Alan Moore’s New Comic, Providence – “It’s Actually A Little Bit Like Watchmen”

mooreLast year, Alan Moore announced his sequel to Neonomicon, Providence. Today, he’s been talking to Pádraig Ó Méalóid about this and more, at Comics Beat with a host of new details.

Like that it’s a prequel, not a sequel.

But also a sequel.

He’s quoted as saying;

all the questions raised by Neonomicon – even if the readers hadn’t noticed that those questions had been raised – we’re going to be detailing this hopefully fresh view of Lovecraft’s universe, or at least its American component, and we’re also going to be working not only from Lovecraft’s published fiction, and his poems, and his letters, but also from his biography…  this is the most demanding research I’ve done easily since From Hell.

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With Providence, what tends to be happening is, it’s reminding me of an awful lot of my early work. In some ways, because it is the first extended horror narrative that I’ve done in an awful long while, it’s reminding me of Swamp Thing, particularly of the American Gothic narrative. Not that I thought that the American Gothic narrative was entirely successful, but the intentions of it were, in a rather callow and young fashion, to try and connect up American horror icons with American morality, American politics, American society.

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It’s the thing that – with Providence, what I am doing is, I’m looking as much at American society in 1919 as I am looking at Lovecraft, in terms of my research, and I am connecting up Lovecraft’s themes, and Lovecraft’s personality, to a certain degree, with the tensions that were then incredibly evident in American society. So, there’s that element of it, but the amount of research that I’m doing into America 1919, into the gay culture of America 1919, into the way that American society was just beginning to cohere around that point, and the research upon the actual places, because this is set in a real America – there’s no Arkham in it, there’s no Innsmouth, but there are real locations which I believe are coherent sites for the Lovecraft stories that I’ve connected them to.

And because this is Alan Moore we have to have the following;

Having run on at the mouth relatively recently about the appalling standards of research that exist throughout the rest of the comic book industry… I’ve said some very scornful things about some of the other writers in the industry and how – in my opinion – they are completely lazy, that they obviously do not have the respect for their own work that would lead them to actually put a bit of effort into it, and research some things, you know. Don’t just copy everything from an episode of Deadwood that you’ve seen, actually research the American West, find out how people talked. So, having been incredibly nasty and high-handed about many of the other professionals in the industry, I have kind of left myself wide open. If I don’t get every detail of this completely right, then I deserve to get a taste of my own medicine. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. We have been devilishly thorough in researching this. In the first issue there’s a brief glimpse of a gramophone record, and we’ve got the actual label to paste in, with the record’s serial number on it. I think we briefly see somebody reading a New York Times in the first issue, and it actually is the New York Times for June the 19th, 1919.

I’ve checked in with publishers of Providence (and of Bleeding Cool), Avatar, they have the newspaper in question and will be scanning it in shortly.

It’s actually a little bit like Watchmen in that it – the basic premise of Watchmen was, if these ridiculous characters, superheroes, actually existed in a real world, then what kind of characters would they be, and what kind of real world would it be to accommodate them. And it was also commenting upon superhero fiction and various other things while it was doing that.

Very similar things are happening with Providence. It’s obviously a completely different animal to anything like Watchmen, but there is that point of similarity. It’s starting from – if Lovecraft’s characters, if Lovecraft’s monsters, if Lovecraft’s locales actually existed in A Real World, then what would they really be like, and what would the world be like?

More. much more, about Providence, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Jerusalem, Harry Potter, The Avengers and Dogtanian in this, part one, of the long extended interview with Alan Moore.

 

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