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Watchmen Paperback – 1987


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Product details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books Ltd (1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852860243
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852860240
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 1.7 x 25.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (248 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Has any comic been as lauded as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen? Possibly only Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns but Watchmen remains the critics' favourite. Why? Because Moore is a better writer, and Watchmen a more complex and dark and literate creation than Miller's fantastic, subversive take on the Batman myth. Moore, renowned for many other of the genre's finest creations (Saga of the Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, and recently From Hell, with Eddie Campbell) first put out Watchmen in 12 issues for DC in 1986-87. It won a comic award at the time (the 1987 Jack Kirby Comics Industry Awards for Best Writer/Artist combination) and has continued to garner praise since.

The story concerns a group called the Crimebusters and a plot to kill and discredit them. Moore's characterisation is as sophisticated as any novel's. Importantly the costumes do not get in the way of the storytelling, rather they allow Moore to investigate issues of power and control--indeed it was Watchmen, and to a lesser extent Dark Knight, that propelled the comic genre forward, making "adult" comics a reality. The artwork of Gibbons (best known for 2000AD's Rogue Trooper and DC's Green Lantern) is very fine too, echoing Moore's paranoid mood perfectly throughout. Packed with symbolism, some of the overlying themes (arms control, nuclear threat, vigilantes) have dated but the intelligent social and political commentary, the structure of the story itself, its intertextuality (chapters appended with excerpts from other "works" and "studies" on Moore's characters, or with excerpts from another comic book being read by a child within the story), the fine pace of the writing and its humanity mean that Watchmen more than stands up--it retains its crown as the best the genre has yet produced. --Mark Thwaite

Review

This is the Daddy. -- BookMunch Online Book Reviews June 2002

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4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Yossarian on 15 Nov 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm going to give my opinion on the actual book itself. I would imagine most people reading reviews of the Absolute Edition have already read Watchmen. It is probably Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons finest hour - `nuff said.

So, for starters, the absolute edition is much bigger than the original trade paperback. It is hardback, has a paper cover wrap and comes in a well-made, sturdy slipcase to protect it. The slipcase fits perfectly and has very bold text down the spine (looks nice on the shelf!).

The paper is very good quality, bright white and heavy stock. The printing is the key to this edition. It is flawless in every way. The colours jump off the page and the ink saturation is perfect. All the details are extremely clear (which is also helped by the larger format) it makes the first colour job look very murky and dark in comparison. The original colourist has made a return to tweak and improve his work (rather than completely change it) and he has done a grand job.

There is quite a bit of supplemental material thrown in at the back of the book (interviews, original script / concept drawing highlights etc.) which adds alot of insight into this classic of the graphic novel form.

So my final word? If you love Alan Moore, and you re-read Watchmen alot, this absolute edition is an absolute MUST.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 May 2004
Format: Paperback
The best works of fiction are generally untranslatable into different media. It is impossible to make a film that encompasses all the great things about Catch-22. Citizen Kane and Vertigo would make lousy novels. Watchmen is comparable. Many people I know refuse to read it, just because it's a comic. But it couldn't work any other way. I'm trying not to spoil too much of the plot, but Alan Moore's writing, the pacing of the story - he somehow manages to overlay multiple plot lines on just one page. The dialogue is realistic: people talk over each other, conversations are drowned out by TV, the characters stutter and repeat themselves. The characters are real, flawed. the plot manages to mix high-concept science fiction, hard-boiled crime, philosophy, conspiracies, action, drama. Alan Moore isn't just one of the greatest comic writers ever, he's one of the greatest writers ever. His work stands comparison with anyone - Harper Lee, Joseph Conrad, Heller, Orwell.
But Watchmen isn't just about the writing: Dave Gibbons' art isn't flashy, but no other artist could've drawn the story. Gibbons' work is realistic, insanely detailed. Again, I don't want to spoil the plot for you, but analyse every panel. Every detail, no matter how minor, has purpose.
This book is flawless. It will never be surpassed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Jan 2001
Format: Paperback
Most of what can be said about Watchmen already has been, but there's nothing wrong with emphasising the fact. Not only does it have an exciting, intriguing plot, but the novel also features truly fantastic characterisation and is loaded with political satire and social commentary.
The art is also deserving of great praise; not a panel is wasted, and there is a truly insane amount of detail that you won't pick up on first reading (or even until somebody else points it out). A little static? Not really, it's intended to be ultra-realistic, and Dave Gibbons has a extraordinary talent for defining the human anatomy.
Moore is sometimes criticised of being a little paranoid, and that perhaps shines through, but he certainly seems to be aware of this (a lot of Rorschach's narration is deliberately OTT), and the story does have something roughly equating a happy ending.
If you want to change somebody's views about comic books, give them this, Maus and The Dark Knight Returns. You'll have a convert on your hands in no time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Mark W. Stephens on 30 May 2008
Format: Hardcover
Reviewing a (nearly) twenty-five year old book may seem a bit strange, especially as quite a few others have already done so, but there's a couple of things I'd like to add.
I'm not going to say anything about the story itself - I think that at least the bones of it will be well known to anyone contemplating buying this edition.
The sheer quality of this edition absolutely shines out, and here we have a story and artwork that deserve this sort of treatment. For me though, the most interesting element of this package is not the graphic novel itself (I've read it an awful lot, starting with the original twelve comics...), but the additional material included. Of particular interest (especially in light of subsequent developments) is the original pitch/summary in which the main protagonists are based on the 1950's/60's Charlton characters - imagining what the book would have been if Moore and Gobbons had been allowed to pursue this idea was enough to keep me entertained for hours!
An excellent edition - absolutely (excuse the pun) recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE on 10 Mar 2009
Format: Paperback
One of the most respected works in the graphic novel genre, WATCHMEN, is set in an alternative 1985 where ordinary men and women developed a taste for putting on costumes and turning vigilante, the USA won the war in Vietnam and Nixon is still President.

The Watchmen were a group of vigilantes who disbanded shortly after an Act was passed making them illegal. Most of the group retired - some, like Ozymandias, went public with their identities, others, like Nite Owl II, just quietly disappeared. The brutal Comedian went to work for the government, as did Dr Manhattan - the only member of the group with superhuman abilities after a nuclear experiment went wrong. Rorschach kept going despite the Act and it is he who drives this novel forward when he begins investigating who killed the Comedian by pushing him out of a high-rise building - and why they did it. Rorschach's investigation causes him to seek out his former colleagues as he becomes concerned that someone is deliberately hunting them down. Through him, each vigilante's backstory is slowly revealed, their fractured psyches, flaws and fears all gradually unravelled for the reader.

Despite the murder mystery, this is really a character piece as Moore investigates what drives people to put on costumes and try to fight crime. Some of the characters are more fascinating than others - Rorschach, the Comedian and Dr Manhattan were the real standouts for me. Each is psychologically bruised in their own way and each battling to either rediscover or push away their humanity. Particularly poignant is Dr Manhattan's story, with Moore and Gibbons doing excellent work in showing how his intellectual strength has come at the expense of his ability to emotionally connect with Laurie Jupiter.
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