Alan Moore, Idea Space, and Shadow X

Inspired Shadow X

During my last visit to the Deep (my local comic shop), I came across a copy of Previews (a catalog released by Diamond Distributors that have solicits of comics to be release two months ahead of time), and on that copy was an image of the Dark Horse Character X. My following comment was overheard by one of the clerks: “I had an idea a long time ago of a character that I wanted to create that looked exactly like this guy. It’s funny how every time I come up with something, there is already something out there just like it.” The clerk responded how that character had been around for nearly twenty years. I said how my character was slightly different, and that I had come up with him back when I was in middle school and I told him a little bit about my character: Shadow X.

Shadow X, was a demon hunter that I had created and messed around with late in middle school and early high school years. I still remember the first scene today, about where Shadow X, a batman-esque character, descends from the rooftops into a dark alleyway where some demons had cornered a defenseless woman. I wrote about how he moved like a ninja slicing the imp like demons with blades that protruded from a contraption he wore around his forearms. I would later develop mystical powers for him, and a suit of demonic armor that was symbiotically fused to him. It was a character that I had a great deal of fun with, and the character is still special to me because he was my first original character.

Sora from Dot Hack

In truth, the only similarities that my Shadow X had Dark Horse’s X, was the costume design. Other elements of the character were inspired by the likes of Batman, Spawn, Static, Naruto, and a character from Dot Hack Sign, known as Sora.

Coming back around to the clerk I was talking with, he told me about something Alan Moore had conceptualized. It was a space were all ideas existed in a sort of pre-existing forms, and that how all humans have access to it. Alan Moore sort of talks about how the human consciousness has mental houses in this idea space, but all ideas belong to everyone and as such they exist outside of our own mental consciousness (or houses). The ideas that we have for writing are often pulled from this “Idea Space” as Alan Moore dubbed it.

Image that inspired Xyber

It was a confusing concept that I still have not entirely wrapped my head around, but it was a rather interesting thing to hear about. It may just be simpler to sum this up as “There are no more original ideas.” Still in spite of this what sort of ideas have any of you visited the “Idea Space” and brought back with you into your “mental house” or even into our own material realm? Have any of you ever had an idea that you thought was really cool only to turn on the television or open a book to see your idea exist before you though it wasn’t you who realized the idea? I have had this happen several times. As a matter of fact, it happened again just recently. I wrote a story that I posted here on comic vine about an outcast named Xyber from a clan of nomadic space conquers called Xandarians. Xyber had a living suit of armor that adapted to his situation, and gave him strength to fight against powerful enemies. Like so many others, I’ve been watching Young Justice on Cartoon Network, and I’ve recently realized how similar my character Xyber is to Blue Beetle, and how the Xandarians are similar to The Reach.

This realization was a bit disturbing and disheartening, but regardless it still struck me as interesting to realize that another idea of mine had been already realized, but in a slightly different manner after learning of Alan Moore’s “Idea Space”. Though, I have no inclination to believe that the “Idea Space” is real it is still an interesting concept, and it makes me want to ask, have any of you had an idea that you thought was really cool, only to turn around and see your idea already exist on screen or on a page?

Posted by RazzaTazz

I am not sure that I agree with that.  I think this idea that "there is no such thing as an original idea" is nonsense.  Because there is no such thing as an original idea until someone creates it, and then it is emulated.  I think in terms of writing that it incorporates essentially three different parts all of which are required.  it requires, motivation/inspiration, technique and determination.  In this case the most important thing would be the motivation/inspiration.  To say that there are no original ideas steals that away from the writer to a degree.  Anyway, not to quote Neil Gaiman, but he said something along the lines of "there will always be a better writer, but not a "better writer of Neil Gaiman stories."  So even if there was a fixed idea pool (which there is not) then the manner in which every prospective artist takes the material from that pool make it unique.  Really though, there are such things as new and original material.  The problem is that there is a demand for entertainment, and artistic creation invariably goes that way, and so a lot of creation is geared towards appealing to the lowest common denominator.  That is why we keep getting nearly identical Transformers movies that some people still go to watch for some reason.  For those that wanted something else than Transformers movies though, they exist as well, but it requires looking farther than the very surface of pop culture.  So to sum up ... Alan Moore < Neil Gaiman.  

Posted by Delphic

@RazzaTazz: Well at the same time, Alan Moore thinks he's a warlock, but I don't think that makes him any less of a writer than Neil, though I truthfully prefer Neil's stories over Alan's. Still that wasn't entirely my point of this blog. I'm more so remarking on a paradox where sometimes a person/writer can run into a situation where they see something, and they realize that they had an idea for the same concept. Sort of like what happened in Tron Legacy when Sam Flynn tells his dad about Wi-Fi, and Kevin replies with: "I had that idea in 84".

Posted by RazzaTazz
@Delphic: Oh you wanted to highlight that part ... I think that is true to a point with any creation, but it is up to the artist to write something worthwhile and to make it their own.  Imagine for instance if Roddenberry had gotten the idea for Star Wars and Lucas for Star Trek, how different those worlds would look.  
Posted by kfhrfdu_89_76k

Plenty times. Most of the time though, I`m actually happy about it, `cause I wont have to use them, which relieves my stress. Which is almost non existent.

Sure, Idea space exists. It would be prepostorous to think otherwise. I actually thought that when a person dies, someone else inherits some of their ideas. Quite similar to Moores thought.

But, there`s something that speaks against idea space. The fact that many/most of the ideas that people get...aren`t original. Because, people like the same things. Besides of not only copying eachother, they have the same ideas all over again, because it`s natural to think of those same things all over again. Probably because peoples minds are connected. Maybe...there`s an...ideaspace!!!! Of course!


I guess that I wound up not speaking against the initial concept after all. Cool.

Posted by Reignmaker

Alan Moore is the XJ-BOMB 9000. That is all.