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Watchmen [Paperback]

Alan Moore , Dave Gibbons
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (280 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
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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.

Review

"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

Most helpful customer reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start your collection with this one Dec 27 2005
Format:Paperback
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
Format:Paperback
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome, baby July 13 2004
Format:Paperback
Yes, this is an graphic novel, but every page carries every ounce of narrative density and depth that you'd expect from a more text-heavy tome. Frankly, there's so much to say about this work that I hardly know where to begin, so I won't. Instead, I'll just heartily recommend it to everyone--not just my comic geek friends. In fact, I would <i>especially</i> recommend it to friends of mine who don't read comics or graphic novels because they think those things are (a). just for kids or (b). not as satisfying as a more traditionally formatted read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Enemy Is Within Jan. 21 2014
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"There's a notion I'd like to see buried: the ordinary person. Ridiculous. There is no ordinary person." This is just one the philosophical bon mots liberally resident in one of the most layered and engrossing comic books of all time. These kudos are not given lightly. In fact, Time Magazine voted Watchmen one of the best novels of the 20th Century. I believe this is because of the compelling themes:

Real Life
"Real life is messy, inconsistent, and it's seldom when anything ever really gets resolved. It's taken me a long time to realize that.”
Life is messy and when this explored through the cast of aging superheroes, it is accentuated in a way to give new meaning to the observation.

Anxiety
“In an era of stress and anxiety, when the present seems unstable and the future unlikely, the natural response is to retreat and withdraw from reality, taking recourse either in fantasies of the future or in modified visions of a half-imagines past”
This is incredibly deep given the fantasy lives of superheroes and their alter egos.

Simplicity
“Nothing's that simple, not even things that are simply awful.”
Comic books once wrapped up each story neatly like a thirty minute sitcom. Then the world got more complex and comic books followed. This is reflected beautifully in Watchmen that bridges the early Batman crime fighting sensibility with the darker and deeper comic book output of the 1980's.

But overall, the main story is a person's duality. Superheroes live two lives, wrestle between good and evil, pretend to function in larger society while finding comfort only in their dysfunctional tribe. For them, it is a solitary existence, "We are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Perfect
Published 2 days ago by Derek Beaupre
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 6 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 7 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 13 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 13 months ago by Papercut Fun
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection
wow. Tis product is awesome. This is a new birth for comics. This is like challenging the art. I Suggest it!
Published 15 months ago by Louis-Dominic Manuel
5.0 out of 5 stars The One to Own
I am one who read this amazing, genre changing story live. I had to wait for the next installment, now you have all in one. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Louis Vroomen
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Deserves its Legendary Status
When reviewing a work of the caliber of Watchmen it is genuinely difficult to know what to say - except that its cyclopean reputation is entirely deserved. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Theo
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This really deserves all the praise it gets. The story is really well told and the artwork is great. I'm really happy I believed the hype and grabbed this to read.
Published 18 months ago by Erik Virtanen
5.0 out of 5 stars vraiment bon
superbe, aussi bien que le film (pas la même fin) c est du Alan moore au scénario, très très accrocheur et très bon
Published 19 months ago by Eretzvaju
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