Author: Alan Moore
Illustrator: Dave Gibbons
Publisher: DC Comics
Genre: Graphic Novel, Superhero comics
Number of Pages: 334
Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback, School & Library Binding E-Book, Audio
Rating Scale: 5Q, 5P
Links to Author’s Website and Interviews
Links to Reviews
The Comedian has died, and nothing for a group of vigilantes known as the Watchmen will ever be the same.
This is a dark and gritty take on the superhero genre, taking place in an alternate reality where America has won the Vietnam War, due to a being with godlike powers named Doctor Manhattan, but is under the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. It chronicles the story of two generations of vigilantes and tells the story of the two in a non-linear fashion. The story begins with the death of a man named Eddie Blake, who was once a vigilante. A fellow vigilante that we worked with years before, named Rorschach, begins investigating Blake’s death and enlists the help of other vigilantes that the man worked with, called the Watchmen. As Rorschach uncovers the truth about Blake’s death, the other Watchmen begin to realize that something sinister is going on that could put the group in jeopardy.
There’s a reason why Watchmen was one of Time Magazine’s All Time 100 Greatest Novels. It is a dark and dense graphic novel full of metaphor, symbolism and social commentary. Moore meticulously deconstructs the archetypes of the superhero genre, delving into the psychology of these individuals and providing a more realistic take on how superheroes would truly act in reality. The novel shows that putting on a costume doesn’t necessarily make you a good person. The novel is filled with interesting, morally grey characters that are forced to make tough decisions that they will have to live with. There’s a strong sense of consequence that traditional superhero stories sometimes overlook. Watchmen is one of the best superhero stories ever told because it wasn’t afraid to take heroes seriously.
Significance of Book
This is considered one of the greatest graphic novels of all time. It has won numerous awards, including the Hugo Award, and was the only graphic novel to appear on Time ’s 2005 “All-Time 100 Greatest Novels” list. It has legitimized graphics as a serious literary medium.
Batman: Year One by Frank Miller
Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer
Kick-Ass by Mark Millar
Awards and Lists
Eisner Awards: Best Graphic Album – New
Harvey Awards: Best Graphic Album – Original
Locus Awards: Best Nonfiction/Related/Reference Book
YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: Book to Movie: Ripped From the Pages (2015)
Time ’s 2005 “All-Time 100 Greatest Novels” list
Time ’s 2009 “Top 10 Graphic Novels” list
- Discuss the women characters in the book. Are they objectified?
- Discuss the two different generations of Watchmen.
- Discuss the anti-hero theme
- Discuss Dr. Manhattan and his decreasing lack of humanity
Justification of Selection
This award-winning graphic novel has been on my radar for a long time. I decided to read it because I wanted to see a take on superheroes that was dark and gritty.