I recently finished reading the graphic novel Watchmen, which nerdjedi graciously loaned me after he checked it out of the library.
Despite my minor fascination with Superman, I’m not really into comics all that much. But Watchmen absolutely blew my mind. It took everything I’d expected from comic book superheroes and threw it out the window.
One reason I hate comic books is because everything is so clear-cut black-and-white: the heroes are always morally upright and doing the right thing, the villains are always evil. Not so Watchmen. There is no real villain per-se (only the ever-increasing threat of global nuclear war), and some of the “heroes” can be considered borderline villains in their own right. Even the ending is ambiguous: you’re not sure if the good guys won, or if what they did to get where they are is even right or not.
Most comic books are overwhelmingly simple: you don’t have to read any of the text to figure out what is going on, not even one speech bubble. In Watchmen, if you overlook even one such bubble, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve missed something incredibly important. This is a graphic novel in the most literal sense of the word, and a phenomenal one at that: it even won a Hugo Award in 1998.
Normally, I’m highly critical of film adaptations of comic books (Superman, Spiderman, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight being notable exceptions) but after reading Watchmen, I cannot wait for the film to come out. If it’s even half as good as the comic was, it will be phenominal. Can’t wait for March 6th.
Even if you hate comic books with the burning passion of a thousand suns, you absolutely have to read Watchmen at some point. It is just that good. Heck, I’ve just finished it, and I’m already thinking about buying my own copy so I can read it again and again and again.