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Can comics save the world? Alan Moore thinks so. And that’s good enough for me

by Francois Boshoff - June, 2021

Can Comics Save the World? Text Overlaid on image of Alan Moore

‘Captain Planet! Saving the world from Blight, Greed and Sludge!’

Hitting our screens in 1992, sporting a bright green mini-mullet, blue skin and intense dislike for eco-villains (or coherent plot lines), Captain Planet was born out of a surge of environmental activism, brought on by the global warming statistics which emerged at the time. Ethical impact? Sure. In the sense that the Captain would literally punch, drown, zap or just casually hurl enemies into outer space.

Full disclosure – can’t say I was ever a huge Captain Planet fan. Comics and cartoons have always taken up a massive chunk of my life, but in the 90s I was way more interested in watching Judge Dredd slowly blast his way through the mutie-infested Cursed Earth. Or Jesse Custer set fire to his wicked Grandma’s oxygen tank (R.I.P Madame L’Angelle) than to bother following the Captain’s challenge of convincing kids that littering wasn’t cool. Which it isn’t, (so don’t litter kids).

But desperate times call for desperate measures.

Captain Planet may not have been everybody’s cup of tea, but Ted Turner was right about one thing. By using creative mediums, (and it’s fair to argue that no other medium has evolved as much as comics), we can do a lot to collectively create, and nurture a generation that care about protecting the living beings we share the planet with. Which makes for a nice segue to unashamedly gush about the project we’re currently involved in. A partnership alongside the World Land Trust and a host of others.

‘Rewriting Extinction’ may just be the most important comic book ever.

The brainchild of Emmy-nominated writer, producer, inventor, innovator, environmentalist, and all-round hugely talented (yet humble) Paul Goodenough, ‘Rewriting Extinction’ is a first of its kind. A cross-charity comic book campaign which doesn’t focus on the sometimes expensive (and often not that successful) practice of saving single species from extinction. But rather in restoring natural ecologies, food chains and systems that our actions have destroyed, thereby allowing species to save themselves. Involving several beneficiaries, including Greenpeace, Born Free and Reserva, and over twenty partner orgs (including the U.N. ‘Project Everyone’, Jane Goodall Institute, and Extinction Rebellion), celebrities – the likes of Ian McKellen, Ricky Gervais, and Cara Delevingne, as well as a list of… no other way to say it. Comic book Gods.

If you’d told my 12-year-old self that at some time in the distant future I’d be working on a job (any job) alongside the likes of Alan Moore, Garth Ennis or Mark Buckingham – you’d have done my head in. Which is why I’m very happy, and very humbled to play a small part in the company of some of the world’s most inspiring artists, authors, poets, cartoonists, screenwriters, and environmentalists in helping tell powerful tales in comic book form that inspire urgency, hope and more than anything – positive action, that anyone can take around the very real threat of species extinction.

Check out Rewriting Extinction here.