As many of you have started to gather, as I have been writing these blogs for The Group Real Estate, studying out certain blog ideas, and moving forward with so many personal blogs, as well as Real Estate blogs, I am a nerd. I hold the nerd culture close to my heart. It was a very big part of my childhood. Comics. The characters. The art. The story lines that helped me deal with bullies. This led to watching cartoons, getting more into action figures, and so on. As most kids will, they gravitate to their favorites. My favorites at the time were Batman and Ninja Turtles. I have a very fond memory of my mom showing me Batman The Movie, the 1966 kick-start to the TV series that starred Adam West and Burt Ward. It was campy, it was fun, and it always made sure to teach me a lesson at 330 pm when I got home from school. Eventually I would get into X-Men cartoons and artwork in my schooling. This led me to start collecting comic books. I was always collecting comic books based on the art. I wanted to be the artists that I loved so much in comic books, that also translated to the cartoons, movies, and homework I did.
Fast forward all the way to 2008, when I decided I wanted to get back into collecting comic books. This started with a very specific comic book title that I hold dear to my heart, as it was what got me back into comic books again. As this started to happen, my close friend (and at the time, comic book store manager) started to talk with me about the comic books that I needed to read. “These are the staples for ALL comic book fanboys.” One of those comic books is a comic book called The Watchmen. An overly ambitious look at the true to form lives of what superhero life would truly be like. Entertainment Weekly told us it is “the greatest superhero story ever told and proof that comics are capable of smart, emotionally resonant narratives worth of the label ‘literature.'”
Watchmen is a comic book, published in 1986 and 87, that takes place in an alternate version of the 1980s. Due to the change of Superheroes being real in the 1940s and 50s, many things were altered from our real reality. The Vietnam War was changed, as the outcome had a Super being help win the war quickly, which in turn made Richard Nixon a main stay president all the way through the 1980s. When created, its writer/creator Alan Moore, wanted to continue through and write multiple stories about these characters. Due to circumstances and the style of story he wanted to write, DC comics prompted him to just write a one-off story with heroes somewhat similar to the already known characters, and make it a mine-series of sorts. Alan Moore, a British writer, is known for writing comic books that bring out very serious issues that pertain what is going on in the world at the time. He did a comic book called V For Vendetta, that truly hit a mark in the British government at the time, he did a comic book called From Hell that told us that Jack the Ripper was a Free Mason and was taken down by a cop who was high on opioids. With a background in making the normal reader of comics have to think hard about his books, he was perfect for Watchmen. He took characters who, some had powers and others did not, and put them into the darkest, seediest parts of the city and gave us so many things to think on. How would you be if you were a superhero? Would you want to be good or evil? Would the world change due to you being a superhero? What would you do with your power if you had it? These are all questions that arise in Watchmen.
As an avid comic book reader, this was one that jumped to the top of the list. I decided I was going to give my all in reading it and making sure that I made it a staple in my comic book collections. There is so much dialogue and writing in it, that it takes away from what I was used to in comic books. The art. Now, don’t get me wrong, the art by Dave Gibbons is unbelievable. Its beautiful. Its haunting. And it sequences the story together beautifully. But what sets this a part from every other comic book out there, is it tells a very true to life story. The darkness that resides in the characters, the questions they rise on themselves, the background stories, and the questions that we can relate to. As I read Watchmen, more and more, I was surprised to hear that just 1 year from the time I knew I needed to read Watchmen, they were doing a movie.
One way that Watchmen has been compared to is, “the comic book version of Moby Dick.” (writer Vincent Eno, Strange Things Are Happening) This is true to form. Reading the comic book is daunting. It’s worth the daunting task, though. If you are looking for something that brings the same weight to it as a Stephen King book, this is your stop. If you are a comic book fan, and haven’t read it, this is a must for your reading needs. You will be challenged on the good side and the bad side as you read this. You won’t know who to root for. And it doesn’t have a happy ending. But it will teach you to read comic books differently and will give you a powerful sense of joy in knowing that not all comic books are kids books. The adult themes in this book really transcend what we knew about comic books. Many comic books have tried to copy it, but all have failed. The ones that succeed try not to be better than this and only go for using it as a way to write their stories.
One of the many awards given to this comic book is that it is on Time Magazines Top 100 novels of all time. Not Top 100 comic books. Top 100 novels… of All time! I will leave it at that.