Aug 8, 2010

About Books Blog 24: Watchmen


Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Dave Gibbons
Colorist: John Higgins
Genre: Graphic Novel

Favorite Line

“Why are so few of us left active, healthy, and without personality disorders?”


I totally took this summary from IMDb. I couldn’t figure out how summarize it without telling the whole story.

In a gritty and alternate 1985 the glory days of costumed vigilantes have been brought to a close by a government crackdown, but after one of the masked veterans is brutally murdered an investigation into the killer is initiated. The reunited heroes set out to prevent their own destruction, but in doing so discover a deeper and far more diabolical plot.

What I Thought of This Book

Almost everyone I know who likes graphic novels (including my mother) said I needed to read Watchmen. In fact, everything I read about the graphic novel genre said I should read Watchmen. That is quite a few people referring something, so I thought I would finally take a crack at it.

I can see why people suggest Watchmen. It is thought provoking and on occasion darkly hilarious. There are so many ranges of dramatic and emotional directions in the plot. It is filled with plot twists and excitement.

The characters are extremely interesting psychologically. They are a little on the crazy side. I suppose you would have to be a bit barmy to put on a revealing costume, and go off to fight the scum of the underworld. Especially considering only one of the heroes actually has superpowers. Despite the characters’ inner darkness and sporadic moments of cruelty, I still found them endearing.

I think I will have to read Watchmen second time to take it all in. There are many elements to the story. There are several characters and their back-stories. Between each chapter there excerpts from books, news articles, and other various documents, created by the author to give further incite to the story. In addition, excerpts of a fictional graphic novel called Tales of the Black Freighter were inserted. It goes without saying that Watchmen has a rather complicated plot, but it is not difficult to understand. The only issues I had reading were the afore mentioned articles in between chapters. Part of it was that quite a lot of the book deals with politics. I am not an overly political person. I didn’t mind the political part in the comic sections, but I was so tempted to scan when reading about it in tiny black and white type.

Facts I Found Interesting

There were so many interesting facts! I just picked a couple, for more go over to the Wikipedia page.

Alan Moore originally proposed the Watchmen story line using characters from another comic recently purchased by DC Comics. Though DC liked the idea, they suggested Moore use original characters of the tale. Moore said, "DC realized their expensive characters would end up either dead or dysfunctional." Ha ha.

Artist Dave Gibbons stated that the character Rorschach was his favorite to draw because, "you just have to draw a hat. If you can draw a hat, then you’ve drawn Rorschach, you just draw kind of a shape for his face and put some black blobs on it and you’re done."

The Movie

The film is alright. It is extremely close to the novel. The visuals are beautiful. As always, I give the film kudos for using exact dialog from the book. Most of the casting was right on, and the action scenes were great.

While I was watching it, I couldn't help but think if you had not read the book you probably would not like it much. Even though they tried to give you all the back-story, there was no way they could have fit enough of it in there. I personally enjoyed watching it just because I liked the book and had fun seeing the scenes in live action.

I only had one major disappointment. They striped some of the hilarious parts that were depicted in the novel. Well, I suppose they didn’t remove the funny scenes. They just played them in a way that wasn’t as funny as I saw it in my head. Overall, it was fun to watch but not as good reading the novel. I think it would have been extra wonderful if they made it into a mini-series.

Obviously, there wasn’t enough time in the Watchmen film to include the comic within the comic, Tales of the Black Freighter. Thus, the filmmakers conceived of making it in to a separate animated feature. I haven’t watched it yet, but the trailer makes it seem interesting.

Music To Read By

Favorite Albums

I enjoyed American Idiot by Green Day, and I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love by My Chemical Romance. I think this is because these albums and the book explore similar ideas. I also loved a compilation album of works by Nat King Cole. This choice was inspired by the fact that the song Unforgettable was mentioned in Watchmen. Lastly, I liked Bare by Annie Lennox and Best of Led Zeppelin. For no reason really, I just like them. Oh yes, I also listened to the Watchmen film soundtrack. The soundtrack used several songs that are quoted in the book. has a page containing all the musical references in Watchmen. I picked some of my favorites from the songs referenced and the soundtrack for the playlist.

Watchmen Playlist

The Times They Are A Changin’ - Bob Dylan
Desolation Row - My Chemical Romance
Ride of the Valkyries - Budapest Symphony Orchestra
The Comedians - Elvis Costello
The Sound of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel
Neighborhood Threat - Iggy Pop
Walking on The Moon - The Police
Hallelujah - Imogen Heap
Unforgettable - Nat King Cole
You’re My Thrill - Billie Holiday
Boulevard of Broken Songs - Green Day/Oasis
All Along The Watchtower - Jimmy Hendrix
A Thousand Beautiful Things - Annie Lennox
Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
Revolution - Jim Sturgess
Take A Bow - Muse
The Times They Are A Changin’ - Me First and The Gimme Gimmes

That's all folks. See you soon. Keep it shiny!


D Swizzle said...

i love how they used a song recorded for ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and put it in such a violent movie. its so...ironic. but i can never assosiate the beatles with alan moore. its such a juxtaposition.

great review :)

Unknown said...

Watchmen is a fantastic work of art and literature (there, I said it). I also recommend Marvels and my personal favorite, Kingdom Come.

Vicki S said...

I started Watchmen earlier this year--wait, no, last year--but didn't get through it. I liked it, and I thought the movie was alright, but every time I put it down, I never got the gumption to pick it back up. I think I only got through 2 or 3 parts... I'll have to try it again someday.