Top 4 Comics: Alan Moore

I don’t really like Alan Moore too much. Yeah, I get it, he wrote the Watchmen and other important works. The thing is-a lot of what I have tried never made me go forward or excited me to run out to try something else. I no longer care about Watchmen, I tried his Swamp Thing and it did not take, I couldn’t get into his Tom Strong. Over the last few years the interviews I’ve read from him has turned me off to going back trying his other important works. That said, the following are four works I do indeed like. In afct, #1 is an all time fave but the other 3 I will talk up.

#4. Promethea
w/JH Williams III
What It Is: Set in an alternate future, Prometeha is about one Sophie Bangs. She is a college student working on a paper about a character known as Promethea who pops up in literature and pop culture through the ages. In her research she seeks a woman named Barbara who is the current vessel for the power. The attack leads to Sophie taking on the mantle. Sophie learns more about Prometeha and magic while being pursued. Really though, its about Alan Moores philosophy on magic, mysticism and spirituality.
What it Means To Me: The artwork is what makes Prometeha stand out. JH Williams III work is masterful. From the covers to the interior. Along side inker Mick Gray and several colorist this one of the most well crafted pieces of art in all comic books. The book is so beautiful. Just wow. Moore’s story itself is interesting and I greatly enjoyed the first part of it and I like Sophie and her friends quite a bit. Later down the road but the middle-quite frankly, bored me. While I was not as interested in reading Moore’s perspectives on magic as I’m sure he was writing it-he did lay out scenarios that challenged Williams. So while the words and text do little in the Tree of Life/Kabbalah sequences its still amazing to look at. The infinity loop layout is still one of the most challenging pieces I’ve ever seen. I like the ending before the final issue which I don’t really remember but I think was more of an epilogue to what Moore did. It was a hard read that final one but the previous issue was for me a strong way to close. Promethea is one of the most beautiful comics ever.

#3. The Killing Joke
w/Brian Bolland
What It Is: The famous and controversial one-shot where Barbara Gordon gets paralyzed and we get a possible origin of Batmans most notorious villain-the Joker. A book that has been a major part of the Batman catalog.
What it Means To Me: I actually picked this and Whatever Happened to the man of Tomorrow? at the same time. I had read only a little Moore before this. So basically one of the reasons I don’t like Moore is that most everything after I read those two books felt weak in comparison. Alan Moore has since denounced the the book and you can kind of see why-he did the project for Bolland. The shooting of Barbara Gordon is one of the hot points and it seems the generation of future comic creators who grew up with his book and seem to want to replicate the the atmosphere that Moore and Bolland invoked. Most have failed. This is a dark book, its goosebumps inducing, and tragic for various reasons. Its a the kind of book where people who hate it recognize the talent involved. Bollands work is magnificent. I don’t like a lot of Batman comics but this is one that gets me each time.

#2. WildCATs
w/Travis Charest Matt Broome, various
What It Is: Alan Moore took on the original franchise players of Wildstorm comics for a ride. Sending the original team to their homeworld while Mr. Majestic and his daughter Savant (apparently unbeknownst to each other that they are related) form a new WildCATs on Earth to continue the teams legacy. The original team have to deal with a home that is far different then they left it millennia ago. Also Majestic and Savant works to create a team that works but they have problems.
What it Means To Me: I actually read one of the issues randomly years before reading the entire run. It focused on the teams arrival and featured a scene where Voodoo being separated from the team-like the others, but she gets put in the Daemonite slum. Her instant reaction is to attack them, unaware of their situation or hers as being part Daemonite. That scene resonated with me quite a bit even though I never followed through but when I heard about this collection I had to have it. Let me be clear, the ending of his run is a little rocky but the journey to it is intense. The stuff on Khera homeworld and watching zealot and Lord Emp manipulated in a political battle with one another which included an assassination plot as well as characters like Maul, Voodoo and Void finding this world too strange for them. seeing the racism and prejudice in the way they treat different classes. Mr. Majestic’s team is interesting with member Tao’s plotting or the craziness of Ladytron who is a stand out. This book is a favorite. Other than parts of the ending, which seem tied to some other Wildstorm events, there is also the inconsistency with the art but Travis Charest and some of the others are excellent. While this series never really explained any better what the WildCATs mission was, the characters struggles and the plotlines about deception are important to me.

#1. Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
w/Curt Swan
What It Is: The best damn Superman story I’ve ever read. Also one of the best damn comics I ever read. Its the last Superman story before DC’s first major reboot in the 80s.
What it Means To Me: I was always indifferent to Superman. I didn’t hate him, I just found him hard to follow. This was the Superman book that made me think about trying other book. The opening to the book gave me shivers before I even went in to it. Its a love letter to silver age Superman complete with all the main players and some of his classic villains. Having read dozens of silver age Superman comics later on it its even more effective thanks to Curt swan-widely regarded as the definitive Superman artist of the silver age era. He takes Moore’s script and gives it that classic polish, its brilliant. Swan is still one of the greats. The book tracks the last battle of Superman as he tried to protect his friends while fighting his most dangerous enemies and includes several deaths. just writing about it gets me. This is the reason I don’t like a lot of Alan Moore because I have never read a comic of his since this book that has made me feel like this did. Not even the Moore books I like came close. This is the Superman story I recommend to people who hate Superman. Its brilliant.

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About CM Towns

I like comics, wrestling, and other junk.
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2 Responses to Top 4 Comics: Alan Moore

  1. Lindsay says:

    Wow, thanks for this.

    I already loved Promethea, and had heard lots about Killing Joke, but had been afraid to try and read it myself because I’m totally new to the DC Universe and I was worried about not knowing what was going on.

    (I still think my #1 priority if I decide to branch out much into DC beyond Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Y: The Last Man and the Invisibles is going to be Wonder Woman, but I’ll keep Killing Joke and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow in mind too)

    • C. Towns says:

      Killing Joke is very good but the criticisms lobbied on it are definitely true. Whatever Happened is the definitive Superman story for me. When it coems to Wonder Woman start with Hiketea by Greg Rucka and JG Jones. WW is a very difficult property to get into because of the constant inconsistencies but that story is one of the best and if you like it you’d probably like Greg Ruckas actual run-if you can find it. DC’s done a poor job of keeping it in print but that happens to a lot of WW’s series.

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