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!