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.”
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!
Alan Moore, from an interview at the The Odditorium Tent at the Brighton Festival earlier this year (starting at about 21:30):
I’ll be finishing off Cinema Purgatorio, incidentally which is great – the fun that Kevin and I are having with that. We don’t really settle in until issue three. The first two are OK, but the third one that’s really really good. They kind of get better.
Cinema Purgatorio #1 is due in comic stores tomorrow – Wednesday May 4. Because we already received the electronic version via pledging Kickstarter, basic annotations for the Cinema Purgatorio #1 Kevin O’Neill and Alan Moore story “The Fatal Officers in ‘Hushed Up!’” are posted here. We’ve also annotations posted for the Raulo Caceres and Garth Ennis Code Pru “prulogue” issues here. We’re still finishing the other stories. Find all the Purgatorio #1 materials here, or get all the annotations via our big complicated overall annotations index page. We’ve set things up so that each story gets its very own page.
Updated: basic annotations up for all five stories in CP#1.
If we missed anything or got things wrong, let us know in the comments!
You watched Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkin’s Cinema Purgatorio video. You got out your credit card and pledged Kickstarter. You may have even seen more Mitch Jenkins photos and read about London Super Comic Con advance copies. Maybe you saw one on eBay. Now you’re thinking “when will my Cinema Purgatorio arrive?!?
According to Kickstarter, digital copies will go out on April 15th, and paper copies will be mailed around the same time.
Cinema Purgatorio #1 is due in comic shops in May.
Cinema Purgatorio #2 is due out in June.
It won’t be long, it just seems long.
Alan Moore on Cinema Purgatorio, from the Kickstarter promotional material:
In a world of used ideas spun out into unending single-premise sagas and told in full cyber-enhanced Technicolor, unapologetically we offer up CINEMA PURGATORIO, a black and white horror anthology which reaches for something both new and startling beyond the endlessly recycled characters and concepts of the 60s and the 70s. An anthology, to let its authors exercise the discipline and the invention that only short stories can provide – and out of which the vast majority of today’s memorable franchises were created – and black and white in order to impose that selfsame discipline upon its artists by removing the alluring camouflage of colour and requiring the same values that the classic comic illustrators made their byword. Why shouldn’t the 21st century enjoy the craft and quality that the E.C. and Warren luminaries managed, but with an originality and freshness born entirely of our anxious present and uncertain future? Why shouldn’t the world once more have horror stories which compel their audience to tremulously tell themselves “It’s just a movie; just a film”?
CINEMA PURGATORIO is an unholy resurrection of the backstreet bug-hutches and fleapits practicing their eerie silver mesmerism on our post-war predecessors, drenched in atmosphere and other less identifiable decoctions. The threadbare arenas to a generation’s adolescent fumblings and upholstery-slashing rage alike, these peeling Deco temples were the haunted, flickering spaces where were bred the dreads and the desires of those Macmillan days; Eisenhower nights. Varnished with blood and Brylcreem, in our razor-collared cutting edge collection we restore the broken-bulb emporiums where, in the creaking backseats, modern terror and monstrosity were shamelessly conceived. In our worn aisles and glossy pages the most individual and inventive talents in contemporary comics are delivering a landmark midnight matinee in monochrome, intent on pushing both the genre and the medium beyond their stagnant formulas and into shapes that suit the unique shadows and disquiets of our present moment.
Take your curling ticket from the withered and embittered woman in the booth, regard uneasily the lobby cards for movies recalled vaguely from a clammy dream, then, if you dare, follow the failing flashlight-puddle of the usherette on down into a different kind of dark.