To go along with my ten minute video, we have been advised to devise a script to go along with the range of videos and images that consist of our artist and photographer. It is an essential part of the video as it keeps the viewer entertained while also allowing them to gather a range of information. The methods that we have been recommended to use are Audacity Software, using a microphone and recording via a mac or pc and finally using a Dictaphone. I have decided for my audio I would record the script work on my dictaphone, and then take the mp3 files from that recording and then open it up with my video software, Pinnacle. It is also in this part that we have the choice to use music that is complimentary to our decade. Although my music choice is not of the 1980’s, after watching the film version of Alan Moore’s “Watchmen”, in which the opening credits contain the song “Times They Are A Changin'” by Bob Dylan, in time to the timeline of the story’s first generations “The Minute Men”. I felt that this song worked better with my video as it pays homage to the film adaptation, but also because it seemed to fit better with my caption of videos and pictures from this decade as it has a very nostalgic feel which brings that in to my video.
Below is my audio script for the video. It is split in two sections like the video timeline.
The 1980’s, a time of great social, economic and cultural change; and not just bad hair and fashion to those who remember it well. The idea of peace and love and the relaxed society attitude of its previous decades had long gone and the stigma of worry and uncertainty for the future began to linger in everyone’s mind. It was also during this time that this stigma would be inhabited in the themes of the uprising of Underground Comix. The themes that consisted in these underground comics influenced and eventually became part of the mainstream comics produced by writer and artist Alan Moore, the father of the original graphic novels.
Moore was born in 1953 in Northampton in to a poverty-stricken area where there was a sufficient lack of facilities along with poor sense of illiteracy. Reading books from the age of 5, it was inevitable that he would eventually begin reading comic strips from the works of Topper and The Beezer, and later reading the stereotypical American imports of Flash and Detective Comics. After passing his eleven plus, granting Moore to study in Northampton Grammer School, it became apparent to Moore that he was coming in to contact with people who were better educated, and of a higher class. Shocked that he has gone from being one of the top students in his primary school, to the lowest at secondary, Moore discarded his education, saying that he had “No interest in academic study”; and believing that education was designed as a “covert curriculum”. In the late 1960’s, Moore became interested in underground commix movement, and so started publishing his own fanzines, the most prominent was that of Embryo. It was also during this time that Moore began to experiment with drugs such as LSD, in which, he felt had a “profound effect “on him.
Early Work, 1978-1980:
During the late 70’s, Moore decided to both write and illustrate his comics. Already producing for several fanzines and magazines such as NME, thus securing a series called Roscoe Moscow in the music magazine Sounds; Moore began to publish strips under pseudonyms such as Curt Vile and Jill De Ray. It was also during this time that Moore made the life-changing decision to focus solely on comic scripts as opposed to both illustrating and writing, claiming that he “realised that I would never be able to draw well enough and/or quickly enough to actually make any kind of decent living as an artist.” Interested in working for 2000AD and Warrior Magazine, Britain’s prominent comic magazines at the time, Moore submitted a script for their highly successful story Judge Dredd. However, although Moore was never selected to write for this series, Editor Alan Grant saw promise in his work as so offered him to write for the series Future Shocks; a creepy and eerie collection of short stories. This was, unfortunately, not what Moore wanted to write initially, as he wanted a regular strip, for financial reasons. Looking back, Moore has since commented that this was “the best possible education that I could have had in how to construct a story.”
Over the next few years, Moore maintained his work as a freelance writer by working with a variety of companies such as Marvel UK and Warrior. It was during these years that comic books were becoming increasingly popular, which according to British author Lance Parkin “the British comic scene was cohering as never before. Comics were no longer just for very small boys: teenagers – even A-level and university students – were reading them now.” Meanwhile, Moore also became involved with the music scene, in which he founded the band The Sinister Ducks, in which he released the single “A vicious caberet”; a song that would later appear within the pages of his 1982 series v for vendetta; the story of a future dystopian Britain, where the fascist government controlled the country. Having chosen David Lloyd as illustrator, Moore was heavily influenced by his feelings of the conservative government for which perceived as a fascist state where sexual and ethnic minorities were eliminated. It is perceived as one of Moore’s best work.
Due to this, Moore was later approached by DC Comics, asking him to re-envision their at the time poor received monster comic “Swamp Thing”. The series addressed the social and environmental issues along with the horror and fantasy element of the comic. It was later received as a success both commercially and critically, which encouraged DC to evolve its more obscure stories.
Moore later went on to tackling even more social and political issues in his writing, examples of this can be seen in two-part story “Vigilante”, which contains themes of domestic abuse; along with the Batman story “The Killing Joke” which deals with forms of insanity. Although being identified as one of the writers that redefined this character, critics believed that this was a “rare example of a Moore story where the art is better than the writing.”
Moore further confronted these issues with his work on Watchmen, with the image of what society would be like had there been costumed heroes, who were eventually outlawed; the characters experience psychological hang-ups. Due to events and issues that were happening at the time, Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons created a mystery behind the Cold War where a nuclear war threatens the world. The cinematic approach to its storytelling and artwork, Watchmen is told from different points of view and shows symmetry as an early example of Moore’s interest in perception of time and free will.
Eventually, Moore’s relationship with DC began to become strained after many unsolved issues with profits and royalties regarding the promotion and sales of Watchmen. This finally resulted with Moore falling out with the publication over the proposed age-rating system of future comic books. After DC redistributed V for Vendetta, Moore stopped working for DC and mainstream companies for the rest of the 80s.
However, Moore was not the only artist during the 80s who was heavily influenced by the change that was happening around them. It was during this time that Johnny Stiletto made the decision to record the everyday happenings of life for the whole decade.
Although not much is said about Stiletto, as a result of his decision to remain anonymous, with the name “Stiletto” being his alias; which is the definite reason for why not only himself but the work he has produced holds a sense of mystery. His visual dairy started with the purchase of a 35mm film camera at the beginning of 1980. He then went on to using half a roll of film each day for the next decade, capturing everyday moments that interested him.
To accompany his work, Stiletto wrote about each photograph with much insight in to not only the shot itself, but the decade and personal ideas. He has since commented on his work saying that it was “A good way of recording social and historical milestones and the emotions of the time.” He was heavily influenced by European photographers such as Willy Ronis and Robert Doisneau in visual style and composition.
Stilettos pictures depict a time when London casted off its final remnants of post-war grey which you could still find at the time, to the beginning of what was to become modern London. Stiletto claimed that “There was a big political wrench in 1979 and this worked its way through the 80s,” and so felt compelled to photograph this change.
Looking at both artists’ work, it can be seen that there are many comparisons, mostly, when looking through the themes and compositions of both the photographs and the frames within the comics. Both artists were heavily influenced by the prominent change of society throughout the 80’s and decided to point out and record and even distort this change to their own liking. The cinematic approach to Moore’s artwork, especially in Watchmen, resonates and compares to that of Stilettos London street photography as they both show a setting of gloomy and uncertain attitudes to the change in their narratives. Although different mediums, these artists have shown that photography and comic books can collide occasionally.
As for the impact that their work has had on future generations, Moore has himself defined the term of graphic novel and has resulted in the comic book medium becoming part of mainstream pop-culture, and influencing many artists to mimic not just his style of storytelling, but also the style of illustration in his books. Stiletto has also remained a big influence, yet also remaining anonymous, as his work shows pure photojournalism, recording moments of life that would otherwise be lost