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Watchmen [Paperback]

Alan Moore , Dave Gibbons
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (284 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 23.99
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Book Description

April 1 1995
A New York Times Best Seller!

This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.

One of the most influential graphic novels of all time and a perennial bestseller, WATCHMEN has been studied on college campuses across the nation and is considered a gateway title, leading readers to other graphic novels such as V FOR VENDETTA, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and THE SANDMAN series.

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Watchmen + V for Vendetta New (New Edition TPB) + Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Price For All Three: CDN$ 51.96

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Has any comic been as lauded as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen? Possibly only Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns but Watchmen remains the critics' favourite. Why? Because Moore is a better writer, and Watchmen a more complex and dark and literate creation than Miller's fantastic, subversive take on the Batman myth. Moore, renowned for many other of the genre's finest creations (Saga of the Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, and recently From Hell, with Eddie Campbell) first put out Watchmen in 12 issues for DC in 1986-87. It won a comic award at the time (the 1987 Jack Kirby Comics Industry Awards for Best Writer/Artist combination) and has continued to garner praise since.

The story concerns a group called the Crimebusters and a plot to kill and discredit them. Moore's characterisation is as sophisticated as any novel's. Importantly the costumes do not get in the way of the storytelling, rather they allow Moore to investigate issues of power and control--indeed it was Watchmen, and to a lesser extent Dark Knight, that propelled the comic genre forward, making "adult" comics a reality. The artwork of Gibbons (best known for 2000AD's Rogue Trooper and DC's Green Lantern) is very fine too, echoing Moore's paranoid mood perfectly throughout. Packed with symbolism, some of the overlying themes (arms control, nuclear threat, vigilantes) have dated but the intelligent social and political commentary, the structure of the story itself, its intertextuality (chapters appended with excerpts from other "works" and "studies" on Moore's characters, or with excerpts from another comic book being read by a child within the story), the fine pace of the writing and its humanity mean that Watchmen more than stands up--it retains its crown as the best the genre has yet produced. --Mark Thwaite --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A work of ruthless psychological realism, it’s a landmark in the graphic novel medium. It would be a masterpiece in any."
–TIME, TIME MAGAZINE’s 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present

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Customer Reviews

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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start your collection with this one Dec 27 2005
Needless to repeat what everyone else has said here, but I'll share my story:
Three years ago, I walked into a comic book store and asked the owner, "I don't know anything about comics. How do I get started?" He told me to start with the best, and that although every later comic that I would pick up afterwards won't be as good as that first one, it's the one to start with.
Sure enough, I bought "Watchmen" that fateful day - and came back two days later for "V for Vendetta". That was the start of my love-affair with the graphic novel genre.
I went on to read Garth Ennis' Preacher, Mike Mignola's Hellboy, Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns and Sin City, all landmark graphic novels of our time.
And though these were all remarkable books (and I recommend all of the above series), they still came second to "Watchmen", which will always be the top model of the genre by which all other comics are compared to.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Having long heard Watchmen's praises, I resisted reading it because I dislike the late 80's and 90's ultraviolent comics, and I assumed Watchmen to be the quintessential comic of this type. I've finally read it, and I was wrong. It deserves its reputation. Violence serves theme and plot without being exploitative.
SPOILER: I'll discuss the story's ending. I'll also compare Watchmen to other works, such as Kingdom Come.
I think Watchmen is basically a condemnation of ubermensch theory (Nietzsche's idea that "supermen" are entitled to violate society's moral laws, imposing their will on those "inferior" to themselves. Hitler infamously used the theory to justify Nazism. I concede I am no expert on Nietzsche.), and an accusation that superhero stories endorse this philosophy by lionizing vigilantes. Watchmen also attacks the genre's simplistic good vs. evil morality.
Only one character has "superpowers" to justify claims of superiority, yet Dr. Manhattan takes too little interest in human affairs to want to control others. On the contrary, he lets himself be used as a tool, hoping to retain his humanity by pleasing people. Yet he's now too detached to morally judge his orders, becoming a living military weapon. Apparently, desire for power over others is for mortals living among mortals--like Ozymandias, the archetypal Aryan "superman": a blonde, blue-eyed, physically perfect, supremely brilliant, self-made billionaire.
Achieving peace through slaughter, Ozymandias, like his hero Alexander, embodies Nietzsche's belief that ends justify means. If paradise is attainable through atrocities, as Nazi and Soviet propaganda claimed, is it worth it? And, once the eggs are broken, should one reap the benefits of the sin?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What if costumed superheroes really existed? June 22 2004
By Cubist
That is the simple question that Watchmen poses and is one of the many clever conceits that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons employ throughout the 12-issue mini-series that is collected in this fine trade paperback.
Moore and Gibbons present a world not unlike ours. An alternate reality where the United States won Vietnam (thanks to Dr. Manhattan--the book's only Superman) and as a result Nixon stayed President. Dirgibles instead of airplanes can be seen in the sky, there are electric powered cars and a popular fast food chain of Indian restaurants known as Gunga Diner are everywhere.
In this world, superheroes have been outlawed because the police felt that their jobs were threatened and so only Government sanctioned costumed heroes can legally operate. That doesn't stop Rorschach, a masked vigilante from plying his trade.
Why am I going into all this detail? Because Watchmen is all about the details. Moore and Gibbons vividly draw us into this world through the most minute details, often populating the backgrounds of panels so that they only become obvious upon multiple readings.
What is so astounding about Watchmen is that it works on so many levels. Superficially, it's a murder mystery. However, it also asks many big questions like, who makes the world? Who is responible? Is everything planned out or is it all up to chance?
Watchmen is also a marvel of technique. Moore and Gibbons employ all sorts of film techniques (zoom ins, close-ups, revolving "the camera" around somebody, lighting effects, etc) and also several techniques of rhythm. For example, look closely at the panel layout for Chapter 5: Feaful Symmetry. The panel layout on the first page is exactly the same as the last page and so on until the center pages which mirror each other perfectly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Comedian is Dead, but not Forgotten May 6 2002
Long before "Kingdom Come" meditated on a world without heroes, around the same time as Frank Miller's "Dark Knight" returned, and executed more forcefully than the "X-Men"'s story of Sentinels and Mutant Registration Acts, Alan Moore & company asked "Who watches the Watchmen?"
Set in a world where heroes and vigilante justice have run their course, and the last era of superheroes are living out their days quietly with their own ghosts, "Watchmen" is an amazing piece of literature and comic book artistry. The series itself, twelve issues now commonly packaged in one booklet, is sprung from the golden age of graphic novels - the 1980's, where graphic novels told stories and presented images where normal comics, movies, and televison shows feared to tread. Perhaps most importantly, the themes of the story ring as true today as they did then, and the emotionally-invested reader will perhaps see themselves in the everyday characters talking sports and entertainment as the newspaper headlines blare klaxons of war and pending doom. Society entrusts its safety to a greater body politic, but who watches the watchmen and what is the price paid for handing over the responsibilities of self-defense and indulging in a comfortable apathy?
These are the driving themes behind "Watchmen", a graphic novel so stunningly well-written and well-drawn that I do not hesitate to recommend it to even the most ardant skeptics who look upon comics with disdain, never thinking to read anything remotely associated with them. "Watchmen" represents the perfect synergy between the use of pictures, the potency of the written word, and the sublime power of symolism that drives artists wielding either brush or pen to record their art permanently on canvas or paper. A worthy investment that stands tall amongst the great literary works of the latter part of the 20th century.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I'm not a comic book fan but this graphic novel is one of the greatest books I've ever read.
Published 11 hours ago by Mr. Lego
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As good now as it was the first time.
Published 1 month ago by David L Bertrand
5.0 out of 5 stars Great in every possible way
Ahhh the Watchmen.. What else to say. Great in every possible way!
Published 1 month ago by Sebodah
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
true classic. I wasn't to crazy about the way it was drawn but the story is amazing. Filled in some of the holes from the movie
Published 1 month ago by J. R. Martinez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Derek Beaupre
4.0 out of 5 stars The Enemy Is Within
"There's a notion I'd like to see buried: the ordinary person. Ridiculous. There is no ordinary person. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jeffrey Swystun
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the greatest graphic novel ever written.
Quite possibly the greatest graphic novel ever writte. Alan Moore is a genius. The story was great. The story within the story is great. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Karn Saroya
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, only once
While an amazing book that is a "must-read" staple for anyone who even remotely likes literature, to me it's a one time read. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Wade A
1.0 out of 5 stars A much overrated work
As I read this graphic novel and thought of the rave reviews it has been given for nearly thirty years, I thought about H C Andersen’s classic fairy tale about the emperor with no... Read more
Published 15 months ago by S Svendsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth so much more than the price!
At $4 this purchase is a no-brainer. Great story. Amazing art. I've read my well worn trade paperback a number of times over the last decade or so, and when I saw this priced at... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Papercut Fun
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