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October 23 2005

Joss cites 'Watchmen' as influence. A look at how the groundbreaking comic Watchmen came to be and how it continues to have influence. Says Whedon: "Watchmen took the history of comics and used it as a template for examining the human condition in a way no one had seen before."

Deconstructing genres with fanboy affection and irreverent intelligence? Exposing the hidden hearts of larger-than-life characters? That's Watchmen. It also describes Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Serenity. "I learned at Alan Moore's feet," says Whedon.

That particular graphic novel is one of the finest pieces of literature ever written. And my bank account is annoyed with me cause DC have brought an Absolute edition of the Watchmen. I really really want it.
A friend of mine gave it to me as a graduation present, and it really blew me the hell away. It's so dense, so packed. It's one of those pieces of literature that everyone talks up, and when you finally read it, you're surprised as hell to discover that it's actually as good as they say it is.
Hate EW since they went reg only.
I love this article!

Watchmen is the best comic book ever written excepting The Dark Knight Returns. Actually, they're both about equal. Depends on what mood I'm in.
I think my favourite ever comic book (not necessarily the comic book I regard as the best) would be Grant Morrison's Zenith. An amazing take on the superhero ethos and had epic plot arcs.
I don't think I've even heard of that one. People tell me Grant Morrison is really great, but all I've read is Seaguy, which was really weird and confusing.
That particular graphic novel is one of the finest pieces of literature ever written.

Simon, you're not the only one to recently express that sentiment, TIME magazine recently released it's list of the TOP 100 English-language Novels from 1923-present, and guess what the only graphic novel to make the list is.

http://www.time.com/time/2005/100books/the_complete_list.html
I don't think I've even heard of that one. People tell me Grant Morrison is really great, but all I've read is Seaguy, which was really weird and confusing.


It's one he did for the UK comic book 2000 A.D. back in the late 80s/early 90s and hopefully the reprint rights will get settled sometime this century. It deserves to be read by a new generation of fans. Seaguy is very confusing, read WE3 instead. It's excellent.

My other fav authors would be Warren Ellis, I just can't get enough of what he writes. And Mark Millar as well. Gotta love the Ultimates.
The Absolute Edition is enourmous. It could take a life easily. Watchmen is definitely a great book, but it's not my favorite comic, and not even my favorite work from Moore.
Watchmen still stands as strong as ever, I'd say. Almost more than any other work, even from Moore, it's one of those books that I keep discovering new things in as I reread it. Connect dots I didn't see before. It's one of those works you can't even really take in on a first read. Say, what does that Absolute Edition contain that I wouldn't already have seen?

As for Grant Morrisson, undeniably a gifted and creative writer, although I agree he can be a bit bewildering. I've tried several of his Invisibles trades but I just can't get into it. Main reason being what I always feel, his tales are very cerebral and intelligent, but he wants to stuff to many wild ideas into one story and somehow, on an emotional level, his work almost always leaves me completely cold.

I like Ellis a lot better. His sardonic tone and twisted humor is a lot more my style and I love how he holds a dark mirror up to society.

It is interesting though, how so many years after the comic world was shaken to its foundations by Miller's Dark Knight and Moore's Watchmen, their influence is stillso obviously seen everywhere in the medium.
EdDantes said:
Say, what does that Absolute Edition contain that I wouldn't already have seen?


The Watchmen Absolute Edition contains all the extra material that the hard-to-find and fairly expensive Graphitti Designs hardcover slipcase edition had back in 1988: an afterword by Alan Moore about his feelings on Watchmen; a history of the creation of the story including character backgrounds and sketches; information about the Charleton Comics characters that Watchmen was originally envisioned using; sample story breakdowns of a couple pages by Moore including layout sketches, etc.

The Absolute Edition is oversized at roughly 8.5" x 13", and is re-colored under the supervision of original colorist John Higgins fixing some problems with the original, and using current printing technology to augment and enhance the experience. It's a really beautiful book, and can be purchased at Amazon.com for around $45.

I have the Graphitti hardcover, and while it's very nice, it's printed on lesser-quality paper than the new Absolute Edition. I won't be getting rid of the Graphitti version, but I'll be going to the Absolute Edition from now on when I want to read the story or look at the extras.
My other fav authors would be Warren Ellis, I just can't get enough of what he writes. And Mark Millar as well. Gotta love the Ultimates.


Ellis is another I haven't gotten into. I read Ultimate Nightmare, and it was...weird and confusing. I love The Ultimates, though. My favorite comic book authors right now are Brian Michael Bendis and Brian K. Vaughan. Also Bill Willingham, for Fables. Unfortunately, my comic book store went out of business months ago, so I haven't been able to keep up with my titles.
And my bank account is annoyed with me cause DC have brought an Absolute edition of the Watchmen.

My bank account can handle one Absolute edition like Watchmen, but in a recent interview Neil Gaiman mentioned that DC is planning an Absolute edition(s?) of the Sandman. With the Sandman currently stretching over 12 tradepaperbacks I can only imagine the giant price tag on that. That's something that would be expensive enough to either be selective on which volumes I would get (depending on how it's broken up) or simply skip the whole thing and keep the editions I already have.

I also love Warren Ellis' work, not just his comics, but even his various newsletters, columns and various rants are all incredibly entertaining and interesting.

Meanwhile back to the main subject, it doesn't surprise me that Joss considers Watchmen as such a big influence. With Joss being such a comic book geek, I don't see how such a groundbreaking comic like the Watchmen not be an influence.

Also with all the attention over the years that Watchmen has gotten, I wonder if Alan Moore's Marvelman/Mircleman would have gotten similar attention if only it has stayed in print. Hopefully with what seems to be all the legal trouble between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane worked out now, that it will go back into print and Gaiman can finally finish the rest of his planed out storyline for the series.
Ellis is another I haven't gotten into. I read Ultimate Nightmare, and it was...weird and confusing.
Warren Ellis' superhero work really isn't on the same level has his creator owned work. Ellis' most well known work is probably Transmetropolitan, which really just has an energy to the writing like nothing else. It's a sci-fi book taking place in the future, focusing on a reporter named Spider Jerusalem, who is influenced by Hunter S. Thompson. In the comic Ellis takes current political trends and things happening in the present (or at late 90's early 2000's when it was being written) and magnifies them into extremes into the future to show them in a different view and comment on them. Or as EdDantes puts it better, his work, especially Transmetropolitan holds up a dark mirror up to society. The first Transmetropolitan trade I think only has 3 issues in it and has a cheap cover price in order to work as an introductory volume. If you are still interested in Warren Ellis' work it's a great place to start.
I've heard great things about Transmetropolitan, yeah. I'd like to check it out one of these days.

But I've really got to get around to reading Sandman, you know.
Watchmen is, bar-none, my favorite comics work, and one of my favorite pieces of literature in any medium. I'm delighted to hear that it's an appreciation that Joss shares.
I know what you mean about the Zenith books, Simon -- it's a real favorite, but I can't laud it on specific points. Just a very appealing mixture.

As to Ellis, he's very hit and miss -- but when he scores, he scores big. Planetary is a thing of wonder and a joy forever; Global Frequency is everything an episodic thriller should be. And Transmetropolitan is just fun (and, frighteningly, prophetic.)

Please, God, assign Spider to the White House Press Corp. Now.
but in a recent interview Neil Gaiman mentioned that DC is planning an Absolute edition(s?) of the Sandman


My Watchmen TPB is all beat up, so I'll probably pick up the Absolute version at some point, but Absolute Sandman? It's my favorite series ever, but no thanks, DC. I'd only consider double-dipping if they rereleased Season of Mists in that leather hardcover edition (I don't feel like paying $75+ for the original).
My Watchmen TPB is all beat up


Mine too, I think bought it sometime in the late 80s.

If people want to read more of the EW article, then head over to Newsarama.
With the Sandman currently stretching over 12 tradepaperbacks I can only imagine the giant price tag on that.


Twelve? Is that a typo or am I missing one?
It depends on what you count, I guess:

- Preludes and Nocturnes
- The Doll's House
- Dream Country
- Season of Mists
- A Game of You
- Fables and Reflections
- Brief Lives
- Worlds' End
- The Kindly Ones
- The Wake
-----------------
- Sandman: The Dream Hunters
- Sandman: Endless Nights

This makes twelve. And arguably, you could also add:

- Death: The High Cost of Living
- Death: The Time of Your Life
Thanks GVH.
Umm, I guess I ought to reword my question. I thought the first ten and Endless Nights are one big arc (with the exception of the one-shot stories).
Do the Dream Hunters and the two Deaths continue the same arc or are do they just have the characters in common?
The two Death series are mainly separate, though the second one features characters from Sandman's "A Game of You" storyline. The Dream Hunters is a standalone story set in ancient Japan, so it's not really part of the arc (nor is it really a comic--it's prose text with painted illustrations). It's still pretty good though, and worth picking up if you're a fan.
I hate that they're calling Endless Nights' volume 11, too. The series came to an incredibly satisfying conclusion with The Kindly Ones, and its epilogue in The Wake. More Gaiman Sandman is great, but it's not part of the original saga.

And, while it's not my absolute favorite comic book ever, I do agree with everything positive that's been said about Watchmen. I both anticipate and utterly fear the possible movie adaptation.
And, while it's not my absolute favorite comic book ever, I do agree with everything positive that's been said about Watchmen. I both anticipate and utterly fear the possible movie adaptation.
Last I heard after Paramount got a new studio president, all projects were reviewed and they ended up pulling the plug on the Watchmen movie.

I hate that they're calling Endless Nights' volume 11, too. The series came to an incredibly satisfying conclusion with The Kindly Ones, and its epilogue in The Wake. More Gaiman Sandman is great, but it's not part of the original saga.
The numbering is really only so that people know what order to read them in, not what story arc it's apart of. I remember a time before comic book companies numbered their trades and it was quite annoying having to figure out which trade is next in a series. Often it meant opening up several trades and looking through the fine print to see which issues that trade was reprinting. It so much easier now with the volumes being numbered, to just grab the volume you need next off the shelf or order it online.

Anyways, since Gaiman has talked about returning to the world of the Sandman now and again (next one is apparently planed for the 20th anniversary of Sandman in 2009), there will likely be more volumes eventually added on to the end.
Simo:, always fun to find another old 2000AD reader ;-) Zenith was at about the time I stopped collecting them, but I recall it well. Brit super heroes trying not to look gormless with their more refined sensibilities. A friend of mine named their kid Zenith, but what can you do?

Also on the topic of Alan Moore and 2000AD, I loved the original Skizz, and I would not be the man I am today without learning invaluable life lessons from D.R. and Quinch. Though Watchmen is cool too, I suppose.

Grant Morrison, on the other hand, is definitely for older readers who have reached the point in life where scoring LSD is too much of a hassle.
Last I heard after Paramount got a new studio president, all projects were reviewed and they ended up pulling the plug on the Watchmen movie.

Ah, so we're back in limbo again. Hadn't heard that. But then I sincerely doubt you could truly do it justice in a movie, unless it's filmed Lord of the Rings-style and no way will it attract similar numbers. People that are not comic readers that do want to see superhero flics will probably only be screatching their heads at Watchmen if properly filmed. And if not properly filmed, let's not film. (Need I mention From Hell or LXG?)

Grant Morrison, on the other hand, is definitely for older readers who have reached the point in life where scoring LSD is too much of a hassle.

That's as apt a description as I've heard, I gotta say!;-)

That Watchmen Absolute Edition sounds attractive though... And yes I imagine such a thing done to Sandman being on the pricey side. I'm already dreading the cost for Berni Wrightson's Frankenstein anniversary edition. If they ever manage to finish it...

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