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COMICS: This week marks the 50th birthday of the absolute genius of comics, Alan Moore. If you only know Mr. Moore's work through the movies made from it, that's like saying you know Shakespeare because you've seen the movies made of his work. A lot of people gush over Moore because they love his work and a lot more people gush because they think they're supposed to. I'm one of the ones who gush because I honestly love his work and he continually blows me away with his talent. He is one of the most original minds in comics and now that he's said he's retiring from comics I look forward to where he goes from here.

He's also one of the few comics writers to get love for both superhero (Tom Strong, Supreme, Top Ten) and non-superhero (Watchmen, From Hell, V For Vendetta) work. It says a lot about the man when he's written 2 of the 3 comics people use as Proof That Comics Can Be Good (the other being The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, although obviously the list is much, much, longer). It also says a lot about comics, albeit negatively, that one man has put out most of the serious, and seriously good, works the medium has to offer. The fact that From Hell, Watchmen, and V For Vendetta were all written more than 10 years ago and still dwarf most everything that has come after them is a little disheartening. But that's a whole other discussion.

Even though it's a lot less well-known than From Hell and Watchmen, I think V for Vendetta is right up there with them. That book blows me away. Even with those 3 works under his belt, I have to say that one of my favorite Alan Moore works is his initial revamp of Swamp Thing. The first book of Swamp Thing (Saga of the Swamp Thing) should be the bar any writer wishing to revamp an old character has to jump over. The genius of the revamp is that he acknowledges everything that came before in the previous issues but then proceeds to tell us that the entire character has been a lie and he is really something much greater. The acknowledgement of the superhero book without dismissing it or laughing at it is something a lot of writers could do well to learn from. This, and the effectiveness of the creeping horror in the stories, makes Alan Moore's Swamp Thing a must-read for any aspiring writer. There are very comics writers worth studying and Alan Moore is certainly the first on the list.

Happy Birthday Mr. Moore. Thanks for the great reading and I look forward to your upcoming work.