“Watchmen” by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons comic review – Top 10 Essential Graphic Novels 05 – #6


[Book cover of graphic novel “Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1987) – Number 6 in Top 10 comics countdown list]Alright, onto number six on my list of Top 10 Essential Graphic Novels. Number six isWatchmenby Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.Watchmen’s story is about a group of superheroes who were active in the 1950s and 1960s, but were forced to retire after they became unpopular with the public in the 1970s. After they became outlawed, the Watchmen either retired, got co-opted by US Government, or continued working outside the law as independent crime-fighters. I love the distinctive personalities that each of these main characters have: Doctor Manhattan, Ozymandias, The Comedian, Nite Owl, Rorschach. It’s interesting to see the comparison between the superheroes that they once were in their heyday, as well as the way that they each individually dealt with not being able to continue as superheroes, when the law changed in 1977. One thing that I should mention aboutWatchmenis how complete it feels. This doesn’t feel like the kind of story where the writer just invented some wacky characters, and then started drawing them, not sure what would happen. WithWatchmen, there is definitely a well-defined story arc that feels like it’s right there from the very beginning. There will be little seeds planted early on in the story that might seem insignificant at the time, but will be called back in later pages. And there’s lots of recurring visual motifs that pop up throughout the book, such a smiley face with a drop of blood on it, as well as the silhouette of two lovers embracing. It’s one of those stories where you understand most of what’s happening the first time you read it. But it also rewards additional readings, so that you can appreciate all of the little things that you might have missed the first time. Like “Tales of the Black Freighter”, for example. From a comics standpoint, it’s also interesting to see how the story is told with such a restrained layout. Compared to other comics that continuously dazzle the reader with characters popping out of the frame, and artwork that bleeds all the way to the edge of the page,Watchmenis drawn with a strict grid format of 3-by-3 panels per page. Although, sometimes they do alter this 3-by-3 format, to add emphasis to certain panels. As I mentioned at the start of thisTop 10 Essential Graphic Novelslist, I’m not much of a superhero comics fan in general. But, I do loveWatchmen. So, if you want to wrap your head around the storytelling possibilities that comics allow, you need to readWatchmen. Check it out.[title music: “Dart” by Screamfeeder]

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