Moore Providence Interview in Bleeding Cool 16

New Providence page revealed in Bleeding Cool Magazine #16. Art by Jacen Burrows
New Providence page revealed in Bleeding Cool Magazine #16. Art by Jacen Burrows

There is a new Alan Moore Providence interview out this week in Bleeding Cool #16. The interview is only available in the print edition, though a few follow-on questions and responses, that apparently didn’t fit, were posted online here.

Though the first three Providence #1 pages were previewed here, and lots of covers have been publicized, one of the fun things in this issue of Bleeding Cool is a reveal of yet another a page (right), which includes mention of Joris-Karl Huysmans, a famous French Decadent writer.

The interview is short. It’s six printed pages, including over a page for introduction, and about half the space is dedicated to images.

Moore mentions some problems in Neonomicon:

[W]hen I got the opportunity to do Neonomicon, I probably wasn’t taking it as seriously as it needed to be taken. I was relying on my own imperfect memory of Lovecraft’s work and trusting that it would be adequate. Though I’ve very proud of the work we did on Neonomicon, it did present a couple of problems. The first was that I had carelessly identified Lovecraft’s Innsmouth with Salem, whereas Lovecraft himself says that Arkham is Salem.

The interview outlines extensive year 1919 period research undertaken by Alan Moore, Jacen Burrows, Steve Moore, Joe Brown, and Ariana Osborne, as well as Moore’s introduction to Leslie Klinger’s New Annotated Lovecraft.

Moore discusses Lovecraftian research he has been reading. What many readers of these interviews may miss are references to specific works of Lovecraftian scholarship that Moore peppers his response with, which give some insight into his process. For example:

The range of Lovecraft criticism is extraordinary. You can get Structuralist Lovecraft criticism, Post-Structuralist Lovecraft criticism. You can get Lovecraft criticized from a psychological perspective, Lovecraft considered as a New England Decadent. It’s extraordinary. One of my favorite books is a philosophical view of Lovecraft. It’s not about Lovecraft’s actual philosophy, although I’ve got books on that as well, but this is from a relatively new school of philosophy called Speculative Realism, which I think I understand.

Weird Realism (2012, Zer0 Books) by Garaham Harman
Weird Realism (2012, Zer0 Books) by Garaham Harman

The “Structuralist Lovecraft criticism” book is likely Out of the Shadows: A Structuralist Approach to Understanding the Fiction of H. P. Lovecraft (2011), while the “Post-Structuralist Lovecraft criticism” book is undoubtedly Lovecraft: Disturbing the Universe (2009). The book of criticism “from a psychological perspective” is probably Mosig at Last: A Psychologist Looks at H. P. Lovecraft (1997), and “New England Decadent” can only refer to H. P. Lovecraft: New England Decadent (1979). The “philosophical view of Lovecraft” is very likely Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy (2012); there are many books on Lovecraft’s philosophy Moore might own, but probably the two most likely are S. T. Joshi’s H. P. Lovecraft: Decline of the West (1990) and A Subtler Magick: The Writings and Philosophy of H. P. Lovecraft (1996).

More interesting than the books of Lovecraftian philosophy that Moore might have read and consulted when writing this series is perhaps his own approach to the material:

I think that what we’ve tried to do in Providence is to make it all new again.

Moore places Providence squarely in Lovecraft traditions, while distancing it from them:

I think that they [my depictions of Lovecraft characters in Providence] are certainly true to the spirit and intentions of Lovecraft, however, they read very, very differently because Lovecraft and I are very different writers. We do have some points in common, but I wouldn’t want to be in the same room as both of us. I don’t think that would go well, despite my immense respect for the man. I don’t imagine that would be reciprocated.

Providence #1 is due in stores late May 2016.

(Post by Joe Linton and Robert Derie)

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