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Next Up: Watchmen

A comic book, huh?

This is the fourth novel of the current series of five books you guys picked for me to read. And, with this one, I just don’t know what to think.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a comic book. Probably 25 years. And by the way, just saying that makes me feel old. It’s hard to believe I could be doing anything 25 years ago, much less reading.

Anyway, I’ve got nothing against adults who read comics, but it’s just something I lost interest in early on in life. With the exception of the NEW Batman movies, I’m not that impressed with superhero movies, either. So, obviously, I’m not DC Comics’ target demographic.

Ninety percent of superhero stories seem to be all around high-action, loads of special effects, and a predictable, shallow plot. That’s just my opinion.

But back to the matter at hand, Watchmen. It has been labeled a groundbreaking series of comics. The version I have is in graphic novel form, with all the comics put together in one book.

Honestly, I know zero about this graphic novel, but here’s what I’ve dug up in the last 10 minutes:

  • Watchmen is a twelve issue limited comic book series, published during 1986 and 1987.
  • The story was written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons.
  • Watchmen was turned into a feature film in 2009.
  • The premise of Watchmen is to examine what superheroes would look like in a real world in which everything is not so black and white, a la Superman.
  • In 2008, Entertainment Weekly listed the novel as #13 out of their list of the best 50 novels published in the last 25 years.

What did Time say?

Watchmen is a graphic novel — a book-length comic book with ambitions above its station—starring a ragbag of bizarre, damaged, retired superheroes…Told with ruthless psychological realism, in fugal, overlapping plotlines and gorgeous, cinematic panels rich with repeating motifs, Watchmen is a heart-pounding, heartbreaking read and a watershed in the evolution of a young medium.

Entertainment Weekly had this to say about the novel: “The greatest superhero story ever told and proof that comics are capable of smart, emotionally resonant narratives worthy of the label literature.”

This comic basically revolutionized the world of superheroes. So as far as graphic novels go, Watchmen is supposed to be the creme de la creme.

But is it? If I lost interest in comics a long time ago, should I expect to be interested in this story?

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22 Comments Post a comment
  1. Shallow and predictable, eh? You’re in for a surprise.

    Like

    November 23, 2011
    • Yes, I get the impression that this one is quite different. Since my comic book “chops” are lacking, I hope I’ll get it.

      Like

      November 23, 2011
  2. It’s a deep one.

    Like

    November 23, 2011
  3. Reblogged this on authoreddiecdollgenerjr and commented:
    A good, graphic novel actually.

    Like

    November 23, 2011
  4. As a matter of interest do you buy your books for this blog, or borrow them from a library/friend?

    Like

    November 23, 2011
    • Good question. I buy, used when possible. I don’t borrow because I want to put all the books in a bookshelf as a sort of tribute to the project once I’m done.

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      November 23, 2011
  5. I expect that you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Watchmen is a complex masterpiece with an ending that makes you feel really awful at first (for reasons I won’t go into for fear of revealing anything), but really smart at the same time as you pick up how all the threads finally weave together. It’s a fantastic read, even if you weren’t into comics as a kid.

    Like

    November 23, 2011
  6. Dominick Sabalos #

    I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t enjoy it so long as it’s given a fair chance, as it is a very good book. From 86/87 though, I think.

    And if it’s your first experience of Alan Moore’s writing, hopefully there will be room for you to enjoy that – he’s a good writer in general, but what he’s very good at is using recurring words and images in different, unexpected ways throughout his books, which is something I, through the times I’ve recommended his stories to various people, have found to be a great ‘hook’ for those people to be impressed by.

    Like

    November 23, 2011
    • Thanks for the correction on the dates, Dominick. Fixed it.

      Like

      November 23, 2011
      • Dominick Sabalos #

        I didn’t want to be pedantic, but then figured you wouldn’t want a typo on your post. Also Dom is fine, if your fingers get tired.

        Anyway, enjoy the book for the short while it will likely last.

        Like

        November 23, 2011
  7. I read Watchmen back in 2007, its another book that I ought to reread. Don’t do what I did and skip out on the additional comic woven throughout, and the non-illustrated bits strewn throughout. Savour the art.

    Like

    November 23, 2011
  8. pinklipgloss25 #

    I loved this comic!! I did about about it myself!! You will definitely enjoy, and even if you don’t, it’s a really quick read. 🙂

    Like

    November 23, 2011
  9. I know you don’t have the luxury of reading it twice while you’re on the list, but you should when you get a chance. Read it once for the dialogue/story and then read it again for the images. It’ll be worth it, both times.

    Like

    November 23, 2011
    • I’ve actually had to stop myself and make sure I look at the images because I’m just not used to that when I read. Think I’m going to post about that adjustment next week.

      Like

      November 23, 2011
      • I found it an issue as well. It took the second reading to fully appreciate the artistry in the novel (not to mention catching some of the connections throughout).

        Like

        November 23, 2011
  10. Pick up a graphic novel like Maus and you’ll be surprised by how much more sophisticated comic book storytelling has become.

    Watchmen I don’t think you’ll have much trouble with; it is a direct evolution of those super hero comics we all grew up with as kids.

    However, if you feel that things aren’t making sense, I can recommend Scott McCloud’s guide, Understand Comics, as a good way to jump back into the art form: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Comics-Invisible-Scott-Mccloud/dp/006097625X.

    Like

    November 23, 2011
    • You know what, I forgot that I had to read a couple of the Maus issues back in college. But that’s about the extent of my knowledge on graphic novels. I do remember Maus being pretty intense.

      Like

      November 23, 2011
    • pinklipgloss25 #

      I agree. Scott McCloud’s book is great for novices to expand the way they read comics/graphic novels.

      Like

      November 23, 2011
  11. Blue88journal #

    I’ve had this book recommended several times…it’s on my list. I’m looking forward to your review, maybe then I will follow suit and read it.
    -Luke

    Like

    November 23, 2011
  12. I believe you’ll enjoy “Watchmen.” Like yourself, I’m not much on standard comic book fare, but I liked “Watchmen” because it’s at least somewhat grounded in reality. None of its “superheroes” (save Doctor Manhattan), for example, actually have any super powers. The whole thing is intriguing/unsettling, and the scenes where Dr. Manhattan visits Mars are beautifully, masterfully written and illustrated. Happy reading!

    Like

    November 23, 2011

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