Alan Moore’s 10 Most Underrated Comics

Alan Moore is easily one of the best writers to ever work in comics. Since the start of his career in the 1980s, he has succeeded in redefining not only the superhero genre, but the entire medium of comics as a whole, reestablishing various comic book conventions and developing a standard that every comic book writer would strive for.

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Moore’s accomplishments and influence in the comics industry are undeniable, with many of his titles, such as Watchers, V for Vendetta, and From hell, remaining among the best comics ever produced. Even his lesser-known titles, such as Providence, a little murder, and Purgatory Cinema, show Moore’s immeasurable talent for creating entertaining stories that captivate readers.


The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is one of Moore’s most ambitious projects. Intended to be an Avengers-like project set in Victorian England, Moore composes a harrowing thread of an adventure story that throws many pre-existing characters from literature, film, poetry and comics into his fictional world.

In several volumes, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen follows the titular League – made up of Bram Stoker’s Mina Harker, H. Rider Haggard’s Allan Quatermain, and Jules Vernes’ Captain Nemo, among others – battling fiction’s most notorious antagonists. It’s a unique and entertaining project that spans several decades, exploring how fiction and entertainment itself have changed over the years (from 1950s Cold War spy thriller to critical parody of Moore on the Harry Potter series).

Superman: What happened to the man of tomorrow?

What happened to the man of tomorrow?  - 10 Superman comics to read before Batman v Superman

Moore produced a number of stories for DC in the 1980s that re-examined some of the company’s most notable superheroes. In Batman: The Killing Joke, Moore provided one of the most famous potential storylines for the Joker, examining the Clown Prince of Crime’s love-hate relationship with Batman. In the second, Moore concluded the Silver Age Superman stories, imagining a story where Superman fights his most famous villains one last time.

In What happened to the man of tomorrow? Moore writes an incredibly powerful story about Superman as he prepares to meet his end, feeling like a dramatic precursor to Grant Morrison Superman All Star, which dealt with very similar issues regarding the mortality of Man of Steel. It was Moore’s work on stories like this that established him as a superhero deconstructionist, paving the way for writers like Tom King, considered the modern equivalent of Moore today.


A confused man stands in the middle of a leaf storm

As for Moore’s past work, Providence only serves as a small part of a larger picture, existing as a prequel/sequel to Moore’s earlier comics, The courtyard and Neonomicon.

Inspired by HP Lovecraft’s cosmic horror stories, Moore’s three tracks ask the question, “What if Lovecraft’s monsters were real and existed in today’s world?” In ProvidenceMoore transports readers back in time to the days of Lovecraft, following a gay writer locked up in New York searching for the legendary Book of the Dead, the Necromonicon. It’s a startling, otherworldly comic that’s an incredibly dark entry into Moore’s canon, but has garnered an incredibly positive response from readers.

Cinema Purgatory

Images of the covers of Cinema Purgatorio

One of Moore’s final comics he published before retiring from the medium in 2018, Cinema Purgatory examines the film’s subject matter in an anthology comic book format, with an overarching storyline set in an enigmatic, decrepit movie theater that exists in a dreamlike state.

Cinema Purgatory was a comedy anthology that also had the talents of Garth Ennis and Max Brooks behind it, but it’s Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s comics that are perhaps the most entertaining. In each issue, Moore analyzes various film genres (goofy comedy, Roman epic, western), interweaving real-life Hollywood scandals behind the scenes with fiction.

The Ballad of Halo Jones

Halo Jones by Alan Moore

In one of Moore’s earliest original comic strips, The Ballad of Halo Jones focuses on the life of the eponymous Jones, a woman living in the 50th century.

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Spanning three books, Halo Jones is considered one of the crowning achievements of 2000 AD, the editor responsible for publishing the story, and an early work that demonstrated Moore’s abilities as a writer. Not only did Moore co-create a fictional, futuristic third-dimensional world as seen in the series, but also established himself as a writer capable of producing comics with many tones and emotions, ranging from light comedy to the darker, more complex. raw emotion.

A little killing

Moore may be known for being the mind behind Watchmen or for delivering some of the biggest issues in Swamp Thing there, but when he does horror, he does incredibly Good. A little murder concerns the life of a successful advertising executive in 1980s England whose life is interrupted by the appearance of a strange child who seems to constantly follow him, causing the executive to question his whole life and all the choices he made leading him to where he is.

A little killing is an existential horror story where, rather than having monsters or knife-wielding lunatics stalking the main character, it instead forces the character to look inside themselves, to accept who is really in as a person and if his old childhood self would be proud of what he has accomplished.

Maxwell the magic cat

In his early days, Moore struggled to find work in the comics business, first making ends meet by working as a cartoonist for a Northampton newspaper and producing his own weekly comic strip, titled Maxwell the magic cat, as Jill de Ray.

Like much of Moore’s later work, Maxwell the magic cat never really read as a simple comic. Instead, Moore used the medium to experiment with form, producing cartoon that was often dark, but always smart with humor (often poking fun at the news of the time).

Nocturnal crow

Night crow image

A character that originally haunted the pages of Marvel UK Cartoon Hulk series, Moore’s work on Nocturnal crow illustrated his ability to rework and revitalize existing comic book characters that had fallen out of favor with readers (as Moore would do with his reexamination of miracle man and Swamp Thing).

Originally, Nocturnal crow appeared in a black-and-white comic book series set in the criminal underworld of Prohibition-era New York City and focusing on Night Raven, a vigilante who stamped his logo on criminals’ foreheads. At the time Moore took on the character, the comic book format was mostly prose, with Moore tweaking the character to resemble an unhinged, ageless madman who began punishing criminals with brutality and a increasing violence.


Still image of Alan Moore highlighted

Famously a self-proclaimed anarchist in his political beliefs, Moore always remained critical of government policies and agencies. In 1988, this animosity will result in his anthology comic strip in two parts, Highlighted, explore the influence that the US government (especially the CIA) has had on various countries around the world.

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Divided into two main stories, Highlighted is a well-researched history that explores America’s foreign policy initiatives, particularly as they relate to the Vietnam War, the Iran-Contra affair, and America’s relationship with several South American dictators. However, rather than being a research-based dry comic, Moore injects his signature experimentalism into the story, framing the first story, Shadowplay: The Secret Teamaround a drunken, anthropomorphic American eagle, which serves as the personification of the CIA.

fashion beast

fashion beast cover

Originally Moore’s comic strip, fashion beastwas based on a movie script he wrote that acted as a modern retelling of The beauty and the Beast, located in the fashion industry. In 2012, the script was converted into a comic, exploring the rags-to-riches story of a young coat checker who becomes the muse of a mysterious and reclusive fashion designer.

From the script alone, it’s hard to say whether fashion beast would have worked well as a movie. As a comic, however, it works ingeniously well, serving as a clever and complex exploration of the classic. The beauty and the Beast story.

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