Monday, August 04, 2008

Watchmen Book Club: Introduction



All right, y'all, I trust you've procured your copies of Watchmen and are ready to get clubbin'. The first discussion post, for Chapter 1, "At Midnight, All the Agents...", will go up in three days, Thursday, August 7.

One thing I should mention is that while I've read the book before, and my guess is a lot of you have as well, not everybody has (...right?). So we're going to be proceeding in a spoiler-free discussion. Only talk about the action that's gone on in the chapters we've read, and no winky-winky "speculation" if you know what's gonna happen.

To start us off in a conversational fashion, here's a couple questions to bat around in the comments:

-- Have you read Watchmen before, and if so, when?
-- Are you a comics reader and/or superhero aficionado? Were you ever?
-- What the frig is up with Alan Moore looking all Unabomber Manson in the author photo? Am I the only one who thought that was a joke?

18 comments:

jessica said...

I was out of town all last week (sending good vibes to you as I drove through Buffalo) and didn't want Amazon to deliver while I was gone so I'm still waiting for my copy, but I'm a fast reader and can catch up if need be.

As for your questions, I've never read this before, have never read comics or graphic novels and only know stuff about superheroes through ... whatever ways in which one gains general knowledge. Cultural osmosis? I am looking forward to studying the author photo to find out what Unabomber Manson looks like. Weird Al in a swastika hoodie, perhaps?

Kris McN said...

I have not read it before. I'm a superhero fan only through TV and movies, and my 4-year old who seems to have picked it up through the Cultural Osmosis already. I don't know why I haven't gotten into graphic novels, honestly, since it would seem right up my alley (I'm a regular reader of many online comics and I love science fiction and animation in about any form). Embarrassingly, I think every time I've approached the graphic novel section of any book store I've found it too chaotic and intimidating to pick something out. Everything always seems to be Part III, or something. My copy is arriving today and I'm totally psyched! Thanks, Joe-prah!

pvt. awesome said...

I read the Watchman about three years ago. And I did think Alan Moore looked like a scary freak in the photo. Way to perpetuate the stereotype that we comic lovers are all "unwashed." But he do write good.

T-Square said...

I have not read Watchmen before. I wouldn't generally call myself a comics reader or superhero aficionado (unless you count fantasy), though I've historically been a fan of Dilbert and Allison Bechdel, and I'm sort of backtracking in bad/good/mediocre movies based on graphic novels and similar (X-Men, V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc.).

As for Alan "Unabomber" Moore... that was definitely the first horrifying thought in the graphic novels section of Borders.

ModFab said...

I've always meant to read WATCHMEN, but didn't get around to it until now...the Book Club gives me the perfect kick in the pants. :-) I am a superhero dork from childhood, though. Actually, more of a villain dork...loved the bad guys.

And Alan Moore? Well, my guess is to write the pieces he's written, you kind of have to be a bit cracked. If so, the look matches perfectly.

Nicole said...

I have not read it before. I'm a fan of the superhero genre, but don't generally read comics/graphic novels (other than my roommate's Buffy collection). Can't wait to get started with this one though!

Michelle said...

I've never read it before and I'm not much for comics per se, but it sounds like this is the one to read. The A.V. Club also pointed me to Marvel's release of the first chapter on ITunes in "Motion". It's basically animating portions of the panels and including narration. I found it to be a helpful supplement after reading chapter 1 myself.

shalmelo said...

Hi Joe...first time commenter, long time lurker. This will be my first re-read of Watchmen. I read it for the first time about 5-6 years ago, as I was easing my way into graphic novels as a medium.

I was a big superhero comix dork back in junior high, then ignored them entirely for about 12 years. I've since become a big fan of some of the high-profile graphic novels, such as 100 Bullets and Preacher. Looking forward to the discussion!

Tamara said...

I haven't read The Watchmen before, but I have friends who are really getting me excited for it. I have not read many graphic novels, although I did just finish reading a borrowed copy of Wanted, which was really good.

I have enjoyed all the Superman, Spider-Man and Batman movies to some degree, but only recently have I found some superhero movies that I love: Batman Begins, Iron Man, and The Dark Knight. Hellboy was also great (haven't seen the sequel yet). And Heroes rocks, as far as TV goes.

Just got my copy yesterday so I'm ready to join in. I'm excited! Thanks to Joe for doing this, and to everyone for participating.

aaron said...

I first read Watchmen during my freshman year of college for a lit class which was about a dozen years ago, and I have reread it a number of times since then. Watchmen became my gateway into the comics/graphic novel world, and from there I started getting my hands on everything Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller and then going further back to Eisner and Kirby and the giants of the early years.

Now, I actively collect a few newer comics, (Locke & Key being a very good one that just started) and I have an affinity for eveything that Brian K. Vaughan and Allison Bechdel and Craig Thompson touch. But when looking at my shelves of graphic novels and comics, only a few could be described as superhero comics and the only time I ever buy something superhero related is when someone like Moore, Gaiman or Miller is involved.

dan mac said...

I first read Watchmen 2 weeks ago, specifically so I would have read it before seeing the trailer. (Thanks for the tip that it was attached to TDK.)

I started reading comics as a kid over 15 years ago, primarily the superhero books; I gave them up in college so that I could drink and be more likely to get laid; picked them up again after college since I wasn't getting laid anyway; dropped them again when I couldn't justify the expense; and over the last 3 or so years I've been off and on, only occasionally collecting the better, in general non-superhero books (Azzarello's 100 Bullets, Brian K. Vaughan's work on Runaways, Warren Ellis). As a comics reader, I'd long been aware of Watchmen, and had always meant to read it. When I finally did, I was embarrassed it took me this long, and was impressed by how influential and ahead of its time it was.

For some reason Moore's picture made me think of the other UK comic authors (Ellis, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison) and how their work is just different, weirder than what you get from American authors, and yet similar to each other's. What about their culture causes this expression?

"Lady" Bea said...

I became interested in "Watchmen" because I was um, looking at Jeffrey Dean Morgan's IMDB entry, clicked on it and went, "Oooh, JDM AND Patrick Wilson in one movie! SWEET." I am not proud of myself. I didn't read it fully, mostly because I was like, "What the HELL is going on here?" and then something shiny came along and distracted me.

I was also interested because I really liked "V for Vendetta," the book and the movie. I'm not a huge comic reader, but I'll check one out if I liked the movie. That's probably sacrilege or something.

Joe Reid said...

Not sacrilege at all. I'm kind of the same way. Good to see there are people versed in superhero comics around here because I'm sure not; your perspectives are gonna be pretty valuable around here.

pikajew said...

Oh man, this will be the 5th time (i think) reading Watchmen. I'm a big 'ole comics nerd but not generally the Capes'n'Tights variety (save for Morrison and Whedon's work on X-Men and Marvel Zombies). As for Alan Moore picture, I have no idea but the man has always looked kinda crazy like that.

Stacey said...

I haven’t read Watchmen before and got interested after seeing the movie preview - awesome. As for my comics background, I was a big Archie comics fan when I was a kid but until the Buffy Season Eight comic came out, I hadn’t read one in years. Now I’m getting drawn into Angel, Runaways, Y The Last Man, Echo, and the Minx line of graphic novels. Runaways is my only real super-hero comic and I feel like I miss a little because I’m not familiar with the Marvel universe. I hadn’t seen any photos of Alan Moore before so I just thought he looked that way!

sb said...

I haven't read Watchmen before, but I started it last night and ... now I'm on chapter 8. I have a feeling that I'll want to read it again anyway, so I'll probably just circle back through it once I'm done. I enjoy the superhero genre, but I don't really read comics. I am the type of person that looks up the histories of different comic book characters after seeing them in movies, though. Which explains my utter disdain for X3 despite the fact that I've never actually read an X-men comic. As for Alan Moore's picture, well ... dude wrote V for Vendetta. I can't say I'm terribly surprised.

Greg said...

I have read Watchmen before, about 3 of 4 times I think. I was into superhero comics as a little kid. Stopped through high school then got back into comics when I was in University, and slowly moved from superheros to other darker stuff. Stopped reading comics for the most part when I graduated becuase I was living on my own had not much money and it either comics or a girlfriend. Now I will pick up a Trade paperback here or there if I am looking for something to read.

As for Alan Moore, I am pretty sure he is crazy. If you read hiw wikipedia entry (which of course has to be taken with a grain of salt) it talks about something like how he believes he is a wizard and how he and his former wife (and mother of his kids) had an ongoing 3-way relationship with some other women until his wife left him for that woman.

Greg said...

Also it is interesting that the new version of the Watchmen is the closeup of the smiley button. I have an older version where the cover is the smashed window.