Notes on “Young Alan Moore in ‘Saga of the Vile Thing’”, by Darren Shan.

Pages 95 – 99, Alan Moore, Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman

2003 Abiogenesis Press

Noted written by Ng Kiat Han (


Title                  Obvious allusion to Alan Moore’s work for DC à “Saga of the Swamp Thing”.

                        “Curt/Kurt Vile” was once a Moore pseudonym, so this little story is therefore a pseudo-biography on Moore.


                        “Young Alan Moore” is a reference to the “Little Archie” comics.  Very appropriate, considering how Little Archie is little different from the teenage Archie character, and how Darren Shan is a children’s author.


Page 95

1st Paragraph     November 18th, 1963 à Moore’s 10th birthday, which indicates several things.


                        First, that Northhampton native Francis Crick and his partner James Watson discovered that the dual helix had really made all creatures great and small[1] the same year Moore was born.


                        And second, Moore’s a Scorpio.


                        Indeed, the JFK assasination was on the 22nd of November 1963, as did the band of 4 moptops – the Beatles – release their 2nd album “With the Beatles” in England.


                        The ‘rubber bullet’ is a hint at the intense conspiracy surrounding the assasination; I won’t even begin to talk about it here, thankyouverymuch J.


2nd Paragraph    I cannot identify “constable Constantine” save as a character on the Aussie drama “Seachange”.


                        “Curt Vile” was a pseudonym used by Moore in the late 70s – early 80s.


                        “Spawn of Satan” is a nod to the work Moore did for Todd McFarlane’s Spawn under the Image Comics imprint.  He wrote Spawn #8, #32, #37, as well as the 4-part “Blood Feud”, Spawn/WildC.A.T.S. as well as Violator (a Spawn spinoff), both miniseries.       


                        The 1st of the two heinous crimes is the theft of Santa’s beard.


3rd Paragraph    The 2nd is the odd theft of a can of spray paint.


                        “Roscoe Moscow” is the name of the detective story Alan Moore wrote in a music magazine – Sounds – in the 70s under the pseudonym “Curt Vile”.


6th Paragraph     Aldous Huxley did not have a beard, neither did Darwin associate Theodore Huxley.  Can’t locate the reference.


Page 96           

2nd Paragraph    Early Moore work, such as writing Doctor Who or for the Northhampton presses,

                        could not have included genitalia.  That, compounded with the fact that he went

on to work for DC Comics and Marvel, indicated that little genitalia was tolerated, If at all.  Work with independent presses like From Hell featured a modicum of

genitalia though.  By the by, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen v2 is laced with an account of fornication.                                                                       


Moore wrote a novella, “A Hypothetical Lizard” in 1987.


3rd Paragraph    “One day” indeed.  Moore today is famous for his hirsute self.

                        “Big numbers” is one of his works, published in 1990.


4th Paragraph     He wrote the Batman Annual 1985, the Batman Annual #11 and Batman: the

Killing Joke.


6th Paragraph     Tommy Strong = Tom Strong, and the “beautiful woman” who’s also the

“guardian of mankind” is evidently Tesla.



Page 97

1st Paragraph     Before I expound on anything, let it be known that Alan Moore’s magnum opus,

to this day, is “Watchmen” from the 1980s.  It is a self-contained fable of costume

heroes if they had lived outside of comic-book world, and in ours instead.  Many

would agree that that book, with all its meaning and layers of meaning, redefined

the comic book genre and storytelling in general.  Today, many stories

incorporate allusions and hidden references, but Moore was one of the first, if not

the first, to see promise in comic books.


Its very title is a nod to this -


 “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes” – “Who watches the watchmen?”

-          Jvenal, Satires, VI, 347


And the young Moore is doing precisely that.  He is doing what no one would have imagined doing, or considered worth doing – watching the watchman.  He does only this in this entire paragraph.  Watching watchmen is clearly a philosophical experiment on privacy, power, etc, and it takes extraordinary strength to relay that message through a comic book. 


With Moore, that could also be doing what no one would have imagined doing, or considered worth doing – watching the watchman.  What the real Alan Moore has done is very resonant of this fact, since he has invented the whole graphic novel genre. 


2nd Paragraph    Tom Strong again.        

                        The Spider-man mention draws obvious parallels to his ABC character Cobweb.


3rd Paragraph    These characters are suggested here – Jack B. Quick (though I honestly cannot

imagine “Jack Quickly” being thought of earlier than “Jack B. Quick”, given the

nursery rhyme), the First American, Greyshirt, and it all culminates in the

formation of a ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ – enormously successful books, terrible movie.


5th Paragraph     Halo Jones is mentioned.  He glorified her in his “Ballad of Halo Jones”. 



7th Paragraph   Promethea mention.  Incidentally, the name 'Promethea' (in the signboards of the Promethean Cab Co.) is shown on many panels on Watchmen, 1983, much before the Promethea comics were created.


                        Jack the Ripper is a key character in From Hell.



8th Paragraph     Moore wrote for Batman, Superman, Captain Britain and Marvelman.


There is, unsurprisingly, no mention of Marvel “US” books at all.  Moore has worked for the UK imprint of the company (Marvel UK) for Captain Britain.  America’s two most powerful comic book companies are Marvel and DC Comics, which published Watchmen, but refused to give Moore the rights to the characters or the story. 


                        Marvelman is listed here, and we should know that that was his orginal name before Marvel Comics made some noise and the character was renamed Miracleman.  Moore’s good friend, writer Neil Gaiman, famously wrote Miracleman #23.


Page 98

1st Paragraph     ABC – the imprint America’s Best Comics that Moore created.


Top Ten – book title Moore developed under ABC featuring police officers working in a city where everyone has super powers.  “Top Ten”’s spelled out, not just “Top 10” a la David Letterman.


Alan Moore’s Songbook – a title he published in 1998 collecting the song lyrics he previously published in Negative Burn.


Movies – his books have been adapted (rather badly, I might add) for the cinema.  From Hell the movie was screened in 2001, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen too, just recently, in 2003.


                        Diseases – spoiler alert! <highlight to read> In League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume II, the invading Martians were killed by a hybrid of Anthrax and Streptococcus. 


2nd Paragraph    Rorschach – a character (easily the most memorable) from Watchmen.


                        Supreme – an Image Comics character Moore wrote stories for in 1996, 1999, 2001 and 2003.


                        Time Travel – He first wrote stories for Doctor Who, who travels through time uh, all the time.


                        UFOs are mentioned in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen volume 1, and their presence is explained in LoEG volume 2.


                        V for Vendetta – a series he created with David Lloyd in the 80s.


Watchmen – Moore’s magnum opus. ‘Nuff said.


                        Youngblood - he wrote Youngblood stories for Awesome Entertainment in the late 90s.


3rd Paragraph    in 2001, Moore published ‘Snakes and Ladders, a Diversion for Wet Afternoons’.  It was an adaptation of a show he wrote, which was performed on the 10th of April, AD 1999 at Red Lion Square, Northhampton.


                        Magic, here, as many fans know, is not conjuring at all, but Magick, and will be what Moore will be practising full time after he retires from comic-book writing after his 50th birthday.


4th Paragraph     He published installments of Lost Girls with Melinda Gebbie.


5th Paragraph     Reference to the Bojeffries Saga, collected and printed in 1982 and 1992.


6th Paragraph     In 1999, he published The Birth Caul, an adaptation of one of his plays

                        A birth caul is a thin membrane from the amnion covering the newborn’s head.  The adaptation is aptly subtitled ‘A Shamanism of Childhood”


8th Paragraph     The time-travelling doctor here is Doctor Who, about whom Moore wrote a great deal in the early 80s.


Page 99

1st Paragraph     Voice of the Fire is suggested


2nd Paragraph    Mention of Tom Strong again.


‘A Small Killing’ was a graphic novel written in 1991 with Oscar Zarate, set to be reprinted later this year.


3rd Paragraph    Tom Strong again.        


4th, 5th Paragraph           A suggestion of the book D.R. and Quinch, collecting stories Moore wrote in the 80s and reprinted in 1991 and 2001.


8th Paragraph     Tomorrow Stories is promised.


9th Paragraph     In the closing sentence, the young Moore dreams of beards.  How very cute, since he wasn’t wearing one then, and as we all know, the real Moore has been generously bearded for a good many years, and as stated before, he’s very well known today for his hirsute persona.


The Morpheus here is clearly not Lawrence Fishburne, but the Dream Lord from Greek mythology.  The Matrix notwithstanding, the name has been brought to popular consciousness in the 90s by the DC comic Sandman, ably written by Neil Gaiman, incidentally, a good friend of Alan Moore’s.  The title character is occasionally called the Sandman, and also Morpheus.   


                        Gaiman, like Moore, is notorious for his incredibly lengthy comic scripts, a trait he picked up from Moore. 


In closing,


So far, we know that we’ve been treated to a very Alan Moore-esque account of how a fictional Alan Moore received a slew of ideas on the day he turned 10, which will determine his own magnificent body of work that will lead to his 50th birthday. 

On Page 97, in the 7th Paragraph, Mary Shelley’s greatest novel is featured.  And its subtitle – the modern Prometheus – is not a misplaced reference.  Prometheus is a Greek mythological hero who stole fire off the Sun-God Helios’ fire-chariot, and through that deed, gave all of mankind a wondrous gift.  In the comic series Marvels, the original Human Torch was created by a scientist Kurt Busiek aptly called a “Modern Prometheus”, not unlike Mary Shelley’s Doctor Victor.  And Alan Mooore’s own “Promethea” series shown her to be “the Holy Splendor of the Imagination”.  Similarly, we here present would have no reservations at all in agreeing that with the strength and facility of virtually all his work, Alan Moore has enrolled himself in this illustrious cognoscente.






Snakes and Ladders, Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell












[1] Snakes and Ladders, 2001, Page 2, Panel 2,3.