Alan Moore on the Difference between LOEG and Before Watchmen

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AM: Yeah, I know that people think I've been terribly mean to the poor little American comics industry.It's so unfair when you think about it, isn't it, that you've got a barely-educated thug from the English midlands picking upon this huge multinational corporation. You know, I ought to be ashamed of myself.

With regard toThe League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, what I'm doing with that is a kind of literary game that has been going on as long as books have been around.

I mean, it probably started with whoever came up with Jason and the Argonauts, who thought, "Hey wouldn't it be great if we had a sort of Justice League of ancient Greece. And we got Hercules and Jason and all of these other characters and you know..."

More recently, you have authors like Edgar Allan Poe. He writesThe Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Jules Verne thinks it's great, so he writes a sequel to it. H.P. Lovecraft--he likes the same story, so he writes his conclusion to it inAt the Mountains of Madness.

I don't think any of these people would have minded because they were all good writers who were all bringing something new to the mix. They weren't exploiting the original works. Jules Verne called his novella,The Ice SphinxorLe Sphinx Des Glaces. He didn't call itThe Return of Arthur Gordon Pym.

So, what we're doing is taking these characters that are mostly in the public domain. If they're not in the public domain, they are only referred to glancingly, as a bit of a cultural joke.

It's a bit different to bringing out a comic calledRorschach.

I don't mind people referencing my characters. It happens quite a bit. I don't even mind, like I say, with characters like John Constantine--who I've got no interest in anymore. I expected him to be handled by other writers.

But there's no real comparison. InThe League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I am not adapting characters. I am flat out stealing them in what I think is an honorable way.