While he retired from writing comic books in 2019, the legendary Alan Moore isn't quite finished putting pen to paper. The influential creator of such graphic novel classics as Watchmen, The Killing Joke, and V for Vendetta is moving into the world of prose with a series of five fantasy novels about a larger-than-life version of Britain's capital city.
Moore's Long London — which will comprise a series of five books — is set to be published by Bloomsbury (owner of the U.K. rights to the Harry Potter series) sometime in 2024. The deal also includes a collection of short stories entitled Illuminations, which is arriving a little bit sooner in 2022. The writer is no stranger when it comes to hopping between different creative mediums. Last year, Moore wrote and starred in The Show, a genre-blending film directed by Mitch Jenkins.
“At a moment in my career when I am bursting with fiction, bursting with prose, I couldn't be happier with the new home that I've found at Bloomsbury: a near-legendary independent publisher with a spectacular list and a fierce commitment to expanding the empire of the word. I have a feeling this will be a very productive partnership," Moore said in a statement.
“I only publish a few authors, but I couldn’t resist this unique opportunity from one of the most original and talented creative figures of the last 50 years," added Bloomsbury Editor-in-Chief Paul Baggaley. "Alan Moore is simply a legend and it has been such a pleasure to listen to him talk about his ambitious Long London series as well as discovering the range of his shorter fiction. These projects have set Bloomsbury alight!"
Based on the synopsis, Long London tells "the story of the timeless shadow city full of magic and memory somewhere beyond the 'real London.'" This place beyond our conception of time is described as "a hugely inventive, atmospheric, mythical world of murder, magic and madness." Set across the 20th century, the plot kicks off in post-war London, circa 1949, and follows a collection of "writers, criminals, artists, and magicians through that familiar city and a version of London just beyond our knowledge."
It certainly sounds as though the books are going to lean into Moore's penchant for exploring lofty, metaphysical — and sometimes inscrutable — ideas that make the reader question their own existence and the very fabric of reality itself. One of his more recent projects, Avatar Press's Providence, was all about extra-dimensional places and entities.
“Alan Moore is one of the most inventive minds of our time," said Bloomsbury senior editor Daniel Loedel. "The stories in Illuminations are dazzlingly original and brimming with energy, and the Long London series promises to be epic and unforgettable, a tour-de-force of magic and history."
Illuminations, on the other hand, contains short stories with "some kind of illumination or realisation," teases the release, which priomises ghosts, otherworldly creatures, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and the Boltzmann brains fashioning the universe at the big bang. "Alan Moore's Illuminations is a series of beguiling and elegantly crafted tales that reveal the full power of imagination and magic."
Moore's agent, James Wills, said that the collection "blew my mind." He added: "I can think of no one better than Alan to write this truly astounding series, making, as he does, mundane things spectacular and fantastical things everyday."
"I’m not so interested in comics anymore, I don’t want anything to do with them," Moore admitted last October. "I had been doing comics for 40-something years when I finally retired. When I entered the comics industry, the big attraction was that this was a medium that was vulgar, it had been created to entertain working class people, particularly children. The way that the industry has changed, it’s ‘graphic novels’ now, it’s entirely priced for an audience of middle class people. I have nothing against middle class people, but it wasn’t meant to be a medium for middle aged hobbyists. It was meant to be a medium for people who haven’t got much money."