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‘Disgrace and shame’: Alan Moore points to Boris Johnson in Grenfell fire comic

Moore has briefly come out of retirement to contribute to a new anthology raising money for PTSD support for survivors

Comics legend Alan Moore, who announced he was pretty much done with the medium two years ago, is making a brief foray out of retirement to point an excoriating finger at Boris Johnson over the Grenfell Tower fire.

Moore, the author of the seminal graphic novels Watchmen and V for Vendetta, is one of 24 contributors to a forthcoming comic anthology, 24 Panels, which is designed to raise money for those affected by the fire that broke out in Londons 24-storey Grenfell Tower last year, killing 72 people. An illustrated poem, his comic, If Einsteins Right , touches on fragmentary moments from different lives and features a mug-shot image of Boris Johnson.

That same year a Bullingdon club clown / swears that hell leave fire services alone, / Then, three years later, cuts them to the bone, / Says, Get stuffed as ten stations are closed down, writes Moore. And twenty-seven engines fade from view. / He also shall endure forevermore. / His treacheries caught in times amber, for / Disgrace and shame are both eternal, too.

Kieron Gillen, the Eisner award-nominated curator of the project, called the contribution, which is illustrated by Moores wife Melinda Gebbie, one of the most politically charged pieces in the book.

Obviously having a contribution from Alan and Melinda is a huge deal, said Gillen. Its essentially an illustrated poem which is about trying to offer comfort to those who need it, and a controlled and precise anger at the establishment.

24 Panels is, according to Gillen, a spiritual sequel to 24 Stories, the short story collection put together earlier this year by the actor Kathy Burke, which featured contributions from writers including AL Kennedy and Irvine Welsh. Like 24 Stories, all proceeds will go the Trauma Response Network, which works to support PTSD survivors, especially those affected by Grenfell.

It didnt just end there. With such a huge disaster, theres a very long tail emotionally, said Gillen. The thing about a disaster like Grenfell is we see the images and we are very aware of the enormous immediate physical harm. What we dont often think about is the shadow, as in how long it lasts, how people live with it for ever. Thats why the work of people like the Trauma Response Network is so important and needs to be funded.

Cover
Cover of 24 Panels, an anthology comic in support of Grenfell Tower survivors. Photograph: Image Comics

Like 24 Stories, 24 Panels features 12 works drawn from open submissions, and 12 from well-known comic writers and illustrators who volunteered their time. Alongside Moore and Gebbies story, the anthology will feature contributions from Laurie Penny, Paul Cornell, Dilraj Mann, Antony Johnston and Alex de Campi, among others. Published by Image Comics on 21 November, its stories are intended to promote hope, community, positivity and unity, according to organisers, with each submission no longer than 24 panels.

Like poetry its quite interesting to write to a set of rules it gives you a limited canvas to write or paint on, said Gillen. These works are powerful but not saccharine Its an anthology in support [of] a traumatised society, so there is a limit [to] how dark you would want to go. It cant be triggering. It has a theme of what trauma does, how its survived, how community works and generally hope. Theres stories that are intensely moving, but even so, theyre intensely life-affirming. Its as varied as London itself.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/aug/20/disgrace-and-shame-alan-moore-points-to-boris-johnson-in-grenfell-fire-comic

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