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From the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore

Someone is killing the superheroes who used to belong to a group of crimefighters.

The book this movie is made from is a wonderful, thoughtful, character driven story about aging superheroes, their pasts, their relationships with each other, and the world of the 1980s- the threat of global annihilation, the wierdness, the recessions, everything…and it’s one of the comic books that totally changed my world*.

And I have to say, the movie certainly does it justice.

It’s amazingly well written, beautifully filmed, extremely true to the book (which was supposed to be unfilmable). They changed very little, mostly cutting out extra character development and some extraneous details that add richness to the book (like the whole side story of The Black Freighter) but which are unfilmable (and thank goodness, that would have been way too gross to see.)

And why exactly did Alan Moore take his name off it in a dudgeon, leaving Dave Gibbons to stand alone in the credits as co-creator? unlike V for Vendetta, it didn’t seem to me that they changed any major stuff in this story, unless it’s the fact that one of the characters is blamed for the final denoument…but I do notice that even when Mr. Moore is so disgusted with a treatment of one of his books that he takes his name off the movie, he never gives the money back…or hesitates to sell the next one. He also did NOT take his name off the hideous travesty that is known Chez Otter as the League of Unpleasant Gentlemen…maybe he just has no clue? dunno.

Anyway. I saw this at 9:50 pm, after getting off work at 9, four days after it opened, and rushing to the theater to make sure I got a seat, what with the hordes of people who would still be clamoring to see it, even that late on a work night (and this sucker is three hours long, so you can do the math and figure out how awake I was for storytime the next morning…). And I have to say, me and the four other people who came to see it that late at night certainly had trouble finding seats…

But really, I found it to be well made and enjoyable. Worth the six bucks I paid for it, and more.

Then I went home and reread the book. And truly? of the two, as well made as the movie is…the book is way better. If you can only do one, read the book. Yes, it’s a comic book, deal with it. It’s a truly elegant story, full of great characters, nuance and detail. The movie is good, the actors are good (especially Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays The Comedian), the story is good, the special effects are amazing…but the book is better.

*But more about me.

So back in 2004, I became the Teen Librarian in my library. I was desperate to transfer to the Children’s Services section because my schedule was hellish and that was the only way to save my sanity (I had worked there years ago, but had been in Adult for a long time).

Me transferring put some noses out of joint, so when my transfer was approved, my new boss said, you can transfer, but you have to be the Teen Librarian.

Noooooo! I screamed. But what could I do? Okay, I said, I’ll do it but the minute you fill the other open position, I pass the teen job on to that person. Agreed? agreed, she said.

So I became the Teen Librarian. And LOVED it. After two months I went to her and said, just kidding, I want to keep this job, I love it. And I am doing the same job to this day, five years later, and STILL love it.

But (ask my Faithful Fans) what the HECK does this have to do with Watchmen?

Patience, FFs, I’m getting there.

So about 6 months after I started being Teen Librarian, I finally got tired of hearing the graphic novel/manga section (which was pathetically small at the time) snickering behind my back. Now, I literally learned to read on comic books, when I was 4 years old and my family was on their one and only real vacation, driving across the country. There was so little to do in Texas that I learned to read on Superman comic books. Read various kinds of comics til I was, oh, 12 or so and then left them behind, never looking back.

In fact, I was faintly contemptuous. Comic books, I would say, oh, yes, I read them as a kid but REAL BOOKS are so much better…

But I got tired of the snickering. So one day, I pulled several graphic novels off the shelves, intending to glance through them so that (like a good librarian) I would have a slight aquaintance with what was inside them.

And I found three books:

  1. Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb
  2. John Constantine Hellblazer: Son of Man by Garth Ennis
  3. and Watchmen, by Alan Moore

Seriously, Faithful Fans, if you had been paying attention that week, you would have heard the whole universe shift. It certainly did for me. I am now a comics fanatic, own hundreds of the darn things, and am now being dragged, kicking and screaming, into manga and anime. And sure, there’s silly, boring, juvenile stuff out there…but there is a lot that is brilliant, breathtaking and well worth your time. Like (to get back on topic) Watchmen.

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