The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen can basically be described as a Victorian Avengers – as Moore weaves various characters from gothic literature into one world-saving team. There’s Mina Harker from Dracula, H.G.Well’s Invisible Man, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo and explorer Allan Quatermain (an inspiration for Indiana Jones). Later volumes move through the years and aim to tie together every major work of fiction into a shared universe. Only someone with Moore’s command of comics would even attempt that.
The Saga of Swamp Thing
B-movie-esque monster Swamp Thing was a bit of hokey character before Moore took over his comic book. Under his guidance, however, Swamp Thing became a tragic anti-hero rather than a hideous plant man. Though Swamp Thing explores the wackiest corners of the DC universe, it is underpinned by the unlikely humanity of its central star.
The Killing Joke
Batman and the Joker are two sides of the same coin. That is something we just take for granted nowadays, but the first time this was really explored in the comics was Moore’s graphic novel The Killing Joke – one which had massive ramifications for the Batman mythos as a whole. Not only did it redefine the greatest hero/villain dichotomy in the medium, it also controversially changed the fate of a fan-favourite character.
V For Vendetta
It’s often said that nothing dates as much as fictional versions of the future, but the dystopian fascistic world of V For Vendetta has never felt so terrifyingly possible, so frighteningly easy to crossover into. Plus, let’s not forget the comic’s terrific central character V – that vaudevillian vigilante on an ultra-violent quest for vengeance. Moore leaves it up to the reader to decide who is the bigger monster – the corrupt state or the terrorist it created.
Watchmen stands for many as the ultimate graphic novel. Not only does it tell a well-crafted story, but it uses the possibilities of the medium like very few others have (the artwork, scene transitions and even the panel layout all have hidden depths). The vibrant, ridiculously flawed characters – from distant god Doctor Manhattan to mad pitbull vigilante Rorschach – changed the way superheroes were depicted forever. What Moore is there to say?