Original Watchmen Comics

original watchmen comics hardback
original watchmen comics hardback

The original Watchmen comics, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, were published by DC Comics in 1986 and 1987. The series of twelve issues was later collected into a single-volume edition, which has become a classic of the graphic novel genre. Set in an alternate version of the United States where superheroes exist, the story explores themes of power, morality, and the human condition.

Origins and Creators: Moore and Gibbons created Watchmen as a response to the traditional superhero genre, which they felt had become formulaic and stagnant. They wanted to tell a more complex and nuanced story, with flawed and realistic characters. The series was initially based on characters from Charlton Comics, but DC Comics acquired the rights and the characters were reimagined for Watchmen.

Audio Synopsis

Don’t have time to read this article but would like to listen to a synopsis of this article. Click on the “Play button”. Enjoy -MikeyD

Plot Overview: The plot of Watchmen centers around a group of retired superheroes who are drawn back into action when one of their own is murdered. The story is told through a non-linear narrative, with flashbacks and multiple perspectives. The themes of the story include the nature of power, the morality of vigilantism, and the role of superheroes in society.

Key Takeaways

  • Watchmen is a classic graphic novel series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons.
  • The series was created as a response to the traditional superhero genre and features flawed and realistic characters.
  • The story explores themes of power, morality, and the human condition through a non-linear narrative.

Origins and Creators

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

The original Watchmen comics were created by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons. The two had previously collaborated on other comic book projects, but Watchmen was their most ambitious work to date. Moore’s writing style was known for its complexity and depth, while Gibbons’ artwork was praised for its attention to detail and realism.

Moore and Gibbons worked closely together to create Watchmen, with Moore providing the story and script and Gibbons handling the art and layout. The two were heavily involved in every aspect of the comic’s production, from character design to page layout. Watchmen: Hardcover by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Influences from Charlton Comics

One of the key influences on Watchmen was the acquisition of characters from Charlton Comics by DC Comics. Moore had originally planned to use these characters in a separate project, but when DC acquired the rights to Charlton’s characters, Moore was forced to create new characters for Watchmen that were loosely based on the Charlton characters.

Despite the changes, the influence of Charlton Comics can still be seen in Watchmen. The characters are all flawed and complex, with their own unique motivations and backstories. The comic also explores themes of power, corruption, and the role of superheroes in society, all of which were common themes in Charlton Comics.

Overall, the collaboration between Moore and Gibbons, as well as the influence of Charlton Comics, helped to make Watchmen one of the most groundbreaking and influential comics of all time.

Plot Overview

Key Characters

The original Watchmen comics feature a cast of complex and flawed characters, each with their own distinct personalities and motivations. Some of the key characters include:

  • Rorschach: A vigilante with a black and white view of morality, Rorschach is a fan favorite. He wears a mask that is constantly changing, reflecting his unstable personality.
  • Ozymandias: Adrian Veidt, also known as Ozymandias, is a former superhero turned businessman. He is intelligent and strategic, but his methods are controversial.
  • The Comedian: Edward Blake, known as The Comedian, is a violent and cynical hero who is unafraid to use brutal tactics to achieve his goals.
  • Silk Spectre: Laurie Juspeczyk, aka Silk Spectre, is a former superheroine who is struggling to find her place in a world that no longer values vigilantes.
  • Doctor Manhattan: A nuclear physicist who gains god-like powers after a lab accident, Doctor Manhattan is one of the most powerful characters in the Watchmen universe.
  • Nite Owl: Dan Dreiberg, aka Nite Owl, is a former superhero who is struggling to come to terms with his retirement.

Central Mysteries and Themes

The Watchmen comics are known for their intricate plot and exploration of complex themes. Some of the central mysteries and themes include:

  • The murder of The Comedian: The story begins with the murder of The Comedian, which sets off a chain of events that leads to the unraveling of a larger conspiracy.
  • The conspiracy: As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that there is a larger conspiracy at play, involving some of the most powerful people in the world.
  • Nuclear war: The threat of nuclear war looms large throughout the story, and many of the characters are grappling with the possibility of a catastrophic global conflict.
  • Vigilantes vs. superheroes: The Watchmen universe is one in which superheroes are not always celebrated. Many of the characters are struggling to come to terms with their place in a world that no longer values vigilantes.

The Ending and Its Impact

The ending of the Watchmen comics is one of the most controversial in comic book history. Without giving too much away, it subverts many of the expectations that readers may have had going into the story. The ending has had a lasting impact on the comic book industry, inspiring a generation of writers and artists to push the boundaries of what is possible in the medium.

Art and Narrative Style

Visuals by Dave Gibbons

original watchmen comics companion issue
original watchmen comics companion issue

Dave Gibbons’ artwork in Watchmen is often cited as one of the greatest achievements in comic book history. He used a highly-detailed, realistic style that emphasized symmetry and balance. The characters’ body language and facial expressions are expertly rendered, conveying a wide range of emotions. The backgrounds are also richly detailed, with each panel containing a wealth of information.  Watchmen Companion Hardcover

Symbolism and Motifs

Symbolism is a key aspect of Watchmen’s narrative. John Higgins’ use of color is particularly notable, with each character having their own distinct color scheme. The recurring motif of the smiley face is also significant, as it represents the idea that even in the face of impending doom, life goes on. The recurring imagery of clocks and watches is also symbolic, representing the idea that time is running out for humanity.

Nine-Panel Grid Structure

One of the most distinctive aspects of Watchmen is its use of a nine-panel grid structure. This structure is used consistently throughout the series, creating a sense of order and symmetry. It also allows for a greater level of control over pacing and narrative flow. The use of this structure is a deliberate choice, as it reinforces the idea that the world of Watchmen is a highly-controlled, authoritarian society.

Overall, the art and narrative style of Watchmen is a masterclass in storytelling. Dave Gibbons’ artwork is highly-detailed and expertly rendered, while John Higgins’ use of color and symbolism adds depth and nuance to the story. The nine-panel grid structure is a deliberate choice that reinforces the themes of control and order.

Cultural Impact

Critical Acclaim and Awards

Watchmen received critical acclaim upon its release, and has since been regarded as a seminal work in the comic book medium. The series won the Hugo Award in 1988, becoming the first comic book to receive the prestigious literary award. In addition, it won the Eisner Award for Best Finite Series/Limited Series in 1988, and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Best Novels in 2005.

Influence on the Superhero Genre

Watchmen is widely regarded as having a significant influence on the superhero genre. The series deconstructed and subverted many of the genre’s tropes, and explored complex themes such as power, morality, and the nature of heroism. The series’ use of flawed and morally ambiguous characters, as well as its exploration of the psychological toll of being a superhero, has been cited as a major influence on subsequent works in the genre.

Adaptations and Expansions

Watchmen has been adapted and expanded upon in a variety of media. In 2009, a film adaptation directed by Zack Snyder was released, which received mixed reviews from critics and fans alike. In 2019, a television series created by Damon Lindelof premiered on HBO, which served as a sequel to the original graphic novel. The series received critical acclaim and was praised for its exploration of contemporary social issues.

In addition to these adaptations, Watchmen has been expanded upon in other comic book series, including the prequel series Before Watchmen and the sequel series Doomsday Clock. While these series have been met with mixed reviews, they demonstrate the continued relevance and influence of the original graphic novel.

Overall, Watchmen has had a significant cultural impact since its release in 1986. Its critical acclaim, influence on the superhero genre, and numerous adaptations and expansions demonstrate its lasting legacy in popular culture. Watchmen the Ultimate Cut Blu-Ray

original watchmen comics the ultimate cut blu-ray
original watchmen comics the ultimate cut blu-ray

Legacy and Relevance

Watchmen in Modern Media

Since its release in 1986, Watchmen has had a significant impact on the comic book industry, and its influence can be seen in modern media. The original comic book series has won several awards, including the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. Time Magazine also named Watchmen as one of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923.

Watchmen has been adapted into various forms of media, including a 2009 film adaptation and a 2019 television series. The television series, created by Damon Lindelof, serves as a sequel to the original comic book series and has been praised for its exploration of relevant social issues. Watchmen HBO Series DVD on Original Watchmen Comics

Continued Debates and Discussions

Watchmen continues to be a topic of debate and discussion among comic book fans and scholars. The comic book series is often regarded as a postmodern superhero comic, challenging traditional superhero tropes and exploring complex themes such as power, morality, and human nature.

The Absolute Watchmen edition, released in 2005, includes additional content such as sketches, annotations, and commentary from the creators, providing further insight into the series. The Dark Knight Returns, another influential comic book series released around the same time as Watchmen, is often compared to Watchmen in terms of its impact on the comic book industry. The Absolute Watchmen Edition

Despite its legacy and relevance, Watchmen has also faced criticism for its portrayal of female characters and its use of violence. These criticisms have sparked discussions about representation and ethics in the comic book industry.

Overall, Watchmen’s legacy and relevance can be seen in its impact on the comic book industry and its continued influence on modern media. However, it also serves as a reminder of the ongoing debates and discussions surrounding representation and ethics in the industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the value of the original Watchmen comics?

The value of the original Watchmen comics can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the condition of the comic and whether it is a first edition or a later printing. As of 2021, a first edition of Watchmen #1 in good condition can be worth several hundred dollars or more.

How many issues are in the original Watchmen series?

The original Watchmen series consists of 12 issues, which were published by DC Comics from 1986 to 1987.

When was the first issue of Watchmen released?

The first issue of Watchmen was released in September 1986.

Where can I find the original Watchmen comics for sale?

The original Watchmen comics can be found for sale at comic book stores, online retailers, and auction sites. It is important to ensure that the seller is reputable and that the comic is in the condition described before making a purchase. eBay has many listings for a variety of prices and conditions. Amazon has some of the Original Watchmen Comics

Which comic book universe does Watchmen belong to, Marvel or DC?

Watchmen belongs to the DC Comics universe. However, it is set in an alternate version of the 1980s where superheroes are part of everyday life and the United States is on the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

Who are the main characters featured in the original Watchmen comics?

The main characters in the original Watchmen comics are a group of retired superheroes who are brought back together to investigate the murder of one of their own. The characters include Rorschach, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, Ozymandias, The Comedian, and Dr. Manhattan.

Hi, This is MikeyD and I hope you have enjoyed this article about The Original Watchmen Comics.  Thanks for reading and leave a comment below.

Popular Comic Book Articles

superman movies 1978 to 2006

Leave a Comment