Kelly's Reviews > Watchmen

Watchmen by Alan Moore
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's review
Mar 03, 09

bookshelves: fantasy-and-scifi, fiction, po-mo, 20th-century-postwar-to-late
Read in February, 2009

I was told and told and told again that I must read this as my introduction to the graphic novel genre. There were a few dissident voices for Sandman, but they were largely drowned out by the chorus for this piece. (Piece? Book doesn't feel right.)

It did take me a little bit to adjust myself to the storytelling method, but once I got into it, I was absolutely enthralled with it. I really loved about the first 3/4 of the plot- I loved the psychology of it all, and the nuanced, beautiful presentation of such, and just how visceral it was at times. It was everything it should have been and more. I think I would have been even more blown away by its ideas had I read this many years ago before I knew anything about the fantasy genre. But I know that this came first, and for that reason, I bow before its innovations. I still bow before its insightful method of presentation of the minds of these non-hero heroes and why they do the things that they do.

The only part I didn't like? Oddly, the part where the real action actually happens, the actual traditional comic book plot, the last 1/4. Maybe it was because I was much more fascinated by the character studies and the weaving of history into the stories of the characters. By the time I got to the last part, it felt like a let down for it to just fall back into genre. I also wrestled a bunch with at least part of the ending, but I'm sure that's what Alan Moore intended me to do.

I just feel like everything about this book has been said before, long before, and by people better qualified to talk about it than me, so really all I've got left to say is:

Everybody, you were right, and thank you. I'm very glad I read this.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Kelly Yeah, you should definitely look into this. It plays with ideas that I think you'd really like, with your interest in folklore. Archetypes of heroes, and what they should be like, and what their motivations are- not to mention exploring motivations that are never traditionally mentioned, and how historical context would shape these people just like any person reading the legend. I really liked the flipping and tossing about of the genre, felt like they were able to shake it down to get the good stuff to fall out.

You didn't like Sandman, eh? That's disappointing.

Kelly Uh huh. I know that old song. I sing it a whole lot myself. That's why I have an 'ought to read' list. :)

message 3: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca I'm always being haranged about Watchmen.

Kelly Unless you're not giving in on principle of being lectured at, you should read it. It won't take you more than an afternoon (unless you want it to), and you'll get some peace.

C.S. Now that you have given in to Watchmen, you might take a peak at Fables. It's doing some really interesting stuff with fairy tales and fables.

Kelly Oh really? Such as?

C.S. The basic storyline is what if all the characters from our stories are real. What if they live in a land of magic. What if that land has a long and incredibly deadly war. What if all of the characters flee from their reality to ours and take up residence in New York City. That is the set up. Where the story goes from there is always new and interesting. I mean you can't beat the sheriff of fabletown being the big bad wolf, who is doing everything he can to make up for eating the three litle pigs.

Madeline This is the only graphic novel on the list of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, so it must be pretty special. I've been meaning to read it ever since it started popping up prominently displayed in all the bookstores, but I think I'll wait to get it from the library so I don't look like I'm trying to jump on the Watchmen bandwagon right before the movie comes out.
Because I have a paranoid belief that every single bookstore employee judges me based on the books I buy.

message 9: by Kelly (last edited Mar 04, 2009 08:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kelly Because I have a paranoid belief that every single bookstore employee judges me based on the books I buy.

They do. Several of my friends worked in bookstores, and have unequivocally informed me that this is the case. It's all they have to do during the day. (Well, that, and put absurdedly bad books in the "employee recommended" section.) Plus, I've had some bookstore employees be very upfront about the fact that they were judging me- like when they outright laughed at me for trying to hide my silly fantasy novels and/or trashy romance novels in between Important Literature in the pile of books I brought to the counter. I totally sympathize with your feelings, Madeline, in other words. The only reason I read it so close to the movie coming out is that a friend of mine owns it and so I was able to bypass the bookstore.

I will say that I think this book is worth a little embarrassment to read, though!

I mean you can't beat the sheriff of fabletown being the big bad wolf, who is doing everything he can to make up for eating the three litle pigs.

Reimagined and reappropriated fairy tales are always fun, of course! Thanks, I'll keep it in mind. :)

Madeline Once I went to Borders and bought a dvd of Marie Antoinette (the Kirsten Dunst version), the sixteenth volume of a manga series, a bright blue python-skin journal, and a copy of Catch-22. The guy at the counter scans each of these items, picks up the book, and says to me, "Even money says this one's for school."

It was.

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