Graphic Novel Watchmen by Alan Moore It Essay

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Sources: 5
  • Subject: Mythology
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #17152139
  • Related Topic: Batman, Ayn Rand, Moby Dick

Excerpt from Essay :

graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore. It is basically about what inspired Watchmen's themes, story, and characters. As well as what Watchmen has influenced and how it has been influenced by other comics and heroes like Batman and Superman among others. Watchman and its influences

Watchman, authored by Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colourist John Higgins was created in 1986 / 1987 in response to contemporary anxieties and as means of critiquing the superhero concept.

Watchman recreates history where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and 1950s who helped the U.S.A. win the war against Vietnam and later is involved in preventing nuclear war with the U.S.S.R. Most former superheroes have retired or are working for the government, so contumely freelance vigilantes are arbitrarily and voluntarily doing the job of protecting the country. The protagonists actively fight and strategically plot to help retired superheroes survive and they work to stave off plots of nuclear war.

Moore's idea for watchmen was contra logical, counterintuitive, and philosophical to the extreme. It was, in fact, quite innovative. His idea was that the plot would open with his superman found dead. This would cause people to question the entire superman concept.

I suppose I was just thinking, 'That'd be a good way to start a comic book: have a famous super-hero found dead.' As the mystery unraveled, we would be led deeper and deeper into the real heart of this super-hero's world, and show a reality that was very different to the general public image of the super-hero (Cooke, 2000)

In this way, the plot of Watchmen is quite different to that of Batman and other superman series that succeeded his, since these promoted men as heroes - in fact as superheroes and, therefore, operated in an unrealistic universe. Watchmen on the other hand is supremely realistic in that it intends to promote 'supermen' as were - that, in other words, all so-called supermen have their failings and that, oftentimes, the regular person turns out to be the superman. In this way, watchmen is supremely lovable and more likable I (at least to me) than Batman, Star Wars, and others.

Moore, in fact, was influenced by Superman to a degree. He and Gibbons had seen a mad parody of Superman - "Superduperman" -- and decided that they wanted to make this into a dramatic rather than a comedic version of "Superduperman." They wanted to pick up and recreate the "familiar old-fashioned superheroes into a completely new realm";[Kavanagh, 2000. ] and wanted to create something like a "a superhero Moby Dick; something that had that sort of weight, that sort of density." [ibid] . Their intent was to create something that lived "in a credible, real world." Their revolutionary idea was to critique the concept of "power and .. The idea of the superman manifest within society." (Amaya, 2008. ). In his introduction to the Graphitti hardcover of Watchmen, Moore writes that purging himself of his obsession for celebrities / superheros he found himself, instead, interested in the 'ordinary' human being. It was he who became the superhero of sorts. (Cooke, 2008).

Moore's writing Watchmen was also a reactionary to Reagenism. His intent, according to Bradford Wright (2001), was to warn people not to put their trust and confidence in leaders like Reagan and Thatcher and other 'watchmen' of the world; those leaders would not help and may only destruct the fate of the American nation . Moore, was, in fact, devoutly anti-Reagan and he time and again commented that his idea in writing Watchmen was not to make people anti-American but rather anti-Reagan. His idea was to place people on their alert and to make them skeptical of a charismatic leader. He once stated that "at the moment a certain part of Reagan's America isn't scared. They think they're invulnerable." (Wright, 2001, 3). In 1986, Moore stated that he "was consciously trying to do something that would make people feel uneasy."(ibid.).

Others also noted Moore's u-turn in attempting to deconstruct the social idea of hero. Iain Thomson (2005) wrote in his essay "Deconstructing the Hero" that Watchman:

"develop[ed] its heroes precisely in order to deconstruct the very idea of the hero and so encouraging us to reflect upon its significance from the many different angles of the shards left lying on the ground." [38]

Thomson noted that all Moore's heroes have a nihilistic outlook which is quite uncommon to the outlook that the regular 'good' hero has . It is as though Moore is militant against the popular perspective of the hero as someone who provides a salvation of sorts and is willing to court personal death in obtaining this salvation for the many. Moore's hero act without caring about results and do so in a manner that does not take others into account. Thomson, inf act, notes whether Moore may not be wanting us to ask whether we may not, in fact, be better without so-called heroes (such s Reagan) to assist us. The work, Thompson feels, is postmodern in that it deconstructs the concept and image of hero, particularly of the kind of hero presented by existentialism.

Moreover, as Reynolds (1992) notes there is an absence of superviallains in the text. This, too differs from conventional superhero scripts where superhero is counterbalanced against supervillain. The absence of the fight against pure evil makes moral intangible and relative diluting somewhat the aspect of superhero. This, according to Reynolds "all mark out Watchmen either as the last key superhero text, or the first in a new maturity of the genre." [43]

Influence of Watchmen

Watchman's influence has not been all pleasant to its creator. Moore was dismayed that Watchmen became a genre. For him, his aim in creating the gritty kind of anti-hero was just a pleasure of the moment, and he was dismayed to find other comic books repeat it. In 2003, he commented that:

"to some degree there has been, in the 15 years since Watchmen, an awful lot of the comics field devoted to these grim, pessimistic, nasty, violent stories which kind of use Watchmen to validate what are, in effect, often just some very nasty stories that don't have a lot to recommend them."[p49]

Watchmen too was one of the two comic books that inspired designer Vincent Connare when he created the Comic Sans font.[Steel, 2009], whilst in 2009, Rich Johnston based the parody Watchmensch around "the debate surrounding Watchmen, the original contracts, the current legal suits over the Fox contract." (Contino, 2008. )

Watchmen influenced not only the 1980s comic book genre, but also television and film. Before watchmen's appearance, amateurs who played supermen were considered slightly deranged and irresponsible. It was the true hero and Samson who had to step on the scene and be the knight. Anyone else would be considered obstreperous. Watchmen broke that norm.

Watchmen too made its heroes amoral and with that too it broke certain patterns. It reminds me of Ayn rand's heroes who were selfish, mercenary, and nihilistic -- and they espoused these as values. And indeed, it may have been no conicalness that Rand became popular philosopher and author at the same times as Watchmen emerged. The two were similar anti-heroes and shared similar themes. They both portrayed their heroes in similar gritty ways.

Watchmen, according to Warren (2008), painted its characters in a real-to-life way so that the good and evil personified precisely the kind of good and evil traits that are demonstrated in real life. Its honesty and openness made it a true work of art. Even Frank Miller's groundbreaking The Dark Knight that preceded Watchmen by a few months painted batman in a more sympathetic manner.

Watchmen may, in Warren's (2008) opinion, be little watched today, but its influence persists.

Its motto too Who Watches the Watchmen?" popularly scrawled on walls in the late 1980s and early 1990s persists in its popularity and has become synonymous to the dark and gritty side of superheroes.

Movies, TV shows, and comics sometimes sneak it in as graffiti on their show.

According to Ramblings from the Marginalized, the influence of Watchmen endures in at least three areas:

it has influenced TV shows and movies by influencing and creating the so-called 'incredible' movie.

In this genre, this particular kind of movie borrowed various things from the Watchmen. These include:

Outlawing of super heroes - In the movie super heroes become outlawed due to rising issues of collateral damage caused by the activity of supers. In the Watchmen? "" d? The Keene Act is passed to put a stop to vigilante justice and masked heroes.

Capes kill heroes - In the movie Mr. Incredible asks about having a cape for his costume. He is then given a lecture on how capes kill. In the novel one of the former members of the Minute Men dies because his cape got stuck in a revolving door.

Someone is killing supers - In the movie Syndrome is indeed behind a plot to kill off…

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