Yeah, I said it.
Look…I don’t hate Watchmen (and lest we are confused, I am speaking about the comic book, NOT the movie). But I DO NOT consider it the greatest comic book ever written. In fact, I don’t even think it would be in my top ten. Here’s why:
Miracleman, to me, is as perfect as a comic book can get. It is truly Moore at his finest, and anyone worth their salt will tell you, Moore at his finest is comics at their finest.
Haven’t read Miracleman? Its understandable, as its damn hard to come by (Let me know if you need it…I know a guy, initials BT). Let me paint a picture. Its very much like Watchmen, in that it is about the difference between Gods and Men, but it is WAY different, in that…well, its way different.
The story is about a man, finding out he shares his body with a nearly invincible superhero (a ‘la Jeckyll & Hyde) and coming to terms with what that means, and how the two can work together (or, CAN’T, actually). The superhero is, in fact, Miracleman (an actual Golden Age character that Moore reinvented). That’s the general plot. Beyond that, there is SO much more going on (I mean, we are talking about Alan Moore, here) regarding his family, his origins, and his future. Imagine Watchmen started with Jon Osterman waking up one day and realizing that Dr. Manhattan was a part of him (not all of him). Erase the rest of Watchmen from existence. You have Miracleman. It should be noted that Miracleman is 4-5 years Watchmen’s predecessor, so it can not be examined as a “rewriting”. This had never been done before, and has yet been done since.
The story is so rich, and the writing so flawless, Miracleman had NO resistance making its way to the top of my “greatest comics ever” list. As far as Watchmen, I may be being stubborn, but I can’t justify BOTH of them being at the top, and Miracleman is the far superior story. Watchmen, to me, just feels like a less focused reshoot. It’s great, but not the best. Not even HIS best.
Alan Moore’s run on Miracleman lasted 16 issues. Number 17 picks up with Neil Gaiman at the helm (no slouch, himself), but I recommend…nay, I INSIST you read the first 16 issues. You will be glad you did.