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.