Database Part 1

Watchmen (1986) by Alan Moore


Masked heroes, past and present, must deal with their own personal faults and regrets while trying to live in a world on the verge of WWIII.

Title: Watchmen
Author: Alan Moore (writer), Dave Gibbons (illustrator/letterer), John Higgins (colorist)

ISBN: 0930289234 (ISBN13: 9780930289232)

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Thriller
Series: No (issues consolidated into this book)

Publisher: DC Comics
First Publication Date: 1986 (416 pages)

Formats available on Amazon: 

  • e-book $9.99
  • Hardcover $22.59
  • Paperback $17.99
  • Comics: $38.99

Why I chose this book:

I have heard good things about this graphic novel and when talking about adult graphic novels, it is one that definitely comes up in the conversation.

Author Interviews:

GIANT Magazine
Slate: Who Watches the Watchmen’s Watchers?
The Guardian: Alan Moore Confirms he is Retiring From Comic Books


This book has won many awards, was made into a movie, and is a big name in graphic novels, even studied on college campuses.

Award Winners
•Eisner Awards: Best Graphic Album – New

•Harvey Awards: Best Graphic Album – Original
•Locus Awards: Best Nonfiction/Related/Reference Book
•YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: Book to Movie: Ripped From the Pages (2015)


Masked heros, vigilantes, or superheros — however you want to call them, they’ve been banned from protecting the streets. Some people are for this citing these vigilantes as dangerous, while others found them to be more effective at cleaning up crime than the police. The only heroes left are the ones who work for the government and the ones who still fight crime while running from the cops.

During this time, The Comedian, a masked hero working for the government is thrown out the window, or as the police think: he had an accident. Rorschach, the one vigilante still working the streets, is on the case looking for someone who is killing masked heroes, even though no one else believes him or are too buried under their own problems to be any help. Even Nite Owl, Rorschach’s prior partner, are not taking Rorschach’s claims series

In a world on the verge of WWIII these ‘heroes’ may be the last defense the world has against destruction, but is that really what they want?


This is not a book for someone looking for a casual or fun read. This is a book that will make you think and reconsider your opinions at every turn. For a graphic novel, there is huge walls of text in the speech bubbles and multiple story lines going on at once, between the different heroes, a comic book hero (yes within a comic book), and the regular people on the street. The text make be difficult for older readers or people with sight problems to read unless an e-book version will enlarge the pictures.

All of the story lines and points of view make the story hard to follow along with, so the reader has to be dedicated to the novel and not let their attention wander. The plot is set up for the thinkers to solve a mystery while also pondering the state of the world in this comic and how it may reflect the world we live in. So, this is a great graphic novel to teach with.

The art is in the old superhero style, but with muted and dull colors. These aren’t colors to draw in reluctant readers, but they do set the tone for the bleak setting. There are also usually nine panels per page, which makes the pictures smaller, yet not lacking in detail. There is massive amounts on each page within these small panels, some without text too, so readers much be prepared to pay attention. At the end of each chapter, or issue, there are special articles, chapters from made up books, or other things which provide background information about what is going or characters.

The characters are all dynamic in their own way with no one being completely good or completely bad and having their own moral codes.

Personally, I started out liking the story and curious about where things were going, but after 20% in I was bored with no idea of the point of the story. I found the text to be long-winded and at times annoying. The characters were hard to relate to since everyone seemed quite extreme in their morals or what they thought in the good v. bad debate.

Other Reviews:

Common Sense Media



morals debate; vivid characters; dystopian

This will be a good book for professors to give students in order to think about good and bad or right and wrong. This also one for those heavy thinkers who want something deep and intricate, where they can find something new in it each time they read it.

“Clues for the Future”

masked heroes; potential WWIII in the 80s; finding a common enemy to unite against; no entirely good or bad people (debatable); vigilantes fighting one of their own.


  • Quality: 4★
    Dragged on in a few places and was confusing.
  • Popularity: 4★
    Popular within certain circles (graphic novels, superheros, college students/professors) and people who have seen and enjoyed the movie


C.O.W.L. (COWL)A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1Gotham Central, Book One: In the Line of DutyThe Judas CoinThe Coldest Winter

  • C.O.W.L Vol. 1 by Kyle Higgins
    These books have detailed art styles and a large cast of realistically flawed characters.
  • A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel by Daniel Abraham
    These are extremely detailed books which bring up questions of right and wrong, featuring a large cast of flawed characters.
  • Gotham Central Book 1: In the Line of Duty by Ed Brubaker
    These books are both bleak, suspenseful and deal with criminals and heros
  • The Judas Coin by Walter Simonson
    Both bleak and suspenseful books that deal with flawed heros
  • The Coldest Winter by Anthony Johnston
    Bleak atmospheres revolving around a war with the Russians.

Booktalk Ideas: 

  • “We are all just puppets, Laurie. I am just a puppet who can see the strings.”
  • How would the world be different if masked vigilantes ran the streets and dispensed their own justice on villains? How would the world have changed if a man became a super being due to an accident in a nuclear lab?
  • The end is near, but which way will end us first?

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Do you agree or disagree with Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) and his actions?
  2. Why do you think the comic about the shipwrecked sailor was included?
  3. Is there a right or wrong person in this comic? Why? If yes, who?
  4. What do you think about The Comedian and Silk Spectre? Do you think she should have reported him? Would it have changed events if she had?
  5. What would your vigilante name be?