But the far more sizeable majority of non-comics readers have not the first idea who this guy is. So writing in praise of Alan Moore is, probably, some sort of public duty. He’s really, really good.
Hence, the reverential bafflement that attended a profile of Moore screened by the BBC’s Culture Show this week. Who was this character, for whom only Jonathan Ross could apparently be persuaded to speak up?
A nephew of Patrick Moore, he contrives to seem even madder than his uncle. He wears the sort of long-frizzy-hair-and-enormous-beard combo last seen on Rasputin. His fingers are positively armour-plated with silver rings, he is very interested in magic, not very interested in talking to the press, and has not a good word to say for any of the film treatments of his comics.
Were he a painter or a novelist, the obvious reaction to this would be to see him as an eccentric and driven artist. Since he’s a comics writer, you’re more likely to think: crazy hippie. My feeling is that both things are probably true.
The occasion for the profile was a film of his 1980s comic V for Vendetta, which I have just been rereading.