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Dawe, Ian: "The Moore film adaptations and the erotic-grotesque." In: Studies in Comics 2.1 (2011), S. 177–193.
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Dawe2011a
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Keywords: "From Hell", "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", Adaption, Bachtin. Michail M., Campbell. Eddie, Comic-Verfilmung, Großbritannien, Kriminalcomics, Moore. Alan, O’Neill. Kevin, Sexualität
Collection: Studies in Comics
The grotesque, a staple of the comic book vernacular is a defining characteristic of Alan Moore’s graphic literature. Moore’s work often transcends the traditional grotesque and blends this aesthetic with erotic elements, evoking the subversive spirit of the carnival, foregrounding bodily transformation, deformation and the connection between interior bodily functions and the external world. Bakhtin describes this ‘festival of the body’ as essential to an understanding of the literary and artistic carnivalesque. Moore’s literary take on the erotic-grotesque adds resonance to some of his central themes such as invisible connections between class, gender, social groups and moral opposites. His artistic collaborators have expressed this effectively throughout Moore’s literary oeuvre. Unfortunately, the film adaptations of Moore’s work tend to de-emphasize this critical aspect. I assert that the artistic success or failure of the Moore film adaptations rest to a large extent on the degree to which they grapple with the erotic-grotesque. From Hell (2001), which I argue is the most successful cinematic adaptation of Moore’s literature in these terms, retains the essence of Moore’s eroticgrotesque sensibilities even while altering much of the principal narrative and themes. By contrast, the film adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) also alters the narrative and characterization to a great extent, but also removes much of the novel’s sense of the erotic-grotesque. This omission, I argue, is the key element that leads to the film’s relative artistic failure. A truly satisfying cinematic adaptation of a Moore novel, therefore, must embrace this key element of his literature.
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