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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

(Watchmen #Companion)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,037 ratings  ·  82 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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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  1,037 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Luke Taylor
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An absolute must-have for all fans of Moore and Gibbons and their life-changing work on the seminal artistic and cultural achievement that is, was, and will be Watchmen, this book sheds light into the messy and brilliant process of Gibbons, Moore, Higgins, and all parties involved, and provides incredible insights into the inspiration and perspiration behind the greatest graphic novel of all times, written, as it was, to honor the profound medium that is the venerable comic book, no matter what ...more
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Look behind the panels, revealing of mind boggling precision.
Stephen Bates
Mar 30, 2013 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
Mar 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, art-books
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 Da
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
For a coffee table book about the creation of 'Watchmen' made without Alan Moore's involvement, I thought it was pretty great. Lots of beautiful sketches and other artwork, many fascinating letters and notes from those early days, as well as short remembrances and anecdotes from Dave Gibbons and John Higgins (the colorist).

My only complaint is that a large portion of the book is devoted to displaying the initial very rough outlines (in the book they're called 'thumbnails') of almost every page
Nov 09, 2014 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
Jan 08, 2009 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 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.
Eugene booker
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Eugene by: myself
love it great table book and companuion piece to the graphic novel you will love it!
Michael Anderson
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Watching the Watchmen is artist Dave Gibbons’s description of the events and concepts leading up to Alan Moore’s and his Watchmen comic book series. It’s not Alan Moore’s take on the trials and tribulations of getting the series written, but the book is utterly fascinating nonetheless. Full of storyboards, pencils, and finished page art to supplement the text, I found the book hard to put down.
Nov 19, 2008 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
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you are obsessed/in love with WATCHMEN and want to be a comic artist, you WILL LOVE THIS BOOK.
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 desir
Michael Sorbello
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Set in an alternate history where costumed heroes have helped shape society since the beginning of time, the controversial yet prolific costumed hero Edward Blake (more commonly known by his alias The Comedian) is found dead and the perpetrator is nowhere to be found. Unable to solve such a bizarre murder by conventional means, the masked vigilante Rorschach who once served as a costumed hero alongside Comedian and four others takes matters into his own bloodstained hands to track down a mysteri ...more
Eli Bishop
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you just like Watchmen a lot, then I'm not sure this big coffee-table slab is necessary; there are a couple of nice stories about the making of the comic, and some cool character sketches and so on—although not a lot in the way of full-page original art, because most of that was long gone into the hands of collectors before this was put together. Fanatical completists of course will want it—although, for reasons that I'm sure you know, none of it is from Moore's point of view. But if you're i ...more
Chris Browning
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m still ambivalent about Watchmen: it’s a tremendous achievement but I do think it heralded in several unpleasant habits for comics, and Moore’s writing is technically impressive rather than likeable. So it’s nice to get a book that looks at the art, and specifically Gibbons’ achievement - who gets main credit here, although John Higgins gets a chance in the spotlight too - which I think is massively underrated because focus is usually on the text. It’s a handsome, lovingly researched book - b ...more
Rich Rosell
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This whopper of a book (which weighs a ton) consists of Gibbons notes regarding the creation of the Watchmen comics with Alan Moore. But the real joy of this are pencil sketches, rough drawings, character variations, etc. Heavy paper, bright colors, and an absolutely perfect companion to peruse after a reading of Watchmen.

Love it.
Sonny Minhas
Feb 08, 2021 rated it liked it
The Definitive Companion to the Ultimate Graphic Novel (Chipp Kid, Dave Gibbons, Mike Essel, 2008) A look into the design process of the seminal comic work watchmen. No additional input from Alan Moore, as can be expected. A good look into a elaborate and complicated process, of a comic book that years went into the design of
Tony Ricketts
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Great insights into the genesis and production of the acclaimed work. Naturally, it is very focused on the artwork, hand-drawn sketches, themes, colouring etc. A lot of it went over my head, but it is an inspiring collection.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've always loved Watchmen and it is great to see all this information and beauty behind the scenes ...more
David Wilson
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not for everyone, but a fantastic art book.
K. Carters
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A work of art. I want to frame every page and I love it. The perfect coffee table book.
Dec 21, 2008 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
Michael Allan Leonard
Mar 31, 2016 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
Oct 24, 2008 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 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
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
Dec 25, 2008 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
Shawn Davies
Feb 23, 2011 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
Matt Harris
Oct 01, 2012 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
Greg Pettit
Jul 24, 2014 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
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Librarian note:
There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name

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 l

Other books in the series

Watchmen (1 - 10 of 12 books)
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  • Watchmen #2: Absent Friends
  • Watchmen #3: The Judge Of All The Earth
  • Watchmen #4: Watchmaker
  • Watchmen #5: Fearful Symmetry
  • Watchmen #6: The Abyss Gazes Also
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