Moore stated that he suspected he'd been asked to do a talk over the superficial similarities some people see between Blake's work and that often featured in comic books. Any other similarities Moore dismissed citing Blake's artistic intent and life experiences, placing all comic book creators below him. Moore would only allow two comic creators to be compared to Blake, Jack Kirby and Al Schroeder. The former, for his simple bold romantic religious strokes in both art, theme and story, and the latter for his eventual belief that Superman existed in a very real sense.
Moore's comparison of Jack Kirby to William Blake is a well-deserved compliment, one feels, to both men and does a lot to confirm my generally high opinion of Moore's artistic judgement. But the other name in that equation caught my eye. I knew the name Al Schroeder from my early days in comics fandom as another member of the amorphous mob of comics fans through which I circulated. I don't know that I ever met him, but I know he was active in fandom at the same time I was just beginning to discover that scene...and he wasn't the person Moore was talking about.
I dropped Johnston a line pointing out that Moore must in fact have been referring to Alvin Schwartz, one of the classic Superman writers and more recently author of the exceptional memoir An Unlikely Prophet: Revelations on the Path Without Form which explores Tibetan mysticism by means of (imaginary?) conversations between Schwartz and a tulpa in the form of Superman himself. The book was dedicated to an old friend of mine, the late Richard H. Morrissey, and I'd like to think he'd have been pleased that I was writing in his memory to make sure his pal Alvin Schwartz got the appropriate credit.
Anyway, the column was amended within a couple of hours; I don't know if it was my message or a note from someone else that prompted Johnston to make the correction...but it felt better to see Schwartz given his due.
In this week's edition of Johnston's column, I see the following:
Alvin Schwartz, known most for his Superman work in the 1940s, got in touch by e-mail. Seems the book that Moore cited, "An Unlikely Prophet" is getting a reprint shortly and Schwartz has written a sequel for publication later in the year. Schwartz asked me to put him in touch with Moore, which I've done. Who knows what the two will cook up together?
"An Unlikely Prophet" is an essential text for anyone interested in the history of American comics, the principles behind fiction and many of the themes Alan Moore has been exploring of late. Consider it "Kavalier & Clay" meets the Superboy from Earth Prime.
So it's possible, though I grant by no means definite, that my note to Rich Johnston played a role in getting Alan Moore in touch with a legendary comics writer who Moore has compared to William Blake. Whether it was me or someone else writing in with the same correction, the moral is clear either way: obsessively reading blogs and online columns and writing in with pedantic corrections of obscure errors can make good things happen and increase the sum total of goodness in the world. And I feel very good indeed about that.