Sunday, September 06, 2009

Watchmen (by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons)

As soon as I said I probably wasn't going to read much for the rest of the year, I picked up Ian's copy of Watchmen and read it in like 24 hours. It was just so good!

I'm not a comic book reader or a graphic novel reader, in general--I leave that stuff to my friend Michael. I mean, I haven't even read all of Maus. But this was on the Time 100 list so I gave it a chance, and I got really sucked in. Unlike Lucky Jim, which I just read a paragraph at a time, I found myself unable to put Watchmen down, and stayed up late last night to finish "just one more" episode.

I could have done without the comic-within-the-comic (just because it was mostly a distraction from the main characters) and some of the overlapping-dialogue stuff got a little stale, and the ending was kind of crazy, but for the most part, I was won over by the moral ambiguity/complexity, the way the book immerses you in an alternate version of history, and the compelling, not quite sympathetic characters (loved Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach, especially). I also enjoyed the artwork, and definitely would give another graphic novel a chance, if you know of any good ones!



Anonymous Michael Rawdon said...

Some people love the Black Pirate stuff in Watchmen. Others, like you and me, don't think it's all that. I appreciate the story-construction elements of it (it's not only a metaphor for the main story, but it shows that there are no superhero comics in the world of Watchmen, because the advent of real superheroes killed the genre), but I don't think it's a very good story thread, and I don't think it adds very much.

The next logical comic to read after Watchmen is V For Vendetta, which was also written by Alan Moore, and also has excellent (though stylistically very different) artwork.

I'm not really a fan of Maus. The story is very good. The art doesn't do it for me at all. As a whole I'm glad I read it, but I think it's very overrated. (I also realize I'm in the minority here.)

Another good one is Astro City (start with the volume Life in the Big City, which is a set of 6 short stories). It's a little more superhero-mainstream, but it's primarily about the characters and the experience of living in a world with superheroes, rather than the superheroes themselves.

There are many good independent graphic novels with strong character elements. Tim Eldred's Grease Monkey comes to mind as one I really enjoyed on that count.

3:53 PM  
Blogger mo pie said...

Yay, I'm glad you came by to comment! I searched your archives, I saw you wrote about Watchmen when the movie came out, and I read the article you linked to, too. Interesting stuff.

Yeah, I kinda felt a little went a long way. I didn't mind the first Black Pirate interlude, but really didn't need to see the whole story (especially once we found out the ending, I think in one of those interstitial articles). Was that the thing that people were pissed was cut out of the movie, and that they made a DVD extra? What else did they cut out?

Thanks for the suggestions! Ian has Maus here somewhere, I've flipped through it, but never really been compelled to read it straight through. I'll definitely keep my eyes open for the other ones you suggest!

5:07 PM  

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