And Then I Read: ALAN MOORE, Comics As Performance, Fiction As Scalpel by Annalisa Di Liddo


© University Press of Mississippi.

If you’ve ever wondered how you might get your doctoral thesis published, here’s one way: write about Alan Moore. The author is based in Milan, Italy, so it’s quite possible she’ll get it published there, too, I suppose.

While Ms Di Liddo writes well in English, it’s clearly a second language. Some of the construction and syntax are odd, and she loves big words, often using them when shorter ones would make her points clearer. For instance:

“The presence of intertextuality in Moore’s work—be it in the form of quotation, allusion, parody, or, as happens most often, the revisiting of well-known works or patterns—is pervasive and results in an incessant, vigorous re-elaboration of textual practices.”

This sort of scholarly excess becomes even more noticeable when she quotes from Moore himself. Suddenly, the reader’s mind is jolted by a lightning bolt of clear, well-written prose.

As to her points and arguments, the ones I understood were not earthshakingly new to me. In fact, most of them become apparent, if perhaps not consciously, in just reading Alan’s work. A few, like her theory about the impact of Margaret Thatcher’s government, were new, and perhaps valid, but not startling. Undermining the author’s credibility was the fact that she doesn’t seem to have a good idea of how comics are produced, giving little credit to the artists, something Alan never does.

Where she wrote about books I’ve worked on, like PROMETHEA, I found the reading easier, and at times enjoyable, but in general, this book is a slog, in my opinion, and not really recommended even to hard-core Moore fans. Read Alan’s own work, you’ll have a much better time.

One thought on “And Then I Read: ALAN MOORE, Comics As Performance, Fiction As Scalpel by Annalisa Di Liddo

  1. Steven Ernest

    I pretty much agree with you. Her writing is dense, and doesn’t provide many insights. I liked this bit: “I would argue that Moore’s intertextuality is less definable as pastiche than as Bakhtinian heteroglossia (or plurivocality) and dialogism (Bakhtin 55), or even as historiographic metafiction.” [Page 62.]
    But she does treat his work respectfully, and seems to have her heart in the right place. Her Bibliography has some references I want to track down and read.
    I’ve found deeper analysis on intelligent fan sites, like Barbelith, and that “Eroomnala’s” website of annotations to the Promethea series.

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