Quite apart from the fact that he’s actually met John Constantine twice (‘I’ll tell you the ultimate secret of magic. Any cunt could do it.’), and worships Paris Hilton headed puppet snake deity Glycon, Alan Moore is god because of the original comic version of ‘V for Vendetta’. It’s haunted me ever since I was 15 or 16, but it took me a long time to work out why.
Ostensibly, it’s the story of V, an anarchist superhero in a dystopian post-nuclear war Britain who succeeds in bringing down a racist, fascist government by dressing up as Guy Fawkes, killing several hundred people, and blowing up the Houses of Parliament.
But that’s only a very superficial reading of it. For me, what it’s really about is maturity, and loss, and the relationship between the two. As you grow, you leave so much behind you; and it’s the simultaneous sadness and necessity of that loss that provide the emotional engine of the book.
That depth is centred on Evey, the book’s protagonist. As she moves through the book she engages with and loses a series of father figures (her real father, Scots criminal Gordon Deitrich, to some extent the state she lives in, and of course V himself). Those losses are painful, but they’re seen as essential steps on the road to a hard-won and very real emotional maturity.
These themes echo through the rest of the book, explored in a wide variety of ways by a wide variety of characters. Perhaps the most memorable image of loss and progress combined comes from V himself, at the book’s climax; realising his own obsolescence, he lets himself die. Evey takes over from him, an evolved V (or e-v, in fact) for a new world.
So that’s one more reason why Alan Moore is god. ‘V for Vendetta’ is a profound and emotionally sophisticated piece of writing; and it was one of the key books that opened up the possibilities of fantastic fiction for me, teaching me how to use the unreal to talk about the real, and challenging me to get out there and do it for myself.