And I said, look, all you need to know about capes and masks in American superhero comics can be learned by a close viewing of D. W. Griffith's 'Birth of a Nation'. Because I genuinely believe that, that that is where it all comes from. We don't have a tradition of masked heroes really anywhere else in the world apart from America. I mean, Guy Fawkes, who the 'V for Vendetta' mask is based upon, that wasn't a mask, that was his face. It's like, Robin Hood. That was his name. He wasn't wearing a mask. But I think that there is something that possibly dates back to those… the Ku Klux Klan intervention in 'Birth of a Nation', the idea of dressing up in a mask, so that what you do doesn't get back to you.
Comparing the superheros to the clansman, is a very clever statement that nobody will take at face value. I dont think Moore even believe it to be true, he just like the idea that the origin of superheroes are anonymous antiheroes.
Superheroes exist in all culture, not just in America. I believe it to be as old as writing. The 1st occurrence to me, is the Calif changing appearance to solve problem in Bagdad, in the Arabians nights.
More close to me is in 1786, the "Nocturnal Spectator" where Retif de la Bretonne (the eternal enemy of the Marquis de Sade... both pervert in their own right ), where Retif walk though Paris with a mask, want to be called "the Owl" or the titular "nocturnal spectator", and relate what it sees, and prevent crime.
For me it is the 1st true superheroes book. And a surprisingly easy/fun read for a book from that time period
Anyway, I loved all of Moore comics books ("From Hell" being my favorite), while I usually dont like comics books. I think I read 1 or 2 real books from him , and was utterly disappointed. I wish, he still wrote for comics