Alan Moore is arguably the best political-graphic novel writer and is praised by his critics as well as his peers. Some of his notable works include Watchmen, From Hell, Batman: The Killing Joke, The Ballad of Halo Jones, and V for Vendetta. Alan Moore will always be known for his masterpiece DC/Vertigo comic book, Watchmen (1986-1987). Watchmen offers an unparalleled and brilliant political commentary based around the superhero genre. Another brilliant work of Alan Moore is The Batman: The Killing Joke (DC Comics) where he showed us an origin story of the Joker.
Did you know Alan Moore sometimes used pseudonyms like Jill de Ray, Curt Vile, and Translucia Baboon? Alan Moore is not fond of the term, “comic” instead he uses the term “graphic novel” more. Alan Moore is also responsible for the development of a DC character, Swamp Thing and introduced one of the iconic heroes in DC Comics during his tenure writing the stories of Swamp Thing; John Constantine.
Alan Moore’s works were undoubtedly political and satirical. In January 11, 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Congresswoman, tweeted a quote from Alan Moore’s Watchmen! She tweeted the famous dialogue of Rorschach, “None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with you. You’re locked up in here with me.”
To quote Alan Moore: “None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with YOU. You're locked up in here with ME.” 🤣 https://t.co/8TCmKNJlkD
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 11, 2019
Watchmen: A Radically liberal story
Watchmen is a radically liberal story that was made palatable to the conservative comic readers by including a right-wing protagonist, Rorschach. Watchmen depicted the militarism of Regan-era and America’s progressive attitude. In Watchmen, the heroes or representative of feminist, civil rights movements, and counterculture were either turned Republican or were assassinated. Few superheroes gradually slipped into anarchy. Ozymandias believes that there are no super villains left to fight; the real threat was the United States’ power-hungry President, Richard Nixon. While the other superheroes go deep into the investigation of the Comedian’s murder, Ozymandias plots a scheme where he will save the world from the inevitable nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States. The political commentary continues to grow. Watchmen is a mature superhero story that was later adopted for a Hollywood movie direct by Zack Snyder. Alan Moore demanded that his name should be removed from the movie. Of course, with such a brilliant mature story, the movie became a masterpiece as well. Roger Ebert even declared Watchmen, the movie, as one of the best superhero movies ever made! Many observed that Watchmen emerged as a left-wing superhero story, but it was praised for its mature storytelling nevertheless.
Batman: The Killing Joke
Alan Moore is also famous for his one-shot graphic novel, Batman: The Killing Joke. The Killing Joke tells us about the Joker’s past and how he was a failed comedian and a family man but just “one bad day” transformed him completely. The story became so popular that its effects were included in the mainstream Batman storyline; like shooting Barbara Gordon and paralyzing her for life. Batman: The Killing Joke won the prestigious Eisner Award for the best graphic album in the year 1989.
Interestingly, The Killing Joke shows that the Joker and Batman are alike and are products of “one bad day.” The Killing Joke goes deeper and somehow proves that Batman is as insane as Joker.
IGN comics called Batman: The Killing Joke the greatest Joker story ever told. However, Alan Moore himself was not very impressed! In an interview in the year 2000, he said that he doesn’t think Batman: The Killing Joke is a very good book!
Alan Moore is undoubtedly the best political comic writer we have today. His works still touch the right chord and probably his greatest work, Watchmen, will remain to be one of the best superhero stories ever told.
In the year 2005, Watchmen became the first and only graphic novel that made it to the list of Time’s 100 best novels from 1923 to present.