The bedraggled captain of Tales Of The Black Freighter that runs through the book is a mirror for Adrian Veidt, but touches thematically on all the characters.
Alan Moore: It was there because it provides another layer that you can use to bounce off meanings against each other. That’s one thing. It’s also that various elements in the pirate story relate, or seem to relate, to what’s happening in that issue.
When you get right to the end of the story, in No 12 is becomes very clear that the story was about Veidt all the time, that the mariner is Veidt. Just that bit where he says at the end, “I know people think me callous, but I’ve made myself feel every death; by day I imagine endless faces, by night I dream about swimming towards a.." Well, I won’t tell you, it’s not significant." What is significant is this: "that I know I’ve struggled across the backs of murdered innocents to save humanity.”
The comic’s big conspiracy story shares plot ideas with an episode of The Outer Limits. But it wasn’t designed that way…
Alan Moore: Around issue 10, I came across a guide to cult television. There was an Outer Limits episode called 'The Architects Of Fear.' I thought: “Wow. That's a bit close to our story.” In the last issue, we have a TV promoting that Outer Limits episode — a belated nod.