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Watchmen by Alan Moore
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Watchmen (1986)

by Alan Moore (Writer), Dave Gibbons (Illustrator), John Higgins (Colorist), Alan Moore

Other authors: Joe Orlando (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Watchmen - Alan Moore (collects 1-12)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16,031432219 (4.32)484
As former members of a disbanded group of superheroes called the Crimebusters start turning up dead, the remaining members of the group try to discover the identity of the murderer before they, too, are killed.
  1. 210
    V for Vendetta by Alan Moore (FFortuna, monktv)
    monktv: These books have the epic storytelling and interesting meaning in common.
  2. 202
    Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller (McMinty)
  3. 100
    The Absolute Sandman Volume One by Neil Gaiman (JapaG)
    JapaG: After the Watchmen, Sandman is probably the graphic novel that has most influenced the adult comic scene today. It has similarly deep storyline about humanity from the perspective of one outside of it. Also the magnificent art contributes to the great collection.
  4. 80
    From Hell by Alan Moore (sturlington)
  5. 80
    DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore by Alan Moore (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Includes two earlier Moore/Gibbons collaborations.
  6. 50
    Supreme: The Story of the Year by Alan Moore (TomWaitsTables)
    TomWaitsTables: Like Watchmen, this is a superhero story. But it is the complete polar opposite of Watchmen; this is Alan Moore's love letter to the silver age superhero.
  7. 40
    Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka (sweetiegherkin)
    sweetiegherkin: I enjoyed the back stories in both, seeing how regular people end up as costumed vigilantes.
  8. 40
    Supreme: The Return by Alan Moore (TomWaitsTables)
  9. 40
    Astro City: Life in the Big City by Kurt Busiek (FFortuna)
  10. 62
    Kingdom Come by Mark Waid (jpers36)
  11. 40
    The Authority: Relentless by Warren Ellis (MyriadBooks)
  12. 30
    Miracleman Book Three: Olympus by Alan Moore (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Both deconstructionist superhero tales by Alan Moore. WATCHMEN is the more formally masterful work; MIRACLEMAN, the more emotionally devastating one.
  13. 20
    Wild Cards (Volume 1) by George R. R. Martin (LamontCranston)
  14. 20
    Those Who Walk in Darkness by John Ridley (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Which is another superhero deconstruction along these same lines.
  15. 20
    Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset (Greyshirt, 1) by Rick Veitch (kxlly)
  16. 31
    American Flagg!: Definitive Collection Volume 1 by Howard Chaykin (LKAYC)
  17. 20
    Icon: A Hero's Welcome (Milestone Comics Library) by Dwayne McDuffie (FFortuna)
  18. 10
    Atomika Vol 1: God Is Red by Sal Abbinanti (IamAleem)
  19. 10
    The Winter Men {complete} by Brett Lewis (IamAleem)
  20. 21
    The Satires of Juvenal by Juvenal (bertilak)

(see all 23 recommendations)

1980s (101)
Books (66)
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» See also 484 mentions

English (419)  French (4)  Danish (2)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (430)
Showing 1-5 of 419 (next | show all)
Each time I read this book I like it a little less. Maybe the initial wonder is fading, and I'm being unfair to what was undoubtedly a huge advance in the graphic novel genre. Or maybe my first reading was tinged with the context of a pre-teen boy that loved super heroes and edginess. Now that I'm older and softer, the philosophy seems a bit half-baked, and the grittiness falls flat. It's not really fun to read now, which is a shame.

That being said, I cannot discount the impact this had on me years ago, or the impact it had on literature decades ago. This is one of the most important graphic novels ever published, and remains a landmark in the comic world. Every comic book should be marked by how far before or after Watchmen it was published, because that's the level of impact we're talking about here.

It's not just good, it's great. I just don't know if "like" it anymore. ( )
  MaxAndBradley | May 27, 2020 |
Well known as one of the best graphic novels ever made. This Cold War science fiction mystery is a rewarding read and very impressively put together. - Lucky ( )
  Lucky-Loki | May 26, 2020 |
You haven't read Watchmen until you've reread it at least 2-3 times. This was my 4th time through and I was still picking up on new details and connections. ( )
  lightkensei | May 17, 2020 |
I understand why this book has the following that it does. I also understand that it did a lot for comics in general. It just isn't my personal favorite.

The one thing I had to keep in mind is that this isn't just a graphic novel about the 80s--it was also written in the 80s, so some things are bound to be outdated, and the effect some of the commentary might have on a reader in the 80s isn't as great on a reader, such as myself, who was born in 1991. I am able, obviously, to draw some parallels to the current societal problems the States are facing, but all of the Red Scare stuff just isn't as meaningful to me--and that's okay. That wasn't my issue with this book.

I'm not someone who just wants a bunch of ass-kicking and action in a comic. The thought-provoking journal entries by Rorschach, and Dr. Manhattan's convoluted thoughts about life and what has meaning, are great, for the most part. Sometimes it would be slow going, but they were still among the most interesting parts of the book.

Rorschach himself is one of those characters I really can't say I like or hate 100%. I like a lot of things about his character, but his constant toting of The Comedian as a "true American" or hero, when he knows Blake's a complete scumbag, is grating. And he hurt dogs, so that's automatically one star off. Let people get beat up all you want in a comic, but bring the animals into it, and you lose me. It's usually unnecessary when it happens.

The whole exploration of Jon/Dr. Manhattan and his perceived inability to feel much of anything for people or the world was one of my favorite things about Watchmen. It's a little difficult to explain, but I think he's actually one of the most relatable characters for me, in that he doesn't view humanity as this superior entity, or that human life is worth more than other life. But his connection to one particular person is what convinces him to value life in general. I don't always have a lot of faith in humanity, so reading his views made me consider my own in comparison.

I do like that a major point of Watchmen is to display the fact that "heroes" can have relatively normal lives when not in costume, both during and after their "careers." I think it's something that most media portrays as simple discord between the hero life and the everyday life, but Watchmen goes a little more into the internal conflict this sort of double life causes. Some of the characters are actually pretty normal people, but they still deal with the lingering desire to be out in the world fighting crime.

The "extra" material at the end of each chapter was also neat. I had this picture book about a mailman as a kid, and it had little envelopes and letters that you could pull out, making it interactive. I really like stuff like that, so the various interviews, newspaper clippings, and letters included made for interesting background on the characters, and broke up the sometimes-monotonous parts of the comic itself.

In all, 3 stars means I liked it, and that's about as far as it goes for me. I didn't absolutely love it, but I understand the appeal and the cult following. Some parts really dragged for me, and didn't really hold my interest. But for the most part, the characters and overarching message definitely leave a lasting impression. ( )
  Octjillery | May 5, 2020 |
Still relivent all these years later. A true masterwork of the genre. ( )
  jafisher1980 | May 3, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 419 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Moore, AlanWriterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gibbons, DaveIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Higgins, JohnColoristmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, Alanmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Orlando, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bárány, FerencTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wein, LenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes. Who watches the watchmen? Juvenal Satires, VI, 347, quoted as the epigraph of the Tower commission report, 1987
Dedication
With special thanks to Neil Gaiman, Mike Lake, Pat Mills, and Joe Orlando.
First words
Rorschach's Journal. October 12th, 1985:
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.
Quotations
[spraypainted on wall] "Who watches the Watchmen?"
"Looked at the sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children hell-bound as ourselves; go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It's us. Only us." (Ch. VI, pg26)
"All this, it could be gone: people, cars, T.V. shows, magazines...even the word 'gone' would be gone." (Ch. V, pg12)
"Why do we argue? Life's so fragile, a successful virus clinging to a speck of mud, suspended in endless nothing." (Ch. VI, pg28)
"We're all puppets, Laurie. I'm just a puppet that can see the strings." (Ch. IX, pg5)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Some consider Absolute Watchmen to be a notably different work from Watchmen. There is currently a discussion in Combiners! discussing whether or not this separation is needed. Please join the discussion. Please do not combine the two works until this is resolved.
Before separating check ISBN because there are bad titles
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Book description
A New York Times Best Seller!

This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.

One of the most influential graphic novels of all time and a perennial bestseller, WATCHMEN has been studied on college campuses across the nation and is considered a gateway title, leading readers to other graphic novels such as V FOR VENDETTA, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and THE SANDMAN series.
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