Stephen King vs. Alan Moore: Who's best?

I would bet I am not alone, at least among my United States readers, in desperately looking for a place to avoid politics today. So instead of forcing you to hash out tired arguments about which part is better, I instead offer you the following creative conundrum: Who's a better creator of speculative fiction, Stephen King or Alan Moore?

King is one of the greatest supernatural writers of all time, having sold over 350 million copies of his books. His work has been turned into television productions, movies, and comics. He's won awards from pretty much every writing group out there. You may know him from such works as "The Stand", "The Shining", "Carrie", and many, many more. But he's also moved outside of purely speculative fiction to write such masterpieces as "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Stand By Me".

Alan Moore is best known for writing comics, and arguably is the genre's greatest modern storyteller. He's responsible for stories that have made the leap from the four color page to the world of motion pictures, from "The Watchmen" to "V For Vendetta" to "From Hell" to "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen". He's controversial, dark, effective, and phenomenally successful.

So which of these two literary titans gets your vote today, and why?

26 Responses to Stephen King vs. Alan Moore: Who's best?

  1. Kaldath says:

    Voted Moore, for the simple reason that I have not liked anything from Stephen King that I have ever laid eyes on.

  2. DiCicatriz says:

    I voted for Moore because his graphic novels have ALWAYS outshone the movie adaptations. His work is just so immersive, nuanced, and complex that any adaptation (even though I’ve enjoyed most of them immensely) just falls short.

    The same cannot be said of a number of King’s works. Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining was phenomenal. Sissy Spacek’s performance in Carrie was classic. The Mist’s film adaptation had the most brutal ending that leaves the novel feeling like it lacks punch. King’s work is great, but Moore’s is untouchable.

  3. John says:

    Moore. Why? ‘Cuz COMICS!

  4. DC-Lover says:

    Moore because he scares the crap out of me and if i say somthing bad about him he will probubly materialize in my room and melt me with his evil magic.

  5. McKnight57 says:

    Alan Moore, because Watchmen, Swamp Thing, WildC.A.T.s, V For Vendetta, From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and then there’s Batman: The Killing Joke.

  6. The Atomic Punk says:

    I’ve never been into Stephen King’s writing. Frankly, the guy looks like “Uncle Bad Touch.” Whereas Alan Moore straight up looks like he would use a knife to carve a story into a whatever living thing happens to be near. So get the man a pen and some paper!

  7. X-stacy says:

    Stephen King, because I’ve never not enjoyed his work, whereas Alan Moore is pretty hit or miss for me. When I like his work, I love it, but when it’s yet another story that clubs you over the head about the fact you’re reading FICTION, about FICTIONAL PEOPLE doing FICTIONAL THINGS (looking at you, here, Black Dossier and Promethea) it just bores me to tears. Also? Stephen King can write a story that doesn’t include sexual assault, which is something Alan Moore apparently has a hard time doing.

  8. Arioch says:

    No context to me.

    King has written a lot of good stories, but those I know are still pretty… how to put it? Reading king or another author, it’s the same to me.

    Moore is earth-shacking. He has ideas that flash through the skies, deeper levels of meaning, an incredible culture, and a deep, multiple vision. He can do stories like kings, but I don’t think the reverse is true.

  9. barbario says:

    I think Watchmen is hands down the best super-hero comic in history. Top Ten is incredible. There is an issue in Top Ten:49ers (maybe) that moved me like no other comic ever. Theres a “traffic accident” involving teleporters that results in a Kirby-esque “cosmic being” being painfully fused with a “science-hero”. It is heart-rending. I liked LoEG for a bit but it just got too ridiculous and weird. The Killing Joke is the quintessential Joker story. But its been referred too and copied so much I just hate Joker now.

    I havent read a King novel I didnt like. I read The Green Mile IN JAIL. I read Eyes of the Dragon at maybe too young an age. Geralds Game is TERRIFYING. I really like how they all tie in. I’ve always loved “multiverse” stuff (Wold-Newton Family, Elric, and of course Moore himself with Captain Britain).

    As for films, while I like everything that has been adapted of Moores, some of King’s are undeniably classics: some are stinkers. But many, many more have been adapted so thats not really fair.

    It all boils down to is Moore is a weird old crank. King is a goofy nerd. Moore is bitter and hates his fans. King plays in some crappy band with Dave Barry. Plus he played the hillbilly guy in Creep-show (2?).

    So I’m going with King. If nothing else, if you asked any random person on the street if they have heard of either guy; Stephen King takes it.

  10. Myro says:

    Going with Alan Moore. While I can say I generally like all the movies based on Stephen King’s work that I’ve seen, reading the books hasn’t been nearly as enjoyable. Some, I just can’t finish. Alan Moore’s comics and graphic novels have always been enjoyable so far.

    Also, if you think you’re sick of all the election crap, Jeff, try living in Canada, where we’ve had it all dumped on us as well, and we don’t even get a say in the matter.

  11. Trekkie says:

    Also, if you think you’re sick of all the election crap, Jeff, try living in Canada, where we’ve had it all dumped on us as well, and we don’t even get a say in the matter.

    Yeah, in the UK they’ve been going on and on about it, too. I swear the BBC is giving it more coverage than they do our own elections.

    Back to the matter at hand, I’m going to say Alan Moore, only because I’ve read Watchmen and enjoyed it, but have never read anything by Stephen King, or seen any of the films of his books (then again, I have’t seen any of the film versions of Moore’s work either). Yeah, I’m a terrible geek :P.

  12. Niall Mor says:

    Much like my political choice today, I don’t really care for either one. I watched the TV version of The Shining that King himself directed because he was supposedly unhappy with Kubrick’s version. I found it dull, tedious, and way too long. This guy is a master of horror? Wake me when you get to the scary part.

    Years later I had a friend who really loved Stephen King’s books. I asked her once, “If you’ve never read any Stephen King books, which one should you read?” She thought about it a minute and recommended Bag of Bones. Shortly thereafter, the library I worked for acquired an audiobook version of Bag of Bones read by King himself. I listened to it and again I found it dull, tedious, and endlessly repetitive. “OK, Steve, you’ve made that point a million times already,” I said. “Let’s move on.” For every five minutes of something genuinely creepy, there were hours and hours of stuff we’d already covered. Again, wake me when you get to the scary part.

    And Allan Moore? Don’t get me started. Call me old-fashioned or out of touch or whatever you want, but I JUST DON’T GET why so many people think Watchmen is so freaking great. Moore takes everything that makes reading superhero comics fun and enjoyable and deliberately perverts it into this bleak, depressing, joyless mess. I thought it was one of the worst pieces of crap I’d ever read in my life. If you really want to know what I think, you can go here:

    The guy needs to be in intensive psychotherapy–if not in jail.

    This concludes this test of the Emergency Ranting System. We now return you to your regularly scheduled comics blogging.

  13. Keric says:

    The Shawshank Redemption was the only thing I even somewhat liked from King.
    “The Watchmen” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” make me want to see MORE Moore.

  14. Worf says:

    I went Moore, just ’cause COMICS. Also, have you guys looked at the picture Jeff put up there? Wanna talk scary? King never wrote anything as scary as Alan Moore himself.

  15. Onikagenoken says:

    Going with Alan Moore, mostly because he writes a genre I like much more than King’s. Also, though I have yet to read the comics, V for Vendetta is one of my all time favorite films.

  16. Iago Valentine says:

    For me, King is a far more diverse writer than Moore. Moore, in my opinion, has reached a point almost like where Tim Burton has been for the past ten years. He can no longer give me something I wasn’t expecting, so I just don’t bother anymore. Almost all of his works are the same ultra dark, ultra violent, pseudo-anarchist stuff that he’s been doing since Watchmen and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

    King, on the other hand, has proven himself to be a very diverse writer, as Jeff mentioned. Have I loved everything that he’s done? No. But I’ve at least been entertained and occasionally surprised. They’re both very talented writers, but the element of versatility gives this one to King for me.

  17. Gero says:

    Stephen King, because…Stephen King

  18. Dr. Shrinker says:

    When Steven King began making a hundred grand per book before a single word had been written, he lost his artistic edge. That’s why I voted for Moore.

    If the poll had been for movie versions of their works, dang, that would be like choosing sides in the Iran/Iraq war.

  19. The Towson Oyster says:

    Gary Johnston.

    Seriously, I’ve read more of Moore’s work than King’s, but Moore seems to draw on pastiche and tribute and imitation a lot. King does as well. I don’t believe something original is automatically better than something derivative–I like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, for example, and that’s pretty reference-heavy. In general, I’m weary of derivative science fiction-fantasy-horror, nostalgic homages as opposed to that certain uniqueness of creativity. Which King appears to have more (I’d say) than Moore does.

    Side note: comparing the two writers, I’ve realized King’s short story “The End of the Whole Mess” is a bit like Moore’s 2000ad strip “Mister, Could You Buy a Squonge”. Unintentional I assume, but they do the end of the world in a similar way.

  20. spidercow2012 says:

    Voted for Moore after asking myself “Whose stuff would I most like to read AGAIN?” Then it occurred to me: “You’re just so lazy that you’d rather lift a comic book than a fat novel, you slug!” Then I figured that Moore can accomplish more in a comic than King can do in a lengthy tome, revalidating my rationale.
    btw, here again we have an instance where the voting is largely opposed to the statements of people who actually comment. wzup wdat?

  21. Herr D says:

    I’m having trouble comparing the two at all–Moore is the portable difibrillist, and King is the massive MRI machine. To a degree, though they don’t directly depend on one another, if one were less, the other would somehow be required to do more.

  22. RabbiJoe says:

    Both are amazing, but Moore has never demonstrated his magical powers in real life, while King battled an oncoming truck and WON. (Then the driver dropped dead a year later of “natural causes”.) So, King rules.

  23. Dan Gonzalez says:

    Moore edges King out in a close one for me. Watchmen and the League are excellent. King gets points for the Dark Tower, which is definitely his best and probably better than any one of Moore’s works. As for body of work I have to go with Moore.

  24. WillyPete says:

    I kindda have to agree with Niall Mor, on this one… Two insufferable Egos, incapable of working with an Editor, and neither one producing much that I’ve really liked. If it weren’t for DC’s “Before Watchmen” series, I might have gone for Moore… but, I am now reminded of all the many warts and other flaws that Watchmen was prone to. It was kind of interesting to read, the first time, as it came out in comic form… but the ending really killed it for me, and the detail they’re doing in the new stories is kind of like examining those warts under a microscope. Yuck! {I say this despite actually liking two of the books in the new series… “The Minutemen”, and “Silk Spectre”, both by Darwyn Cooke}

  25. Erez says:

    As an English Literature student, which actually specializes in Horror, Sci-Fi and fantasy I voted for King. Even if no single piece he wrote has ever been as good as a piece by Moore, his combined literary career has had a HUGE impact on the horror genre in books, TV, cinema and in general.

  26. Patriot_Missile says:

    King’s work appeals to the powers that be for mass marketing, and so I voted for him because I agree. Moore’s work SHOULD be mass marketed, but it’s so close to reality, it would compromise the powers that be, and that would be the end of us.