Saturday, February 27, 2016

Was Alan Moore Banned from the U.S. Because of a Graphic Novel?

via Comic Book Resources

Comic Book Legends Revealed #564

COMIC LEGEND: Alan Moore was banned from traveling to the United States because of his graphic novel, Brought to Light.


In 1989, Alan Moore released one of his first independent comic book projects, one half of the graphic novel anthology Brought to Light (the other half was by Harvey Pekar’s wife, Joyce Brabner, and artist Thomas Yeates).

Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz tell the story of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) through the words of a retired agent (represented by an anthropomorphic American Eagle)…






As you can see, the comic was quite critical of the CIA and the whole thing was a controversial release at the time. Anyhow, over the years, a rumor has circulated that the CIA was so pissed off at Moore that they blocked him from ever traveling to the United States.

Moore discussed the story with Frank Beaton, and debunked the story:

“Yeah, I have heard the rumours about how I’m not allowed to visit America because the CIA are still cross with me about BROUGHT TO LIGHT. That’s not true. The reason I can’t visit America is that I haven’t got my passport renewed, and getting one doesn’t really sound like something I can see myself doing at the moment.

Apathy is the key to an awful lot of my behaviour. It’s the reason I’ve got this ridiculous beard and haircut. It’s just simple laziness. I can’t be bothered to shave every morning like ordinary people do. I can’t be bothered going to the barbers or places like that. I could be sitting here writing my silly-arse comic books or composing some new incomprehensible magical tract, which is much preferable to me.”

Sounds about right to me.

Thanks to Alan Moore and Frank Beaton for the information!


Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: Is Deadpool a part of Fox’s X-Men Movie Rights?

On the next page, discover which 1993 Marvel Annuals new character was basically their creator’s Dungeons and Dragons character!


Why do the text and the header disagree about which number legend this is?

I don’t think that Al/Black Widow COULD be told now, Brian, as JMS’s THE TWELVE showed what happened to the original Black Widow after the war – she got stuffed into suspended animation and only came out in the present day.

I know Alan Moore won’t come to comic conventions in the states after being mobbed by fans at one in the mid-eighties, but to hear him explain why he never travels to the states to just not caring about renewing a passport makes me giggle. For some reason he reminds me of a tall, scary Hobbit just sitting in his Hobbit-hole doing whatever he pleases and not caring one bit about what the outside world thinks…

That was my first thought too, but given the hammer and sickle medallion, I’m not sure she was supposed to be the Golden Age Black Widow, but the first Russian Black Widow. That could totally still happen.

@Chris McFeely I assume they mean the original in the line of Russian spies created in their Black Widow program, not the golden age comics character who had magical powers and a much different schtick…

At first I thought that’s who they meant as well, Chris–the “Claire Voyant” version empowered by Satan or whatever to bring justice to evil-doers.

Now I wonder if they meant that she was going to be the first of the Black Widows from the Soviet Union courtesy of the Red Room, a precursor to Natasha. Huh.

I usually hate Mary Sues, but adapting your D&D character into the Marvel Universe is so nerdy that it crosses the line again into awesomeness Kudos to Evan Skolnick.

@Chris McFeely, I think this is a differnt Black Widow, based on the fact that it is a Soviet Medal Steve has, I am guessing the Black Widow being referenced is different than the Black Widow seen in The Twelve. That Black Widow was a mystical being, and Blind Al doesn’t seem Mystical. So my guess is this is a Black Widow from the 1940’s Black Widow Program that eventually gave us Natasha Romanov. So she is the Golden Age Black Widow in the way Aleksey Lebedev is the Golden Age Red Gaurdian. He is set in that time period even though he wasn’t a character in the actual time period known as the Golden Age. So essentially they are suggesting Blind Al is the equivilent of Dottie Underwood from the current Agent Carter series (another Golden Age character not actually from the Golden Age).

I remember the Cap/Al connection Kelly placed (I still think his is the best DP run, and that Spider-Man time travel issue is hysterical); I didn’t know about the Black Widow plans, or that Al would have been responsible for Wade’s cancer. It certainly explains why she put up with his crap, and endured all of his abuse, though.

Man, I would pay you good money to not show any more overwrought 90’s art.

Yeah, I was gonna say, “Oh, you don’t mean the actual Golden Age Black Widow. You mean an as yet unknown Soviet Black Widow active in the Golden Age.” But it looks like everybody already beat me to that.

Wait, Blind Al and Cap dated in the 40’s too? While he was Dating Betsy Ross and Peggy Carter? That guy gets around more than Dobbie Gillis.

I’ve seen worse ideas, SuperC…. that could be a lot of fun, especially with the way Dottie is being characterized in the current series.

Joe Kelly PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make Blind Al be the elderly comic book version of “Dottie Underwood”.

Did the C.I.A. even cared about BROUGHT TO LIGHT at all?

“Did the C.I.A. even cared about BROUGHT TO LIGHT at all?”

Can’t imagine that they did.

“Hey, Chief, some hairy giant in England wrote a comic book that criticizes the CIA.”

“. . . Get back to work, Johnson.”

I’m with Rene. Kinda going back to the original article, the chance to “immortalize” your D&D character, and so blatantly (though I can’t say it clicked other than as a D&D riff at the time) seems awesome to me.

Yeah, before Sacco and Rall, Ottaviani and Cunningham, there was Alan Moore trying to push the medium, what else is new? But one can’t help notice how Brought To Light has been conveniently out of print. Surely a coincidence, just as for that graphic exposé about the CIA’s Operation Ajax cancelled by Diamond last year?

Evan Skolnick uses an outdated definition for a “Mary Sue”. It did start with an idealized avatar of a female fanfic author, but beyond that it’s been used for any obnoxiously perfect or infallible female character. After The Force Awakens, Rey has been called a Mary Sue for this reason.

I had always heard that Blind Al was supposed to be Ms. America or some other established golden age heroine, but this is way more interesting.


Alan Moore’s the best. It’s amazing to me that he’s been giving tongue-in-cheek interviews for over 20 years and some fans/bloggers are still such social misfits that they think everything he says is 100% literal no matter how many times he spells it out right in front of them to not take it so seriously.

I can see Comics Alliance’s headline tomorrow: “Alan Moore Says Comic Books ‘silly-arse,’ Hates the Community, New Creators, and Especially Women.”

Other than Moore-not-wanting-to, the most difficult logistic of getting him to travel overseas is more likely to involve the DEA than the CIA.

@Tom Fitzpatrick
The comic community, at large, didn’t care about Brought to Light, or even saw it. i doubt the CIA looked at any comic of the period.

Well, maybe Reagan’s Raiders.

Be funny if Evan Skolnick wanted to play a game of D&D, then found out he needed Marvel comics permission to use his old character. ;-)

Superconnectivity – “Wait, Blind Al and Cap dated in the 40’s too? While he was Dating Betsy Ross and Peggy Carter? That guy gets around more than Dobbie Gillis.”

I’m now imagining Cap in Pop Tate’s sharing a soda with all three gals. ;-)

Evan Skolnick uses an outdated definition for a “Mary Sue”. It did start with an idealized avatar of a female fanfic author, but beyond that it’s been used for any obnoxiously perfect or infallible female character. After The Force Awakens, Rey has been called a Mary Sue for this reason.

He used the correct definition. The Force Awakens critics are using the term incorrectly. And are wrong in general about Rey besides that, but especially wrong about using the term “Mary Sue” as part of their wrong critiques. I’m all for the growth of language and the evolution of terms (and when things are close, it’s just douchey to quibble), but “Mary Sue” is such a specific term that it seems bizarre to try to expand it in such a manner. It’s like calling Felix Hernandez a southpaw and when told that no, King Felix is a right-handed pitcher, saying, “Oh yeah, no, southpaw is now used to describe pitchers in general, so the term still applies.” It seems like a pointless expansion that just makes the term useless.

I remember when the 1993 issue of Marvel: The Year In Review did a criticism of the characters from the annuals, the comment for Khaos was something like “You know that sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when some D&D nerd insists on telling you all about his character? Khaos gives you that in spades.”
I wonder if the writer of that article knew how accurate they were.
(As a D&D player, I found the comment mildly insulting, but I know better than to babble about the game in normal conversation to random people.)

That and some people ‘Mary Sue’ for any new character they do not like. I know I have seen Aztek referred to as a ‘Mary Sue’ because he got JLA membership, every new X-Man is called a ‘Mary Sue’. If the correct definition has been abandoned, then ‘Mary Sue’ is just a slur for ‘new character I hate’.

My last post was in response to Brian’s, not Armitage’s.

On point, on the Brought to Life segment; I think Eclipse hoped it would be more controversial than it was. It got a little coverage in the comic press, because it was Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz. The subject matter tended to get glossed over, in the articles I read, at the time. I don’t recall any non-comic coverage. These types of projects, at Eclipse, tended to be cat yronwode’s babies and she seemed to come across as a relic of the 60s. As such, books like this and Real War Stories tended to be met with indifference, especially in the Reagan 80s. Eclipse’s big sellers were action/adventure stuff, like Scout and prestige works, like Miracleman. Had Moore and Siekiewicz not been involved, I doubt you would have seen any coverage other than Eclipse’s house ads, which they also placed in CBG. The Comics Journal might have run an article, sandwhiched between their latest rant against the mainstream and the interview with a mainstream creator.

The only time I can recall Eclipse ever really generating controversy was when they released their crime trading cards and had threats of lawsuits and some attention from a few conservative attorney generals, who were looking to score political points. However, it blew over quickly and their chronic cash flow problems finally caught up with them and put an end to the company.

And, from what I read about Alan Moore, he admitted one time he’s no good traveler due to his near-sighted eyes. Speaking of Moore, can you dug up why his BIG NUMBERS never ever completed? Was there conflict between him and his artist then? Thanks.

“And are wrong in general about Rey besides that”

Not to drag this thing into an OT flame, but name one thing that she wasn’t good at, or didn’t master without any prior experience or knowledge, or wasn’t indulged in without any good reason.

On the original topic… holy crap that CIA topic is terrifying. If half of the things in it have any truth, it’s a wonder we’re all not radioactive ash, or a swimming-pool statistic, by now.

@Paul Garcia: Almost a decade ago:

@Warren B
how about “Knowing to switch off the safety on a gun before shooting someone with it”?

as to what she did do
she was a skilled pilot and mechanic before the film
in the Lightsaber duel at the end she fought off (but did not defeat) Rey with a Force-inspired moment like Like had when he destroyed the Death star, and Rey was already injured and suffering from internal conflict which damaged his connection to the Force

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