Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hey! It's A Four Color Alan Moore! (Moore's appearances in his own comics)

It’s always fun to find little unexpected Easter Eggs in your comics. It’s extra fun when it’s one of your favorite comic writers the way Alan Moore is mine.

Alan Moore has been a huge sensation in comics since the early 80’s when his stunning work in Warrior magazine and Swamp Thing knocked the socks off of the comic fans of the time. I think he worked with some of the greatest artists of the time like Gary Leach and Alan Davis on Marvelman/Miracleman, David Lloyd on V for Vendetta, and Steven Bissette, John Totleben and Rick Veitch on the Swamp Thing. Also, I’m sure, the fact that he has a generous collaborative nature helped get the most out of his artists as well.

One result of this generous collaborative nature is the hugely popular character, John Constantine. He was created by Alan to fulfill Steven Bissette and John Totleben’s desire to draw the singer Sting into their comic, the Swamp Thing. Even before Alan had a chance to devise the character, Bissette and Totleben were slipping him into the background of issue #25 as a pedestrian on the street.

So to accommodate Bissette and Totleben’s desire Moore came up with working class magician, John Constantine. Ironically it wasn’t Bissette who drew the first appearance of Constantine in issue #34, but rather Rick Veitch and Totleben who had the great good fortune to draw one of the greatest first appearances in the history of comics.  

So with this playful collaborative give and take between writer and artists it’s no wonder that Alan Moore himself would eventually turn up in the pages of the Swamp Thing. His first appearance was in that very same issue #37 drawn by Veitch and Totleben.

In the comic one of Constantine’s contacts, New York artist Emma, is falling out of a window. On the street below her are Alan Moore walking with Rick Veitch and, as karen Berger says in the letters page of issue #43, “Just a little further back in the crowd is “Molasses” Bissette himself, with his wife, Nancy and daughter, Maia, searching for their way back to Vermont.” 

Later on, in Swamp Thing #46, Steven Bissette had his own fun drawing Alan in to the comic. On page 2 there is a small bearded figure that looks like Alan got trapped in his own comic and is scratching at the page trying his best to be let out.(Grant Morrison eat your heart out! ;)
This is all cute and fun but it could just be a very hair dude running from a squid but on page 20 we are treated to a much more convincing picture of Alan. A tall bearded figure is walking with his buddy. He is wearing a V for Vendetta t-shirt to indicate that it is indeed Alan. So the companion must also be one of Swampy's creators but which one? Considering the fact that there is a sign behind them that says “Veitch of Putney” I figure it is probably Rick Veitch.Though to be fair it could equally be Totleben who hasn't had an appearance yet.

That’s it for Aalan Moore appearances in the Swamp Thing as far as I know though not the end of the Alan guest appearances.
In 1996 Rick Veitch is back working with Alan on Supreme. In issue #54 Rick Veitch draws super-powered Judy Jordan flying by a building.In one of the windows we see a familiar hairy dude looking back at us smoking god knows what..

The last appearance that I know of is in his epic series Promethea, where this time Moore intentionally writes himself and artist H. J. Williams III into the comic. They appear in the big finally where everything, all characters, times, places, even creators come together to celebrate this crazy thing called life.

Moore has artist H. J. Williams III show himself at his drawing board over some rough pencils of the very same page.

While Moore is shown in a separate panel at his computer typing a description of that very page.

On the computer screen, as far as I can make out, it says -

“...last panel of the second tier
...glimpse of rapidly crumbling
...author Alan Moore, Sitting
...his Packard Bell computer as
...that George Khoury book. Ring-
...fingers moving over the keyboard as
...turning my head and glancing back
...over my left shoulder at the reader,
...forehead knit into a wary frown.
...Moore; Uh-oh.”

I had to look up the name George Khoury and discovered that he wrote 2001’s Kimota! The Miracleman Companion and The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore.

That's it for now but, needless to say, if there are any appearances that I missed, by all means let me know!


  1. Plenty in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen too, Kevin O'Neill's drawn him as Mervyn Peake's Captain Slaughterboard at a pirates' conference, for example. There's an autobiographical appearance
    in the comic strip appendix to From Hell, where he's researching the Jack the Ripper sites.

  2. There's at least one other one in Swamp Thing, and another in Promethea, where's he's in a train station with JHWIII.