|Watchmen GN cover|
|1960s Mighty Crusaders|
|Charlton Action Heroes|
But when Moore heard of DC's new "purchase", he rewrote the story for the Charlton Heroes, retitling it "Who Killed the Peacemaker". Moore felt it didn't matter which set of characters he ultimately used, as long as the readers recognized them "so it would have the shock & surprise value when you saw what the reality of these characters was".
Giordano was receptive to the story, but suggested not using the Charlton heroes because the story left a lot of the Heroes unusable at the end. He then suggested to Moore create new characters instead.
Moore & Gibbons began working on the project, spending the time creating characters, crafting story details & discussing influences. The pair was particularly influenced by a Mad parody of Superman named "Superduperman". Moore said, "We wanted to take Superduperman 180 degrees—dramatic, instead of comedic". Moore said his intention was to create "a superhero Moby Dick, something that had that sort of weight, that sort of density".
Moore came up with the character names & descriptions, but left the specifics of how they looked to Gibbons.
|Dave Gibbons early designs|
|Dave Gibbons early design|
The first Character is the Comedian/Edward Blake.
|G. Gordon Liddy 1964|
Based on the Charlton character the Question created by Steve Ditko (co-creator of Marvel Comics's Spider-Man & Dr. Strange) & Ditko's own smallpress character Mister A (a more extreme version of the Question), Ditko freely expressed his own personal ideology based on Ayn Rand's Odjectivism views in the characters. Moore said he was trying to "come up with this quintessential Steve Ditko character, someone who's got a funny name, whose surname begins with a 'K,' who's got an oddly designed mask".
Moore wanted to explore how an archtypical Batman-type character, a driven, vengeance-fueled, vigilante, would be like in the real world. His answer was "a NUTCASE". Wizard Magazine named Rorschach the 6th greatest comic book character.
The Third character to appear is the 2nd Nite Owl/Dan Dreiderg
Dreiderg was a superhero who utilizes owl-themed gadgets. At the start of the story Dreiderg, like the other superheroes went into forced retirement, spending the last few years overweight & impotent (that sucks). The Nite Owl was based on the Ditko Ted Kord version of the Blue Beetle & similar to how Ted Kord had a predecessor, Moore also incorporated an earlier adventurer who used the name "Nite Owl", the retired crime fighter Hollis Mason, into Watchmen. While Moore devised character notes for Gibbons to work from, the artist provided a name and a costume design for Hollis Mason he had created when he was 12.
|young Gibbons' Nite Owl design|
Scientist Jon Osterman was caught in an "Intrinsic Field sub-tractor" in 1959, becoming the world's 1st Superpowered being, & starts working for the US Government, tipping the balance of the Cold War to the Americans. Dr. Manhattan was based upon Charlton's Captain Atom (also created by Steve Ditko), who in Moore's original proposal was surrounded by the shadow of nuclear threat. Moore saw the lack of scientific exploration of superheroes origins & thought he could do more with Manhattan as a "kind of a quantum super-hero" than he could have with Captain Atom, going into quantum physics to construct Dr. Manhattan. Moore believed that a character living in a quantum universe would not perceive time with a linear perspective, which would influence the character's perception of human affairs. Moore also wanted to avoid creating an emotionless character like Spock from Star Trek, so he sought for Dr. Manhattan to retain "human habits" and to grow away from them and humanity in general. Gibbons had made Dr. Manhattan's skin blue, having created the blue skinned character Rogue Trooper in 2000 A.D., he reused the blue skin motif but with a different shade. Moore incorporated the color into the story, & Gibbons noted the rest of the comic's color scheme made Manhattan more unique.
|Golden Age Daredevil|
Moore & Gibbons designed Watchmen to showcase the unique designed Watchmen to showcase the unique qualities of the comics medium & to highlight its particular strengths. Moore said, "What I'd like to explore is the areas that comics succeed in where no other media is capable of operating", & emphasized this by stressing the differences between comics & film. Moore said that Watchmen was designed to be read "4 or 5 times," with some links & allusions only becoming apparent to the reader after several readings. Gibbons described the series as "a comic about comics".
|Page from within the Watchmen|
One such repeated symbol was the smiley face image which 1st turns up as the Comedian’s the blood-stained badge.
|Creature from the Outer Limits|
|Squid in the Watchmen|
In 1999, The Comics Journal ranked Watchmen at number 91 on its list of the Top 100 English-Language Comics of the 20th Century.
Watchmen was the only graphic novel to appear on Time's 2005 list of "the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present".
Time critic Lev Grossman described the story as "a heart-pounding, heartbreaking read & a watershed in the evolution of a young medium."
In 2008, Entertainment Weekly placed it at number 13 on its list of the best 50 novels printed in the last 25 years, describing it as "The greatest superhero story ever told & proof that comics are capable of smart, emotionally resonant narratives worthy of the label literature."
But disagreements about the ownership of the Watchmen & his V for Vendetta series with artist David Lloyd story led Alan Moore to sever ties with DC Comics in 1989, vowing to never work for them again.