Watchmen by Alan Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Writing a review for Watchmen is kinda like writing a review of the Bible. How do you review a book/graphic novel is one of the most influential ladles of awesomesauce to served up to the comics world?
When I was a teenager, a million years ago, one of my weekly rituals was to take my pizza job cash and dump it on the counter of my fave comic shop, walking home with comics, posters, and Japanese robot models. (Eventually girls would talk to me and my habits changed slightly). At the time of Watchmen, it was a curious time for comics. Black and white, independent books were rolling strong, thanks to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Dark Horse Comics had just started. The comics business was highly self-aware.
Brit writers and artists were starting to hit the beach. DC Comics was especially aware of how awesome these guys were, many of them of them key players at 2000 A.D., the godhead of UK comics.
One of these guys was Alan Moore, and he was given a writing assignment by DC. DC had bought Charlton Comics, and all their characters. They wanted a nice maxi-series to bring them into the fold. Moore was tasked with this mission.
Moore goes out to his creepy cave and writes up this THING. This amazing THING. He informs DC that it will be the greatest THING ever to be published, but alas, they will never get to use these characters again. DC peeks in Alan’s briefcase, is shocked to see the glory of the THING, and tells him to adjust the characters, make them into something new. Which Alan does. Thank gods for that.
Then Watchmen hits the stands. Every issue was a revelation, and when you closed the cover, you immediately went into withdrawals until the next. It took over a year for the 12 issues to come out, and I had whiplash from seizures.
Every “cool” and “innovative” writer working in comics today will tell you that Watchmen was a major influence. The book was a grand statement on the superhero genre, publishing, and the comic book medium. It was so meta, your brain will implode.
There’s a movie (sadly misdirected, although the teenager in me was pleased) and DC is cranking out some sequels this year (I reserve comment, but I do just want to be a hater out of the gate). If you haven’t read Watchmen, please read it first before checking anything else with Watchmen attached to it. PLEASE. For me. For your mom. For your country. For whatever flag you salute. Just start here.
And Moore? He’s done about a billion things since then, but he’s such a cranky old man hiding in a castle somewhere deep in the moors, and in many ways has never been quite as accessible a storyteller as he was with Watchmen.
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