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Watchmen
By Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Discussed June 2006

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Questions

  1. The collected edition of Watchmen has been a best-seller for DC Comics for nearly twenty years. Did you like the book? Do you think it lives up to its reputation?
  2. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons have said that the original outline for Watchmen was for a six-issue (instead of twelve-issue) series, and it wasn't until they decided to add in the additional back story and flashbacks that the length of the series grew. Did you appreciate the extra length of the series or feel it unnecessary?
  3. Watchmen is in many ways a mystery; with both an overarching question waiting to be answered (Who killed the Comedian?) as well as smaller, unstated questions revealed along the way (the identity of Rorschach; the real relationship between the Comedian and the original Silk Spectre). Do you think it succeeds as such? Going back through do you think the answers to these questions were possible to figure out with the information given, were you able to solve any of these mysteries on your own the first time you read the book?
  4. Do you think Veidt's plan was one where the end justified the means? Do you think it was really successful? Do you think Watchmen has a "happy ending"?
  5. Watchmen's text pieces at the end of each issue were virtually unheard of in comics when the series debuted. Did you read the text pieces at the end of each chapter? Did you think the shift in media was necessary, or could the additional information have been integrated into the story in comic book form as well?
  6. What did you think of Gibbons's art? What did you think of his strict use of the "nine-panel grid" on each page in terms of layout, versus the less structured art one finds in today's comics? Do you think that some of the stylistic tricks that he and Moore used in Watchmen (the mirror-image issue of "Fearful Symmetry" for example) worked?
  7. Sex and sexuality is present in the make-up of almost every single character in the series. (Including at least three of the thirteen superheroes in Watchmen being gay or lesbian.) Who do you think is/are notable exceptions to this? What do you think Moore is saying (if anything) about superheroes and sex?
  8. Watchmen is in many ways an "alternate history" of our own world, an attempt to logically determine what life would be like had costumed superheroes as well as the super-powered Dr. Manhattan really existed. Do you think the changes in history (Vietnam as the 51st State; President Nixon's numerous presidential terms; widespread electric cars; Russia not invading Afghanistan in 1979) are realistic?
  9. Watchmen won an "Other Form" Hugo in 1988, essentially a special award for the series. Do you think it deserved such recognition?
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