Underground Reading: The Glass Inferno by Thomas Scortia and Frank Robinson
Time Magazine x Graphic Novels

Alan Moore x Reality

An old (June) interview from the Forbidden Planet but, so far, still the best source of information about Alan Moore's current project - The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic.

Relevant bits captured after the jump.

(I love the interviewer's style - 'I know.', 'I know.', 'Good idea.', 'Good idea.')

AM: Me and Steve [Moore] are writing it all and it’s turning into quite a wonderful thing, There’s so many different sections that are scattered through it. We have been working upon – one of the strands is this Old Moore’s Lives of the Great Enchanters where I think it’s fifty-two full pages that are laid out a bit like the old Ripley’s Believe it or Not, where you’ve got five panels with captions, and we’re starting out with the Dancing Sorcerer from the Trois Freres cave in France, the picture of the guy with antlers prancing around – it’s the first representation of a magician.

P: Yes, I know the one you mean.

Moon%20and%20Serpent%20Bumper%20Book%20of%20Magic%20Alan%20Moore%20Steve%20MooreAM: Then we move up through the Persian Magi and Zarathustra, because, after the Stone Age shamanic period, that is the first record of actual magic, and then we move up through real, fictitious, and semi-real figures like King Solomon, Circe, Medea, until we get to Apollonius of Tyana. We’ve got Merlin in there –he never existed, but that’s not really important. He was the first Christian-approved magician. Because prior to that you’d got Simon Magus, who was actually a conflation of two figures. There was Simon the Magician, who was a travelling magician, and there was Simon the head of the Gnostics, which was of course the largest rival to Christianity, so by squeezing them both into one figure, and making this tale of the vain magician who has a duel with Saint Peter in Rome and flies through the air but is brought down by the power of God - it was all a propaganda story. It made Simon the first black magician, and then later the story of Merlin - he’s supposed to be the son of the Devil, he did help out King Arthur with all that Holy Grail business, so it’s alright - he’s the magician it’s alright for Christians to like, so he’s the first white magician.

And then we move on to ones that almost certainly existed, like Roger Bacon and people like that, and we carry on right up to the present day, and the modern magi, such as they are. And there are pages of theoretical essays upon what magic is and how it works. There’re practical articles on how to actually do the different things that magic can do. There’s this bestiary of demons and gods and other things that you might be lucky or unfortunate enough to bump into.

I think it’s fairly rational, and it’s going to be very beautiful. We’ve got all these lovely artists, Melinda’s doing a pop-up temple, right, for the modern magus on the move, and Kevin’s doing this seven or eight-page life of Alexander, which will be done in a Radio Fun style of thing, which will detail the life of Alexander of Abonuteichos who was the creator of Glycon, my patron deity.

P: I’m familiar with Glycon, yes.

AM: So there’s a Kaballah board game which we’re struggling with at the moment. It’s do-able but we’re just got to work out some layout problems. There’s the Tarot deck that I shall be commencing with José Villarubia…

P: Is that a separate Tarot deck, or is it just going to be…

AM: It’ll be a Tarot deck that will be included in the Bumper Book with cut-out cards, but we probably will be bringing it out in a separate deck as well for people who don’t want to cut up the Bumper Book.

P: That’s a very good idea!

AM: So, we have a lot of this stuff, it’s still in the planning stages. I think that me and Steve have written about a quarter of the book so far, but Steve’s got a lot of pressure on at the moment and we are having to work more or less around what is possible for him, but that’s coming on nicely.

P: That’s something I’m really looking forward to it.

AM: We just wanted to get rid of a lot of the pretentious, shadowy, gothy atmosphere which people seem to try to contrive to cloak magic in. In our experience, we find magic to be something which is profound, human, beautiful, occasionally very, very funny, and we want to do a book that reflects that, which has got all of the excitement and all of the pulp fiction side of it, that has got all the rest of magic as well. Neither me nor Steve are huge fans of modern, say, chaos magic, and this is our proposed antidote, something that is a lot less self-conscious and hopefully a lot closer to the spirit of what, in our opinion, genuine magic is about.