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Thursday Afternoon Haiku “The Watchmen” Graphic Novel by Alan Moore (writer)...

This? Legendary.
At least to comic book fans
I am piqued by hype

book review First impression: LOOOOOOOONG.
Story is intricate and
Convoluted too.

Quick recap for newbs:
Watchmen used to be heroes
Govt made them retire

One ends up murdered
The others reunite to
Try and save the world.

The heroes are a
Bit hard to like. Let’s recap:
Rorschach? Psychotic.

Silk Spectre II? Only
Girl and romantic interest
She’s wishy-washy

Night Owl II? A dud.
Doctor Manhattan? BLUE WANG.
Ozzy? Too remote.

That’s the thing here
None of these characters are
Noble, likeable

Felt more like a big
Character study than epic
Heroic saga

There is a romance
Love triangle between girl,
Blue dude, and the dud

Did I mention that
This is a really LONG book?
Felt endless to me

Boat? Must have missed it.
Kept waiting for it to blow
Me away. Just blows.

Joke. Wasn’t that bad.
Wasn’t that great either, too.
Might just be over-hype.

But in the end, what
Does it say that I liked
the psycho guy best?

Too long, dense and no
one to root for. Add unsexy
Blue pecker. C grade.

This book can be purchased in paperback from Amazon.


  1. Sandy D.
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 15:47:28

    Blue wang intrigues me, though

  2. (Jān)
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 15:47:56

    Lots of people are missing the point on this one. The point is that it was something never before seen when it was published 22 years ago. Just like most romances that were original in the 80s merely read like cliches now, so does this. No one had seen human superheroes facing the realities of life back then. Now that’s all you get in superhero comics.

    I can’t say it’s not boring, because to today’s audience it likely is. But be aware of why there’s hype before going into it.

  3. Maili
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 15:55:44

    You’re so lucky I have a bad cold because if I didn’t have it, I would have climbed on a box and rambled on, on and on. And on. :D

    Felt more like a big
    Character study than epic
    Heroic saga

    Because that’s what Watchmen is. A giant character study. When it was published twenty-odd years ago, it was such an innovative concept that it caused a revolution in the international comic industry. The impact is similar to the one that Robin Schone’s debut has had on the romance genre, giving birth to a new sub-genre: romantica (or erotic romance it’s called now?).

    Watchmen does have flaws, but what an innovative novel or film hasn’t? It’s because of Watchmen, we see many comics, graphic novels and film adaptations with flawed superheroes and anti-heroes nowadays. Comparing with these graphic novels today, Watchmen doesn’t seem that special or interesting. And it isn’t.

    Silk Spectre II? Only
    Girl and romantic interest
    She's wishy-washy

    There have been many debates about Alan Moore and his female characters. He has a complicated view of women and it shows in his works. I rolled my eyes at his portrayals so many times that I ban my eyeballs from rolling again when I read a Moore. ::laugh::

  4. Leslie Kelly-Parrish
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 16:02:48

    Didn’t read the book but I did see the movie. Expected to hate it, ended up really liking it a lot. Rorschach the psychotic was definitely my favorite, too. (To the prison population: “You don’t seem to understand…I’m not locked in here with you. You’re locked in here with me!” Loved him!)

    Interesting to see Denny Duquette and Papa Winchester in a verrrrry different kind of role. I wanted to kill the Comedian myself!

    My big “huh?” was in finding out that Night Owl II was actually played by the guy who played Raoul in Phantom. That stunned me–he was so handsome in Phantom, so unbelievably wishy-washy and average in Watchman. (Until he put on the costume!)

  5. Jennifer
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 16:10:47

    I agree and love this post. My husband and I are both incredibly geeky comic book fans, and neither of us really cared for the message of the book, nor did we when we first read it years and years ago.. Also, we both like the psycho best too. I can’t even say that it’s because I dislike Moore. I loved the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

    I know everyone goes on and on about how it hadn’t been done before, etc. It’s REVOLUTIONARY! Doesn’t make it a good book, however, or something people should necessarily read.

  6. Teddypig
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 16:22:41

    Just don’t read Neuromancer then because it has the same problems.

    People don’t get what the groundbreaking work meant at the time and so they judge it after having been exposed to hundreds of other works that used it’s innovations.

  7. MaryK
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 16:51:40

    OT: “Jaiku” – priceless!

  8. Sela Carsen
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 17:37:42

    I must have been in just the right mood when I read it, because I found it fascinating. I haven’t read a lot of graphic novels, so this was still pretty groundbreaking for me after so much exposure to Superman and Spiderman goofy/gooeyness.

    Rorschach was definitely the best character, but my favorite aspect of the book were the varied subplots. I thought they really rounded out the book and added depth.

  9. Ann Bruce
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 17:42:41

    For me, the appeal of The Watchmen was Moore’s message that if superheroes were real, they’d be fucked up.

  10. Kat
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 19:44:49

    Every single review I’ve seen so far for Watchmen the film has made it clear that Dr. Manhatten is the only character that could remotely be called a superhero, and he refuses to be one. That’s why when the government forced them to retire, they called it “costumed adventuring.”

    I’d argue that it was the first book to show costumed crime-fighters dealing with everyday life, though. Spider-Man did that. It’s just this is the first time the characters are dealing with real life and don’t have any special powers. Yet they choose to put on the tights and the mask anyhow, and try to save the world. They know it’s terribly messed up, but they feel compelled to anyhow. That to me is the compelling bit, and the part most nicely illuminated by the pirate comic book the kid is reading in the graphic novel version.

  11. Jacqueline
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 21:50:30

    We’re just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. :)

  12. SonomaLass
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 23:06:18

    What Jacqueline said. And Teddypig. Of course not everyone will love it — there’s nothing that appeals to everyone. But just because some people don’t care for it doesn’t make it NOT a good book, either.

  13. Hydecat
    Apr 03, 2009 @ 07:36:49

    I taught this book to a bunch of 18-year-olds in the fall, and I had to keep reminding myself that it was written and set in a time (the Cold War) that they didn’t experience. They got a lot out of it, but I think one of the reasons is that we were studying it in a class that was all about character and narration.

    I do agree with Jaiku about the wishy-washyness of the Silk Spectre II — and I still can’t decide if Moore did it on purpose or not.

  14. Nifty
    Apr 03, 2009 @ 07:41:14

    I haven’t read the book but I went to see the movie last weekend. Thought it was awesome. It most definitely was long…too long…but honestly, I didn’t see where they could trim the fat. I loved that the “superheroes” were not necessarily super “heroes.” I liked that for the most part, they were simply human beings with extra abilities, and still all the frailties of human nature. (I thought that human nature, with it’s myriad nuances, good and bad, was THE theme of the whole story.) I enjoyed their ambiguity, even as some of their actions (Comedian’s, for instance) repelled me. After all, aren’t we all the sum of our parts?

    I thought the ending was…hm…great. Horrific. Shocking. Inevitable. Complex and multi-faceted. It’s hard to be pleased with the way things went down. So shocking! So appalling! And yet…look at the end result? Was it worth it? Possibly. But again…that’s where the ambiguity comes into play…and the theme of human nature. Most of the characters, with the exception of Rorschach, I think, saw the world in shades of gray. He alone seemed the most black-and-white of them…the most locked into absolutes. How interesting, then — ironic, really — that when all is said and done, at the very end, it’s his black-and-white moralism that may be the undoing of the hard-won peace. Because human nature being what it is, we can’t really tolerate peace. We have to have something to complain about…to get all riles up about…to voice our discontent over…

    I’m not sure I’m culturally or historically literate enough to catch all the references. It’s densely packed! Whoa. I’d love to watch it again — or rather, read the book now — to see what else I can notice.

    Fascinating, I thought. Intriguing and layered and psychological.

    Oh, and loved Dr. Manhatten’s blue wang in the movie. One of my my favorite parts!! What a nice treat for a rainy Saturday afternoon.

  15. Meagen
    Apr 03, 2009 @ 10:35:37

    For me, the appeal of The Watchmen was Moore's message that if superheroes were real, they'd be fucked up.

    Which only inspired comic book writers to create increasingly anti-heroic storylines in the attempt to keep things “realistic” and “gritty”.

    Or, if we could represent this as an allegorical conversation between Alan Moore and Superhero comic fandom in general…

    Fandom: “Man, superheroes are cool.”
    Alan Moore: “You know, in real life, most superheroes would be considered sociopathic maniacs.”
    Fandom: “Superheroes… are sociopaths?”
    Alan Moore: “Yes.”
    Fandom: “That means sociopaths are *cool*!”
    Alan Moore: *sighs*

  16. Ann Bruce
    Apr 03, 2009 @ 15:40:25

    @Meagen: You’re assuming too much. Alan Moore the Snake God-Worshiping Recluse out in public?!? Just joking.

    When people ask me why I like graphic novels like the Watchmen, Sin City, and Wanted, I always ask them if they prefer Superman the biggest boy scout of ’em all or Batman who, frankly, was a little psychotic even before Frank Miller wrote The Dark Knight Returns.

  17. Maili
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 07:35:41

    Or, if we could represent this as an allegorical conversation between Alan Moore and Superhero comic fandom in general…

    Fandom: “Man, superheroes are cool.”
    Alan Moore: “You know, in real life, most superheroes would be considered sociopathic maniacs.”
    Fandom: “Superheroes… are sociopaths?”
    Alan Moore: “Yes.”
    Fandom: “That means sociopaths are *cool*!”
    Alan Moore: *sighs*

    Thanks for giving me such a huge laugh today, Meagen. I agree with Ann Bruce, though; the idea of Moore daring to interact with fandom? Perish the thought! He’s the Yeti of Nottingham.

  18. Margie
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 10:11:53

    I read this book mostly bc of all the hype (and I wanted to see the movie but I had to read the book first, of course!). I loved it. I thought Moore did such an awesome job portraying the terror and hopelessness of the time. I wasn't really old enough in the 80s to have felt it then, but I think a lot of parallels can be drawn to our current time/culture. The book has a lot to offer just as a study of literary technique: the way Moore fleshed out characters, the way the pirate sub-plot foreshadowed and heightened the main plot, how much the dreariness and decay of the setting could be felt. Overall, I think the best part about the book was that it made you think about values and ideals that we hold and to consider what these “virtues” look like when taken to extremes or without allowing for compromises.

    Oh, and Rorschach was my favorite as well. It was just so fascinating how you could both love him and be repulsed by your own admiration.

  19. Jessica
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 18:20:02

    I loved Rorschach. I wasn’t repulsed at all. He did what he thought was right, always. Sure some of his methods were… unusual, but hey it got the job done. The silk spectre II pissed me off beyond belief. The comedian pissed me off as well, by the middle of the movie I was wondering how he hadn’t been killed sooner? At the end I actually felt some triumph that this peace that they had sacrificed so many and so much for would be undone. I guess that makes me a villain. Good they were always the most fun.

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