All 6 entries tagged Alan Moore

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March 18, 2012

Alan Moore Essays

Writing about web page

The collection on Alan Moore and sexual ideology is out now, and I have contributed an essay. See the contents below… I can’t wait to read the whole thing.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 1
Introduction: The Polarizing of Alan Moore’s Sexual Politics

Part I: The “Low Form”: Moore and the Complex Relationships of the Comic Book Superhero
1. Libidinal Ecologies: Eroticism and Environmentalism in Swamp Thing
2. Green Love, Red Sex: The Conflation of the Flora and the Flesh in Swamp Thing
3. When “One Bad Day” Becomes One Dark Knight: Love, Madness, and Obsession in the Adaptation of The Killing Joke into Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight
4. “Don’t laugh, Daddy, we’re in love”: Mockery, Fulfillment, and Subversion of Popular Romance Conventions in The Ballad of Halo Jones
5. The Love of Nationalism, Internationalism and Sacred Space in Watchmen

Part II: The Vicious Cabaret of Love, Sexual Desire … and Torture
6. Theorizing Sexual Domination in From Hell and Lost Girls Jack the Ripper versus Wonderlands of Desire
7. “Do you understand how I have loved you?” Terrible Loves and Divine Visions in From Hell
8. Body Politics: Unearthing an Embodied Ethics in V for Vendetta
9. The Poles of Wantonness: Male Asexuality in Alan Moore’s Film Adaptations
10. Reflections on the Looking Glass: Adaptation as Sex and Psychosis in Lost Girls

Part III: Victorian Sexualities and the Ecriture Feminine: Women Writing and the Women of Writing
11. “Avast, Land-Lubbers!” Reading Lost Girls as a Post-Sadeian Text
K. A. LAITY 138
12. The Undying Fire: Erotic Love as Divine Grace in Promethea
13. “It came out of nothing except our love”: Queer Desire and Transcendental Love in Promethea
14. Self-Conscious Sexuality in Promethea
15. I Remain Your Own: Epistolamory in “The New Adventures of Fanny Hill”

Afterword: Disgust with the Revolution

Selected Bibliography 207
About the Contributors 217

September 28, 2010

Abstract for Northampton Research Seminar: Alan Moore and the Problem of Women’s Desire

This Thursday, I am trying out a paper that I am writing on the Northampton University staff research seminar. I’m writing it up for a collection on Alan Moore and love.

Alan Moore and the Problem of Women’s Desire: Exploring Sexual Domination in From Hell and Lost Girls

This paper explores Alan Moore’s representations of rape, seduction and domination via the theories of Jessica Benjamin in The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism and the Problem of Domination (1988). In thinking through sexual domination and the master-slave dynamic, Benjamin turns to Pauline Réage’s sadomasochistic fantasy, The Story of O (1954), a text that, for Benjamin, represents all that is problematic about sexual domination in Western culture. Domination of women by men exists ‘in the opposition between violator and violated’ where ‘one person maintains his boundary and the other allows her boundary to be broken’ (Benjamin, p. 64). What Benjamin uncovers in her study though ultimately is that the foundation of sexual domination is in Western society’s attitudes to women – especially mothers.

Explorations of sexual domination are integral to Moore’s work and Benjamin’s model is particularly suggestive in analyzing From Hell (1991-1996) and Lost Girls (2006). From Hell traces the history of Moore’s version of Jack the Ripper, Dr. Gull, and Moore represents the murders of London prostitutes as morbid rituals that reinvigorate male power and ensure the domination of women by men. Fear of the mother is obvious in Dr. Gull’s discussion of matriarchal figures like Boudicca who avenges her raped daughters. More possibilities exist, however, in Lost Girls as it traces a path from abuse to women re-discovering their own sexual desire. Benjamin notes that too often ‘women […] seek their desire in another’ turning to ‘a powerful other who remains in control’ (p. 131). The analysis of Lost Girls describes how the three fabled protagonists, Dorothy, Wendy and Alice, manage to overcome the problem of women’s desire to discover ‘another dimension’ of recognition between man and woman (Benjamin, p. 132).

June 11, 2010

Alan Moore at the Magus Conference at University of Northampton.

Writing about web page

Here is some footage of Alan Moore from the recent Magus conference:

There is more footage on YouTube if you search for “Alan Moore” and “Magus”.

April 20, 2010

Women’s Love, Women’s Desire: Two Upcoming Papers Using Jessica Benjamin.

Judy Chicago - Chicago Rejection Drawing

I have been trying to write some poems recently about women’s desire. I’m also giving a couple of papers on seduction in the coming months. One is about the representations of women’s desire in the graphic novels by Alan Moore V for Vendetta and Lost Girls (to be given at Northampton University’s conference Magus ; and the other (written with Sorcha Gunne ) considers rape versus seduction in the short stories of Isabel Allende and Rosario Castellanos (to be given at the CWWN Conference in San Diego).

In both of these papers, what I am really commenting on is whether the female characters are able to express their ‘real’ desire or whether they just become an object for male passion. Isabel Allende’s stories have sometimes been criticised for blurring the boundaries between rape and consensual sex, while Rosario Castellanos writes about perfunctory sexual encounters that are often lacking in pleasure for the women involved. Sorcha and I approach the stories discussed with a transnational feminist agenda; specifically we look in detail at Isabel Allende’s stories, ‘The Judge’s Wife’ and ‘Revenge’, which we argue are typical of Allende’s strategy of feminist resistance against patriarchal domination within romantic relationships. Jessica Benjamin’s The Bonds of Love examines the politics of domination underlying the heterosexual norm and interrogates the inevitability of gendered domination as she argues that society’s slavish adherence to a particular type of family unit dictates man’s positioning as active, detached, independent and woman’s subordination into object, passivity, sacrifice. We argue that, like Benjamin, Allende challenges the transparency of these binaries in the context of postcolonial Latin America.

In using narrative strategies to undermine and disempower patriarchal domination, Allende’s writing builds upon a tradition of literary inheritance from writers like Rosario Castellanos. Both Castellanos and Allende present uncomfortable pictures of women’s disempowerment and sexuality. It is, however, this unease with women’s sexual agency that interrogates, challenges and ultimately subverts the rape script. Allende’s subversive strategy is controversial, since Casilda in ‘The Judge’s Wife’ and Dulce Rosa in ‘Revenge’ appear to adhere to the myth of rape as seduction – an assumption which legitimizes patriarchal control – by falling in love with their rapists. Far from reinforcing gender stereotypes and perpetuating social narratives of domination, however, Allende’s narrative strategies contextualize this ‘love’ to counteract the prevailing myth by complicating established binaries such as active/passive, masculine/feminine and dominator/dominated. By introducing notions of submission, female desire and female action, Allende challenges theoretical trends that reinforce or reverse categories of oppression.

Alan Moore is also controversial, but in May, I hope to explore his representations of rape and seduction via the notion of ‘ideal love’ which (again) is theorized by Jessica Benjamin in The Bonds of Love. In chapter two of Benjamin’s study titled ‘Master and Slave’, Benjamin discusses Pauline Réage’s sadomasochistic fantasy, The Story of O (1954), and she suggests that the master-slave dynamic between O and René represents all that is problematic about sexual and emotional relations between men and women in Western culture. Benjamin explains, ‘Excitement resides in the risk of death, not in death itself. And it is erotic complementarity that offers a way to simultaneously break through and preserve boundaries: in the opposition between violator and violated, one person maintains his boundary and the other allows her boundary to be broken’ (p. 64). I will argue that explorations of this dynamic are characteristic of Moore’s work and I will study the torture scene of Evey Hammond in V for Vendetta (1988-89) (with David Lloyd) as an example of the master/slave relationship. More possibilities might exist in Lost Girls as it traces a path from molestation and abuse to women re-discovering their own sexual desire. In ‘Women’s Desire’, the third chapter of The Bonds of Love, Benjamin notes that too often ‘women […] seek their desire in another […] being released into abandon by a powerful other who remains in control’ (p. 131). What I seek to discover in my more lengthy analysis of The Lost Girls (2006) (with Melinda Gebbie) is to what extent the three fabled protagonists, Dorothy (from L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz), Wendy (from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan) and Alice (as created by Lewis Carroll), manage to overcome the problem of women’s desire. I hope to find what Benjamin describes as the possibility of finding ‘another dimension of desire’ that ‘can transform that opposition into the vital tension between subjects – into recognition between self and other self’ (p. 132).

Alan Moore on V for Vendetta and Lost Girls.

I’m thinking ahead today to a paper that I’m giving at the end of May on Alan Moore and I found these clips on YouTube which are from the BBC4 shorts, Comics Brittanica.

Alan Moore on V for Vendetta

Everybody should be master of their own destiny. – Alan Moore on V for Vendetta

Alan Moore on Lost Girls

It’s the very idea of it which is controversial. For one thing, from its very inception, I have insisted on calling it pornography. For one thing, I think it’s a bit less pretentious than calling it erotica. And also because I think the only difference between pornography and erotica is the income bracket of the person reading it. So yes, if you’ve had an education and you can understand all the French double entendres, then erotica’s the thing for you. But my dad would probably have to call it pornography. So we thought it was more down-to-earth to refer to it as pornography from the inception. – Alan Moore on Lost Girls

April 10, 2010

Magus: Transdisciplinary Approaches to the Work of Alan Moore

Writing about web page

The University of Northampton is pleased to announce the first international academic conference dedicated to appraising the work of perhaps the most influential figure to emerge from the comics medium, Northampton’s own Alan Moore.

Moore has consistently been at the forefront of the graphic novel medium for almost thirty years, being the iconic figure behind such pioneering works as Marvelman and V for Vendetta, the revolutionary Watchmen, to From Hell, Promethea, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and, most recently, Lost Girls to name but a few. Alongside his work in the comic medium he has written one novel, Voices from the Fire, and is subsequently working on the ambitious Jerusalem project. He has also worked as a graphic artist, performed and recorded a series of musical collaborations largely related to site-specific events, and in recent years has become a magician.

While Moore’s contribution to the comic medium is undisputed, academic appraisals of his work have been fragmentary and there have been no dedicated scholarly events to date that seek to give an overview of his oeuvre. As such The University of Northampton is pleased to announce Magus: Transdisciplinary Approaches to the Work of Alan Moore, an interdisciplinary conference that will bring together not only appraisals of Moore’s comic works, but also his wider cultural manifestations and their significance at the start of the 21st century. Given his burgeoning literary and cultural importance, Moore’s significant profile in the wake of several recent Hollywood adaptations of his work (despite his own antipathy towards those adaptations and their place within the culture industries), and the relationship to Northampton’s cultural landscape (both physical and psychic) that recurs throughout his work, both the time and location are fitting for a dedicated appraisal of his cultural legacy thus far.


The conference takes place over Friday 28th May and Saturday 29th May 2010.

The cost of registration is £60 (£45 for students or the unwaged) which includes registration for both days of the conference, lunch for both days and refreshments throughout. Delegates are invited to attend a dinner on the Friday night at a local restaurant, however the cost of this is not included in the registration fee.

To register for the conference please download and complete the Registration Form and send it with payment to:

Magus Conference,
Nathan Wiseman-Trowse,
The School of the Arts,
The University of Northampton,
St George’s Avenue,
NN2 6JD,
United Kingdom

The Centre of Contemporary Fiction & Narrative (CCFN)

To contact the conference organisers please email:


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