"In Magic Words Lance Parkin has crafted a biography that is insightful, scrupulously fair-minded and often very funny, a considerable achievement given its unrelentingly grim, unreasonable and annoying subject. Belongs on the bookshelf of any halfway decent criminal profiler." ALAN MOORE
For over three decades comics fans and creators have regarded Alan Moore as a titan of the form. With works such as V for Vendetta, Watchmen and From Hell, he has repeatedly staked out new territory, attracting literary plaudits and a mainstream audience far removed from his underground origins. His place in popular culture is now such that major Hollywood players vie to adapt his books for cinema.
Yet Moore's journey from the hippie Arts Labs of the 1970s to the bestseller lists was far from preordained. A principled eccentric, who has lived his whole life in one English town, he has been embroiled in fierce feuds with some of the entertainment industry's biggest corporations. And just when he could have made millions ploughing a golden rut he turned instead to performance art, writing erotica, and the occult.
Now, as Alan Moore hits sixty, it's time to go in search of this extraordinary gentleman, and follow the peculiar path taken by a writer quite unlike any other.
LANCE PARKIN is a British author, best known for writing fiction and reference books for television series, most notably Doctor Who. He is an Alan Moore completist, having followed the comics maestro's career since the 1970s, and in 2001 he wrote an acclaimed guide to Moore's work, which has since been updated and reissued. In addition to contributing pieces to magazines such as TV Zone, SFX and Doctor Who Magazine, he is also the co-author of Dark Matters, a guide to Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. He lives in the USA.
“This biography is a great success and by far the finest book on Moore in existence (not to mention that it’s probably the most beautiful hardcover I’ve ever seen) … Colloquial, smart and often funny, the book will appeal to multiple audiences — scholars, fans, and general readers who want to know about the Magus and his mediums.”
"A fascinating and comprehensive biography of one of the living masters of comic book writing... This is an essential book for any serious comics fan."
"Magic Words shines brightest when it aims its insight at Moore’s work. Parkin’s dissection of Moore’s vast oeuvre, the opuses and the marginalia, are penetrating and fresh, with plenty of cogent contextualization regarding the history of comics as it pertains to Moore, and vice versa. And his breakdown of Moore’s creative process is fascinating in both its detail and its eerie quietude."
"**** A surprisingly balanced biography that through carefully deployed new and archival interviews doesn’t always find Moore on the right side of the argument. Lovingly presented with a glistening spot UV cover and black-cornered pages, it’s an essential primer for even the most casual comic-book fan."
"Beautifully researched, written and designed, Parkin's book is the perfect Christmas present for the comic book lover in your life, even if that lover is yourself."
"Amusingly written, sharp in its analysis of Moore’s work."
"A wonderful piece of work for Alan Moore aficionados that also doubles as a fascinating introduction of the man, myth, and legend for those somehow unfamiliar with the subject. It’s inevitable that more Moore books will be published and perhaps future tomes will be more intriguing or balanced, but for now this is the finest study of Alan Moore’s life and work currently on the market."
"A fantastic history of one of our finest writers."
"I'd suggest taking this book in one day at a time, really soaking up all of the information here ... because it truly is a lot. This is one of the most insightful, in depth biographies I've ever read."
"The real story behind Britain's most influential writer. No, not JK Rowling, but Alan Moore, the man who created V is for Vendetta, From Hell and Halo. Lance Parkin's biography will have you running to read them again."
"Lance Parkin is witty and informed. He is a devotee of Moore's work, but not uncritical. He's also happy to point out his protagonist's contradictions. You come away with an understanding of Moore the artist, but his day-to day life remains discreetly hidden. Just, you suspect, as Moore likes it."
"In Magic Words Lance Parkin has crafted a biography that is insightful, scrupulously fair-minded and often very funny, a considerable achievement given its unrelentingly grim, unreasonable and annoying subject. Belongs on the bookshelf of any halfway decent criminal profiler."
"A fascinating and even-handed look at Moore’s life… Parkin’s gift for… pattern recognition elevates his book from a by-the-numbers account into an altogether more satisfying examination of Moore’s life and remarkable body of work, as well as the changing business of comics over the last four decades."
"Magic Words is a book that manages to cater to all the different levels of the Moore fandom, whilst remaining simple and easy enough to read if you have never even heard of him. It is a biography that can be critical on occasion and at least once downright heartbreaking, but it is a fantastic and fitting portrait of a man who may, or may not be one of the greatest living comics writers of our time."
"While Parkin is obviously a fan with an exhaustive knowledge of Moore’s life and work, he doesn’t allow his fanboy nature to blind him to the more abrasive and inexplicable actions and statements of his subject. He asks what we’re to make of Moore’s claims of magic, his sometimes baffling contrariness, and most tellingly, is it possible that the joke is on Moore’s most loyal and ardent fans? These valuable questions take Parkin’s book beyond casual biography and into much more challenging and worthwhile territory."
“Superbly researched and lucidly argued, Magic Words encourages the reader to step back from the gallery of supposedly Manichean controversies and ossified preconceptions. With a determination to focus on the light rather than the heat of things, Parkin lends many of the most apparently unchallengeable aspects of Moore's career a new perspective… the portrait of its subject that emerges is enticingly fresh and repeatedly contrary to received wisdom… the disconnected expressions of genius and bloodymindedness are reframed as the product of one fascinating individual and his fiercely held principles and aspirations. It's a well-played accomplishment that makes Parkin's smart-minded analysis of Moore's work all the more compelling… I can only suggest that you drop everything and search out a copy of 'Magic Words' right now.”
"May Moore live long and prosper and may many thousands of fans buy Lance Parkin’s excellent biography and find out more about what makes him tick."
"The best study of Moore we have so far … valuable for anyone interested in keeping up with one of the geniuses working in fantastic literature."
"A brave attempt to get to grips with one of the titans of modern pop culture... readers are sure to love the chapters about the creation of those dazzling early masterpieces"
"It is completist, and yet it never once approaches being overbearing. It is a book that deserves its level of introspection and intimacy with its subject... Parkin shows consummate knowledge of his subject, and the end result of it all is that you do see how vital to modern publishing Moore is, and therefore how essential this book is to everyone vaguely interested in comics... Brilliant."
"Magic Words is a highly readable biography, never becoming too embedded in its comic book history elements to alienate the reader who isn’t interested in its minutiae, but still providing plenty of food for thought."
"A remarkably lavish thing, with black-tipped pages, a purple spine, inset illustrations, cartoons, and photos... This is quite literally the book that fans have been starving for over the course of decades to take its place alongside the more art-based books and interview collections that have appeared in recent years. Here you have a book that places Moore alongside other great cultural movers and shakers well beyond the sphere of comics and it’s an excellent resource for gaining a wider understanding of the man and his work."