Even if you don’t know who Alan Moore is, you have probably heard of one of his graphic novels. Some of his best works were adapted for the screen!
He is canon amongst comic book fans and graphic novel enthusiasts though his works are by no means light-hearted reads. The stories are sometimes horrifying, yet so intensely compelling that you can’t put it down.
His books are full of incredible insights about ourselves, our nature, and our shared histories and myths. If you’re not careful, Alan Moore could turn your world-view inside out. The postmodern blur between good and evil are present in all of his works, and lovers of noir will also be satisfied by the tone of his books.
Take a look at some of his most famous and compelling works
1. Batman: The Killing Joke
This is what happens when Alan Moore grabs a hold of the Batman mythos. It’s a classic Batman vs. The Joker story full of brutal and abject violence.
The Killing Joke is the ultimate story of the strange covenant between The Joker and Batman. It’s also a study in madness exploring the lines between hero and villain, sanity and insanity.
From Arkham Asylum to the streets of Gotham, this is an incredible origin story for the most famous batman villain in history. As The Joker tries to expose people for who they could be under the surface, Alan Moore reminds us that perhaps we are just one hairsbreadth away from madness ourselves.
The only graphic novel to be featured on the Time Magazine’s’ Top 100 Books and considered by many to be the best superhero comic book ever, Watchmen is an absolute must read.
Watchmen is a postmodern look at subjectivity and morality set in an alternate timeline of the mid-eighties and at the height of a cold war. Nixon is still president and the Vietnam war was decidedly won by the USA thanks to Dr Manhattan, the story’s only ‘real’ superhero with god-like powers. At its core, the story is about a broken up group of ex-vigilantes that have to solve the mystery of why one of their own was murdered.
Fighting the basic good vs. evil dichotomy that rules the comic book genre, Alan Moore’s masterpiece has come to define the genre itself.
3. V For Vendetta
A story that shows us the importance of political rights and freedoms and how light our grasp is on our own individuality.
Almost a post-apocalyptic story taking place in England after a war that shattered the globe, a masked hero (or terrorist) stands up and fights those who oppress him.
This was made into a popular movie and it’s the only Alan Moore movie adaptation to achieve great success, although the film lacks the bite of anarchy that the novel has.
4. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a kind of literary dream come true. In secret, a team of outcasts with extraordinary abilities are assembled to be her majesty’s only hope against insurmountable danger. Alan Moore pulls characters from other famous works and brings them together in a fictionalized turn of the century Europe.
This is the a steampunk noir take on historical fiction. Ripe with commentary about colonialism and Victorian attitudes of gender and sexuality that we see the remnants of today.
5. From Hell
Another work that is a mashup of noir and historical fiction, From Hell is a story about Jack The Ripper and follows him as the main character as he goes on a vicious murder spree. Following the flawed protagonist, this is a trippy story that has themes of the occult and supernatural.
Psychologically challenging to read, this well-researched graphic novel is an intriguing story and a great for those who want an intro to Alan Moore.
Which graphic novel are you most ecstatic to get your hands on?
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