Today, I finished reading the iconic graphic novel Watchmen. I knew it had characters named Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan, so I was expecting a pretty straightforward superhero tale. Having just finished V for Vendetta by the same author, Alan Moore, I don't know how I could have been so naive. The story itself, about hasbeen vigilantes reassessing their self-worth on the eve of possible nuclear holocaust, is one of the most suspenseful and captivating I've ever read.
Dave Gibbons' artwork is spectacular, providing more details and hidden messages than I'm sure I caught this first time around. At times painterly, beautifully artistic, and other times gritty and comic book specific, Gibbons' art perfectly told Moore's story. When the characters are dealing with questions of psychological intricacies or the big pictures issues of the meaning of life and mutually assured destruction, the artwork is a triumph of visual associations and graphic matches. I was thoroughly intrigued by the historical fiction aspects of the story, and the comic-book-within-a-comic-book that wove throughout.
Not only am I excited to reread this excellent novel, but I am curious to see how the movie will turn out. Jackie Earle Haley is cast as Rorschach, which I find incredibly promising, as he was the highlight of 2006's Little Children adaptation.