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Watching the Watchmen: The Definitive Companion to the Ultimate Graphic Novel
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Watching the Watchmen: The Definitive Companion to the Ultimate Graphic Novel

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  882 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
Enjoy the ultimate companion to a comics masterpiece, as award-winning artist Dave Gibbons gives his own account of the genesis of WATCHMEN in this dust-jacketed hardback volume, opening his vast personal archives to reveal never-published pages, original character designs, page thumbnails, sketches and much more, including posters, covers and rare portfolio art. Featuring ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Titan Books (first published 2008)
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Stephen Bates
Mar 30, 2013 Stephen Bates rated it really liked it
With Alan Moore severing all ties with DC due to various reasons, it looks like we're not going to get a discussion by him of how the story of Watchmen came about or how he plotted the series, page-by-page and panel-by-panel. However, what we get here is Dave Gibbons' take on things, though primarily concentrating on the glorious artwork that he created over 25 years ago.

And my! What a lot of artwork there is. Firstly, this thick, oversized book is a lot bigger than I'd thought it'd be. It feels
Nov 09, 2014 Gabriel rated it liked it
Watchmen is a very special comic. It remains so despite the Snyder movie, despite the two decades that have passed, despite the reveal at the end (which actually makes rereading the comic exciting), despite the strange form - half comic and half book - ... I've reread it recently and got more out of it. A lot more than rewatching the Snyder movie. So a book describing the process of creating the comic should be just as fascinating, right?

Well ... I'm not the intended audience.

See, I want to read
Mar 10, 2009 Parka rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-books, comics
Watching the Watchmen: The Definitive Companion to the Ultimate Graphic Novel
(More pictures at

The construct of the book is great. It's hardcover with a dust jacket. The paper stock is good, thick and low gloss.

Inside the book are tons of initial sketches, designs, storyboards, comic panels, scripts and scribbles. Dave Gibbons really packed in a lot of stuff from their sketchbooks. The scans are so high in resolution you can see the texture of the sketchbooks' paper grain.

The book starts off with the background story on the history of Watchmen, when Dave
Jan 08, 2009 Jordan rated it really liked it
Shelves: non_fiction
I don't believe I've ever given Dave Gibbons the amount of credit he deserves for the creation of Watchmen. It wasn't until my most recent re-reading that I really paid attention to what he managed to accomplish with a 9 panel grid. The subtlety and level of detail he conveys - with absolute clarity - is every bit as genius as Alan Moore's words. There isn't anything flashy about his style, but I can't imagine any of today's big name artists capable of the feat, especially since so many of them ...more
Nov 10, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing
The title omits the fabulous work done by Mike Essl, who designed every page with the velveteen touch and genteel manner one would expect from a gentleman craftsman.
Helena Quintanilla
Oct 08, 2016 Helena Quintanilla rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, favorites-2016
If you are obsessed/in love with WATCHMEN and want to be a comic artist, you WILL LOVE THIS BOOK. OMG.
This book was written by Dave Gibbons, the artist behind WATCHMEN, who introduces us in the comic world, talk us how he met Moore and how they used to spend hours on the phone chatting about WATCHMEN. Gibbons explains us how hard and complex was to produce only a page and how enjoyable was to create it.
When I was reading this book and felt a charming warmth in my chest and my fingers ached with
Nov 19, 2008 Erik rated it it was amazing
Considered by some as the watershed graphic novel of the late twentieth-century, my best comparison of Moore and Gibbons’ epic comic-book series – for you neophytes out there -- is to Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. How, you ask? Well, think of the recursive nature of the narrative, as well as the adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely. That and the fact that the ubiquitous smiley face is akin to Kane’s Rosebud in its symbolic power. (Perhaps not in its meaning per se, but in its figurative u ...more
Chad Bearden
I've been a big fan of "The Watchmen" since I read it many years ago. It was my first exposure to Alan Moore's writing, and Dave Gibbons' art as well for that matter. In addition to being blown away by the mere complexity and depth of the story, I also found it quite fun to look for all the symbolism, which in my pre-sophisticate days, consisted mostly of finding all the smiley faces.

In the subsequent years, I've flipped through my "Watchmen" volume a few times and found other interesting little
K. Carters
Sep 17, 2016 K. Carters rated it it was amazing
A work of art. I want to frame every page and I love it. The perfect coffee table book.
Michael Allan Leonard
Mar 31, 2016 Michael Allan Leonard rated it it was amazing
The next best thing to sitting down with Dave Gibbons and leafing through his sketchbooks and files while he tells you how Watchmen got made from his perspective. Be warned, though: the level of painstaking detail here is for uber-fans and other comics writers and artists only -- if you're not interested in seeing a full set of Dave's thumbnail layouts for the entire series, or photographs of the test inkblots Gibbons made for reference for Rorschach's mask, move along. The thing I appreciate mo ...more
Dec 21, 2008 Joie rated it really liked it
I was a little scared when I started to read "Watching the Watchmen", not really knowing what I was going to get myself into, just knowing it was about the watchmen and I had to feed my inner nerd. I was scared that the book would withhold to much information about the secrets and wonders of the watchmen, things that shouldn't be told, much like Shakespeares' Macbeth and it's hidden secrets that no one can figure out even to this day, yet I was pleased to see that this book gave you enough infor ...more
Oct 24, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing
excellent overview of the production of the series by artist dave gibbons. not even chip kidd could mess this up. yes, it's true, i hate kidd's designs. i know they're supposed to be "innovative" and "cutting edge" but it always looks like some dude from design school went nuts.

anyway, presentation is very clear and concise, and the layout is very pleasing. if you're into it - it's my favorite super hero story ever - then this book is well worth having.

although it offers insight on the making o
Dec 27, 2008 Jean-Paul rated it liked it
As I fan of this graphic novel since it came out in the late eighties, and as someone who finds the business of comic books and their "production" interesting, I enjoyed this book, though it is little more than a grandiose coffee table book. I suspect that those who have never read of or heard of Watchmen before will find it of little interest, especially as the original graphic novel is NOT part of this book, though there are quite a few pre-production pages and other interesting oddities inclu ...more
Greg Pettit
Jul 24, 2014 Greg Pettit rated it liked it
A good coffee table book that discusses the creation of the famous The Watchmen graphic novel. Dave Gibbons offers a lot of great insights about the initial ideas that drove the work and the processes he used to bring it to life. The book is full of sketches, thumbnails of pages, and a few pages of Alan Moore's script.

Unfortunately, the majority of the artwork doesn't merit more than a passing glance. The text, though definitely interesting and worthwhile, doesn't go into as much detail as one m
Shawn Davies
Feb 23, 2011 Shawn Davies rated it really liked it
It is quite disconcerting to feel that you are missing important aspects of the story when you are reading a graphic novel designed in the best comic tradition. But this is supposed to be the great Graphic Novel and it’s themes are many and were ground breaking for this genre in 1986. The Cold War arches over all the stories, whilst characters inner turmoil, psychological profiles and environmental conditioning are brilliantly explored. Read in 1986 this would have indeed been revolutionary, but ...more
Dec 25, 2008 Dave rated it really liked it
This is an excellent deconstruction and history of the writing, drawing, coloring, and lettering of the Watchmen comic series. Gibbons doesn't get into any of the ridiculousness and bad blood that may exist between parties and instead focuses on the creative process. That's not to say that there aren't a lot of different anecdotes from the time, but they are always focused on the creation and reception of the book. I've always liked Watchmen, but the level of detail within this book really incre ...more
Matt Harris
Oct 01, 2012 Matt Harris rated it liked it
Wish I could give it 3 1/2 stars. At times really insightful into how comic artwork comes together and comes from concept to realisation, colour and lettering forming a big part of it.

Dave Gibbons is clearly a match for Alan Moore in this instance, both of them at the top of their game when DC ran with this title. Developmental sketches form the bulk of this lavish book, with some amazing watchmen collectibles detailed at the end, my favourite being a swatch type watch with the smiley face on th
Megan Brown
Dec 24, 2008 Megan Brown rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
What was most enjoyable about this book is the background information and anecdotal stories told by the illustrator of "Watchmen". He describes the creative process behind the drawings as well as the evolution of several character designs. Also included are many original drawings, sketches, and page layouts. With the upcoming film incarnation of "Watchmen", fans of the graphic novel will appreciate and enjoy this unique opportunity to "Watch the Watchmen", a clever response to the graphic novel' ...more
Emily Carpenter
Jun 15, 2011 Emily Carpenter rated it really liked it
This book was very intriguing and gave many reasons to read on. It was a littlel embarassing to read on the train however because there are many nude shots of the big blue superhero, Dr. Manhattan. I think there are many concepts in this book that may be hard to comrehend and it would help to research the time period. Over all, I found that this book was very interesting and I liked the maany twists and turns of the plot. I would reccomend this book to anyone who wants to read a book that realy ...more
Tobin Elliott
Feb 02, 2016 Tobin Elliott rated it really liked it
Nice behind-the-scenes look at the making of the artwork of Watchmen. When everyone thinks Watchmen, they inevitably think Alan Moore. Which is fair. Moore was the one that created the initial ideas and story. But it was Dave Gibbons and John Higgins that really brought it to visual life.

And make no mistake, visually, design-wise, this book was groundbreaking. Gibbons is never given enough credit for the ultimate success of this series.

So, this is an interesting, albeit one-sided look at the cre
Feb 15, 2009 James rated it really liked it
This isn't exactly a book that one "reads." It's more like a keepsake for people who hold the original graphic novel in high esteem, as I do. I "read" it inasmuch as I looked at every page, recently.

It's chock-a-block with interesting tidbits and insights, all without Alan's direct participation. But I certainly don't begrudge Mr. Gibbons making a few extra pfennig from this endeavor.

I continue to eagerly await the forthcoming major motion picture adaptation, even as it also fills me with dread.
Nov 13, 2015 David added it
This was really cool. The artist that helped create Watchmen how he and Alan Moore made the concept a reality. He discusses what made Watchmen so different than the rest of the genre at the time, while also going into the actual details of how they physically created the work. The book details what the comic book scene was like for writers and artists of the time. Most interesting, the book is filled with sketches and artwork that never made it into the final piece. A very neat, quick read.
Feb 16, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
While it may not be a definitive look at the creation of "Watchmen," it's pretty darn close. Artist Dave Gibbons tells his side of how this pivotal graphic novel was created and shares his memories of the working experience. Included are sketches from the characters and pencil drawings of various pages as they slowly become the pages we know and love today.

If you love "Watchmen" you're going to love this.
Christopher Mcgurr
Jul 27, 2011 Christopher Mcgurr rated it liked it
I'm glad I borrowed this book and didn't buy it. While it's pretty cool to see the early sketches and ideas, I felt like there were far too many page breakdowns done with marker. I find myslef flipping through more than half the book with no real interest. A comic artist might find more interest in it. I did like Mr. Gibbons memories of the events and creations, but it doesn't really shed too much light on the events. I must say however it really helps one to appreciate the art of this wonderful ...more
Oct 29, 2008 Jamil rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Frank, Mel & Steve
Shelves: comics, art-design
i'm not one to worship the ground it floats above & think WATCHMEN the pinnacle of superhero comic book lit, but yeah, Moore and Gibbons put together a pretty impressive package, that you have to respect, particularly for its time. This book is a great behind the scenes look, full of design work, thumbnail layouts, sketches, all from Dave Gibbon's perspective, for the obvious reasons.
Doug Wilkinson-gray
Sep 24, 2010 Doug Wilkinson-gray rated it it was ok
This is another sorry case where the movie was vastly superior to the book. Rorschach, the graphic novels only likable and entertaining character, makes it worth the read, but do yourself a favor and skip every page you don't see him on. Seriously, you can go through this entire damn thing reading only the panels he's in and you won't miss an ounce of plot. Dave Gibbons drew the book, and I applaud his work, but to the writer Allen Moore, I say... I am disappoint.
Dec 25, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Gibbons gives an excellent account of the creation of Watchmen from his perspective. He provides a detailed examination of the artistic process that he went through, and describes how much the work means to him. He unapologetically avoids going into any of the drama associated with the book, keeping the focus closely on how it was created, and how much he enjoys the continuing positive reception.
Aug 09, 2009 Jared rated it it was amazing
This book is about a group of superheroes that somehow have fallen apart. The main characters of this book are John Gates, Rorchak, Dan, and Lauie.

I liked this book because is seemed to ave a lot of fighting parts in it. Most of the action is what was engaging about the book.

I would recommend this book to any teenager who likes to read superhero action books. Anyone who does not like a whole lot of violence should not read this book.
Tom Lyle
Dec 27, 2013 Tom Lyle rated it really liked it
If you ever wanted the most genuine account of the beginnings of Watchmen, this is it. Co-creator Dave Gibbons explains his and Alan Moore's creative process when making Watchmen in an informative but informal way, with lots of brilliant sketches by himself which show their earlier visions of Watchmen.
Brian Bowes
Jan 30, 2013 Brian Bowes rated it really liked it
I am fascinated by the amount of thought and work that went into The Watchmen. Dave Gibbons is a mad man and must not be stopped!

However I do want to shoot the person responsible for designing f-ing BLUE text on BLACK glossy pages. I mean I know it's all about the art, but the words are nice to read too!

A gem for anyone interested in how to make seminal book magic happen.
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Dave Gibbons is an English comic book artist, writer and sometime letterer. He is best known for his collaborations with writer Alan Moore, which include the miniseries Watchmen and the Superman story "For the Man Who Has Everything". He also was an artist for the UK anthology 2000 AD, for which he contributed a large body of work from its first issue in 1977.

Gibbons broke into British comics by w
More about Dave Gibbons...

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