Think of Alan Moore and you’ll probably think of Watchmen, V for Vendetta and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But before these literary heavyweights hit our shelves for the first time, readers of British sci-fi anthology 2000AD were marvelling at the work of this previously unknown Northamptonshire writer, who was busy cutting his teeth on short sci-fi tales for the comic.
This book collects all of Moore’s short 2000AD stories from this period, before he went on to create a handful of original series for the comic – Skizz, The Ballad of Halo Jones and D.R. and Quinch. The book could be thought of as something of a prequel to DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore, which also sees Moore proving his talents on a selection of DC Comics characters before finally being let loose on Swamp Thing.
The bulk of the stories collected here are mini sci-fi thrillers: short rollercoaster rides with surprise endings, like Tales of the Unexpected set in space or the future. There’s also a handful of Time Twister stories, which muck about with time and space to dramatic (and often comedic) effect. To a certain extent, these are even better than the Future Shocks, as they start to show Moore’s ability to script unexplainable, impossible science in an accessible way.
Having said this, readers expecting Watchmen in miniature will certainly be disappointed – these are mostly frivolous, throwaway tales, with a smattering of gems amongst its midst. That’s no detriment to Moore’s skill – the stories were often commissioned simply to fill gaps between the end of one long running series and the start of another.
The artists change for every story, making the book a veritable who’s who of up and coming comc talent of the time. And between them, they nake a pretty good job of bringing Moore’s work to life.
By no means his best book, this volume of short stories is really one for the collectors and the ultra-nostalgic. But if you want to see how the master of comics can squeeze his formidable imagination into five-page chunks, this is a good place to visit.
Other titles by Alan Moore:
[catlist orderby=title numberposts=-1 id=31 order=asc]