Watching the Watchmen

( 13 )

Overview

Enjoy the ultimate companion to a comics masterpiece, as award-winning artist Dave Gibbons gives his own account of the genesis of WATCHMEN in this dust-jacketed hardback volume, opening his vast personal archives to reveal never-published pages, original character designs, page thumbnails, sketches and much more, including posters, covers and rare portfolio art. Featuring the breathtaking design of Chip Kidd and Mike Essl, WATCHING THE WATCHMEN is both a major art book in its own right, and the definitive ...
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Overview

Enjoy the ultimate companion to a comics masterpiece, as award-winning artist Dave Gibbons gives his own account of the genesis of WATCHMEN in this dust-jacketed hardback volume, opening his vast personal archives to reveal never-published pages, original character designs, page thumbnails, sketches and much more, including posters, covers and rare portfolio art. Featuring the breathtaking design of Chip Kidd and Mike Essl, WATCHING THE WATCHMEN is both a major art book in its own right, and the definitive companion to the graphic novel that changed an industry.

Voted among Time magazine's 100 Best Novels from 1923 to the present, a perennial bestseller over the past twenty years and widely considered the greatest graphic novel of all time, WATCHMEN is a gripping, labyrinthine piece of comic art, which has earned an acclaimed place in modern literary history.

"I've had a great time, re-visiting the very beginnings of Watchmen and unearthing material I haven't set eyes on for many years. As a fan myself, this is the kind of stuff I eat up and I'm sure the many devotees of the graphic novel will do the same!" says Gibbons.

© DC Comics 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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Editorial Reviews

Douglas Wolk
…for those of us who've already read Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's mid-1980s autopsy of the super­hero ideal 63 times, Gibbons's new Watching the Watchmen is a treat: a scrapbook in which he dissects the artistic process that produced the original series, including his thumbnail sketches for every chapter.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781848560413
  • Publisher: Titan
  • Publication date: 10/21/2008
  • Pages: 265
  • Sales rank: 458,006
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Dave Gibbons is best known for his iconic artwork on the groundbreaking graphic novel Watchmen. He has also written and/or drawn many other comics titles, including Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Doctor Who and his semi-autobiographical graphic novel The Originals.

Chip Kidd has been called "the world's best book-jacket designer" and "the closest thing to a rock star" in graphic design today. His iconic designs include the cover for Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park. He is also a writer, musician and avid comics fan.

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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Dave Gibbons

What can people expect to find in Watching the Watchmen?
Lots of sketches, lots of notes, lots of previously unpublished artwork. There are some finished and semi-finished pencil pages that were never inked, there are some frames that I redrew, there are rough versions of covers, there are color guides, there are costume designs, there are pages of script, pages of proposal, thumbnails, various portfolios that were done, bits of merchandising, watches, badges, lead figures, all kinds of stuff that even surprised me when I discovered it! You’ll also find my commentary on it, which is very much my story of the beginnings of Watchmen, the creation of the comic and what later became the graphic novel and a really nice piece by John Higgins about what it was like to be involved with the creative team. The book is designed by Chip Kidd, working with Mike Essl. Anybody who loves this kind of behind-the-scenes scrapbook will realise that Chip is the perfect guy to be designing it. He happens to be a huge Watchmen fan so I’m really looking forward to the way he dresses it all up.

Which character underwent the most design changes before you settled on the final version?
Probably either the Comedian or Rorschach. They are now such iconic costumes, that it’s hard to believe we had radically different versions of them. Originally with Rorschach, he had a whole ‘body blot suit’ on, and would open his coat like a flasher. But that didn’t really work, though it did hang around for a surprisingly long time before we ditched it, because it was clear to us that it was really only his face that had to have the shape shifting abilities. It would have been a nightmare to draw the full body suit. And the Comedian, because we saw him as being part of the military, he originally had an olive drab–camouflage kind of feel. And then we hit on the idea of black leather, and I think that really sealed the character. Also facially, I had to wait for inspiration because the thing with the Comedian was he had to be nothing like the Joker. So eventually I had the brainwave that he could look like Groucho Marx, which would mean he’d have the little moustache and cigar. And then because he had all this black leather and looked ominous which was far from anything amusing and comedic, I just plonked a smiley face badge on him: something to be an accent on his otherwise darkness. Alan then took that detail and ran with it, which then became the graphic symbol of the whole thing: the realistic blood splash despoiling the pristine and perfect cartoon image.

What research did you do to capture the look and feel of an alternate 1980s New York?
The beauty of setting it in an alternate 1980s New York was that I didn’t need to do a great deal of research. I went on my gut feelings and my emotional memories of my visits to New York. And because we had electric cars, it meant I didn’t have to draw specific models and then the buildings, skylines and even the streets could also be different. Certainly on the street furniture, we had these electric spark hydrants where people could charge their automobiles from, rather than regular fire hydrants.

What made you decide to have Rorschach’s mask change design on each panel?
That was pretty much in place from the beginning. I have actually seen people in static Rorschach masks at conventions, and just having that to look at that when you’re talking to someone is fairly off putting. It’s like when someone is wearing dark glasses, it’s rather strange because you can’t see their eyes or see the reaction from them. And I think the fact that Rorschach’s mask would also be this kind of hypnotic shape shifting suggestion of whatever you wanted to see, depending on your frame of mind, added a whole dimension to it.

Was there a particular panel from Watchmen that you found tricky to visualize?
They were all pretty tricky to visualize, but that was the fun of it: to try and find a way to visualize Alan’s often complex requirements. So I had to have a pretty good grasp of space, time and humanity. They were all tricky, but that was a good thing.

Was the "alien creature" inspired by anything in particular?
Not really. We just wanted to look alien and disgusting, which I think it does. I don’t know when we settled upon the idea of when it would be cephalopod or octopode in nature, but I can’t recollect anything that particularly inspired it.

Was there ever any talk of doing additional Watchmen stories?
Alan and I briefly discussed the idea of doing a Minuteman limited series, who were the golden age precursors to the Watchmen. That would have been interesting because it would have been one of those stories where you would have known where it would ended up: the interest would be in seeing how it got there. There was talk that "other-hands" might do things like the Comedian’s Vietnam war diary, or Rorschach’s journal, but Alan and I shot those down. I think if you add to something like Watchmen you essentially dilute it.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2009

    A Must-Own For Any Watchmen Fan

    Like the DVD extras to a blockbuster movie, "Watching the Watchmen" delves into the process of creating the watershed comic title. Gibbons shares his own experiences with equal humor and candor, while also revealing how the universe itself seemed to conspire in helping "Watchmen" get made.

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  • Posted December 8, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    The Anti-Superhero Graphic Novel

    For anyone who may not be a graphic novel reader, this book is definitely a good place to begin. Originally written in serial form in the late 1980s, this graphic novel presents the reader with philosophical, personal, and global issues that, while not original, are still debated and argued today. While the graphic novel uses common archetypes and familiar motifs, it introduces a perspective that is usually not found in the Superhero genre. Anyone who liked The Dark Knight film by Nolan or found The Dark Knight Returns enjoyable will probably enjoy this graphic novel exciting as well.

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