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Creator / Alan Moore

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Not actually Rasputin... far harder to kill.

"My experience of life is that it is not divided up into genres; it's a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you're lucky."
Alan Moore, Mustard #4

Novelist, artist, occultist, performing artist, musician, and public intellectual, Alan Moore (born November 18, 1953 in Northampton, England) is perhaps the most Crazy is Cool Comic Book writer of all time, one of the most widely recognized in the medium overall, and one of the most influential artists from The '80s, whose work has decisively influenced artists from multiple mediums for nearly three decades.

He got his start drawing comics and writing for magazines such as The NME and Sounds. He went on to regular work at Marvel UK, where he wrote scripts for Doctor Who Magazine, Captain Britain comic and 2000 AD, as well as a series of essays on the comics medium in The Daredevils (one of which was a critique of Stan Lee in a Marvel branded 'zine) where he wrote a series of acclaimed stories, including D.R. & Quinch and The Ballad of Halo Jones. This period included V for Vendetta, about an anarchist planning to take down a future fascist UK government, and Marvelman (later Miracleman), a reinvention of a 1950s British superhero. The latter attracted attention from DC, which led to the start of the period of his biggest influence (even if it would ultimately turn out to be among the briefest).

Moore was encouraged by DC Comics editor Len Wein to start work on Swamp Thing, Wein's classic horror comic. Much as he did for Captain Britain and Miracleman, Moore proposed a radical revision that changed the comic from the ground-up, leading the story into a Genre Shift that gradually deepened the character and his setting. Moore took the Swamp Thing through a number of unusual adventures that involved many run-ins with the regular DC Universe, which also saw the introduction of characters such as John Constantine, who have since gone on to become major icons. Swamp Thing proved to be a massive success, and Moore was gradually encouraged by the editors to take on other projects, including landmark stories for Superman ("Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?", "The Jungle Line" and, with Dave Gibbons, "For the Man Who Has Everything"), Green Lantern ("Mogo Doesn't Socialize", with Dave Gibbons and "Tygers", his first collaboration with Kevin O'Neill) and Batman (The Killing Joke).

Yet the best was still to come.

Moore had a huge knowledge of comics history and a canny instinct for reconfiguring and resurrecting forgotten and little-known or weakly-selling titles. He had planned to do a story about superheroes that involved a murder mystery around one of their numbers, with his initial concept involving the MLJ run published by Archie Comics, which he had assumed, wrongly, that DC had rights to. What DC did have was rights to the properties of Charlton Comics, and Moore made his pitch using them, but his publishers, while impressed by the pitch, pointed out that Moore's premise would render a number of the characters unusable by the end of the story and so invited him to create an entirely new series. Thus, Watchmen was born, with Moore using characters who can be recognized as Alternate Company Equivalents of the Charlton characters but with gradual sharp differences from their inspiration and from most superhero comics of their time. Collaborating with Dave Gibbons, the comic was sophisticated on a level that mainstream comics had not known at the time, having a character and plot that rivaled the most highbrow books (and continues to rival the best that many writers can come up with). Watchmen proved to be a massive sensation, and with Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is credited with launching The Dark Age of Comic Books, and starting a new market for graphic novels, along with other comics such as Art Spiegelman's Maus and Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez's Love and Rockets.

Ironically, the popularity of Watchmen was the first nail in the coffin for Moore's relationship with DC. The contract that he and artist David Gibbons had signed promised them that full rights to the comic would be returned to them if the book fell out of print for more than two years. At this point in time, paperback collections of comic books were virtually unheard of and the idea that Watchmen would remain in print that long was absurd. However, the book's popularity has kept it in print from 1987 through the present day, and neither Moore nor Gibbons ever received the rights. Moore's relationship with Marvel Comics was also strained, mainly for what he perceived as its Network Decay and drop in quality, and the lawsuit pushed by the company to rebrand Marvelman into Miracleman even if the former existed before Timely renamed itself as Marvel.

In either case, Moore began his career in independent comics and was happy about working in creator-owned independent titles again. Other notable works include Brought To Light, a history of the CIAnote ; A Small Killing, the story of a graphic designer who finds himself stalked by a strange little boy, the abandoned Big Numbers (which fell apart with only two issues published), and a graphic novel collaboration with Eddie Campbell (From Hell) that would take years to finish but which he properly began work on in the late '80s. He also began work on Lost Girls, a piece of highbrow erotica (though he insists it be called porn), his first collaboration with artist Melinda Gebbie (who he later married). Moore cut himself off DC and Marvel, but in the '90s, he was willing to work-for-hire on a number of titles for mainstream-but-alternative companies such as Wild Storm Comics and Image Comics. For Image, Moore worked on a number of titles but found most success with Supreme, a Homage to Silver-Age Superman via Alternate Company Equivalent that surprised readers for its change in tone from his dark work of the '80s, as well as 1963, a parody and Reconstruction of the Silver Age Marvel era.

Through Wildstorm, he published his own imprint, America's Best Comics (ABC), which included Promethea, a 32-issue treatise on magic (Moore has been a practicing magus since his 40th birthday); Top 10, a pastiche of Police Procedural TV series set in a superhero-populated city; and Tom Strong, a call back to a more innocent era of comic writing. The best-known ABC comic, and the only major title that Moore has continued to serially publish for three-decades (the longest he has worked on any series) is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, co-created with Kevin O'Neill. During his run on the League, Wildstorm was bought out by DC Comics, and while Moore was initially still willing to work with the Wildstorm imprint so long as he didn't have to work on any DC titles, shenanigans over the publication of The Black Dossier, led Moore to leave America's Best Comics for good, with the later volumes being published by Top Shelf (currently owned by IDW Publishing). DC and Warner Bros. own the rights and story for the first two parts of the League, but not the later parts. Since then, Moore has contributed regularly for Avatar Press, including a trilogy on H. P. Lovecraft, one of his favorite writers.

In 2016, Moore announced his retirement from comics. He said that he planned to finish the series he was working at the time, Providence (which finished in 2017), then announced another anthology title called Cinema Purgatorio (finished in 2019) then do the last volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which ended in 2019. He plans to focus on novels for the foreseeable future, as well as films and other mediums. Of course other work that Moore wrote before will be published after this, including a new epilogue for the colorized version of From Hell overseen by co-creator Eddie Campbell.

Moore has also become known in the '90s-onwards as a performing artist in a variety of mediums. One of his performing art pieces, "The Birth Caul" was later adapted by Eddie Campbell as a graphic novel. He has also written works of fiction, such as Voices in the Fire, and in October 2016, he released his second novel, the 1,300-page Jerusalem. He has also collaborated on a number of films with Mitch Jenkins: a series of shorts that form the anthology Show Pieces, and the 2020 feature film The Show, in which Moore also plays a supporting role. As a writer for comics, Moore is known for his famously dense and detailed scripts, packed with detail that describes the comic panels and everything that happens inside it. Apparently, his amazing talent comes from Satan. Not by selling his soul for it, mind you, but because he used to beat Satan up for his lunch money until the Devil bribed Moore with genius to leave him alone. Additionally, Death is afraid of him. He is known, with a particularly vivid description of From Hell, to have driven Neil "Scary Trousers" Gaiman to leave a restaurant to go outside and get some fresh air so he wouldn't vomit. Twice. Gaiman also wrote this short comic about him, which pretty much sums up how many people view him.

Did we mention he's also a polyamorous, vegetarian anarchist and an accomplished ceremonial magician? He's the quintessential modern Mad Artist, and he sometimes goes by the name of Translucia Baboon to warn us all about ducks.

Selected Bibliography:

Common themes and elements in his work:

Tropes common throughout Moore's comics include:

  • Adam Westing: Voiced himself in a guest appearance on The Simpsons, where he spoofed his own tendency towards Darker and Edgier writing and hatred for adaptations of his works.
    Bart: Alan Moore, you wrote my favorite issues of Radioactive Man!
    Moore: Oh, really? So you liked that I made your favorite superhero a heroin-addicted jazz critic who's not radioactive?
    Bart: I don't read the words, I just like when he punches people.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Such characters abound in many of his works. Notable instances include Miracleman (of Superman and Captain Marvel), and Supreme (of Silver Age Superman), Watchmen also began as one to MLJ and Charlton Comics but gradually became its own thing.
  • Appeal to Audacity: Whether done deliberately by Moore is open to debate, this is one of the cornerstones of his works by his fans.
  • Approval of God:
    • Anonymous adopting the Guy Fawkes mask as their symbol very much amused Alan. The only umbrage he took with it was that it was inspired by the movie rather than the comic.
    • Despite what his disdain for Zack Snyder's film might make you think, Moore wasn't necessarily wholly against the idea of an adaptation of Watchmen and liked at least two scripts that made the attempt (and notably made radical changes to the material):
      • The famously bonkers Sam Hamm script got Moore's seal of approval, but it's more than likely because of how much amusement he got from the batshit directions it took.
      • The David Hayter script that served as the basis for Snyder's film also got Moore's approval, but it should be noted that it did an extensive Setting Update from The '80s to 2005, thus valiantly modernizing the original comic's themes to a more contemporary setting, which Moore likely appreciated than if it were a one to one like Snyder's film ended up being.
      • In the end though, Moore considers Saturday Morning Watchmen to be the best adaptation of any of his work.
  • Arc Welding: A big believer in this. When revising characters like Swamp Thing and Miracleman he took pains to make sure the earlier stories were referred to and fitted in the overall fabric while allowing him room to write freely. He believes that fans of earlier stories would otherwise feel that the stories they followed had no value. For an extreme example, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen does this for all of recorded literature and popular culture throughout the ages.
  • Artist Disillusionment: Alan Moore does not look fondly upon his work in superhero comics in the 80's. This is due to a mix of corporate politics screwing with his creator rights, artistic dissatisfaction, a acerbic opinion towards superheroes as a concept and a distaste for the obsessive fandom that hounds him. This eventually led to him retiring from comics altogether in 2022, claiming the medium was too corporate-driven and morally-bankrupt.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: Vary from work to work but more than one fan can describe him like this.
    • Magic, especially as a supernatural expression of information.
    • Anarchy as a positive force. He's actually quite proud of the Guy Fawkes mask becoming a symbol.
    • Wordplay (and imageplay).
    • Synchronicity.
    • Making heavy use of the Match Cut technique to present a united narrative.
    • The effect of the presence of superheroes or the supernatural on "real world" culture and society. This involves averting Reed Richards Is Useless and Cut Lex Luthor a Check. The Trope Namer of the latter comes from Moore's run of Swamp Thing.
    • Reinvention of existing characters (as referenced during Alan Moore's appearance on The Simpsons)
    • Mixing fiction and historical fact.
    • Drugs are great! His works often feature characters using hallucinogens to positive effect, such as Ozymandias in Watchmen and the cop in V for Vendetta. Also, when Miracleman changes the world, he legalizes all drugs.
    • Experimentation with form: symmetrical and chiastic story structures (e.g. the pirate comics in Watchmen), playing with the chronological order of events (the fourth chapter of Watchmen, which jumps back and forth between the past, present, and future), as well as layouts enabling dialogue to be read in different orders (e.g. the Mobius strip segment in Promethea).
    • Sex! Lost Girls and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier stand out, the former of which he outright describes as being a work of pornography.
    • He also has a thing for Rape as Drama. However, it is usually done tactfully (unless you're reading Neonomicon).
    • Psychogeography, especially concerning London and his native Northampton.
  • Black Comedy and Kafka Komedy: A lot of his work from his early days at 2000 AD is overflowing with this (especially DR & Quinch and his collection of Tharg's Future Shocks). These themes remain in his later works, but they are not nearly as prevalent as in older stories.
  • Blue-Collar Warlock: Created the archetypal one in John Constantine. Also, Moore himself.
  • Briefer Than They Think: Alan Moore's most well known and influential work came in The '80s for DC Comics, where he worked on Swamp Thing, Watchmen, The Killing Joke as well as a few Superman stories. This was a five year period, a small part of his career, (even smaller when you consider that it takes far less time to write scripts for comics than it is for the artist to draw them). This is one reason why Moore tends to be cranky about people asking questions about his DC era, because from his perspective, the greater part of his career was spent for alternative and independent publications, self-published ventures and other multi-media projects (performance, film, novels) and his time with mainstream comics was an exception and not a rule.
  • Cain: In his Swamp Thing run, he used House of Mystery's Cain and Abel, expanding their story and giving them an origin about why they're hosts for the series, being Abel revived in Earth and later his brother Cain to be their hosts.
  • Darker and Edgier:
  • Deconstruction: Especially in the form of Deconstruction Crossover.
  • Deconstructive Parody: Some of his works fall into this. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen taking on such pop culture sacred cows as James Bond and Harry Potter, painting them in a decidedly less attractive light and playing up their darkest aspects as well as making them hilariously incompetent.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In spite of his cynical, often deconstructive approach to narrative, many of his works feature a degree of positivity and hope in them, with a recurring philosophy is that humanity can endure whatever tragedies and world-historical social changes that technology and new social values will create, with the breakdown of the old order giving momentum for radical change. This is still carefully qualified and not entirely definite, but they are still definitely earned.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Apocalypse is a major theme in many of Moore's stories. His stories, especially as they reach the climax, often have characters and event cause a major event that either erases the status-quo, or ensure that Nothing Is the Same Anymore or likewise inaugurate the Dawn of an Era, examples include but are not limited to: Miracleman, Watchmen, Promethea, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Providence.
  • Everyone Has Standards: May include very dark themes and moments into his work, but in an interview, Moore stated even he thought he went too far with Neonomicon.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • As demonstrated by The Killing Joke, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and especially Lost Girls, Moore has no qualms about taking intellectual properties and sexualising them to the point where they bypass sexy and just become disturbing.
    • Watchmen dampened the shock value by using expies of lesser-known superheroes, but it still featured plenty of lurid scenes. The Comedian attempts to rape the first Silk Spectre. Dr Manhattan's relationship with the second Silk Spectre began when he was at least 40 while she was only 16. Rorschach's childhood memories reveal that his mother was a streetwalker whose insistence on bringing her clients home combined with her negligence permanently warped his view of sex.
  • Foul Waterfowl: In "March of the Sinister Ducks", by Alan Moore calls ducks "web-footed fascists with mad little eyes" and presents them as overall nasty, plotting and, well, sinister.
  • Grimmification:
    • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is an example of this done with Public Domain Characters. While he reintroduces some parts bowdlerised in the past, such as Captain Nemo being Indian (Jules Verne originally meant for Nemo to be Polish, but Verne's publisher made him change it to avoid offending the Russians. Obviously the publisher didn't care about offending the British), he also adds a lot of sex and violence completely absent from the originals. However, he was deconstructing these works rather than claiming to be recreating the original. Excessive sex and violence were also common in the Victorian penny dreadfuls it's openly inspired by.
    • Lost Girls re-tells the stories of Peter Pan, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland as allegories for the extremely sexual (sometimes abusive) experiences of their main characters. Captain Hook, for instance, is a pedophile who nearly rapes Tinkerbell to death, and Peter grows up to be a prostitute.
  • Humans Are Flawed: Every major character in his stories will always be guaranteed to have some kind of obvious flaw or otherwise unlikable trait, a variant of Humans Are Bastards and Humans Are Morons perhaps being the two most common (but certainly not the only ones). The settings his stories take place in tend to also be very grim and despairing places, so no one ever really has much hope for anything in Moore's stories, let alone hope for their own personal ambitions or goals in the story (even if the story concludes with a genuinely happy ending).
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Chapter titles in his individual works occasionally follow a common theme. For example, V for Vendetta and words that begin with the letter V, Watchmen and its Literary Allusion Titles, DR & Quinch and titling each separate story "DR & Quinch _______" and so forth..
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • When discussing his feelings towards Before Watchmen and why it was different from his own adaptations of pre-existing characters like Swamp Thing, Miracleman, League of Extraordinary Gentleman Moore feels that in the case of League, there is a great deal of difference between adapting works by pre-existing authors and outright stealing them which is what he does. He notes that his later works merely take existing characters into entirely new contexts and situations outside their original stories and are not continuations or add-ons to a work belonging to the author under the same title.
      • In the case of his adaptations, Moore stated that he had permissions and support from the original creators note , and tried as much as possible to respect their vision even Arc Welding their stories into his new vision. In the case of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? giving Superman a Fully Absorbed Finale by collaboration with the original Superman team, and he actually okayed his famous Swamp Thing retcon with Swampie's creator Len Wein before he wrote it.
    • Lost Girls: He's insistent that it's not art, it's porn, pointing out that the only real difference between "porn" and "erotica" is the class and income level of the consumer. As he put it, his dad could only afford porn, but he can just about afford erotica.
  • In the Style of: Part of how he deconstructs and parodies things is to format stories as they would be in the time periods he is mocking. 1963 takes this up to eleven with Moore specifically writing as if he were Stan Lee, even in the faux letters pages.
  • Large Ham: His interviews in documentaries and his Kickstarter pledge complete with a really bad wig.
  • The Last DJ: Will happily walk out on whatever company is currently employing him if they annoy him too much, and never seems to have any trouble getting work afterward. The one problem with this is whatever company he does end up working with will usually end up getting bought out by DC leading to the process happening all over again.
  • Man of the City: How he feels towards his hometown Northampton. He is actively involved in all kinds of local issues there and his later works, especially his literary fiction, map out the history of Northampton and its importance.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Providence, Lost Girls, Albion, Youngblood: Judgement Day, and The Twilight of the Superheroes are all this. He does it kind of a lot.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Legendary Superman editor Julius Schwartz regularly enjoyed claiming that when he initially brought up the development of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? to Moore, Moore grabbed him by the throat and threatened to kill him if he wasn't chosen to write it. All of this in spite of Moore's insistence that he's actually a pacifist in real life (he simply said "yes" when Schwartz asked him if he wanted to).
  • Muggle Power: He became quite interested in this concept as his works went on, a somewhat ironic direction for a writer who began writing superheroes. In his introduction to the special edition of Watchmen and in later interviews, he's stated that the development of technology effectively gave normal people some of the abilities and capacities that we ascribe to superheroes. This led to Top 10, a city where everyone has powers and nobody's special.
    "Look, we are all crappy superheroes, because personal computers and mobile phone devices are things that only Batman and Mr. Fantastic would have owned back in The '60s. We've all got this immense power and we're still sat at home watching pornography and buying scratch cards. We're rubbish, even though we are as gods.
  • No Endor Holocaust: V for Vendetta, which postulates what was known at the time as a "limited exchange" nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, with England being affected but not devastatingly so. Moore noted in the collection that years later he found out that a "limited exchange" was impossible, and that as a U.S. ally, England would have been wiped off the map as well.
  • Old Shame: As of 2020, he no longer has any interest in superheroes and thinks they should've stayed as children’s entertainment. He resents what he sees as his part in making superhero comics "darker and edgier" because he thinks making superhero stories for the adult world is kind of grotesque.
    "I’ve been told the Joker film wouldn’t exist without my Joker story (1988’s Batman: The Killing Joke), but three months after I’d written that I was disowning it, it was far too violent – it was Batman for christ’s sake, it’s a guy dressed as a bat. Increasingly I think the best version of Batman was Adam West, which didn’t take it at all seriously.”
  • Orphaned Series: A number of Moore works were never completed due to publishers failing, or Moore falling out with his publishers or collaborators. The most notorious example is Big Numbers, a hugely-ambitious literary graphic novel that only made it to two of the proposed twelve serial installments because Moore's self-publishing venture failed and two successive artists suffered Creator Breakdown. Others include The Ballad of Halo Jones (which did reach a fairly satisfying ending point, but was intended to have continued on after that point for six more volumes), 1963, and Supreme (which was revived much later with other writers continuing on from Moore's final issue).
  • Promoted Fanboy:
  • Purple Prose: Features to a greater or lesser extent in almost all his writing. He's very good at it.
  • Reconstruction
    • Despite his reputation of writing some of the most famous deconstructive works in the medium, he's almost always displayed his ability to put his stories back together again. His works such as 1963, his runs on Supreme and Youngblood as well as Tom Strong are clear examples.
    • Lost Girls was an attempt at reconstructing pornography, treating it as a valid form for exploring sexuality and trying to correct some of the stigma associated with it.
  • The Rival: Moore and Grant Morrison don't get along. At. All. Moore has accused Grant of, essentially, being his Kenny Bania and stealing his schtick ("It's gold, Jerry, gold!") and art style. Morrison has taken an equivocal stance over the years, variously suggesting that they consciously dulled their own "esoteric" style and mimicked Moore to get a shot at writing for DC, while pointedly emphasizing that THEY had professional comics work published first (back in the days when Moore and Morrison were both working in fanzines and British small press comics) and that they are contemporaries who came up in comics at the same time but Moore just caught mainstream attention first. Morrison also once suggested that they'd been offered an opportunity to pitch a run on Miracleman after Moore left the book and that Moore sabotaged it out of spite, though this is more debatable (Moore has long maintained that he had picked Neil Gaiman to follow him on Miracleman and if Morrison was offered the chance to pitch for it, he wasn't aware of it). Moore has gone as far as saying that if you like Morrison's work at all, you should just stop reading his.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Moore can be on both sides at the same time. His works generally lean towards the Enlightenment, believing that Rousseau Was Right (that no human being is inherently evil), Humans Are Special and that the future can be made brighter and more equal for everyone. That said, he's also quite romantic about older forms of culture and regrets the rise of modern consumerism alienating people and the constant Lost in Imitation of contemporary life. His League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is all about this divide. Likewise in Watchmen, Adrian Veidt and Dr. Manhattan are representative of an Enlightenment view and Rorscharch, Nite Owl and Laurie are more romantic, while The Comedian is a nihilist. Neither view is more privileged or outweights the other, rather everyone is flawed in all kinds of minute ways.
  • Scenery Gorn: Many of his comics shift tones and styles but several of them end in outbursts of really shocking violence on a grand scale. Miracleman, Watchmen, Crossed +100 (though admittedly less so than other Crossed volumes), League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are famous examples.
  • Self-Deprecation: Completely willing to make a few jokes at his own expense.
    • From Hell has Abberline sardonically predict that 100 years from now people will still be writing stories on the Whitechapel murders and adding "some supernatural twaddle."
    • Supreme features Billy Friday, a British writer who writes extremely dark superhero stories, kills all the supporting casts and bring in real-world events.
    • Watchmen has Max Shea, who had a lauded run on a horror comic, but was notorious for including sexual elements and incredibly dense scripts.
    • Mixed in with a Take That! towards Stan Lee, Moore portrays himself in the faux letters pages of 1963 as an awful, credit-stealing hack.
    • He shows up As Himself on The Simpsons of all places making fun of his own tendencies to apply Darker and Edgier Cerebus Retcons and go on rants about how Hollywood doesn't treat his work with any respect. Then Art Spiegelman tells him to just chill out and Moore immediately deflates.
    • His "biography" blurbs on the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen collections always depicts him in a very unflattering light. For example, the blurb on the third volume Century portrays him as a mentally-ill figure of folklore who mainly goes around calling children and their interests stupid so he can feed off their tears.
    • The documentary "Monsters, Maniacs and Moore" had Alan Moore interrogate himself and dismiss him as an ego maniac and subversive.
    • Wrote a blurb on the cover of his unauthorized biography, saying that he was surprised at how good the book was considering how grim and unpleasant the subject was.
  • Signature Style:
    • Taking an established comic and its conventions, exploring some of the implications and inconsistencies of its Worldbuilding and then submitting it to a Genre Deconstruction that takes the story in a new direction. Miracleman, Swamp Thing, Supreme and Crossed +100 to name a few.
    • Extensively detailed backgrounds, use of flashbacks to provide backstory, as well as text-only appendix and post-scripts that provide additional Worldbuilding. Also issues which commit Genre Shift and move towards an Out-of-Genre Experience such as Walt Kelly's Pogo making an appearance in Swamp Thing. Likewise there is a lot of metafictional commentary, such as Crossed +100 a post-apocalyptic story about post-apocalyptic fiction.
    • Reality Has No Subtitles: Downright merciless whenever foreign languages (from other countries or other planets) comes up. The man went and invented a whole language for Rann when it popped up for a two-issue arc in Swamp Thing. Taken up to eleven in Crossed +100, which has a variant of English which, while technically not a new language, has so many new slang terms (due to language shift over time) that it can be extremely difficult to understand the characters, and no subtitles or translations are ever provided - the reader has to puzzle out what words have come to mean from the context they are used in.
  • Short-Lived, Big Impact: Moore's tenure at Marvel and DC in the 80s was fairly short-lived in the scope of his overall career, but he left one hell of an impression:
    • He worked on Superman for one issue of Action Comics, one issue of the title book (which are both part of the same story), an issue of DC Comics Presents, and a Superman annual. However, the work he did left such a big impact that parts of those stories have been adapted into the mainstream DC Universe, like Superman and Lois Lane having a son, and that Superman annual being adapted into a beloved and critically acclaimed episode of Justice League Unlimited.
    • Perhaps the most extreme example is Green Lantern, where Moore wrote three unconnected short stories that Geoff Johns would later use as the foundation for his massive expansion of the Green Lantern mythos.
    • He also only worked ever so briefly at Marvel on Captain Britain. The lasting effect of his run, however? The official designation of the mainstream Marvel Universe as Earth-616.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Alan Moore has been called "The Cynical Optimist", which obviously entails a lot of rallying among the scale. In terms of objective worldview, he often goes through negative aspects with a highlighter, outwardly calling out flaws among the world (namely regarding power and authority) and using them as conflict for his stories. However, in terms of personal philosophy, he's almost always stuck by how humans are born with good intentions, and individuals are capable of amazing things, so the side of idealism is closer to home for him.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Sometimes literally. His works mix and match low culture and high culture with incredible aplomb. He's as deeply influenced by the likes of James Joyce, Bertolt Brecht and Thomas Pynchon as he is by Jack Kirby and pulp fiction. He grew up as a working class autodidact and absorbed information all throughout his life and is nearly a Renaissance Man in his wide knowledge of physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, history, art and all kinds of minutiae that he peppers his works with. He generally believes that writers should avoid Small Reference Pools and incorporate ideas from different mediums and fields of interest.
  • Strongly Worded Letter: His 16,000 word letter to an interview response in 2014 earned instant notoriety for its command of language and command of vitriol, filled as it is with Take That! to the comics industry, select interviewees and Grant Morrison, who got on Moore's nerves by seemingly ripping off several of Moore's in-progress series.note 
  • Surreal Horror: Several of his later works contain heavy doses of this.
  • Take That!: Issue #6 of Cinema Purgatorio takes explicit aim at Warner Bros. (parent company of his adversary DC Comics, and distributor of the film adaptations of V for Vendetta and Watchmen), giving an unflattering summary of the life of studio boss Jack L. Warner.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: A real believer and practitioner of this; his work rarely goes outright incomprehensible, but a lot of the references in works like Promethea and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen will fly over people's heads providing readers with a Fetch Quest to unearth all the meanings and quotations themselves in the hopes that audiences have an Unconventional Learning Experienceinvoked.
  • Visual Pun: A lot of his comics have these, often as transitions between scenes.
    Rorschach's Journal: Walked home past trashcans stuffed with rumors of war, weighing factors; bodies; motives...waiting for a flash of enlightenment in all this blood and thunder.
    [Cut to a bloody poster of Buddha]
  • Wall of Text: His scripts are notorious among artists for the lengths to which he goes with writing descriptions for panel placement, blocking, and the contents of a given area. Xander Cannon once joked that Moore will include the description of the facial expression of a character whose back is to the reader.