Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy 58th Birthday, Alan Moore!

Alan Moore is an English writer well known for a long and distinguished career making comics and graphic novels. He began his career writing stories for British publications such as 2000 AD and Warrior, while also contributing to Marvel UK. In the early 1980s he was recruited as a writer for DC Comics. While there, he wrote back-up stories for Green Lantern and was assigned to write the Saga of the Swamp Thing. His run on the title revolutionized the comics marketplace. He revived the character and took him in new directions of horror and drama prior unseen in mainstream comics. Stories aimed at more mature readers became more common. His strong work led to an influx of other British writers, creating a phenomenon known as the British Invasion. Additionally, he created memorable and successful characters like John Constantine and set a foundation for DC's highly successful Vertigo imprint.

Moore has always had a penchant for creating imaginative and sturdy fictional concepts. Some developed during his Captain Britain run at Marvel UK greatly influenced Marvel Comics in the US, providing concepts and characters, such as Betsy Braddock who became Psylocke, that appeared in many X-Men books. He also brought the fictional conceit of parallel universes to Marvel and established its main universe as Earth-616. At DC, stories that appear in minor back-up stories still exert an influence on major crossovers and storylines more than 20 years later.

Many of his most influential works were created in the 1980s including Watchmen, regarded by many to be the best graphic novel, Miracleman, considered by many to be the ultimate superhero narrative, and V for Vendetta, a dystopian future story of rebellion in the vein of Orwell's 1984. But his remarkable oeuvre also includes works such as The Killing Joke, From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the America's Best Comics (ABC) titles Tom Strong and Promethea. More recently, he has been working on pastiches of classic works, such as the erotic fantasy story Lost Girls (in collaboration with his wife, artist Melinda Gebbie) and the Lovecraftian Neonomicon.

Alan Moore has been perceived as difficult or arcane to some, and has had publicized feuds over the years with many comics companies over the rights and uses of his works, including Watchmen and the ABC line of comics. He also gained notoriety for his abhoration of the big budget movie adaptations of his works and refuses to include his name in any of the credits. Nor does he collect the royalties from these motion pictures.

Alan Moore has won almost every award that can be awarded in the field of comics, as well as some that are not typically offered to the medium. Among the latter of these is the Hugo Award he won for Watchmen as well as its inclusion on the Time Magazine All-Time 100 Novels list.

His work has become so widespread that he also has had the distinction of appearing on The Simpsons. Apparently whenever he gets upset at the corporate misappropriation of his works...

...he can only be soothed by Little Lulu comics.

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