ut are they still what they once were?
Would anyone see The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as anything more than a JLA peopled with literary characters if pitched by someone else? Would DC have even picked up The Dark Knight Strikes Again if it was proposed by someone less prolific?
I think these men were once big fish in a little pond, a pond which has since become an ocean.
Sadly, the post title and the question present in the post are not the same thing. It is almost a universal question to ask of artists as to whether they still measure up to a prior, loved work. Almost invariably, the work will not hold up, but sometimes it does. sometimes that artist and the artee grow apart, and the themes that drew you to their work are no longer gripping to the artee (see Ray Bradbury and the stunted views on sexuality that exist in some of his early fiction). sometimes the artist stays with the same themes and bores the hell out of his/her audience (woody allen).
Lets be frank (hah hah) on this: Moore, as i catalogued in my prior post on miracleman,is truly the god among men. he has a corner of comics valhalla that, literally, is unassailable. Frank, you could debate, but he's up there.
The question that the post asks puts us in the position having to decide where we sit as critics. Do we judge the new work of an experienced artist in view of their past body of work, or solely by its own merits? Are we even able to do that objectively having already seen the past works and themes that the artist has explored?
These are worthhier questions to be asked. Now go read From Hell, Daredevil: Born Again, Promethea, Batman: Year One, Miracleman, Lost Girls, 300 and go away.