Watchmen Paperback – 14 May 2014
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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"A work of ruthless psychological realism, it's a landmark in the graphic novel medium. It would be a masterpiece in any."
-TIME, TIME MAGAZINE's 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present
"A work of ruthless psychological realism, it s a landmark in the graphic novel medium. It would be a masterpiece in any."
TIME, TIME MAGAZINE s 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present"
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
This is no short 5 minute read , like those who are uninitiated with graphic novels may expect . Instead , this is a story that will take time to read ( and should be relished ) , with intermissions between chapters that help to flesh out the protaganists characters and give us insight into their world .
The story has been rightly decribed as one of the main influences on modern comic story-telling , and the superlatives have been deserved .
Without doubt , a story deserving of anyone's attention , whether a graphic novel enthusiast , or new to the genre .
This edition, not only comes in an imposing hardback cover, but is also packed with extras, including samples of promotional art for the comic, preliminary character design sketches by Dave Gibbons, and excerpts from Alan Moore's insanely detailed scripts. And if that's not enough to satisfy you, then the new print of the comic will. Each panel has now been enlarged so the obsessive fan can now pick out every single embedded smiley face in the book, and see every speck of filth and street detritus on Rorschach's trenchcoat.
If you're debating whether this is worth £50, then I'm afraid you'll just never understand...
What is special about Watchmen is the range of themes included. The book begins with the murder of former masked vigilante The Comedian, and the writers quickly introduce us to a range of former masked vigilantes (they are specifically prohibited by the law following a police strike, unless expressly allowed by the government) including the second Nite Owl, Ozymandias, the second Silk Spectre, Rorsarch and the one person with genuine superpowers, Dr Manhattan. As the book and plot progresses the writers generously fill in their back-stories, as their motivation for becoming masked vigilantes and reactions to their forced retirement are revealed.
The masked vigilantes are required again to try and save the world and act outside of the law again. In doing this, the writers raise questions around the effects vigilantes can have on society, and is summed up by the slogan that is constantly inserted in panels as graffiti, "Who Watches The Watchmen?" The book explores many themes around contemporary society but hasn't dated since the end of the Cold War.
The well-drawn and entertaining comic strips are supported by exerts from written texts that further serve to flesh out the history of the characters and the situation in which they find themselves, and the comic within the comic works well in supporting the main thrust of the story.
This is not a book to be undervalued on the grounds that it is a graphic novel - it is a serious and enjoyable piece of work and if you have never read a graphic novel, you should definitely give it a go.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An absolute masterpiece, not only is the art beautiful and the book feel like it's of high quality, the story is an absolute ride of a dark, gritty and powerful story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Itshaam1996
In my opinion everyone should own a copy of Watchman. Took me awhile to finish it because I wanted to decipher or understand more the message that it was conveying. A must have.Published 1 month ago by Shan
Not a huge fan of graphic novels, but this was outstanding. Beautifully illustrated, epic story and better length to cost ratio than most graphic novels I've seen.Published 2 months ago by harry
Astonishing storytelling by Alan Moore accompanied by drawings of equal value. A true masterpiece.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a review of the 'Absolute Edition' of 'Watchmen' by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Unfortunately, Amazon place together reviews for the different editions of this item ... Read morePublished 3 months ago by S P Mead
It's been on my to do list for ever, and finally I got round to reading it. Just fantastic. Gripping alternate universe with compelling characters and highly believable... Read morePublished 4 months ago by P. Watt