On occasion, Superman had come to grips with people, creatures, beings of one sort or another, whose motivation for pursuing evil purposes was, simply, to serve the forces of evil. This was a point of view Superman could not understand. He was convinced that all one needs to do to persuade someone to do what is right is to educate that person to the fact that it is in his interest to do what is right. There was a right and a wrong in the Universe and that distinction was not very difficult to make. If you litter the park, it will not be as clean next time you want to use it. If you hold up a driver when you are hitchhiking, there will be fewer people likely to give you a ride when you really need to get somewhere. If you pepper the atmosphere with radioactive waste, your children and grandchildren’s share of your legacy will be diminished. No one, Superman was convinced, would want to serve the cause of evil once he or she understood the meanings of right and wrong.
I find it tragic but quite pertinent to this piece that the loudest voice in our business – the one that carries the furthest and is taken most seriously by the mainstream media – is the one that offers nothing but contempt and denunciation, with barely a single good word to say about any of the many accomplished and individual writers currently working in mainstream comics, let alone the wealth of brilliant indie creators.Does he ever, for instance, use his high media profile to do anything other than steer potential readers away from modern comic books and their creators – while over-playing his own achievements and placing himself centre stage at every turn? How hard would it be to say something encouraging, positive, or hopeful about the generally improved standard of writing in all comic books these days? Or at least say nothing at all.
And if I may untangle the logic behind so much of his hectoring: Moore constantly reiterates the idea that all modern comics are copied from stuff he did in the ’80s – and they’re all rubbish!
Is he genuinely saying that his influence has been entirely malignant? If he actually believed that, I’d almost feel sorry for him. I see my own influence all over the place and I’m quite chuffed.