One constant over the past 17 years of MAGNET has been the music of Jason Noble. First with the post-hardcore Rodan, then the classically inclined Rachel’s, the post-rock Shipping News and the theatrically concerned Young Scamels, Noble has always been involved with projects that interested and challenged us. Noble has two new releases: a live Shipping News album, One Less Heartless To Fear (Karate Body/Noise Pollution), and the debut LP from the Young Scamels, Tempest (File 13). Unfortunately, creating music is hardly the main concern for Noble these days. The 39-year-old Louisville, Ky., native was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, 15 months ago and is currently battling the disease with the determination, positive energy and modesty he has always displayed in his two-decade musical career. MAGNET is proud to have Noble guest editing our website all week. Read our Q&A with him.
Noble: Alan Moore is an English author, philosopher, magician, comedian and seriously awesome human. He’s certainly one of the few household names in the comic-book world. (And to be honest, I’m kinda intimidated even trying to write about him.) Every moment of his work speaks to the creative fire in all of us—and speaks strongly for us to act more humanely, even if we happen to be a Lovercraftian beast with six arms that each has an ravenous reptilian mouth. Since his early work in the ’80s, he’s redefined the possibility of sequential art and storytelling (with legendary runs on Swamp Thing, Watchmen, V For Vendetta, From Hell) and is often credited with creating the mature audience/graphic-novel revolution (with the incredible Frank Miller). Oddly enough, labels are just about the worst thing to attempt with Alan Moore. At the peak of his commercial career, he dove into a serious exploration of magic, music, performance art and everything that the universe has to offer. Defying expectations, avoiding Hollywood’s hooks and daring to question the very nature of the comics business (which functions a lot like the music biz) has made his mythology grow. (Incidentally, our pal Todd Cook looks a lot like him, which is real nice on long road trips and somehow comforts me.) Comics have always been a serious part of his output, and the work he’s created in the last 10 years is as good or better than any preceding successes. In 1999, he collaborated with a team of very gifted artists to create America’s Best Comics, a creator-owned line that operates with wild and wonderful abandon. There’s not space to describe the depth of humor, melancholy and sheer excitement that they packed into their titles. Very few modern publishers have captured the joy and possibility of comics like they do. Oh yeah, he initially wrote every title in the multi-book line, often managing huge stylistic shifts and experiments. In particular, Promethea, Top Ten and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen are masterpieces of any genre. While the gooey caul of “guy who made comics dark and serious” has stuck with him, in truth, he actually tends to make stories of liberation, social satire and deep forgiveness. You can feel a strong belief in the power of creativity to defy petty despots and rule-makers. In Moore’s worlds, words are cherished and the disempowered are strengthened, often with the help of plants that can travel through space or pneumatic robots with bow-ties. The work he made early is his career was linked to free-wheeling counter culture (in great books like 2000 A.D.), and thankfully the man behind “mature” comics totally refuses to be a boring grown up. Novelist, shaman-like investigator, rock ‘n’ roller and friend to misunderstood monsters. Hell, yes! Check out Moore’s newest project. and visit Top Shelf Productions for updates and information on the forthcoming The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (with art by the awe-inspiring Kevin O’Neill). Here’s an excellent article about Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III Promethea by Douglas Wolk.
Video after the jump.