Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Watchmen the movie has garnered a lot of attention at the San Diego Comic-Con. I received a copy of the book a few years back and proceeded to almost read it. I think I got through to the 15th page and then was totally lost and unappreciative and put it down and slated it for a later date. Apparently I’m not the norm for readers of Watchmen who have an almost cult-like appreciation for the graphic novel. Check out the wikipedia entry for more information.
Note: Watchmen is a mature read so reader beware. American comics unlike their manga counterparts don’t have age ratings. But I’d say Watchmen is probably in the same age category as Frank Miller’s Sin City and other edgy and gritty comics.
Here’s a guest post by a real fan:
*Guest post by Nate*
If you glance over the Watchmen Wikipedia entry, you’ll notice that the graphic novel has received a ton of acclaim. Does it live up to the hype? Absolutely. Some people have said that the book is too dark and too serious, that Alan Moore doesn’t seem to like superheroes, that the influence of this book made comics too adult and not-so-fun for a very long time.
That may be true, but it also says something about how different this book was. Alan Moore was one of the first comic authors to ask, “So what would the world really be like if there really were superheroes, and what would these superheroes be like?” and then use that theme to chronicle a group of these costumed mystery men and women through a period of many years.
Would the government turn a blind eye, or would it regulate heroes and make them agents of the state? Would heroes always strive to do the right thing? Or would they be flawed people who often made poor decisions and maybe didn’t even like themselves? Would they be people we could look up to, or would they be less than inspiring? These are very common themes in today’s comics, but they were groundbreaking in Watchmen.
Thanks to Moore’s brilliant writing, Watchmen does not feel dated despite other authors borrowing heavily from it. He was smart to create his own group of mystery men and women; that let him write without having to maintain a character’s continuity or worry about other authors messing up his vision. The book is a very dense read in comparison to today’s “decompressed” (i.e., pages and pages of not much going on) storytelling, and the non-linear storytelling keeps you involved. He even includes “additional materials” such as newspaper clippings and another mini comic strip that are meant to supplement the main story.
Dave Gibbon’s artwork, on the other hand, feels a bit more dated; each page is packed with small panels, and the art is not very flashy. But it works for the story.
Give a shot whether you like comics or not and find out why The Dark Knight is so dark and why the show Heroes works so well. Watchmen is gloomy, complex, and very real. It’s ambitious as hell.
*Thanks Nate! I think I will find my copy of Watchmen and give it another try.*