The first and most important thing to be said about Alan Moore’s Watchmen is that it’s a great read. If you’re looking for a dark, realistic and sophisticated adult comic then look no further. If you are new to comics yes, it is a good place to start as it is a compelling story with fascinating characters told in an ingenious way. However, it is not the ideal place to start.

Watchmen is a great story but there is so much more to it than this. If you want to appreciate the impact it had on mainstream comics you really should get your hands on a history of the medium and some comics that typify the way things were before Watchmen arrived. Ironically, Moore himself has written many ‘reconstructed’ super hero comics in order to repair the damage which he believed Watchmen caused: a flood of dark, pessimistic ‘adult’ comics which came in the late 80s and 90s. 1963 is one mini-series that Moore wrote with this intention in mind. So, the pleasure of reading Watchmen can be enhanced by knowing the historical context in which it was released back in 1987.

It should also be noted that Watchmen rewards serious study. There are so many different philosophical angles with which to approach the work. It is a very stimulating read. Notions of power, responsibility, morality and freewill are all explored. History is also a major preoccupation be it on a personal level or a remote impersonal level – the bigger picture, as it were. These are just a handful of approaches to this truly multi-faceted work.

Watchmen is also known for its connections. There are so many connections made between the narrative, dialogue and panel artwork that the work is like one great, self-contained watch.

Yes, studying the book is deeply rewarding but it is not essential. Watchmen works perfectly as a whodunnit with super heroes. It is the triumph of the book that it can be enjoyed in this way. That it is so accessible. Most of what I’ve written so far in this review has been said elsewhere, many times. To take a more personal approach, I really responded to the unique ambience of the book and its self-contained nature which is rare for a U.S. comic. For me, Rorshach is the hero of the book, for his moral integrity and insistence that the truth be told. Many people would argue that the book has no hero but I think most readers would have the same sympathies as me.

Watchmen is such a complex work that you will never tire of reading it. That is why everyone should own a copy. It is a true masterpiece of popular fiction in any medium. Of course, this doesn’t mean it has no flaws. Many people feel that the climax is a bit disappointing. Personally, I think the connections are over played. But there is no such thing as a flawless work of art and a work of art Watchmen certainly is.

Essential. Buy it now!



Why You Should Read Alan Moore!


Hello all! Apologies for neglecting the site for so long. It’s been a busy year for me. In fact, it’s been one of the busiest and best years of my life so far. I’m aware that it’s not been the best of years for the world in general, what with Brexit, Donald Trump’s election to the Whitehouse and so many greats dying on us. After Trump’s victory, it occurred to me: what would Alan Moore make of what’s happening in the world today?

If you don’t know Alan Moore, you should! He’s one of the greatest writers of popular fiction in the world today. He writes comic books. Intelligent comic books. Real intelligent comic books. You might have heard of the graphic novel, Watchmen? Yes, he’s the guy who wrote it. Anyway, after Trump’s election Moore came to mind. He is outspoken and extremely articulate, and these qualities, together with the man’s great intelligence, make me want to defer to him. Politically he’s an anarchist. He despises racism. These things are evident in his writing. But I won’t try to guess what Alan Moore would say about the state of the world today. What I would like to do is talk a bit about his comic books.

Why do I enjoy reading Alan Moore’s comics so much? I’ve already mentioned their intelligence. Watchmen brought a new level of realism, especially psychological realism, to comic books but at the same time it is incredibly well structured. People often compare it to Citizen Kane but it is also like Joyce’s Ulysses. Much of Moore’s work is obsessed with form and is densely allusive, just like Joyce’s masterpiece. Watchmen is like one great mechanical watch: everything is connected. It is a true masterpiece of popular literature.

In most of Moore’s work there is a sense of something going on in the background. Something hard to grasp. Again, like Joyce. Such is his intelligence. But he also knows how to tell a story, how to entertain, how to take us on a journey. My favourite aspect of Moore’s art is his dialogue. His command of dialogue puts him almost into a league of his own as far as comics go. The only other writer to come close to him is Neil Gaiman. Moore’s characters are very articulate but also very real. They are not just mouth pieces for his personal views. The dialogue is just so fresh. It is always so fresh! When I open an Alan Moore comic book it’s like opening a door to let fresh air come in. As mentioned earlier, Moore’s political views can be easily discerned in his work. He is adamant that art should have a message. That it should be involved in the world, not set apart from it as pure escapism. And yet his characters are so real and convincing. He doesn’t allow his work to become propaganda. In this sense, he is a true artist.

Another quality is that he never repeats himself. Repetition is the enemy of true art. The artist should always be breaking through – finding different things to say and different ways to say them. Moore constantly plays around and experiments with the comic book medium. And yet you don’t have to know this to enjoy his stories. Again, there is that sense of something going on in the background. Something that will be grasped only if you read the book more than once.

Finally, Moore’s ability to entertain us is second to none. He doesn’t shy away from extremes of human behaviour, from violence and horror. There is no taboo which has been left unbroken in Moore’s work. He knows what we want and he gives it to us but he also knows what we need and he gives us that too.

Even if you’ve never picked up a comic book in your entire life you should check out Alan Moore. His importance as a writer of popular fiction is undeniable. Try Watchmen or Promethea or From Hell and experience some of his magic. You’re in good hands with Alan Moore.