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Talking With Leah Moore

I was speaking recently with the editor of “Redeye” magazine about Watchmen. When I told him that I was dying for an interview with Alan Moore, he told me that he could get me in touch with Leah Moore, Alan’s daughter.

As it turns out, I’ve wanted to interview Leah for a long time as well. After getting her email address, I shot her an interview request. She immediately replied and agreed. The next day I fired over a few questions to her.

Well, I just received her response. So, without any further adieu, here is WatchmenComicMovie.com's exclusive interview with Leah Moore.

You were 8 years old when Watchmen hit the stands. At that age did you understand how big a phenomenon it was at the time? Did you even really understand what it was your dad did for a living?

Leah Moore: I remember the comics being around the house, in the same way that his Swamp Thing comics were about the place. I knew that what he was doing was having an effect on our lives, making things possible that previously hadn’t been. I didn’t know at the time how many people were reading it, or what a cult thing it was becoming. I certainly understood he wrote comics because he always had. I knew he had drawn his own strips and written them, and that scripts were just what you did when you had to tell other people what to draw, instead of doing it yourself.

When did you first read Watchmen? What did you think after you had read it? Has the series influenced you as writer and comics creator?

Leah Moore: I don’t remember the first time I read it. I probably read the comics out of sequence and skipped back and forwards in them. Kids have short attention spans, so I wasn’t likely to sit down with all twelve issues in a pile and throw myself in there. I’ve read it several times since though. I think it’s a great book; it really neatly uses all the potential of a comic in loads of really neat cool ways. It certainly influenced the way I write comics. To be honest, whenever I write a panel sequence where it zooms in slowly or out slowly, I think “am I just doing the watchmen thing?” but its kind of inevitable, if something works, it just works.

You've had the honor of working with your dad on Tom Strong and Albion and Dave Gibbons on Albion as well — what was it like working with them? Is it hard to work with a writer that also happens to be your father? When you worked with Dave, did he share any “war” stories about him and your dad?

Leah Moore: I have to say, it didn’t feel exactly like an ‘honour’ when we did it. It was a collaboration, which all comics necessarily are, unless you write draw and letter them yourself, and it was fun to do, but I am much too close to dad to see him as the far off distant figure that his fans see him as. He’s my dad, so I see him as that.

Working with him was great because we got to create something together in a big gang (Myself John and Dad writing it, and Shane Oakley and George Freeman doing pencils and inks, and Dave doing the covers). We got to play with characters we had all enjoyed as children and adults, and we got to make something cool happen out of it all.

I found writing with that many people a challenge because with so many people chipping in ideas it got complicated, and it was me and John who actually scripted the issues, and therefore had to sort the whole thing out before it went off to the editor. Dad was kind of the captain of a very crowded ship, with all of the rest us running about madly on deck keeping it all going.

Dave’s covers were wonderful, really classy, memorable images that made the book stand out on the racks. You cannot go wrong with a Dave Gibbons cover; he really added the finishing touch to the series. Dave has loads of great stories about dad, and I normally hear them when I go to see him do panels at conventions, he’s got a great back catalogue of anecdotes about everyone in comics, which I would love to see him collect up when he has the time.

Your dad's had some not so great experiences within the comics industry and especially Hollywood. Has his experiences or advice helped guide you through any career decisions or saved you from any particular misstep that you might have made without him?

Leah Moore: I can’t imagine what misstep I could have made to be honest, any kind of experience in the industry is just something to build on really. Negative experiences often teach you things more quickly than positive ones, so I’m always really glad of the crap stuff in a weird way. He has shared stories about people and companies and projects, but only in the same way all comics’ professionals do to freak each other out. “When I was working on…” is how it starts and then you hear these crazy stories…to be honest it’s often hard to tell advice from gossip. Dad has always given me his advice when he’s thought I’ve needed it, but he also knows that when you are building yourself a career, sometimes the only way to do it is just to get stuck in and then keep slogging. Its how he did it, its how everyone does it.

Albion is very similar to Watchmen in the sense that it's about comic book characters that really exist. Even the classic IPC characters in Albion share similarities with the classic Charlton comics heroes, which the Watchmen characters were based on. Was that a coincidence, or were the similarities to Watchmen one of the reasons for undertaking the project?

Well I did think “hmm we’re kind of rebooting these old characters…that’s a bit like Watchmen” but then dismissed the thought completely because it was going to be drawn by Shane, and we were putting the dialogue into the characters mouths, and they are British children’s comic characters from the 60’s and 70’s which is a really specific set of stuff to be working with. So there was no way it would be anything like Watchmen.

The thing is, once you look for parallels they will be there. We worried that Wild Girl might be a bit like Swamp Thing at one point which is ridiculous if you read them…they are poles apart. I think that Albion is much more chaotic and unwieldy than Watchmen. Albion has all these weird lumps and bumps and oddness about it. Watchmen is as structured as a nine panel grid. Nothing is unwieldy; nothing is left to chance or unkempt. If there are any similarities than the two books are non-identical twins, kind of like Basket Case, where one is all mutated and kept in the dark.

We know you use the internet, you have a MySpace page — you're plugged in. But your dad — I hear he doesn't use the Internet or even own a computer for that matter. Why is he such a technophobe?

Leah Moore: Of course he uses a computer! Why on earth would any writer, let alone one as prolific as dad, stubbornly stick to carbon paper and Tipp-ex when spell check and word count are available?

He doesn’t use email, and faxes scripts instead, but that is more about his privacy, and not wanting everyone in the world sending him emails the whole time.

I think it’s very wise to be honest, as the amount of spam and crap all of us mere mortals get in our inbox is enough to drive us mad, so imagine that a hundred times over and that’s what he would have.

He already gets vast amounts of post, which ends up getting thrown away after years of hanging round his house. People feel the need to reach out to him, which is one thing, but he doesn’t necessarily want to be reachable. He’s just a normal bloke, he doesn’t have a PA or anything… it would be totally overwhelming.

Everyone knows your dad's take on the Watchmen movie, so I won't get into that, but what's Leah Moore's opinion on it? Have you seen any of the trailers or even spoke to Dave Gibbons about it? Do you think you're going to go see it when it comes out?

Leah Moore: I saw the trailer on YouTube and it looks visually impressive, very close to Dave’s artwork. I saw it in the cinema the other day and it was really weird to see all that stuff up on the big screen. It feels like Watchmen was a part of my childhood, and now it’s up there really bright and loud and everyone can see it suddenly. Imagine someone suddenly doing a feature film about the random objects in your parent’s living room from when you were small, and you get close to how surreal it is.

I will go and see it certainly, out of curiosity and to see if it was done as well as everyone hopes, or as badly as everyone fears.

I suspect it will end up mysteriously in the middle of the two like V for Vendetta. V was very like Dave Lloyd’s drawings and was very thrilling to watch, but left me feeling all weird, like they’d switched the most vital thing in the book with something else, and hoped no-one would notice.

I hope that the political background in Watchmen is kept a 1980’s one as it was in the book. Putting contemporary politics into films of period books dates the film far worse than the original book ever could be.

So this site has been lucky enough to interview Dave Gibbons, we have an upcoming interview with John Higgins, and now we've interviewed you as well. What do you think the chances your dad would give us an interview one day? We'll even promise not to mention the Watchmen movie — we swear! Would you put in a good word for us?

Leah Moore: Are you high? He will probably disown me for even doing an interview with a Web site about the film of the book. Next you’ll be asking me if he’s going to write Watchmen 2!

So what do Leah Moore and your husband/writing partner John Reppion have in the works right now? Any upcoming projects we can look forward to reading soon?

Leah Moore: We have two big exciting series coming up with Dynamite Comics which we are really enjoying writing at the moment, but we are sadly unable to speak about yet. We have a great little project coming up with IDW which we aren’t able to talk about just yet either, so a frustrating time in terms of plugging stuff. If you want more Moore & Reppion in your life and on your shelf you should grab our hardcover edition of Raise The Dead, our zombie series with a forward from Max Brooks (Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z). Also we have a story with Pia Guerra (Y the Last Man, Doctor Who) in Comic Book Tattoo, an anthology from Image based on the songs of Tori Amos, and we also have a great story in Popgun Vol 2, also from Image which is drawn by rising star Matt Timson, who is also drawing Impaler for Top Cow amongst other things.

11.1.08 Source: WatchmenComicMovie.com

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