Aurum Press, out 7 November
A detailed and critical biography of one of Northampton’s most famous sons.
Alan Moore is one of those people about whom everyone seems to have an opinion. His writings have inspired as many as they have offended. As the man himself says on the back cover, he can be unrelentingly grim, unreasonable and annoying. And, as Lance Parkin’s well-researched biography proves, he will stick to his guns – whether it’s standing up to large corporations, or resigning from Doctor Who Weekly when his friend’s creation was given to someone else to write.
Recognising that it is pretty pointless looking for clues to the man’s life in his writing, Parkin has trawled through hundreds of articles and interviews (scrupulously listed in an index at the back), piecing together the story of how Moore’s love of writing was kindled, and the many and various paths it has led him down. He’s combined this with a history of comics from the 1960s to the present day, so that Moore’s actions and reactions are put in context.
It’s not a hagiography: Parkin doesn’t let some of Moore’s assertions in interviews stand where they don’t tally with the facts (for instance in the discussion about the movie version of V for Vendetta). He analyses Moore’s output in detail coming to conclusions about Moore’s possible future standing which may surprise some.
Verdict: Magic Words is a highly readable biography, never becoming too embedded in its comic book history elements to alienate the reader who isn’t interested in its minutiae, but still providing plenty of food for thought. 9/10