“Who Watches the Watchmen?” Why You Should Definitely Read ‘Watchmen’ but Not Necessarily Watch It

2 Mar

watchmen

Appearances can be deceiving, especially when it comes to something associated with Fanboy culture.  However, Alan Moore’s 1986 Watchmen is anything but superficially comical or basic.  Although a graphic novel, it is just that – a novel with graphics.  Paired with the artwork of Dave Gibbons, Watchmen is by far one of those most layered and complex pieces of literature I’ve ever read, and the mad genius of Moore does not stop at characters’ personality faults and features.  An overall social commentary, it is interesting, a slightly sad, that in this instance it took a book about super-humans to evaluate the perils humanity creates for itself.

Set in an alternate universe, year 1985, the world of Watchmen plays with the historical notion of “what if.” Taking events of the era, Moore plays with the how different outcomes in a different universe would effect the world as a whole.  Largely because of the existence of a superhuman Dr. Manhattan (Jon Osterman), the world seems to be on the verge of the third World War.  Simultaneously, the group of crime-fighters dubbed the Crimebusters, whose careers have come to a screeching halt due to the outlawing of vigilantism, are trying to maintain a life of normalcy.  However, the remaining (illegally) active member, Rorschach, is convinced there is a mask killer on the loose after a member of the brotherhood is murdered for what seems to be no reason.  His investigation sparks something in all those warned of the possible danger – whether it’s fear or a longing for the old life.  All that being said, Moore also manages to develop his story while masterfully interweaving society’s support of the masked characters with the ebbs and flows of comic book popularity

Created by Gibbon’s hand, Watchmen’s illustrations only adds to the storyline of the novel as would cinematic imagery does a film (which it has been turned into, slated to come out this Friday,  March 6th).  That being said, I have my severe doubts for the movie version.  “Watchmen” has been declared the unfilmable graphic novel for years and I would have to agree. While the visual aspect will be something worth seeing (the movie’s special effects look amazing) there is no way a story as intricate and lengthy can be condensed into 2 hours.  Perhaps if it was made into a miniseries a la HBO’s “Band of Brothers” it would be doable – the book was actually created originally in miniseries format.  So the recommendation: Definitely read the book.  Be ware of the movie. Insufficient time and Hollywood polishing could certainly damage this classic.

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One Response to ““Who Watches the Watchmen?” Why You Should Definitely Read ‘Watchmen’ but Not Necessarily Watch It”

  1. masquemagazine March 2, 2009 at 10:06 PM #

    isn’t that usually how it goes? the book is almost always better than when its converted to film, unfotunately 😦

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