With a career in comic books spanning over 35 years Alan Moore is most commonly known as the author of Watchman, V for Vendetta and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Many comic-lovers can attribute something of their love of comics to Moore’s work in particular; his decision to withdraw from writing comics comes as a massive loss to fans of the genre and literary lovers generally. Moore’s personal eccentricities, artistic brilliance and crucial role in developing comics from something read almost exclusively by young children into an artistic medium enjoyed by adults worldwide, make him a renowned character in the literary world.

Moore’s work appeals en masse due to its controversial subject matter, attention to artistic structure and social commentary: note his criticism of the Thatcher government and discussion of political anarchism in V for Vendetta and the non-linear narrative, recurring imagery and deconstruction of the Hero archetype in Watchmen.

If you are unfamiliar with Moore’s work the critical acclaim Watchmen received as a result of its different take on the superhero genre, its use of symbols and imagery and the structural differences from the standard comic layout, demonstrated the artistic capacity of comic strips in a revolutionary way; bringing graphic novels as an artistic medium into the public consciousness. Widely regarded as Moore’s most significant work, Watchmen received not only comic-specific awards but a Hugo award in the category of Other Forms, which was created for that year only, and is the only graphic novel to make it into Time’s "The 100 Best Novels from 1923 to the Present" list. As a result, Watchmen has been crucial in cementing Moore’s status as a great literary figure not just within the comic-reading community but to those who had never otherwise read comics. Watchmen as Literature and Considering Watchmen both provide a scholarly analysis of Watchmen as political and social commentary, its influence on later works and the relationship between images and writing within the work.

V for Vendetta Watchmen as Literature Sexual Ideology
Considering Watchmen Alan Moore Alan Moore Conversations


Similarly popular, the success of V for Vendetta further demonstrates the wide-ranging influence of Moore’s works on culture and society, with the Guy Fawkes mask depicted in V for Vendetta becoming a symbol for the hacktivist group Anonymous and other protest groups worldwide due to the story’s celebration of anarchism. An analysis of both the graphic novel and film adaptation of this work can be found in James R. Keller’s V for Vendetta as Cultural Pastiche.

Alan Moore: Comics as Performance, Fiction as Scalpel holds Moore to be one of the most significant and distinctly postmodern comics creators of the last quarter-century. Annalisa Di Liddo argues that Moore employs the comics form to dissect the literary canon, the tradition of comics, contemporary society, and our understanding of history. Examining Moore's use of comics to scrutinise contemporary culture, Di Liddo analyses his best-known works in addition to highlighting Moore's lesser-known works, such as Halo Jones, Skizz, and Big Numbers, and his prose novel Voice of the Fire.

Another theme throughout Moore’s work has been sexual politics, as found particularly throughout Lost Girls but also prevalent in much of his other work. In Sexual Ideology in the Works of Alan Moore, a collection of critical essays on Moore’s work, the anarchic and sexual politics, the limits of recent pop culture and history, religion, and environmentalism in Moore’s work are discussed in depth.

Moore’s extensive interviews on his creative practices and techniques, along with his shifting social, political, and philosophical beliefs, are testimony to Moore's willingness to be engaged in critical debate and allow the reader to better analyse his work. In Alan Moore: Conversations, a collection of interviews principally devoted to Moore covering nearly all of his major works, the motivating factors behind Moore’s work are explained by the man himself. As a result, Alan Moore: Conversations should add to any reader's enjoyment and understanding of Moore's work.

Other titles discussing Moore’s work in the context of the comic and graphic novel genre generally include Openness of Comics, The British Superhero and The Rise of the American Comics Artist.