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Alan Moore

Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns popularized the idea of comic books as being something more than just kiddie entertainment. We've known that for a while, of course, but it took a big mainstream popular hit to actually get that notion into popular culture. But Alan Moore can be credited as the person who took the medium of the "comic book" and brought it to the level of "literature" - whatever that means. His most famous works include Watchmen, (scheduled to be released as a movie in 2009), V For Vendetta and From Hell (filmed in 2001), though he's produced many other works. He's taken the medium of the comic strip itself and used it in ways that have expanded the form, both artistically (through juxtaposition, panel placement as a way of story editing, greater emphasis on background detail, word balloons and 'sound effect' captions or lack thereof) and literally (he's one of the popular writers who's trying to abandon the old worn-out 'costume-clad superhero' formula and work towards other genres)…but more importantly, he tells a hell of a good yarn. His Swamp Thing series re-defined the "horror" comic book and gave rise to DC Comics' "Vertigo" comics; in fact, he's credited (for better or for worse) with unintentionally starting the 'grim and gritty' phase that poisoned the comic book industry during the 1990s. Lately, though, he's been trying to return the sense of innocence, wonder, and fun to comic books with the America's Best Comics line, as well as an upcoming adult-oriented (in fact, it's blatantly pornographic) hardcover book called Lost Girls.

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