Alan Moore’s story in Cinema Purgatorio, “After Tombstone”, is pretty complex for the roughly 6 pages it takes to vivisect the gunfight at the OK Corral. I’m no expert on the subject, but I’m a lot closer now than I was a month ago, having spent a lot of time reading Wikipedia and watched the three main movies that Moore seems to be drawing on for this story … None of these four sources agree with each other about what was really going on. And then, the clearly unreliable narrator of Moore’s story has yet a fifth account.
It seems to me that what Moore is getting at here is not just the now-familiar concept that history is another kind of fiction. Rather, that fiction overwrites history, often repeatedly. History becomes palimpsest, a hologram of all the different versions refracting with each other at once. As Dave Sim once quoted Moore as saying, “All stories are true.”
It took longer than usual, and we’re still sweeping some rows, but basic annotations are up for all the stories in Cinema Purgatorio #7. Kudos to star annotator Alexx Kay for scouring several westerns to find so many references in Moore and O’Neill’s After Tombstone.
We expect that film buffs, gamers, Civil War historians and others can keep adding details. Look them over and let us know what we missed. All the annotations are found via the Annotations Index page.
In August 2016 Max Brooks was interviewed at The Nerdist podcast. He spoke for a bit about his Cinema Purgatorio creation A More Perfect Union, illustrated by Michael DiPascale. Listen to the whole interview if you want all the details (including ideas behind Brooks’ earlier Avatar Press title Extinction Parade), but here are a few things he mentioned that shed light on where Union is headed. (starting at minute 15)
We’ll start off with pop culture… Alan Moore wanted to put together an anthology of horror stories and he got together the awesome-est of the awesome-est. Garth Ennis, Kieron Gillen, Christos Gage. So he got together this awesome team, and then me.
I had a story I wanted to tell, but it wasn’t what I consider to be traditionally horror. When I think horror, I think dark alleys, and AAAAH! and suspense… and mine’s not. Mine is actually a throwback to the old 1950s movie Them!, which was one of my favorite movies of all time. The one thing Them! never did was have a giant ant battle. Because they couldn’t afford it. They could afford like three animatronic ants and that was it.
We’re still working on them, but we’ve got basic annotations up for all the stories (except Modded – coming soon!) in Cinema Purgatorio #6. We’re sure that film buffs, gamers, Civil War historians and others can keep adding details. Look them over and let us know what we missed. All the annotations are found via the Annotations Index page.
There is also a less date-certain preview announced by Alan Moore (starting at minute 2:30) on the episode of the Book Shambles podcast. Moore describes “My Fair Dahlia” – the story of the Black Dahlia murder told as a musical in verse in just six pages!
Moore also mentions Kevin O’Neill’s description of Cinema Purgatorio as not so much about horror films as about “the horror of film.”
We’ll pick up a copy of issue 6 this week, and get annotations up by this weekend. The Kevin O’Neill Marx Brothers cover is already annotated here.
As dyed-in-the-wool Alan Moore fans, I think that our Moore and O’Neill annotations are the most thorough. Others may be a bit spotty and await your insights via comments.
I am still looking for some partners to collaborate on these annotations. Especially wanted would be folks familiar with gaming (to round out Modded) and with the U.S. Civil War (to round out A More Perfect Union.) If you are interested, email me at linton.joe [at] gmail.com.