Alan Moore (Author)
Dave Gibbons (Illustrator)
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’ favourite. 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. It is one of the most influential graphic novels of all time and a perennial bestseller. Now it is attracting a lot of new attention, thanks to the feature film adaptation which opened on March 6. This is the graphic novel that director Terry Gilliam once declared “un-filmable”
Watchmen is a murder mystery, a political thriller and a deconstructionist superhero tale for adults, among other things. It examines a world where superheroes are real, and imagines the political and social consequences of this world. In an Earth slightly parallel to ours, masked heroes are forced either to retire or work for the government. Someone has been killing former heroes, prompting wanted vigilante Rorschach to track down the old team. Aging, arms races, corporate power struggles, human relationships and even the narrative structure of one’s own life are examined through the conventions of superhero comics.