August 14, 2006 | Interviews
There is really only one word that can be used to describe Alan Moore’s new book Lost Girls — pornography.
That contentious word, however, brings no shame to perhaps the most influential and revered comic book writer of the past 30 years.
“I decided quite early on that I prefer it was referred to as pornography,” Moore told me in a telephone interview from his home in Northampton, England.
“The term pornography comes from the etymological root ‘pornos’ — which means ‘prostitutes’ or ‘wantons’ — and ‘graphos,’ which means ‘drawings’ or ‘writings.’ So what we’re talking about is drawings or writings about wantons or wanton behaviour. That seemed perfectly adequate to me.
It’s talking purely about the realm of the human imagination.
“It struck me as important to signal right from the beginning that this is a work entirely about the human sexual imagination and it takes place entirely in the human sexual imagination.”
Moore, author of such important comic book works as Watchmen, V For Vendetta, From Hell and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, along with illustrator (and fiancée) Melinda Gebbie, chose a rather fantastic basis for their pornography.
The Lost Girls are Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, Alice from Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Wendy from Peter Pan. Instead of the girls’ wellknown adventures being based in fantasy worlds, Moore and Gebbie imagine those same adventures in the real world as tales of adolescent sexual awakening exchanged when the three meet by chance as grown women.
“They seemed like such perfect characters for the story that I wanted to tell, in that they provided a brilliant metaphor for the way in which we, as human beings, enter the world of our sexuality, where everything is reversed, all of the laws that have governed your previous existence have suddenly turned right on their head,” Moore said.
The book’s vivid portrayal of almost every sexual act imaginable has raised more than a few eyebrows since its release last month, but Moore said there is method to their madness.
“We wanted to do something that was frank and honest and beautiful about the human sexual imagination and that didn’t really leave any areas untouched or excluded,” he said.
“We’ve tried to make Lost Girls a pornography that is not purely aimed at heterosexual white men, but one that is aimed at a wide variety of sexualities and, more importantly, is aimed very squarely at women.”
While the term pornography may have negative connotations, Gebbie suggests keeping an open mind. “(Pornography is) capable of great beauty and drama and depth,” she said. “It’s just that no one has applied themselves to it in a long, long time.
“It was a neighbourhood that was left to the rats and we renovated it.”
Author Alan Moore
Illustrator Melinda Gebbie
Publisher Top Shelf Productions
Price $75, HC
***** (out of five)
I’ve never really been interested in seeing any kind of human sexual escapades depicted that involved a horse.
It’s just not my cup of tea.
However, Lost Girls — a three-book slipcased set — has shown me that seeing such a thing, in the right context, can actually leave you feeling somewhat enlightened, rather than requisitely disgusted.
In a frank and purposeful effort of madness and genius, as only he is capable of, comic book icon Alan Moore, along with gifted artist and fiancée Melinda Gebbie, uses Lost Girls to explore the nature of the human sexual imagination by means of three familiar fantasy characters — Alice (Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland), Dorothy (The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz) and Wendy (Peter Pan).
The result is clearly a work of pornography — one that is spectacularly literate, exquisitely illustrated and without doubt one of the most groundbreaking comic book works of the decade.