Sunday, July 12, 2009


by Alan Moore (writer), Dave Gibbons (illustrator/letterer) and John Higgins (colorist)

Watchmen is a graphic novel, originally released as 12 monthly comic books, and then combined in book format. As a graphic novel, Watchmen was something of a watershed moment for graphical storytelling. The story, encompassing an alternate reality in which superheroes actually existed but had to deal with the every-day niceties of the "real world", was very "adult" in nature. Alan Moore was and is a fan favorite comic book writer, and with artist Dave Gibbons, Moore created a wholly original world for his story -- one filled with both darkness (gritty, noirish scenes) and light (hopeful characters, fighting for what's right). The main storyline, about a series of ostrasized retired superheroes who are being killed off, is interspersed with scenes from a comic book being read inside the context of the Watchmen universe. The cast is large, and multi-layered. Moore is able to cast an examining eye on the prototype superhero characters, such as Batman or Superman, and imagine what a character like that would be like in real life. Some of the characters are unforgettable -- particular the omnipotent but amorla Dr. Manhattan, and the seedy, violent Rorschach. This graphic novel has it all -- mystery, romance, science fiction, character growth, history, and thought-provoking questions of right and wrong. My only complaint, both when I read this during its original release and when I reread it before the release of the recent movie adaptation, is that the artwork is at times unpleasant to look at. But on the whole, this is a groundbreaking work that anyone who's interested in comic book history should not miss! [Note: Though currently marketed for Teens, and located in the Young Adult collection at the library, this storyline does deal with mature themes, and may not be for all young readers.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?
New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

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