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Watchmen by Alan Moore
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Watchmen (original 1986; edition 2005)

by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,698342187 (4.34)355
Member:infiniteletters
Title:Watchmen
Authors:Alan Moore
Other authors:Dave Gibbons
Info:New York : DC Comics, [2005]
Collections:Gainful, Your library, To read
Rating:
Tags:science fiction, graphic novel, from Bookmooch, unread, large paperback

Work details

Watchmen by Alan Moore (Writer) (1986)

  1. 210
    V for Vendetta by Alan Moore (FFortuna, monktv)
    monktv: These books have the epic storytelling and interesting meaning in common.
  2. 190
    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. 90
    DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore by Alan Moore (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Includes two earlier Moore/Gibbons collaborations.
  5. 80
    From Hell by Alan Moore (sturlington)
  6. 60
    Supreme: The Story of the Year by Alan Moore (one-horse.library)
    one-horse.library: 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. 50
    Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka (sweetiegherkin)
    sweetiegherkin: I enjoyed the back stories in both, seeing how regular people end up as costumed vigilantes.
  8. 50
    Supreme: The Return by Alan Moore (one-horse.library)
  9. 50
    The Authority: Relentless by Warren Ellis (MyriadBooks)
  10. 50
    Astro City: Life in the Big City by Kurt Busiek (FFortuna)
  11. 62
    Kingdom Come by Mark Waid (jpers36)
  12. 30
    Those Who Walk in Darkness by John Ridley (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Which is another superhero deconstruction along these same lines.
  13. 31
    The Satires of Juvenal by Juvenal (bertilak)
  14. 21
    Icon: A Hero's Welcome (New Edition) by Dwayne McDuffie (FFortuna)
  15. 11
    Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset (Greyshirt, 1) by Rick Veitch (kxlly)
  16. 22
    American Flagg! : Definitive Collection Volume 1 by Howard Chaykin (LKAYC)
  17. 11
    Winter Men by Brett Lewis (IamAleem)
  18. 11
    Atomika Vol 1: God Is Red by Sal Abbinanti (IamAleem)
  19. 25
    Essential Spider-Man, Volume 1 by Stan Lee (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Comics creator Steve Ditko was a central influence on Watchmen. This volume, created in collaboration with scripter Stan Lee, contains some of his finest work.
  20. 25
    Watchmensch by Rich Johnston (one-horse.library)
    one-horse.library: Watchmensch is a parody of Alan Moore's seminal work, Watchmen. It takes place in New York, starring Nite Nurse, Spottyman, Silk, 1700 Broadway Manhattan and Ozzyosbourne in a race to discover who is killing them, a cloned creature about to be dropped onto NYC and a conspiracy in the comic book industry--the movies it spawns and the creator it tramples over on its way to the bank.… (more)

(see all 21 recommendations)

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» See also 355 mentions

English (334)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (341)
Showing 1-5 of 334 (next | show all)
I know a lot of people hate Zack Snyder's Watchmen film, but I always liked it, in fact I own it on Blu-ray. I figured I should go back and read the actual comic that inspired it.

Watchmen is, hands down, far and away, the best comic book series I have ever read. Nothing else even comes close, in my mind. I'm not much a comics connoisseur, but of the limited runs that I've read, this is the best.

It's so complex, the characters so interesting, and yet grounded in total reality. Alan Moore didn't reuse existing characters with rich histories like Batman or Superman, he invented a completely new set of costumed heroes, each with their own distinct personalities and motivators, and he wrote them all perfectly. What's more, he placed them in our world rather than a fantasy world, and wrote that world the way that they'd actually react to these heroes. Each character has their own viewpoints, all of which Moore writes seamlessly, nobody ever feels like a mere extension of the author.

Even secondary characters like Hollis Mason and Moloch have rich, distinct personalities. Most films and television shows rely, to some extend, on flat, one-dimensional characters, but Watchmen has none of that. The mere 12-issue miniseries has so much depth that it feels like a 50-issue run after the fact. I feel like I understand the world of these characters, and yet I only read 12 issues of books consisting mostly of drawings. That's astonishing.

I've simply never seen this ambitious an undertaking before. The depth of characters, the vividness of the world, and the message and symbolism contained in the miniseries is, as far as I can tell, simply unsurpassed.

Many say the film is vastly inferior to the comic book, but after reading the book I actually feel like Snyder did an incredibly good job of capturing the vast majority of what happens in the book. I actually have a new appreciation for the film, because I see it as more or less compatible with the events of the book, and the book serves to flesh out the film's characters even more.

Every aspect of this book, ranging from the distinct manner of speech each character has (often they start speaking before you can see who is narrating, but it's easy to figure out who is talking simply by how they are written) to the density of information in illustrations, is firing on every cylinder. Nearly every aspect of this book is pure perfection, I cannot recommend it highly enough. ( )
  rodhilton | Nov 14, 2014 |
I saw the film before I read this and liked them both about equally. The comic is probably better but I got more out of the film (loved the soundtrack). Also, though neither ending makes much sense, the one in the film is more satisfying. I just couldn't take the space squid seriously. I'm sorry, I think that ending actually is more LOGICAL, just... why'd it have to be a squid-thing? ( )
  humblewomble | Oct 19, 2014 |
Excellent! ( )
  KatieEmilySmith | Sep 23, 2014 |
Realistic and dark and gritty. One of my all time favorite graphic novels. The characters are well developed and the situations are realistic. The interweaving stories of each of the heros was amazing to read and watch it play out into the plot. Worth it. ( )
  Rosenstern | Sep 14, 2014 |
Now I know why people say this book changed how graphic novels were written.

Just, damn. So good. ( )
  owlbeyourfriend | Sep 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 334 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Moore, AlanWriterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gibbons, DaveIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Higgins, JohnColoristmain 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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Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0930289234, Paperback)

Has any comic been as acclaimed as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen? Possibly only Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, but Watchmen remains the critics' favorite. Why? Because Moore is a better writer, and Watchmen a more complex and dark and literate creation than Miller's fantastic, subversive take on the Batman myth. Moore, renowned for many other of the genre's finest creations (Saga of the Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, and From Hell, with Eddie Campbell) first put out Watchmen in 12 issues for DC in 1986-87. It won a comic award at the time (the 1987 Jack Kirby Comics Industry Awards for Best Writer/Artist combination) and has continued to gather praise since.

The story concerns a group called the Crimebusters and a plot to kill and discredit them. Moore's characterization is as sophisticated as any novel's. Importantly the costumes do not get in the way of the storytelling; rather they allow Moore to investigate issues of power and control--indeed it was Watchmen, and to a lesser extent Dark Knight, that propelled the comic genre forward, making "adult" comics a reality. The artwork of Gibbons (best known for 2000AD's Rogue Trooper and DC's Green Lantern) is very fine too, echoing Moore's paranoid mood perfectly throughout. Packed with symbolism, some of the overlying themes (arms control, nuclear threat, vigilantes) have dated but the intelligent social and political commentary, the structure of the story itself, its intertextuality (chapters appended with excerpts from other "works" and "studies" on Moore's characters, or with excerpts from another comic book being read by a child within the story), the finepace of the writing and its humanity mean that Watchmen more than stands up--it keeps its crown as the best the genre has yet produced. --Mark Thwaite

A Q&A with Dave Gibbons on the Making of Watchmen

Question: You were tasked with drawing new illustrations of key shots from the new Watchmen film. Was it a difficult challenge to re-imagine your work in this movie format?

Dave Gibbons: I don’t think that I actually did many key shots from the film. I had to actually imagine them rather than exactly recreate what was going to be in the movie. But as far as the drawings I did for the licensing purposes, accuracy was the real key so that they looked exactly like the movie. Whereas doing the graphic novel was creating stuff afresh and being very creative, this was more the case of interpreting something that already existed. So it was rather more a commercial art job than a creative thing.

Q: How many scenes from the original graphic novel did you redraw in the new "movie" format?

DG: I kind of did them piecemeal, these licensing drawings. I did do a section of storyboarding for Zack Snyder. There is a part of the movie that isn’t in the graphic novel and he wanted to see how I would have drawn it, if it had been in the graphic novel. So I redid the storyboards as three pages of comic on the nine-panel grid, also getting it coloured by John Higgins so it looked authentic. But I think there were probably only 3 or 4 scenes that I drew, which were from the movie.

Q: What was your working method for producing these new illustrations from the film? And how has it changed from when you originally illustrated Watchmen?

DG: When you’re producing things from existing material, you have to look at and assemble the references... you know, keep looking backwards and forwards to make sure what you’re drawing is accurate to what’s in the photos. I did have lots of photos from the movie and in some cases I had more or less the illustration I was going to do in photo form, which made it a lot easier. On others I had to construct it from various references: really just the usual illustrator’s job of drawing something to reference. And on the original illustrations of Watchmen, I was free to come up with exactly the angles and exactly the costumes and everything that I wanted to. When you’ve designed a costume and drawn it a few times, you actually internalize it and you find you can draw it without having to refer to reference at all. So in some ways it’s more creative and in some ways it’s easier!

Q: In Watchmen: The Art of the Film, there are concept designs by other artists of their visions of your iconic characters. What do you think of their versions and did you offer any guidance while they were working on these?

DG: It’s always really interesting to see versions of your characters drawn by other artists. You tend to see things in them that you hadn’t noticed before. So I really enjoyed looking at those. I certainly didn’t offer them any guidance. The purpose of getting those kinds of drawings done is to get a fresh perspective on what exists. I noticed actually that they really stuck more closely to my original designs than those, but I really enjoyed seeing them.

Q: Watchmen: Portraits is Clay Enos’s stunning black and white collection of photos of each character from the Watchmen movie. What was it like looking through this book at all the characters you had conceived years ago now being brought to life by actors?

DG: It’s rather interesting; you know if you look at the Watching the Watchmen book you can see these characters as fairly sketchy rough conceptual versions. Then when you look at Clay’s book you can actually see them right down to counting the number of pores on the skin on the end of their noses! It’s incredible high focus! It’s like zooming in through space and time to look at the surface of some moon of Saturn or something. I thoroughly enjoyed his book... it had a real artistic quality to it that was really so good. And of course to see these actors who so much are the embodiment of what I drew, that it’s a tremendous thrill to see them made flesh!

Q: Watchmen: The Film Companion features some stills from the animated version of The Black Freighter. What do you think of the look and design of this animated feature?

DG: It looks really interesting! Although I drew my version in the comic book in a kind of horror-comic style, these are very much in a savage manga style. I think they work really well... they’ve got the kind of manic intensity, which I think that work should have and I really can’t wait to see the whole feature. I’ve seen the trailer for it and that looks great and again they’ve used a lot of the compositions that I came up with but just translated them to this kind of very modern drawn animation.

Q: How much time did you spend on the set of Watchmen? Was it a surreal experience to see your work recreated like this?

DG: I was on the set of Watchmen for a couple of days and it really was surreal to walk through a door and then suddenly be in the presence of all these people in living breathing flesh! I was there for what you would call the Crimebusters meeting where they were all there in costume in the same room, which was incredible. They had obviously planned that so I would get to see everyone. It was surreal though quite a wonderful experience to see it come to life.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:39 -0400)

This stunning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of superheroes plagued by all too human failings. The concept of the super hero is dissected and inverted as strangely realistic characters are stalked by an unknown assassin. Originally published as a 12 issue series in 1986 and 1987, WATCHMEN remains one of DC Comics' most popular graphic novels.… (more)

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