Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Who Finally Read the Watchmen?
Well, last night I finished reading the copy of Watchmen that I checked out of the library. For those who aren't into comics, it is a twelve-part graphic novel, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, centering around a number of former super-heroes and how they face the changes in the world around them.
Now, I know many folks read it when it first came out in 1985 and found it to be very groundbreaking. I can certainly see that. Like Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen really told its story of heroes in a very realistic way, struggling to make sense of the chaos and try to make a better world. It was done in a style that up until that point had never been done before - or at least note in such a concentrated sort of focus. Sure Marvel Comics of the 60's really kicked into the genre the whole soap-opera type element, but these two titles from the 80's ushered in a new period of heroes forced to make some extreme choices. It was really the start of the grim-and-gritty period of comics of the late 80's and early 90's.
However, reading it for the first time today in 2007 with the ability to see it in hindsight and its context to the genre since, I didn't feel as much of its story impact as a probably would have if I had read it back in 1985. What I mean is that I've seen elements of Watchmen in so many comics since then - elements that I was not always fully aware until now that got their roots from Watchmen. And I don't just see it in comics I've read in the past 20 years; I can see television shows like Heroes drew from this thematic well too.
Was it a good read? Yes.
Was it something that a more mature reader would appreciate as opposed to, say, my twelve year old son? Definitely.
Am I glad I read it for free from the library as opposed to plopping down $20 for a copy in the bookstore? Very much so.
Is that a knock on the door by my comic-book compadrees ready to revoke my lifetime fandom membership card? Probably.