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View Full Version : Who watches the Watchmen?



Dhavaer
2006-05-27, 09:51 AM
I know there's a lot of people here who have read Watchmen, and as I've recently finished it (and I'll buy it as soon as I run out of D&D books to buy), I thought I'd make a thread to share thoughts about it.

As a starter: Who's your favourite Watchman? I like Ozymandias best.

Morden
2006-05-27, 10:01 AM
No question at all - Rorschach!

"The dusk reeks of fornication and bad consciences"

warmachine
2006-05-27, 10:51 AM
Rorschach! Someone who sees the evidence of humanties' self-deceptions and evils but, unlike the Comedian, won't sell out.

Quetzi
2006-05-27, 11:54 AM
Rorschach followed by the Comedian. Rorschach for general bad-assery, Comedian because he got the joke.

CelestialStick
2006-05-27, 11:58 AM
I do. That's why they pay me the big bucks. ;) We've got wiretaps and spy scopes and the whole nine yards. Gotta keep those subversives in place. ;)

P.S. I actually have not idea what the Watchmen are at all. :P

warmachine
2006-05-27, 01:56 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmen

You uncultured barbarian! It's a classic. Next thing you'll be telling me is you've never read Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

CelestialStick
2006-05-27, 02:05 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmen

You uncultured barbarian! It's a classic. Next thing you'll be telling me is you've never read Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

LOL. Are there cultured barbarians?

I pretty much stopped reading comic books after the 1960s, so stuff that came out in the late 1980s likek Watchmen or early 1990s like Batman Returns came well after my time. After reading some of the comics threads here on the boards I'm considering reading a few, but someone just warned me off as The Dark Knight Returns, saying that it's from an alternate history or something to that effect.

Holy_Knight
2006-05-27, 02:29 PM
LOL. Are there cultured barbarians?

I pretty much stopped reading comic books after the 1960s, so stuff that came out in the late 1980s likek Watchmen or early 1990s like Batman Returns came well after my time. After reading some of the comics threads here on the boards I'm considering reading a few, but someone just warned me off as The Dark Knight Returns, saying that it's from an alternate history or something to that effect.
No, no--it isn't considered canon, but it's also considered one of the best comic stories there is, and certainly one of the best Batman tales. *We were warning you about its sequel though, "The Dark Knight Strikes Again", because it was a HUGE disappointment.


And yes, I would say that "The Dark Knight Returns" and "The Watchmen" are the best works in comic bookdom. *Everyone ought to read "The Watchmen", because of the ethical issues it raises. *

Also, not to sound like everyone else, but I too liked Rorshach the best. *Of course, my college roommate told me he thought that I myself am like Ozymandias, which was rather disturbing.

Meat Shield
2006-05-27, 03:14 PM
I gotta second that Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen are the best comics ever. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen also rocks, with V For Vendetta way up there as well.

Morden
2006-05-27, 03:43 PM
I gotta second that Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen are the best comics ever. *League of Extraordinary Gentlemen also rocks, with V For Vendetta way up there as well.
I think Frank Miller's 300 & Ronin also deserves a place at the top, as well as Transmetropolitan, Preacher and Hellblazer.

CelestialStick
2006-05-27, 03:45 PM
No, no--it isn't considered canon, but it's also considered one of the best comic stories there is, and certainly one of the best Batman tales. We were warning you about its sequel though, "The Dark Knight Strikes Again", because it was a HUGE disappointment.


And yes, I would say that "The Dark Knight Returns" and "The Watchmen" are the best works in comic bookdom. Everyone ought to read "The Watchmen", because of the ethical issues it raises.

Also, not to sound like everyone else, but I too liked Rorshach the best. Of course, my college roommate told me he thought that I myself am like Ozymandias, which was rather disturbing.

Oh, ok, so it was the Dark Knight Re-returns against which you warned me. I'll have to try to keep them straight. ;)

What's the Watchmen about anyway? It sounds like a bunch of Peeping Toms. :D

Holy_Knight
2006-05-27, 04:33 PM
What's the Watchmen about anyway? *It sounds like a bunch of Peeping Toms. :D
It's actually a self-contained story (as in, it didn't use pre-existing heroes) about how anyone ever started to become a "costumed adventurer" in the first place, and then what happened to those who did amidst a backdrop of political and ethical conflict. I don't want to say too much for fear of giving things away, but it deals with some very sophisticated issues, and is well worth the read not only for anyone interested in comic books, but anyone interested in questions of morality as well. I think it would be right up your alley. :)

CelestialStick
2006-05-27, 04:43 PM
It's actually a self-contained story (as in, it didn't use pre-existing heroes) about how anyone ever started to become a "costumed adventurer" in the first place, and then what happened to those who did amidst a backdrop of political and ethical conflict. I don't want to say too much for fear of giving things away, but it deals with some very sophisticated issues, and is well worth the read not only for anyone interested in comic books, but anyone interested in questions of morality as well. I think it would be right up your alley. :)


Is there more than one Watchman book? I see a Watchman paperback on Amazon for $13 and a Watchman (Absolute Editions) hardcover for nearly $50 and something called V for Vendetta (perhaps anticipating the current OOTS strips ;)) by the same authors, also for $13.

Holy_Knight
2006-05-27, 04:50 PM
Is there more than one Watchman book? I see a Watchman paperback on Amazon for $13 and a Watchman (Absolute Editions) hardcover for nearly $50 and something called V for Vendetta (perhaps anticipating the current OOTS strips ;)) by the same authors, also for $13.
Hmm... I'm not sure I can answer that, actually. I've only seen it in graphic novel form, which although paperback, contains all of its installments. On the assumption that it was originally published in separate issues (of which I'm not sure, but is possible) then someone might be selling individual installments of it, so that's something to be careful of. I do know for a fact that places like Barnes&Noble and Borders typically have it in the form I've seen it, so before buying it from anywhere you might want to check at one of those places to help settle your question.

CelestialStick
2006-05-27, 04:52 PM
Hmm... I'm not sure I can answer that, actually. I've only seen it in graphic novel form, which although paperback, contains all of its installments. On the assumption that it was originally published in separate issues (of which I'm not sure, but is possible) then someone might be selling individual installments of it, so that's something to be careful of. I do know for a fact that places like Barnes&Noble and Borders typically have it in the form I've seen it, so before buying it from anywhere you might want to check at one of those places to help settle your question.
So you don't know if one of these books is "the" graphic novel? If one of them was it I was going to put it on my Amazon Wish List, meaning there's some chance I might buy it for myself, and an even smaller chance that someone else might buy it for me before I die. :D

Morden
2006-05-27, 04:59 PM
It's 12 issues of 25 pages each (more or less)
$50 for a hardcover sounds about right to me.

Dragonmuncher
2006-05-27, 06:00 PM
It's out in paperback in its entirety- I kept hearing about it in random geekified areas online, and one day I saw it, and snapped it up.

Paperback was def. cheaper than 50 bucks.

It's a very good read. One of those books that you don't feel stupid for describing as a "graphic novel," it really is a complete novel. Story and characters are excellent, art is very good, although sometimes I wished the individual panels were bigger.

CelestialStick
2006-05-27, 06:02 PM
It's out in paperback in its entirety- I kept hearing about it in random geekified areas online, and one day I saw it, and snapped it up.

Paperback was def. cheaper than 50 bucks.

It's a very good read. One of those books that you don't feel stupid for describing as a "graphic novel," it really is a complete novel. Story and characters are excellent, art is very good, although sometimes I wished the individual panels were bigger.
Well do you have any idea if it's the $13 book paperback called Watchmen that I see on Amazon? Thanks.

Morden
2006-05-27, 06:07 PM
It's classified as Graphic Novel, and the reviews say "this collection" so I'd say that's the one.

At $13 you shouldn't even think about it, just buy it :)

CelestialStick
2006-05-27, 06:25 PM
It's classified as Graphic Novel, and the reviews say "this collection" so I'd say that's the one.

At $13 you shouldn't even think about it, just buy it :)
Ok, thanks. I put in on my Amazon Wish List. Maybe my cat will get it for my birthday in a few months. :D

Rex_Hondo
2006-05-28, 12:00 AM
I, for one, can pretty much take of leave Alan Moore's work. That's not to say that I don't acknowledge his contributions to the comic artform.

Watchmen is generally credited with jumpstarting the anti-hero movement, introducing a lot more grey areas to comics that weren't there before.

I kinda look at Watchmen a lot like I look at Lord of the Rings. I'm glad I read it if for no other reason than I now understand its place in literary history, but it's not for everyone, and I'm pretty sure I won't be reading it again. It digresses from the main story quite a bit. Sometimes it adds, but sometimes it's just filler. (A lot of people end up just skipping the pirate stuff after a while)

Oh, and much like LOTR, you have to be careful about expressing less than fauning praise, lest you bring the bulk of geekdom down on your head with torches and pitchforks. ;)

Dhavaer
2006-05-28, 12:02 AM
I didn't read the pirate stuff at all. It just seemed like a distraction from the main story.

Holy_Knight
2006-05-28, 12:18 AM
I can see why people might have wanted to skip the pirate stuff--but to be fair, it worked as a metaphor for the story at large. It wasn't just filler.

Dhavaer
2006-05-28, 12:39 AM
The line I loved was:
"Whatever happened to him?" [In relation to masochist villian Captain Carnage]
"Oh, he tried it on Rorschach, and Rorschach dropped him down a liftshaft."
Both laugh.
"That wasn't funny at all, was it?"
"No, not really."

Alcino
2006-05-28, 01:05 AM
I read the pirate stuff 'cause I'm sad there's no real pirate comics around.

I've read many classics mentioned throughout, and while Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns definitely stand out, I gotta say I consider V for Vendetta to be of the same caliber though it's way less "superheroic".

I recently discovered Marvels (from the Marvel line, mind you), a four-issue comic with an ambitious goal: gather every earth-shattering event of every Marvel comic and revisit them chronogically from the eye of an average journalist in the most realistic way possible. The comic goes from the revelation of the first Human Torch to the death of Gwen Stacy (from early Spiderman days). And believe me, New York has suffered a whole lot of cataclysmic events according to the Marvel storylines. The graphics are simply great, too, striving for photorealism. I'd recommend it to anyone who knows a couple of Marvel superheroes.

Rex_Hondo
2006-05-28, 01:19 AM
Marvels was one of the first big things Alex Ross did, wasn't it?

sun_tzu
2006-05-28, 05:54 AM
My favs were both incarnations of Nite Owl.
...
What? Simple, moral folks who were actually sane and wanted to help.

CelestialStick
2006-05-28, 07:44 AM
I read the pirate stuff 'cause I'm sad there's no real pirate comics around.

I've read many classics mentioned throughout, and while Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns definitely stand out, I gotta say I consider V for Vendetta to be of the same caliber though it's way less "superheroic".

I recently discovered Marvels (from the Marvel line, mind you), a four-issue comic with an ambitious goal: gather every earth-shattering event of every Marvel comic and revisit them chronogically from the eye of an average journalist in the most realistic way possible. The comic goes from the revelation of the first Human Torch to the death of Gwen Stacy (from early Spiderman days). And believe me, New York has suffered a whole lot of cataclysmic events according to the Marvel storylines. The graphics are simply great, too, striving for photorealism. I'd recommend it to anyone who knows a couple of Marvel superheroes.
Wow! That sounds really cool! Poor New York City.

Meat Shield
2006-05-28, 10:11 PM
How did I forget about Alex Ross! D'oh! Gotta give mad props to his Kingdom Come. Another one that should be at the top of the list.

Sarcasm_made_Easy
2006-05-29, 05:26 AM
Screw that i know who REALLY watches the watchmen. Commander Sam Vimes. Thats who. and maybe when he isnt to busy lord VETINARI also.

Orrmundur
2006-05-29, 09:24 AM
Doctor Manhattan, definitely. He's so... inhuman.

Kontonshin
2006-05-29, 07:34 PM
I liked Night Owl (v. 2), but honestly I liked Grant Morrison's _Invisibles_ better than _Watchmen_. Although _Promethea_ is quite good too, and I imagine it will also become a classic in another few years.

Gotta love comic writers who are also practicing ceremonial magicians...

ladybright
2006-05-29, 10:46 PM
It has been several years since I read it but Nite Owl was my favorite. Sandman is my favorite comic though. Anne Gwish by Johen Vasquez (in Carpe Noctem then published by slave labor graphics) was a lot of fun along with JTHM and HNB.

Promeathea was interesting but I felt like I was in Remedial Occult 100

ed
2006-05-30, 09:08 AM
it's worth noting btw that watchmen was originally going to feature the charlton heroes, but DC couldn't get the rights squared away properly.

ed

Sir_Rosh
2006-05-30, 12:52 PM
Talking of Alan Moore, has anyone read From Hell or Miracle Man (sometimes called Marvel Man) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracleman

I'm also a big fan of Jeff Smiths' Bone. Strangers in Paradise is cool and anything by Daniel Clowes.

lunar
2006-05-30, 03:16 PM
While we're naming the best comics of all time, I highly recommend Marvels. The artwork is superb, and there hasn't been anything like it since (including the rest of Alex Ross's work). Also, the humanizing of some of Marvel's most famous events from it's early history is really touching. Someone will probably mention Kingdom Come now. I recommend that too, but I don't think it's worthy of being on the list of best comics of all time.

So here's the list of the best American comics:
Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, and Marvels

(Though Watchmen could be considered British)

Kontonshin
2006-06-01, 01:40 AM
Oh yeah... Alex Ross is God. *The cover art he did for the DVD releases of Gatchaman (broadcast in North America as _Battle of the Planets_) made me go "SQUEEEE!"

Hey - on the topic of alternate universe takes on familiar superheroes - anyone here read _1604_ or _Red Son_ (X-Men set in Elizabethan England and Superman as a Soviet hero, respectively)?

Rex_Hondo
2006-06-01, 01:45 AM
I wouldn't go so far as to call Ross "God," or even a god for that matter. He's a tremendously talented artist, but as often as not, he just needs to shut up and draw his pretty pictures.

1604 is very good. Red Son is very good, if you can ignore the tremendously weak "plot twist" at the end.

Beleriphon
2006-06-01, 02:57 AM
No, no--it isn't considered canon, but it's also considered one of the best comic stories there is, and certainly one of the best Batman tales. We were warning you about its sequel though, "The Dark Knight Strikes Again", because it was a HUGE disappointment.


I'll generally agree with yo. I enjoyed it, although it is very odd in that it tries to replicate the constucted new programs like CNN, with the rapid fire generally glib and pointless stories that they present. It also comments on our obsession with celebrity, and our general ignorance of more important issues, like politics, that seems to pervade modern western society. Given that it is much more political Dark Knight Strikes Again is underappreciated. I will say that I don't get Batman's characterization beyond a total collapse into the persona of Batman and the total abandonment of anything that made him human from Bruce Wayne.

I like the twist with Red Son, it does present a fascinating idea that one's destiny is set and unchangeable. Superman has certainly always seemed that way.

As for the Watchmen, haven't had a chance to pick that one up. I'm only just getting back into reading comics after I stopped for about 10 years, and I was too young to appreciate comics like the Watchmen back then.

Rex_Hondo
2006-06-01, 03:05 AM
More or less, Dark Knight Strikes Again is merely another volley in the long-running pissing contest between Frank Miller and Alex Ross. Miller writes a dang good Dark Knight when he wants to, but he does stuff to Superman on occasion that makes even ME cringe.

And can somebody tell me why BOTH of them have such a hard-on for getting Supes and Wonder Woman together?

Holy_Knight
2006-06-01, 03:07 AM
And can somebody tell me why BOTH of them have such a hard-on for getting Supes and Wonder Woman together?
Hmm, this comment is strangely funny and appropriate given what I just said in the Superhero Round Robin thread...

anyway, my problem with DKSA isn't necessarily that it was political, it was that Miller basically wrote a crappy Batman story as a means of expressing that political view. A similar story written with different characters might have been alright, but as it was it was just a poorly executed "sequel" to what was not only a great Batman story, but one of the best works in all of comics.

Jack_Banzai
2006-08-01, 03:50 PM
Talking of Alan Moore, has anyone read From Hell or Miracle Man (sometimes called Marvel Man) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracleman

I'm also a big fan of Jeff Smiths' Bone. Strangers in Paradise is cool and anything by Daniel Clowes.


I have a complete run of Alan Moore's Miracleman and a nearly-complete run of Neil Gaiman's Miracleman. Both series are among the greatest comics ever written, and I've read a lot of comics. They aren't easy to find nor do they come cheap, and as the Miracleman rights are currently in litigation, who knows if they will ever be reprinted in TPBs.

As for Watchmen, correct, the miniseries was originally set to feature the Charlton heroes which DC had acquired the rights to. However, the editor at the time (I think it was **** Giordano or Julius Schwartz) had worked for Charlton and had a soft spot for them, so he nixed it. It's not hard to draw the parallels though.

Rorschach = The Question
Nite Owl = Blue Beetle
Dr. Manhattan = Captain Atom
Silk Spectre = Black Canary/Phantom Lady
Ozymandias = Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt
Comedian = Peacemaker

Alan Moore usually pulls out a decent comic book, but this is not necessarily an ironclad guarantee. I didn't care much for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Tom Strong or Promethea, but I'm an absolute fanboy for Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Top Ten, and Miracleman. Check them out if you haven't already.

phobiandarkmoon
2006-08-20, 05:19 PM
I guess semi-SPOILER information in this post, so be warned

My favourite character was probably Dan Dreiburg, as he has perhaps the greatest character arc over the book




With regards to the necessity of the pirate comics within the novel, If you don't read them you're actually missing out on a lot of anlaysis on what it means to be as driven as Rorschach and Ozymandius are. They are totally, uncomprimisingly commited to achieving their goals (in the case of the sailor to save his town, Rorschach to deal with criminals permeanently and Ozymandius to try and save the world from nuclear war)

The point is, the sailor tries so hard to save his town he ends up becoming the thing he is trying to protect it from - he becomes a monster. That's why Ozymandius has a dream of a black freighter in the last few pages of the book.

Debatably, Moore is also trying to point out that completely rigic adherence to an ideal won't work. Rorschach dies because he can't bring himself to compromise. The comedian dies because his cynical veneer cracks when he learns Ozy's plan (he really doesn't put up a fight because of that)


I also really liked some of the cut-sequences (when the story changes scene but some of the imagery remains the same, such as which Rorschach's mask and Dan/Laurie's silhouette

I liked Watchmen, but I do agree that it feels dated. The characters are very much churned up emotionally by the fear of a potential nuclear war - indeed, it's pretty much the driving force of the story. Nowadays it's much harder (at least for me) to take that as a given - it doesn't feel like a nuclear war is hanging over us any more.

V For Vendetta ages better I think, because it deals with more general fears and themes.

Well, enough rambling by me

TheEmerged
2006-08-24, 07:56 PM
I agree with the earlier statement that Watchman *was* a great comic but isn't aging as well as some other works (Vendetta). I also agree that the people who skip the "filler" pirate stuff are missing half the point of the series.

Red Son was very interesting, IMO one of the better Elseworlds DC has done. They did a VERY good job of translating Superman & Wonder Woman into the Stalinist mindset. My real complaint is the way it fell for the "Batman is ALWAYS the hero" cliche in the Elseworlds line instead of moving him into the Stalinist mindset as well (which would have been VERY easy to do...).

Okay, let me pause to don my Ring of Protection from Board Flames +5...

As someone who remembers DKR when it came out, I have always felt it was overrated. I'm not saying it's bad, I'm saying it's merely well above average. I'm honest enough to admit I blame it for more of the "grim and gritty" fad of the late 80's than is probably fair, but the fact remains the fad was largely an attempt to imitate its success.

Dhavaer
2006-08-25, 05:03 AM
As someone who remembers DKR when it came out, I have always felt it was overrated. I'm not saying it's bad, I'm saying it's merely well above average. I'm honest enough to admit I blame it for more of the "grim and gritty" fad of the late 80's than is probably fair, but the fact remains the fad was largely an attempt to imitate its success.

If I'm remembering right, whe I tried to read DKR I couldn't get more than a few pages in because the art was so hideous.
It was even worse than the bizarre photoshoppy art of The Furies.