So I’ve enjoyed my first graphic novel.
I’ve tried reading, oh, I dunno, a dozen or so that most comics aficionados agree are masterworks. But I found most have left me either cold or confused.
But Watchmen by Alan Moore (whose photo on the back cover reminds me of Harry Shearer in Spinal Tap) and Dave Gibbons is a pretty good read. The story is complex and nuanced, and the art, while presented simply, is gorgeous.
I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. After all, there are about 250 reviews on Amazon and the average review is 4-1/2 stars. Readers title their opinions with superlatives including “perfection,” “haunting,” and “masterpiece.” Most comics fans have already read and re-read this book numerous times, but I’m offering my two cents anyway.
Without giving away the plot, Watchmen follows a group of superheroes as they try to unravel a series of ‘mask killings.’ But what’s most interesting is the portrayal of said heroes as people. They have sex, harbor regrets, and display morals in all shades of gray. They’re complicated, and it’s fascinating.
I will admit, however, that I found some of the long sections of text (presented as news articles, book excerpts and the like) a tad dry and I’d stopped reading them by then end. An Amazon reviewer and I also agree that the pirate novel device grew tedious quickly.
But, all in all this is the first graphic novel that I’ve actually enjoyed reading. Is it the greatest comic book ever written? I don’t know, it would depend on what you’re looking for from your superheroes.
I will say that the term ‘graphic novel’ seems to fit Watchmen exceptionally well here as the work is neither great literature nor simply a comic book. It is, like its characters and plot, complicated, and it makes me want to explore this genre further.