And Then I Read: ILLUMINATIONS by Alan Moore

I wanted to like this, but didn’t. I love Alan’s comics writing. I read and enjoyed his first novel, “Voice of the Fire,” though the first section was tough going, and it’s not a book I would read again. Haven’t read his second novel, “Jerusalem.” This book is dominated by an almost novel-length story about the American comic book business, “What We Can Know About Thunderman.” All the characters are based on real comics creators and business people under other names, but it’s not a simple one-to-one guessing game, as most of the characters are composites of several real people, and there are elements of the story that are clearly made up entirely. The plot does include stories I’ve heard before (sometimes about more than one person), and most of those stories focus on shady doings, character flaws, and bad behavior. As was true of all the stories in the book, there was no one I really connected with and could root for, everyone seemed lost, troubled, unhappy, misguided, or downright evil. I can understand Alan’s feelings about comics (and perhaps other things) being quite different from mine, but this story does not represent the comics business I’ve been in for more than forty years as I experienced it. When you read a story you like, you don’t want it to end. When the opposite is true, you keep checking to see how much longer it is, and that was the case here, and with the entire book. I didn’t find any stories or characters I liked or could identify with, and finishing the book became more of a chore than a pleasure. Your experience might be different. Certainly the quality of the writing is excellent, it simply doesn’t say anything I enjoyed reading.

Illuminations by Alan Moore

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