscent of the Brainiac concept, but there's something different to it. There's perhaps more of a chance for poetry with it."
THE FIRST TWELVE ISSUES
As of right now, Alan is planning on doing twelve issues of Supreme, but he hinted to me that there could be more. He also assured me that fans of Supreme will get a whole new look at the character. "These first twelve issues will mainly be a retelling of the revised history of Supreme. Once you've read them, you will know everything about every aspect of Supreme's past." In order to do this, Alan will be using a great deal of flashback to set up the story. "Each of the issues features a story done in the style of the period that we're talking about. For example, in my second issue, there's two flashback stories: a 1940s retelling of the origin of Supreme, and a kind of 60s Superboy-type of story, featuring a group not entirely dissimilar to the early Legion of Superheroes. So you've got two 8-page stories along with the overall 24-page story, which features Supreme in the present day. We've got these nostalgic flashback stories running parallel. The two are interwoven in ways that won't become apparent until the end of my 12-issue run, when I start to pull some of the facts together."
As for the issues themselves, here's a quick look at the first six from the fantastically wonderful mind of Alan Moore:
"My first issue sets it all up and introduces us to The Supremacy, which is sort of like Krypton, Asgard, and Oa [planet of the Guardians from Green Lantern]. It serves those functions."
"We visit Littlehaven, the small town where Supreme grew up in the 1930s as Kid Supreme. In this issue, we introduce the League of Infinity, who are a group of young superheroes from different time periods."
"Here we find out what happened to the Citadel Supreme, which is the Supreme headquarters. It's a gigantic techno-island in a permanent storm cloud. We have this adventure where he revisits the Citadel Supreme."
"We look at the Allied Supermen of America that Supreme, along with Glory and a few other Extreme characters, belonged to in the 1940s. I created about a half-dozen new members for the group, because if you've got something like the Justice Society, you've got to have about fifteen members."
"We deal with the 1950s and Supremium, which is this strange, white mineral that has got a lot to do with the whole concept of Supreme."
"The re-introduction of Suprema, not that she's ever been introduced before, but we re-introduce her anyway. She's a female Supreme, and she'll be interesting."
I think it's safe to say that this whole thing is going to be pretty interesting and a whole lot of fun. Alan takes the challenge of Supreme very seriously, "I'm trying to be straight as possible. Not a hint of parody. There's humorous stuff in there, but I want to do it absolutely straight."
ALAN'S RELATIONSHIP WITH IMAGE
Contrary to what some may believe, Alan's continuing work with Image is not just for the money. While talking with Alan, the sense that he's doing this for the better of the industry is prevalent. Alan echoes this feeling with his own words, "At least for the foreseeable future, superhero comics will probably dominate the comic book marketplace. They will be mainly for kids around the thirteen-year-old bracket. As more of those kids want more superhero books, they'll get superhero books. It would be better however, if those superhero books had more content, more charm. So while I'm not claiming it's my mission from God or anything, if I can attempt work that does try to reintroduce elements that I think are important to superhero comics, in the current Image style, that would satisfy me." Of course the money doesn't hurt either, "The money that comes from WildC.A.T.S or Supreme, that's very handy. It's useful to have a source of income that enables me to carry on doing the projects that are dearest to my heart like From Hell, Lost Girls, the CDs that I'm doing; the more obscure and marginal projects, which is where my real interests lie." For those out there who are still waiting for Alan to break new ground, other than with established characters, you may soon get your fix from Homage Comics. "There's talk of me coming up with a creator-owned series with Homage. I've enjoyed working with the WildStorm people a great deal. As much as the Extreme people are treating me well, I want to carry on doing stuff for WildStorm. So we'll do this creator-owned thing, which is still under wraps, but when we get nearer the time, I'm sure we'll get a chance to talk about that."
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