Formerly forbidden fruit…

asterixWhen at primary school, we’d visit the local library every two weeks. You could borrow up to six books, but only from the children’s section. This was good, as it contained all the Doctor Who novelisations and ghost story anthologies that I loved to read, but access to the adult and young adult sections was strictly forbidden. These contained the horror books that I craved, and also the comic books – specifically Asterix and Tin Tin. Marvel and DC were great for action, but if you wanted something funny and clever, then it had to be one of the aforesaid.

It’s taken about forty years, but I’ve finally got my own collection of Asterix books started with the first three omnibus editions that I received for my recent birthday. So I’ve matured (slightly!) since last reading them, but I’d managed to remember the names of all the main characters and the stories are still great fun (if filled with torturous Latin puns!). And, owning them now brings so much satisfaction after being repeatedly told ‘no’ at school. It was snobbery really – comics and graphic novels weren’t considered real books, and certainly weren’t recognised as literature.

Thankfully attitudes are changing…

Alan Moore and Stewart Lee

jerusalem_mooreAttended An Evening with Alan Moore and Stewart Lee last evening – one of my favourite authors chatting to one of my favourite comedians.

Whereas Moore does sometimes come across as slightly curmudgeonly in interviews, this was a garrulous, light-hearted affair, mostly centred on his new novel, Jerusalem. I bought the book on release day, but it’s still on my ‘to read’ pile. After last night, I want to toss the Jonathan Franzen that I’m currently reading and dive straight in.

It’s common knowledge that Moore has walked away from many of the big titles that made his name, such as V for Vendetta, Watchmen, From Hell etc. and refuses to engage with Hollywood’s interpretations of his work. What did surprise me though was his admission that The Killing Joke (my personal favourite comic book ever!) was just written for Brian Bolland (the artist). It seems that he did it as a favour, and that was where his investment ended. I had to admire his honesty, but it does make me see the story in a new light.

What was more interesting, was Moore’s philosophy and perception of time going so far as to quote Einstein on the lack of finality in a universe where time is non-linear. I’d thought that his views on magic might come across as a bit kooky, but it felt like being in the presence of a sage rather than a shaman.

A wonderful way to spend a cold winter’s evening in London.

The last Pegg in the coffin…

I kind of agree with Simon Pegg about the seemingly increasing immaturity of adults: Adults’ obsession with science fiction causing society to become infantilised.

It’s pretty obvious that too many bearded boys are walking around in Batman onesies, going to work with Avengers rucksacks and taking Game of Thrones far too seriously. Hell, you can even point a finger at yours truly, at age 44 with a huge comic book collection and far too many sci-fi DVDs. Then again, I’ve been reading comics seriously since my teens and the best titles have grown up with me, many even have explicit ‘Suggested for mature readers’ warnings on their covers.

But enough of defending myself.

What struck me as hypocritical was that Pegg has made his entire career playing that same man-child character, and Spaced, brilliant as it was, was probably more responsible for instilling the idea that you could be an adult and still enjoy yourself with sci-fi than any other show. And, as the article goes on to point out, he’s not going to step off that gravy train any time soon:

“[Pegg] first achieved cult fame in 1999 after co-writing the Channel 4 sitcom Spaced, in which he played a science fiction-consuming slacker and aspiring comic book artist. Then came Shaun of the Dead, the hit 2004 “rom-zom-com” in which he played a hapless, slightly immature 30-something fighting off zombies.

Other career highlights have included the films How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, in which he plays a hapless, slightly immature 30-something journalist, and Run, Fatboy, Run, in which he played a hapless, slightly immature 30-something boyfriend who runs away from his pregnant fiancée on his wedding day.

For fans worried that Pegg might grow up onscreen, however, there appears to be no immediate need to panic. In August he will star in Absolutely Anything, about a hapless, slightly immature 40-something given the power to do absolutely anything by ‘some very mad aliens’.”

Coming from anyone else, this my have been a valid piece of social observation, but as it is, it sounds a bit like Pegg is shitting where he eats. And don’t get me started about that awful Scotty accent…

Io9 has some proper rebuttals to his argument.