See the cover of comics legend Alan Moore's first short-story collection, Illuminations
Alan Moore is one of the most accomplished comic-book writers of all time, and his work in the field reverberates to this day. His 1986 series Watchmen with artist Dave Gibbons changed superheroes forever, not to mention inspiring Damon Lindelof's 2019 HBO miniseries of the same name. His series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with artist Kevin O'Neill ran for decades and managed to incorporate nearly every major pop culture personage of the last century, including some truly cutting commentary on James Bond and Harry Potter.
The list of Moore's comic accomplishments goes on, but in recent years, he has also taken his writing talents to the prose format. His first novel, Voice of the Fire, was published in 1996; his second, Jerusalem, followed in 2016. Both centered around the history and mysticism of the author's hometown of Northampton, England; EW's Darren Franich described Jerusalem as "Moore's apotheosis, a fourth-dimensional symphony of his own beloved city."
Now, EW can announce that Moore's next book out later in the year will be a new format: Short story collection. It's called Illuminations, and you can see the cover exclusively above (in short video form) or below (as a standard image).
Illuminations consists of nine stories, each of which explore magic and the supernatural from different angles. One story, "A Hypothetical Lizard," finds two concubines in a brothel for sorcerers falling in love with tragic ramifications, while "What We Can Know About Thunderman" is a surreal history of the comic-book industry from one of the writers who knows it best.
Illuminations will be published on Oct. 11 in the United States, from Bloomsbury. Check out the cover below, along with Moore's incredible answers to some of our burning questions about his writing process and his favorite segments of Illuminations. If you want to hear even more insight from Moore about writing, be sure to check out the storytelling class he just launched as part of BBC Great Courses.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is the first thing—ever—that you remember writing?
ALAN MOORE: When I was seven or eight I wrote a version of the Pied Piper story in verse. I don't remember anything beyond that, but I'm sure it was a dark, gritty, dystopian take on the character which made everyone realize that harmless children's fables weren't for children anymore.
What is the last book that made you cry?
Other than the occasional Conservative Party Manifesto, the last book I can definitely remember weeping over would be Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes.
Which book is at the top of your current To-Read list?
Well, if you substitute the word 'heap' for the word 'list', the volume on top at the moment is hoyoot, the collected poems of Tom Pickard, who has been the bruised and mighty heart of English poetry since the late 1960s.
Where do you write?
If I'm composing a story or novel, or answering a Q&A, then I work at my computer over here by the downstairs rear window. If I'm jotting down research notes or ideas then I'll be in my armchair, which is over there beneath the blue-and-gold kabbalah window and the ceremonial magic wands.
Which book made you a forever reader?
As soon as I understood what reading was, I knew that I'd be spending the remainder of my life engrossed in it. The book that made me understand what writing was, however, is most probably Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan, borrowed from our underfunded local library at the age of 12.
What is a snack you couldn't write without?
If you'd asked William Faulkner this, I'm guessing that he wouldn't have said bourbon sandwiches, so let's go for half-chocolate malted milk cookies with an embossed cow on the back.
If you could change one thing about any of your books what would it be?
For the great majority of my comic-book work, that one thing would be the publishers.
What is your favorite part of this book?
I have favourite scenes in every one of the collection's stories, but the one my thoughts keep drifting back to is a brisk, athletic — and, to my mind, intensely moving — swimming sequence in Illuminations' longest piece, "What We Can Know About Thunderman."
What was the hardest plot point or character to write in this book?
The most demanding story — all of it –—was "American Light: An Appreciation," where I first composed a lengthy poem by an imaginary Beat writer, good enough to have credibly restarted his career, and then added critical annotations in a different voice to provide the other half of the narrative. I certainly had to take my coat off for that one.
Write a movie poster tag line for your book.
THE MOST ILL-ADVISED ADAPTATION OF ALL TIME!!!