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Home / Lifestyle / Watchmen trivia: 92 facts about the famous comic book series

Watchmen trivia: 92 facts about the famous comic book series

Watchmen is an American/ British comic book maxiseries created by Alan Moore. It is highly considered as one of the greatest comic books ever created!

Now it is turned into a TV series. So it is the perfect time to dive into some trivia and facts about this comic book.

  1. Watchmen is an American / British superhero comic book maxiseries
  2. By the British creative team of writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins
  3. It was published by DC Comics in 1986 and 1987
  4. It was collected in a single volume edition in 1987
  5. Watchmen originated from a story proposal Moore submitted to DC featuring superhero characters that the company had acquired from Charlton Comics
  6. Moore’s proposed story would have left many of the characters unusable for future stories
  7. Managing editor Dick Giordano convinced Moore to create original characters instead
  8. Moore used the story as a means to reflect contemporary anxieties and to deconstruct and satirize the superhero concept
  9. Watchmen depicts an alternate history where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and 1960s
  10. Their presence changed history so that the United States won the Vietnam War and the Watergate break-in was never exposed
  11. In 1985, the country is edging toward World War III with the Soviet Union, freelance costumed vigilantes have been outlawed and most former superheroes are in retirement or working for the government
  12. The story focuses on the personal development and moral struggles of the protagonists as an investigation into the murder of a government-sponsored superhero pulls them out of retirement
  13. Creatively, the focus of Watchmen is on its structure
  14. Gibbons used a nine-panel grid layout throughout the series and added recurring symbols such as a blood-stained smiley face
  15. All but the last issue feature supplemental fictional documents that add to the series’ backstory
  16. The narrative is intertwined with that of another story
  17. An in-story pirate comic titled Tales of the Black Freighter, which one of the characters reads
  18. Structured at times as a nonlinear narrative, the story skips through space, time and plot
  19. In the same manner, entire scenes and dialogue have parallels with others through synchronicity, coincidence and repeated imagery
  20. A commercial success, Watchmen has received critical acclaim both in the comics and mainstream press
  21. Watchmen was recognized in Time’s List of the 100 Best Novels as one of the best English language novels published since 1923
  22. In a retrospective review, the BBC’s Nicholas Barber described it as “the moment comic books grew up”
  23. After a number of attempts to adapt the series into a feature film, director Zack Snyder’s Watchmen was released in 2009
  24. A video game series, Watchmen: The End Is Nigh, was released in the same year to coincide with the film’s release
  25. DC Comics published Before Watchmen
  26. A series of nine prequel miniseries in 2012
  27. And Doomsday Clock, a 12-issue limited series
  28. It is a sequel to the original series that premiered in 2017
  29. Both of the series were created without Moore’s or Gibbons’ involvement
  30. The second series integrated the Watchmen characters within the DC Universe
  31. A television adaptation, intended as a sequel, was developed for HBO for a 2019 release
  32. Watchmen, created by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, first appeared in the 1985 issue of DC Spotlight, the 50th anniversary special
  33. It was eventually published as a 12-issue maxiseries from DC Comics, cover-dated September 1986 to October 1987
  34. It was subsequently collected in 1987 as a DC Comics trade paperback that has had at least 24 printings as of March 2017
  35. Another trade paperback was published by Warner Books, a DC sister company, in 1987
  36. In February 1988, DC published a limited-edition, slipcased hardcover volume, produced by Graphitti Design
  37. It contained 48 pages of bonus material, including the original proposal and concept art
  38. In 2005, DC released Absolute Watchmen, an oversized slipcased hardcover edition of the series in DC’s Absolute Edition format
  39. Assembled under the supervision of Dave Gibbons, Absolute Watchmen included the Graphitti materials, as well as restored and recolored art by John Higgins
  40. That December DC published a new printing of Watchmen issue #1 at the original 1986 cover price of $1.50 as part of its “Millennium Edition” line
  41. Moore named William S. Burroughs as one of his main influences during the conception of Watchmen
  42. He admired Burroughs’ use of “repeated symbols that would become laden with meaning” in Burroughs’ only comic strip, “The Unspeakable Mr. Hart”, which appeared in the British underground magazine Cyclops
  43. Not every intertextual link in the series was planned by Moore
  44. A stained smiley face is a recurring image in the story, appearing in many forms
  45. In The System of Comics, Thierry Groensteen described the symbol as a recurring motif that produces “rhyme and remarkable configurations” by appearing in key segments of Watchmen
  46. Notably the first and last pages of the series
  47. Spattered with blood on the first, and sauce from a hamburger on the last
  48. Groensteen cites it as one form of the circle shape that appears throughout the story, as a “recurrent geometric motif” and due to its symbolic connotations
  49. Gibbons created a smiley face badge as an element of The Comedian’s costume in order to “lighten” the overall design
  50. Later adding a splash of blood to the badge to imply his murder
  51. Gibbons said the creators came to regard the blood-stained smiley face as “a symbol for the whole series”
  52. Noting its resemblance to the Doomsday Clock ticking up to midnight
  53. Moore drew inspiration from psychological tests of behaviorism, explaining that the tests had presented the face as “a symbol of complete innocence”
  54. With the addition of a blood splash over the eye, the face’s meaning was altered to become simultaneously radical and simple enough for the first issue’s cover to avoid human detail
  55. Although most evocations of the central image were created on purpose, others were coincidental
  56. Moore mentioned in particular that on “the little plugs on the spark hydrants if you turn them upside down, you discover a little smiley face”
  57. Other symbols, images, and allusions that appeared throughout the series often emerged unexpectedly
  58. Moore mentioned that “[t]he whole thing with Watchmen has just been loads of these little bits of synchronicity popping up all over the place”
  59. Gibbons noted an unintended theme was contrasting the mundane and the romantic
  60. Citing the separate sex scenes between Nite Owl and Silk Spectre on his couch and then high in the sky on Nite Owl’s airship
  61. In a book of the craters and boulders of Mars, Gibbons discovered a photograph of the Galle crater, which resembles a happy face, which they worked into an issue
  62. Moore said, “We found a lot of these things started to generate themselves as if by magic”, in particular citing an occasion where they decided to name a lock company the “Gordian Knot Lock Company”
  63. The initial premise of the series was to examine what superheroes would be like “in a credible, real world”
  64. As the story became more complex, Moore said Watchmen became about “power and about the idea of the superman manifest within society”
  65. The title of the series refers to the question “Who watches the watchmen?”
  66. It was famously posed by the Roman satirist Juvenal (as “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”)
  67. Although Moore was not aware of the phrase’s classical origins until Harlan Ellison informed him
  68. Moore commented in 1987, “In the context of Watchmen, that fits. ‘They’re watching out for us, who’s watching out for them?”
  69. The writer stated in the introduction to the Graphitti hardcover of Watchmen that while writing the series he was able to purge himself of his nostalgia for superheroes, and instead he found an interest in real human beings
  70. Bradford Wright described Watchmen as “Moore’s obituary for the concept of heroes in general and superheroes in particular”
  71. Putting the story in a contemporary sociological context, Wright wrote that the characters of Watchmen were Moore’s “admonition to those who trusted in ‘heroes’ and leaders to guard the world’s fate”
  72. He added that to place faith in such icons was to give up personal responsibility to “the Reagans, Thatchers, and other ‘Watchmen’ of the world who supposed to ‘rescue’ us and perhaps lay waste to the planet in the process”
  73. Moore specifically stated in 1986 that he was writing Watchmen to be “not anti-Americanism, [but] anti-Reaganism”
  74. Specifically believing that “at the moment a certain part of Reagan’s America isn’t scared. They think they’re invulnerable”
  75. Before the series premiered, Gibbons stated: “There’s no overt political message at all. It’s a fantasy extrapolation of what might happen and if people can see things in it that apply to the real America, then they’re reading it into the comic”
  76. While Moore wanted to write about “power politics” and the “worrying” times he lived in, he stated the reason that the story was set in an alternate reality was because he was worried that readers would “switch off” if he attacked a leader they admired
  77. Moore stated in 1986 that he “was consciously trying to do something that would make people feel uneasy”
  78. Watchmen was published in single-issue form over the course of 1986 and 1987
  79. The limited series was a commercial success
  80. Its sales helped DC Comics briefly overtake its competitor Marvel Comics in the comic book direct market
  81. The series’ publishing schedule ran into delays because it was scheduled with three issues completed instead of the six editor Len Wein believed were necessary
  82. Further delays were caused when later issues each took more than a month to complete
  83. One contemporaneous report noted that although DC solicited issue #12 for publication in April 1987, it became apparent “it won’t debut until July or August”
  84. After the series concluded, the individual issues were collected and sold in trade paperback form
  85. Along with Frank Miller’s 1986 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns miniseries, Watchmen was marketed as a “graphic novel”
  86. A term that allowed DC and other publishers to sell similar comic book collections in a way that associated them with novels and dissociated them from comics
  87. As a result of the publicity given to the books like the Watchmen trade in 1987, bookstore and public libraries began to devote special shelves to them
  88. Subsequently, new comics series were commissioned on the basis of reprinting them in a collected form for these markets
  89. Watchmen received critical praise, both inside and outside of the comics industry
  90. Time magazine, which noted that the series was “by common assent the best of breed” of the new wave of comics published at the time
  91. It also praised Watchmen as “a superlative feat of imagination, combining sci-fi, political satire, knowing evocations of comics past and bold reworkings of current graphic formats into a dysutopian [sic] mystery story”
  92. In 1988, Watchmen received a Hugo Award in the Other Forms category


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