It is often said that Watchmen is the most influential comic ever to be released. That comics wouldn’t be where they are without it, for good and for ill. But how did we get here, exactly? More to the point, just what influence did Watchmen provide to the larger world of comics? What, ultimately, is the legacy of Watchmen? Who watched the Watchmen?
“I’ve got a nose for white supremacy and he smells like bleach.” ~ Angela Abar
Watchmen, the 1986 twelve issue DC miniseries, as written by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons, and colored by John Higgins, is a comic self-consciously about comic books. The comic explores and challenges the implications and consequences that accompany the existence of superheroes – stars of the most dominant genre of comics in the Anglosphere then and now – and uses them to explore contemporary concerns about the cold war, Reaganism, and nuclear annihilation. Its grid based layouts, mirrored chapters, and non-linear character perspectives calls attention not just to the comic book’s constructed nature, but the ways in which it was constructed and how we engage with and read them.