Writer(s): Alan Moore
Publisher: DC Comics
Page count: 416
Year Released: 1986
Status: in print
Original Source: Watchmen 1-12
Other Collected Edition(s): Watchmen: The Absolute Edition (ISBN 978-1401207137); hardcover (ISBN 978-1401219260)
Recommended for Fans Of:
Possible Objectionable Material:
If You Like This Book, Try:
Also in This Series:
My Own 2 Cents
The first issues of the 12-issue Watchmen series were published at the end of 1986, when I was 13 and busy reading G.I. Joe and X-Factor. A late bloomer, I'd only started reading comic books the year before (if you don't count Archie and Ri¢hie Ri¢h, that is), and was still pretty new to the whole genre (aside from my numerous encounters with Spider-Man, Batman, et al., on TV and elsewhere). I had a restrictive amount of disposable income (my allowance was $2 a week) and so by necessity I'd developed discriminating tastes. One of my most vivid early memories of Vintage Books and Comics (my local comic book shop at the time, in Bloomington, Indiana) happened a few days after the eagerly anticipated Watchmen 11 arrived in stores in the summer of 1987. I picked it up, flipped through it, saw all the curse words and the brutal, deglamorized violence, and put it right back on the shelf.
Now, I don't want to give the impression I was some sort of Midwestern prude. At the age of 13 I had a pretty salty mouth (though only when speaking to my peers, of course) and did all the stupid, questionable things that obnoxious little 13-year-olds everywhere tend to do. But Watchmen simply didn't fit my still-forming concept of what superhero comics were.
Cut to one year later, now in high school (and with a little more money in my pocket), I bought the trade paperback containing all 12 issues. I read it, and it changed my life.
I'm someone who takes reading very seriously, so when I say that Watchmen changed my life I mean that it singlehandedly altered my concept of what an entire medium (i.e., comics) is capable of. It took me a few more years to realize that comics not starring dudes in Spandex were worth my time, but Watchmen started me on the path. For this reason I cannot possibly review the book with anything resembling objectivity, but I will say this: It had the power to change my reading habits for the better, and it just might change yours, too.
For an illuminating take on how one might approach reading Watchmen for the first, second, or fifteenth time, see Tom Spurgeon's essay: Reading The Watchmen: Ten Entrance Points Into The Esteemed Graphic Novel.
Writer(s): Alan Moore