Look, buddy, I know about Alan Moore.
I’ve been following the guy since before he was famous – back in the 1970s when he started writing back-up comic strips in Doctor Who Weekly. Oh yes. Even back then, I knew his stuff was great. And I was only 10.
One thing that came through very clearly in his work – particularly the early material – is the way he was able to capture human moments, even in the most whacked-out, surrealist’s dream superhero fantasies; the settings might be bizarre but the characters were people.
In an interview, many years ago, he said: “I think that art has a place in the world, I think it’s important to the world, I think it’s part of the way in which we evolve. I think that cultures evolve as much in response to their art and their dreams and their aspirations as they do to their fears and whatever bullying and intimidation is being heaped on them from outside. There’s very little in current human culture that I place any value on at all, but art is one of the few things that I do value and cherish. I think [it] has an immense importance to the world as it is now and as it hopefully will be in the future.”
Later in the same interview, he added: “There comes a point where if you get serious about your art, if you get serious about the messages you’re putting over, and the way in which you’re putting them over, I think you inevitably come to where you suddenly think… It’s all right using Watchmen as an oblique way of talking about politics and the world condition, but why not just get rid of all these big guys in the funny suits and just talk about it?”
What follows is a near-perfect demonstration of this philosophy in action; a point where Alan Moore stopped using stories to talk about the real world, got down to brass tacks, and did it in a way which is entirely in line with the kind of human behaviour toward others that was exhibited in his works, and that – because of his works – has helped my own philosophy evolve.
You see, it transpires that an old friend of Mr Moore, Graham Cousins, has been fighting the UK’s immigration service for around three years, simply in order to gain admittance into this country for his wife, who is currently forced to live in Mozambique due to the restrictions imposed by the British government.
According to his son Leighton, on the crowdfunding website he put up to help out, the government has been changing the conditions required for Mrs Cousins to be allowed in, apparently to ensure that she never sets foot in the UK. First Mr Cousins had to be earning £18,600 per year. Then he had to have more than £40,000 in his bank account. Now the figure has been upped to £62,500 – and it is to help reach such savings that Leighton started the crowdfunding site.
In response, Alan Moore has publicly donated £10,000 – the full amount requested on the site – in what is quite literally a bid for justice.
The accompanying letter makes his reasoning crystal clear:
He states in his covering letter: “I am led to ask if the official cash amount demanded of those making an appeal is, simply, ‘more than they can afford’?… If the basis for this is not racism, would somebody be kind enough to explain what this reasoning is actually based on?”
Maybe This Writer is blinded by personal regard for a literary hero, but this is exactly what I would do for any of my friends, if I were in a position to help, if the action publicised an injustice and if it was likely to help end it.
I wish more people would do the same.
But then, I’ve been reading the works of Alan Moore since I was 10 years old.