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Watchmen by Alan Moore

Watchmen (original 1986; edition 1995)

by Alan Moore

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,342None200 (4.34)330
Authors:Alan Moore
Info:DC Comics (1995), Edition: Graphic No, Paperback
Collections:Moorestown, Favorites
Tags:comics, graphic novel, 20c, british, superhero, dystopia, special attention

Work details

Watchmen by Alan Moore (Writer) (1986)

2009 (72) 20th century (62) Alan Moore (139) alternate history (189) apocalypse (46) classic (43) Cold War (98) comic (334) comic book (91) comic books (65) comics (846) crime (46) DC (93) DC Comics (75) dystopia (156) fantasy (129) fiction (783) graphic (59) graphic novel (2,243) mystery (61) own (68) politics (44) read (242) read in 2009 (62) science fiction (366) sf (57) superhero (217) superheroes (496) to-read (123) Watchmen (60)
  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. 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 (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. 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 (one-horse.library)
  9. 40
    The Authority: Relentless by Warren Ellis (MyriadBooks)
  10. 40
    Astro City: Life in the Big City by Kurt Busiek (FFortuna)
  11. 52
    Kingdom Come by Mark Waid (jpers36)
  12. 20
    Those Who Walk in Darkness by John Ridley (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Which is another superhero deconstruction along these same lines.
  13. 20
    Icon: A Hero's Welcome (New Edition) by Dwayne McDuffie (FFortuna)
  14. 10
    Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset (Greyshirt, 1) by Rick Veitch (kxlly)
  15. 21
    American Flagg! : Definitive Collection Volume 1 by Howard Chaykin (LKAYC)
  16. 10
    Atomika Vol 1: God Is Red by Sal Abbinanti (IamAleem)
  17. 10
    Winter Men by Brett Lewis (IamAleem)
  18. 21
    The Satires of Juvenal by Juvenal (bertilak)
  19. 24
    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)
  20. 15
    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.

(see all 21 recommendations)


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English (318)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (325)
Showing 1-5 of 318 (next | show all)
I'm not really going to go to in depth in this review..so I'll keep it short and sweet.

I understand the massive amount of praise and hype given to this graphic novel. At the time of its publication, I believe that there were not a lot of books created with the subject matter. However, I'm reading this almost 25 years after its release - I've read more than a few graphic novels and it just fell kind of flat on me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that I disliked this book. I mean, it was okay, but I guess I just expected to feel blown away when I finished..instead, I mostly felt bored. ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
1 ( )
  PhotoS | Feb 17, 2014 |
I re-read this recently, and I was very pleasantly surprised at how much richer the experience was. The basic plot is not bad, but that is not what makes Watchmen such an enduring book. It is the fully realized, textured alternate history it creates. It is the multifaceted viewpoints from which one experiences the story. It is the ephemera included at the end of the chapters. It is the recurring and resonant images that appear like musical motifs to tie the threads of the tale back to the central ideas. It is the visual, auditory, and thematic transitions. It is the layered narration. And it is a hundred moments when the novel defies or subverts the conventions of the comic book, while still staying true to the form.

Watchmen has to be read slowly and carefully to get out of it all that it promises. The first time I read it, I was more of a comics reader, and that's how I read it. I could see that there was more to the story than the usual superhero fare, but I did not slow my pace to absorb it all. The panels are worth being studied to see not just what is happening in the foreground, but to witness the background action as well, to read the newspaper headlines, to identify main characters engaged in telling exchanges, to identify the meanings in the posters, the handbills, the billboards, and the architecture.

Maybe it's all a bit much at times, because the structure is so intricate. One can still enjoy the book even without shaking loose every last symbolic meaning. But the more carefully one reads, the more immersed one feels in the world of Watchmen, and more invested too, and that's more reward than many books can promise. ( )
1 vote phredfrancis | Feb 8, 2014 |
I saw the movie first. Was that a good thing or a bad thing? I'm not sure. I really liked the movie, came out of it surprised at some of the criticism it received. I'm not an experienced reader of comics or graphic novels (my only previous venture was with Strangers in Paradise), but I decided that it was time to read Watchmen.
I'm glad that I did. Not surprisingly, the original comic is much richer and deeper than the movie, and I was impressed by all that it had to say. Of course, much of it is drawn from the world as it was in the 1980s, but there's a lot to resonate even now. I'm still wrapping my head around the utter deconstruction of good and evil on those pages, trying to put it back together again in my mind.
This isn't much of a review. The problem was with how I read Watchmen. I've had a busy and distracted few weeks, and I read it a couple of pages at a time, whenever I had a spare moment to pick it up -- and I was a very unfocused reader. As such, I think I lost a bit of the flow of the story, and some of its internal links.
My plan: wait six months, pick it up again, and read it once more. Revise this review. See the movie again at some point and see how I feel about what it did with the source material. ( )
  ksimon | Feb 6, 2014 |
I feel totally ill equipped to give this book a rating. While I can appreciate it on many levels I still did not like it, did not enjoy reading it, nor did I like the artwork. This is one book that I'm going to have to let settle for awhile before I rate. In the meantime, I'm just going to give a huge sigh of relief that I'm finally finished with it and never have to look at it again. ( )
  mlbelize | Jan 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 318 (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
Orlando, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bárány, FerencTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Higgins, JohnColoristsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wein, LenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes. Who watches the watchmen? Juvenal Satires, VI, 347, quoted as the epigraph of the Tower commission report, 1987
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.
[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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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)

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.

(summary from another edition)

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