My Thoughts and Feelings on "Watchmen"--Now Revealed

Hoo boy...as of last Sunday evening, I have now read the entirety of Watchmen for the first time. I have stated many times that I do not like the story, when up til then I had only seen a few pages and learned about its premise. I've seen the movie. When all this "Before Watchmen" hubub started to come around, I vowed that I would, this year, read the book in its entirety and then put it down--while also seeing if I still didn't like it by the end of the story. Well, now that I have finished it, I've come to conclude...that my opinion has not changed. I still think that

BUT, I still recognize and respect its place in pop culture history, like I do with The Godfather (which I DID like). But now, let me tell you WHY, after having now read the whole book, I hate the story. I guess it all goes back to my aforementioned early encounters with the story. When I first learned about the premise--and this was around 2005 or so, I was born in 1991, so I did not have a great amount of exposure to actual comic books themselves--I was really taken aback by the idea of a world where superheroes weren't just flawed, they were flawed BEYOND CAPACITY. I know characters have their flaws, but not when they are taken to the extreme in this form. I hated the idea of a world so bleak by 1985, without even the faintest glimpse of hope. Post-my first reading, I grew to hate more things about the story: the sheer brutality of the Comedian and Rorschach, the declining humanity (and unabashed nakedness) of Dr. Manhattan, the cold and loathing demeanor of Ozymandias...it just reeked of everything I did not want to see in superheroes. Their environment is even worse--who wants to live in a world where Nixon never underwent Watergate and stayed in office well into the 80's? Where people apparently are still (occasionally) prone to violence even when progress is made in transportation, medicine, and energy? Where nuclear disarmament effectively never took place?? And, of all things, where PIRATE comics sell like hotcakes??? I guess this (well, except maybe the pirate comics part) could be attributed to Alan Moore having come to the US from Thatcher-era England, where things were at their most cynical and depressing. Then again, in all honesty, I simply can't stand the more eccentric comic writers like Moore, Warren Ellis, or Grant Morrison, who, most of the time, deconstruct EVERYTHING in most of the stories they write. Why can't they build something UP for once??? Is it so hard for these blokes to be hopeful once in a while???? All those aspects--it's utterly disgusting. I'm sorry, Mr. Moore, but for the life of me NO ONE is like the majority of people you present in your book. Were you so blinded by your own cynicism coming from a U.K. headed by an outta-her-head lady???

At the end of my reading, I realized the two most basic reasons why I hate, for the life of me, the story of Watchmen:

1. I hate deconstructionism--I believe in things being built UP, not torn down, but built up. It's why films like Blade Runner--or films I have yet to see, like The Matrix--won't make my Top 10 favorites.

2. I have read many "heavy" stories since my start of reading comics in 2008--but Watchmen, I felt, was too "heavy" for me. It's too bleak, depressing, cynical, and is stained with gray. I prefer not having everything being black and white--I like black, white and gray all in a perfect harmony, like the flavors in a Neapolitan ice cream sandwich. This book, this work--even though it did wonders for the comic book medium--was too gray for me. Humanity should not be represented in the manner Moore depicts.

So, in short--I hated Watchmen. HATED it. I hate what Alan Moore did to the ideal of the superhero. Now that I've read the book in its entirety, I've put it down, and will never look back.

5 Comments
5 Comments
Posted by Superguy0009e

@Darkmount1 said:

At the end of my reading, I realized the two most basic reasons why I hate, for the life of me, the story of Watchmen:

1. I hate deconstructionism--I believe in things being built UP, not torn down, but built up. It's why films like Blade Runner--or films I have yet to see, like The Matrix--won't make my Top 10 favorites.

2. I have read many "heavy" stories since my start of reading comics in 2008--but Watchmen, I felt, was too "heavy" for me. It's too bleak, depressing, cynical, and is stained with gray. I prefer not having everything being black and white--I like black, white and gray all in a perfect harmony, like the flavors in a Neapolitan ice cream sandwich. This book, this work--even though it did wonders for the comic book medium--was too gray for me. Humanity should not be represented in the manner Moore depicts.

So, in short--I hated Watchmen. HATED it. I hate what Alan Moore did to the ideal of the superhero. Now that I've read the book in its entirety, I've put it down, and will never look back.

Well, that's sort of the feeling behind Watchmen. It is a story of the destruction of superheroes. It is supposed to be this big gloomy story where you see everything that heroes stand for be torn down, all because the world was becoming too hard for them to handle. So I can definitely see that if you didn't like that idea, you wouldn't enjoy the story. To each his own.

Posted by MatKrenz

Alan Moore isn't eccentric. I mean V for Vendetta is probably as bleak if not more bleak than Watchmen because it is a direct criticism of the Thatcher years and all is other stories have varying degrees of what the hellness (with the exception of Tom Strong), in LEG we get the Invisible Man raping catholic school girls and they believe they have became pregnant by immaculate conception of the whole premise for Lost Girls witch turns people off and all that.

All in all I can respect your opinion but all the problems you have with it are all the reasons it is a widely acclaimed story, it is one of the biggest deconstruction of the superhero genre. Also I would have to disagree with your opinion that Morrison and Ellis are eccentric writers because most of the times they are not. With Ellis and Transmetropolitan, yeah there are some silly moments here and there but it is honestly one of the best hard sci-fi comic series I have read (haven't read the entire thing yet just the first trade and some odd back issues) ,with many issues dealing with heavy personal issues like Channon's ex-boyfriend downloading his brain as technologie or the one with the Revivals. And can we not forget the Authority ? Or his very short run on Hellblazer where in the first arc one of John's old girlfriends died after being used as a whore of Babalon by some dick ?

So yeah opinion respected but with disagreements.

Posted by Darkmount1

@MatKrenz: Okay, so, let me rephrase my descriptions--I won't call Moore, Morrison and Ellis 'eccentric'...just 'too out there'. It's one thing to tell a story that really, really takes a high leap from reality, or to really ground it in reality. I just prefer the more 'middle' kind of writers, like Gerry Conway, Roger Stern, Bob Budiansky, and Larry Hama.

As for me disliking the very things that Watchmen does--I guess I just thought it was too extreme. I know as the 80's were just coming in they were starting to experiment with really edgy and shocking storytelling elements, but they were nicely balanced out. Watchmen had NONE of that balance, and that's what drove me nuts. That's the kind of storytelling I prefer--'balancing acts'.

Posted by SavageDragon

While I respect your oppinin and found this blog interesting i gotta say I think your a little off base on a couple of things.

"Their environment is even worse--who wants to live in a world where Nixon never underwent Watergate and stayed in office well into the 80's? Where people apparently are still (occasionally) prone to violence even when progress is made in transportation, medicine, and energy? Where nuclear disarmament effectively never took place??....an Moore having come to the US from Thatcher-era England, where things were at their most cynical and depressing."

The alternate reality 80's that Watchmen takes place in is not that far off from our real life world. The world is super depressing and just a fucked up place where their isnt a balance of good and evil and not enough justice to out the atrocities. Characters like Rorschach and The Comedian are amazingly layered and represent parodies of that sentiment.

Honestly Watchmen isnt in my favorite books ever, not even close but I do think it is remarkable. To tell you the truth the first time i read it I was 18 and just read it to kinda "say i read it" and afterwords was like "huh...that was weird." Then 4 years later i took a college literature class where the whole class was required to read and discuss the book and write on it. Me being super into comics was really excited by this and re read it this time a lot more critically. Being involved in discussions about the characters, the writing style and depth to this book really gave me a new found appreciation for it. I learned so much more the second time around listening and engaging to people discussing it for 2 weeks. I still like a ton of comics more than Watchmen, (like a lot more) but in my opinion their are a handful of series as layered, deep, and complex as Watchmen. Once again though I respect your opinion and good post.

Posted by Darkmount1

@SavageDragon: Like I said before, I can appreciate the place Watchmen has in pop culture and history (much like The Godfather), but that doesn't mean I have to like it. To me, in a year after Ozymandias's plan went into action, Earth-Watchmen gets eaten by Unicron.