Two years after announcing that he had retired from comics, Alan Moore, the illustrious author of Watchmen and V for Vendetta, has signed a six-figure deal for a “groundbreaking” five-volume fantasy series as well as a “momentous” collection of short stories.
Bloomsbury, home to the Harry Potter novels, acquired what it described as two “major” projects from the 67-year-old. The first, Illuminations, is a short story collection which will be published in autumn 2022 and which moves from the four horsemen of the apocalypse to the “Boltzmann brains” fashioning the universe. Bloomsbury said it was “dazzlingly original and brimming with energy”, promising a series of “beguiling and elegantly crafted tales that reveal the full power of imagination and magic”.
The second acquisition is a fantasy quintet titled Long London, which will launch in 2024. The series will move from the “shell-shocked and unravelled” London of 1949 to “a version of London just beyond our knowledge”, encompassing murder, magic and madness. Bloomsbury said it “promises to be epic and unforgettable, a tour-de-force of magic and history”.
“Alan Moore is simply a legend and it has been such a pleasure to listen to him talk about his ambitious Long London series as well as discovering the range of his shorter fiction,” said Bloomsbury editor-in-chief Paul Baggaley. “These projects have set Bloomsbury alight.”
Moore stopped writing comics in 2019, leaving behind him a roster of work including The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, his influential Batman comic The Killing Joke, and From Hell. In 2016, he published the 1,000-plus page novel Jerusalem, about his home town of Northampton, with comics publisher Knockabout. “There is much here that is magnificent,” wrote the Guardian at the time. “Somewhere in this sprawling behemoth, this teeming leviathan, this pythonic mammoth of a novel there is a very good – even visionary – book struggling to get out.”
Speaking about his book deal, Moore said that he was at a moment in his career when he was “bursting with fiction, bursting with prose”.
“I couldn’t be happier with the new home that I’ve found at Bloomsbury: a near-legendary independent publisher with a spectacular list and a fierce commitment to expanding the empire of the word,” said Moore. “I have a feeling this will be a very productive partnership.”
• This article was amended on 5 May 2021 to correct a reference to Moore’s novel Jerusalem, which was his second novel, not his first.