Dreiberg and Juspeczyk go into hiding under new identities and continue their romance. Back in New York, the editor at New Frontiersman asks his assistant to find some filler material from the "crank file", a collection of rejected submissions to the paper, many of which have not been reviewed yet.
The series ends with the young man reaching toward the pile of discarded submissions, near the top of which is Rorschach's journal.
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With Watchmen , Alan Moore's intention was to create four or five "radically opposing ways" to perceive the world and to give readers of the story the privilege of determining which one was most morally comprehensible. Moore did not believe in the notion of "[cramming] regurgitated morals" down the readers' throats and instead sought to show heroes in an ambivalent light.
Moore said, "What we wanted to do was show all of these people, warts and all. Show that even the worst of them had something going for them, and even the best of them had their flaws. Moore and Gibbons designed Watchmen to showcase the unique qualities of the comics medium and to highlight its particular strengths. In a interview, Moore said, "What I'd like to explore is the areas that comics succeed in where no other media is capable of operating", and emphasized this by stressing the differences between comics and film.
Moore said that Watchmen was designed to be read "four or five times", with some links and allusions only becoming apparent to the reader after several readings. The main thrust of the story essentially hinges on what is called a macguffin , a gimmick So really the plot itself is of no great consequence As we actually came to tell the tale, that's where the real creativity came in. Gibbons said he deliberately constructed the visual look of Watchmen so that each page would be identifiable as part of that particular series and "not some other comic book".
Gibbons noted that the setting was liberating for him because he did not have to rely primarily on reference books. Colorist John Higgins used a template that was "moodier" and favored secondary colors. Moore noted that the artist paid particular attention to lighting and subtle color changes; in issue six, Higgins began with "warm and cheerful" colors and throughout the issue gradually made it darker to give the story a dark and bleak feeling.
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Structurally, certain aspects of Watchmen deviated from the norm in comic books at the time, particularly the panel layout and the coloring. Instead of panels of various sizes, the creators divided each page into a nine-panel grid. The cover of each issue serves as the first panel to the story. Gibbons said, "The cover of the Watchmen is in the real world and looks quite real, but it's starting to turn into a comic book, a portal to another dimension. Gibbons drew issue five, titled "Fearful Symmetry", so the first page mirrors the last in terms of frame disposition , with the following pages mirroring each other before the center-spread is broadly symmetrical in layout.
The end of each issue, with the exception of issue twelve, contains supplemental prose pieces written by Moore. Among the contents are fictional book chapters, letters, reports, and articles written by various Watchmen characters. DC had trouble selling ad space in issues of Watchmen , which left an extra eight to nine pages per issue. DC planned to insert house ads and a longer letters column to fill the space, but editor Len Wein felt this would be unfair to anyone who wrote in during the last four issues of the series. He decided to use the extra pages to fill out the series' backstory.
It looks less like a comic book, so we stuck with it. Watchmen features a story within a story in the form of Tales of the Black Freighter , a fictional comic book from which scenes appear in issues three, five, eight, ten, and eleven. The fictional comic's story, "Marooned", is read by a youth in New York City. Mainly, genres like horror, science fiction, and piracy, particularly piracy, became prominent—with EC riding the crest of the wave. Moore chose Orlando because he felt that if pirate stories were popular in the Watchmen universe that DC editor Julius Schwartz might have tried to lure the artist over to the company to draw a pirate comic book.
Orlando contributed a drawing designed as if it were a page from the fake title to the supplemental piece. In "Marooned", a young mariner called "The Sea Captain" journeys to warn his hometown of the coming of The Black Freighter , after he survives the destruction of his own ship. He uses the bodies of his dead shipmates as a makeshift raft. When he finally returns home, believing it to be already under the occupation of The Black Freighter ' s crew, he kills an innocent couple and then attacks his own wife in their darkened home, mistaking her for a pirate. After realizing what he has done, he returns to the seashore, where he finds that The Black Freighter has not come to claim the town; it has come to claim him.
He swims out to sea and climbs aboard the ship. According to Richard Reynold, the mariner is "forced by the urgency of his mission to shed one inhibition after another.
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Manhattan's self-exile on Mars. Moore named William S. Burroughs as one of his main influences during the conception of Watchmen.
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He admired Burroughs' use of "repeated symbols that would become laden with meaning" in Burroughs' only comic strip, " The Unspeakable Mr. Hart ", which appeared in the British underground magazine Cyclops. Not every intertextual link in the series was planned by Moore, who remarked that "there's stuff in there Dave had put in that even I only noticed on the sixth or seventh read", while other "things [ A stained smiley face is a recurring image in the story, appearing in many forms.
In The System of Comics , Thierry Groensteen described the symbol as a recurring motif that produces "rhyme and remarkable configurations" by appearing in key segments of Watchmen , notably the first and last pages of the series—spattered with blood on the first, and sauce from a hamburger on the last. Groensteen cites it as one form of the circle shape that appears throughout the story, as a "recurrent geometric motif" and due to its symbolic connotations.
Gibbons said the creators came to regard the blood-stained smiley face as "a symbol for the whole series",  noting its resemblance to the Doomsday Clock ticking up to midnight. With the addition of a blood splash over the eye, the face's meaning was altered to become simultaneously radical and simple enough for the first issue's cover to avoid human detail. Although most evocations of the central image were created on purpose, others were coincidental. Moore mentioned in particular that on "the little plugs on the spark hydrants if you turn them upside down, you discover a little smiley face".
Other symbols, images, and allusions that appeared throughout the series often emerged unexpectedly. Moore mentioned that "[t]he whole thing with Watchmen has just been loads of these little bits of synchronicity popping up all over the place". Moore said, "We found a lot of these things started to generate themselves as if by magic", in particular citing an occasion where they decided to name a lock company the " Gordian Knot Lock Company".
The initial premise of the series was to examine what superheroes would be like "in a credible, real world". As the story became more complex, Moore said Watchmen became about "power and about the idea of the superman manifest within society. Bradford Wright described Watchmen as "Moore's obituary for the concept of heroes in general and superheroes in particular.
He added that to place faith in such icons was to give up personal responsibility to "the Reagans , Thatchers , and other 'Watchmen' of the world who supposed to 'rescue' us and perhaps lay waste to the planet in the process". They think they're invulnerable. It's a fantasy extrapolation of what might happen and if people can see things in it that apply to the real America, then they're reading it into the comic [ Citing Watchmen as the point where the comic book medium "came of age", Iain Thomson wrote in his essay "Deconstructing the Hero" that the story accomplished this by "developing its heroes precisely in order to deconstruct the very idea of the hero and so encouraging us to reflect upon its significance from the many different angles of the shards left lying on the ground".
Geoff Klock eschewed the term "deconstruction" in favor of describing Watchmen as a "revisionary superhero narrative". Moore has expressed dismay that "[t]he gritty, deconstructivist postmodern superhero comic, as exemplified by Watchmen [ He said in that "to some degree there has been, in the 15 years since Watchmen , an awful lot of the comics field devoted to these grim, pessimistic, nasty, violent stories which kind of use Watchmen to validate what are, in effect, often just some very nasty stories that don't have a lot to recommend them".
Watchmen was first mentioned publicly in the Amazing Heroes Preview. Ten thousand sets of the four badges, including a replica of the blood-stained smiley face badge worn by the Comedian in the story, were released and sold. The module, which was endorsed by Moore, adds details to the series' backstory by portraying events that occurred in Watchmen was published in single-issue form over the course of and The limited series was a commercial success, and its sales helped DC Comics briefly overtake its competitor Marvel Comics in the comic book direct market.
Further delays were caused when later issues each took more than a month to complete. After the series concluded, the individual issues were collected and sold in trade paperback form. Along with Frank Miller 's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns miniseries, Watchmen was marketed as a " graphic novel ", a term that allowed DC and other publishers to sell similar comic book collections in a way that associated them with novels and dissociated them from comics.
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Subsequently, new comics series were commissioned on the basis of reprinting them in a collected form for these markets. Watchmen received critical praise, both inside and outside of the comics industry. Time magazine, which noted that the series was "by common assent the best of breed" of the new wave of comics published at the time, praised Watchmen as "a superlative feat of imagination, combining sci-fi, political satire, knowing evocations of comics past and bold reworkings of current graphic formats into a dysutopian [ sic ] mystery story".
Disagreements about the ownership of the story ultimately led Moore to sever ties with DC Comics. Speaking at the San Diego Comic-Con , Moore said: "The way it works, if I understand it, is that DC owns it for the time they're publishing it, and then it reverts to Dave and me, so we can make all the money from the Slurpee cups. Moore added, "So basically they're not ours, but if DC is working with the characters in our interests then they might as well be.
On the other hand, if the characters have outlived their natural life span and DC doesn't want to do anything with them, then after a year we've got them and we can do what we want with them, which I'm perfectly happy with. Moore felt the reversion clauses were ultimately meaningless because DC did not intend to let the publications go out of print. While DC wanted to mend its relationship with the writer, Moore felt the company was not treating him fairly in regards to his America's Best Comics imprint launched under the WildStorm comic imprint , which was bought by DC in ; Moore was promised no direct interference by DC as part of the arrangement.
Moore added, "As far as I'm concerned, the 15th anniversary of Watchmen is purely a 15th Anniversary of when DC managed to take the Watchmen property from me and Dave [Gibbons]. Moore stated in that if the limited series was well-received, he and Gibbons would possibly create a issue prequel series called Minutemen featuring the s superhero group from the story. Neither man felt the stories would have gone anywhere, with Moore particularly adamant that DC not go forward with stories by other individuals.
It would be, perhaps, interesting to see how we got to the conclusion.
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In , Moore told Wired that DC offered him the rights to Watchmen back if he would agree to prequel and sequel projects. Moore said that "if they said that 10 years ago, when I asked them for that, then yeah it might have worked [ Certainly, I don't want it back under those kinds of terms. Among the creators involved are writers J. Though Moore has no involvement, Gibbons gave the project his blessing. The sequel to Watchmen , entitled Doomsday Clock , is part of the DC Rebirth line of comics, additionally continuing a narrative established with 's one-shot DC Universe: Rebirth Special and 's crossover The Button , both of which featured Doctor Manhattan in a minor capacity.
The miniseries, taking place seven years after the events of Watchmen in November , follows a cancer-ridden Ozymandias as he attempts to locate Doctor Manhattan alongside Reginald Long, the successor of Walter Kovacs as Rorschach, following the exposure and subsequent failure of his plan for peace and the subsequent impending nuclear war between the United States and Russia.
The story includes many DC characters but has a particular focus on Superman and Doctor Manhattan , despite Superman stated as being a fictional character in the original series—the series uses the plot element of the multiverse. Johns felt like there was an interesting story to be told in Rebirth with Doctor Manhattan. He thought there was an interesting dichotomy between Superman—an alien who embodies and is compassionate for humanity—and Doctor Manhattan—a human who has detached himself from humanity.