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Watching the Watchmen: The Definitive Companion to the Ultimate Graphic Novel

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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 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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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 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.

30 review for Watching the Watchmen: The Definitive Companion to the Ultimate Graphic Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Luke Taylor

    An absolute must-have for all fans of Moore and Gibbons and their life-changing work on the seminal artistic and cultural achievement that is, was, and will be Watchmen, this book sheds light into the messy and brilliant process of Gibbons, Moore, Higgins, and all parties involved, and provides incredible insights into the inspiration and perspiration behind the greatest graphic novel of all times, written, as it was, to honor the profound medium that is the venerable comic book, no matter what An absolute must-have for all fans of Moore and Gibbons and their life-changing work on the seminal artistic and cultural achievement that is, was, and will be Watchmen, this book sheds light into the messy and brilliant process of Gibbons, Moore, Higgins, and all parties involved, and provides incredible insights into the inspiration and perspiration behind the greatest graphic novel of all times, written, as it was, to honor the profound medium that is the venerable comic book, no matter what time or culture decides it to be, Moore and Gibbons did it an ineffably divine service with the gift that is Watchmen and Gibbons took it a step further for fans and comic authors such as myself to provide so much depth and detail into everything that went through his mind and hands as the process developed into something far greater than a simple story for the simple enjoyment of a couple of comic book lovers. In my mind, nothing will ever touch the prophetic genius of Watchmen, the poignancy, the humanity, the scale, the scope, and this book is a must have for any serious fan as it will inspire even more and ever further forms of art and artistic communication, as authors seek to tell their own stories with the skill and integrity and sheer passion that Moore, Gibbons, and Higgins poured into Watchmen.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jemppu

    Look behind the panels, revealing of mind boggling precision.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Bates

    With Alan Moore severing all ties with DC due to various reasons, it looks like we're not going to get a discussion by him of how the story of Watchmen came about or how he plotted the series, page-by-page and panel-by-panel. However, what we get here is Dave Gibbons' take on things, though primarily concentrating on the glorious artwork that he created over 25 years ago. And my! What a lot of artwork there is. Firstly, this thick, oversized book is a lot bigger than I'd thought it'd be. It feels With Alan Moore severing all ties with DC due to various reasons, it looks like we're not going to get a discussion by him of how the story of Watchmen came about or how he plotted the series, page-by-page and panel-by-panel. However, what we get here is Dave Gibbons' take on things, though primarily concentrating on the glorious artwork that he created over 25 years ago. And my! What a lot of artwork there is. Firstly, this thick, oversized book is a lot bigger than I'd thought it'd be. It feels like it weighs half a ton. It also seems that Mr Gibbons has saved 95% of all his notes, doodles, rough drafts, and layouts (though none of the actual artwork used in the series) that he produced for Watchmen in the mid eighties. Does this guy throw nothing away!? Of course, nowadays he could sell this stuff for a lot of money - even the rather scribbly bits. In fact, in part of the book Gibbons laments the fact that he sold all his original artwork for the comic book series for a very reasonable sum during the early days. Together with the treasure trove of art from Gibbons' Watchmen box, a number of other pieces of related artwork and photos of memorabilia are collected. Shown are the various posters used to promote the original series, lead minatures of the main characters, artistic material from the role-playing game and even a picture of a smiley face carrier-bag. I must admit that I quite like the Marvel version mock-up of the Watchmen. Very Kirby-ish. Most of the book is taken up with Gibbons' roughs showing the layouts for each individual panel. Nearly all pages from all issues are shown in these little sketches. To begin with, it was quite fascinating to see these. But then, after a couple of issues, you realise that they're just rough versions of the art you've already seen and so start to skip over them. Still, it's certainly comprehensive. Running through the book are words by Gibbons' describing his memories of the time planning, producing and promoting this landmark series. To me, this is the most fascinating part of the book. Obviously, the actual events are over 25 years ago so things are somewhat sketchy, but what is discussed is almost exclusively positive and steers well away from the Moore/DC debacle. John Higgins also chips in a few pages discussing the colouring on Watchmen, including some words about, and examples of, the new colouring job for the Absolute edition. Overall, the book is a quality piece of work. It's size is large enough to show off the beautiful artwork on good quality, glossy paper. Chip Kidd's design works well and doesn't detract. And there's plenty in there to keep a Watchmen fan flicking through the images for weeks.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Parka

    (More pictures at parkablogs.com) The construct of the book is great. It's hardcover with a dust jacket. The paper stock is good, thick and low gloss. Inside the book are tons of initial sketches, designs, storyboards, comic panels, scripts and scribbles. Dave Gibbons really packed in a lot of stuff from their sketchbooks. The scans are so high in resolution you can see the texture of the sketchbooks' paper grain. The book starts off with the background story on the history of Watchmen, when Da (More pictures at parkablogs.com) The construct of the book is great. It's hardcover with a dust jacket. The paper stock is good, thick and low gloss. Inside the book are tons of initial sketches, designs, storyboards, comic panels, scripts and scribbles. Dave Gibbons really packed in a lot of stuff from their sketchbooks. The scans are so high in resolution you can see the texture of the sketchbooks' paper grain. The book starts off with the background story on the history of Watchmen, when Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore first met. Then there's the process of creating the comics, getting the readers reactions (one sent in a fan note using plastic bag), to the sending of the last pages off in an overweight parcel to the publisher. Everything is written in a very condensed manner, the way magazines write their articles. That's not a bad thing though. But for a graphic novel of such caliber, I'm very sure they left out a lot of things. Also, nothing is mentioned about the plot and the character development. I can't believe they actually left out the story about the story, which is what made Watchmen so popular. My reservation about the book is on the perceived lack of depth. Overall, this book is strictly for fans of Watchmen, especially those who have the graphic novel. This review was first published on parkablogs.com. There are more pictures and videos on my blog.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Olger

    For a coffee table book about the creation of 'Watchmen' made without Alan Moore's involvement, I thought it was pretty great. Lots of beautiful sketches and other artwork, many fascinating letters and notes from those early days, as well as short remembrances and anecdotes from Dave Gibbons and John Higgins (the colorist). My only complaint is that a large portion of the book is devoted to displaying the initial very rough outlines (in the book they're called 'thumbnails') of almost every page For a coffee table book about the creation of 'Watchmen' made without Alan Moore's involvement, I thought it was pretty great. Lots of beautiful sketches and other artwork, many fascinating letters and notes from those early days, as well as short remembrances and anecdotes from Dave Gibbons and John Higgins (the colorist). My only complaint is that a large portion of the book is devoted to displaying the initial very rough outlines (in the book they're called 'thumbnails') of almost every page in the comic. Although interesting in their own right, collectively they span dozens upon dozens of pages and after a while I became kind of... over-saturated (if that makes sense) and was flipping through those pages to get to the next 'good' part. Instead, I think I would have preferred more comparisons between sketches and finalised pages, or more pages from the original script - or maybe just a thinner book. :)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel

    Watchmen is a very special comic. It remains so despite the Snyder movie, despite the two decades that have passed, despite the reveal at the end (which actually makes rereading the comic exciting), despite the strange form - half comic and half book - ... I've reread it recently and got more out of it. A lot more than rewatching the Snyder movie. So a book describing the process of creating the comic should be just as fascinating, right? Well ... I'm not the intended audience. See, I want to read Watchmen is a very special comic. It remains so despite the Snyder movie, despite the two decades that have passed, despite the reveal at the end (which actually makes rereading the comic exciting), despite the strange form - half comic and half book - ... I've reread it recently and got more out of it. A lot more than rewatching the Snyder movie. So a book describing the process of creating the comic should be just as fascinating, right? Well ... I'm not the intended audience. See, I want to read and hear the stories that went into forming the comic. I want to hear about discarded ideas and how the movement from adapting a property to creating new characters came about. I want to see a glimpse of what would have been ... that's what I want from a companion to the graphic novel. I don't want to see the drafts (various, from first to final) of EVERY PAGE in the novel ... without commentary. I don't need little snippets here and there ... I want something meaty to chew on. And Watching The Watchmen didn't really do that. Sure, I got a tiny peak behind the engine, but these were anecdotes at best. And Moore is not included. I'm excited that Gibbons and Higgins (illustrator and colorist, respectively) were able to talk about their work (this is Gibbons's book with a guest appearance by Higgins), but I want to know about the story. What is also sad is that the "Glimpses" section of the Definitive Edition of Watchmen (hardcover edition) has easily 25% of the non-page work that was showed in Watching The Watchmen. So, there's not a ton that's new (partly due to Gibbons not owning most of the original artwork), and the commentary is sparse. If I was into the art or coloring of Watchmen (a lot more than I am, that is), then this book would have sparked a lot more interest. As it is, it was a wonderful waste of time that allowed me to think of how awesome Watchmen is and gave me the urge to go read Miller's Dark Knight Returns as well as Moore's Saga of the Swamp Thing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    I don't believe I've ever given Dave Gibbons the amount of credit he deserves for the creation of Watchmen. It wasn't until my most recent re-reading that I really paid attention to what he managed to accomplish with a 9 panel grid. The subtlety and level of detail he conveys - with absolute clarity - is every bit as genius as Alan Moore's words. There isn't anything flashy about his style, but I can't imagine any of today's big name artists capable of the feat, especially since so many of them I don't believe I've ever given Dave Gibbons the amount of credit he deserves for the creation of Watchmen. It wasn't until my most recent re-reading that I really paid attention to what he managed to accomplish with a 9 panel grid. The subtlety and level of detail he conveys - with absolute clarity - is every bit as genius as Alan Moore's words. There isn't anything flashy about his style, but I can't imagine any of today's big name artists capable of the feat, especially since so many of them struggle with basic storytelling and lay out pages with loud, splashy action scenes where you can't tell what's actually happening from panel to panel. I've always appreciated Watchmen as a dense and complicated work, but this behind-the-scenes look helped me understand the exact mathematical precision it took to construct it. Sure, it all started with an insanely detailed script from Moore. (91 pages for issue #1!) But it was Gibbons who brought it all together, and this archive shows you how seriously he took it. There are detailed maps and schematics of locations like Moloch's apartment, the Owlship and the street corner so he'd always have the spacing correct between the newsstand and the Gunga Diner. He dripped real ink into Rorschach patterns over and over to make sure his looked authentic. He even had an entire graph just to chart the rotation of a falling perfume bottle in relation to the fixed stars in the background. Gibbons must have kept every scrap of paper from those years, and this book is like rifling through his old desk drawers. Not everything is particularly illuminating, but every bit of it is interesting.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    The title omits the fabulous work done by Mike Essl, who designed every page with the velveteen touch and genteel manner one would expect from a gentleman craftsman.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eugene booker

    love it great table book and companuion piece to the graphic novel you will love it!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael Anderson

    Watching the Watchmen is artist Dave Gibbons’s description of the events and concepts leading up to Alan Moore’s and his Watchmen comic book series. It’s not Alan Moore’s take on the trials and tribulations of getting the series written, but the book is utterly fascinating nonetheless. Full of storyboards, pencils, and finished page art to supplement the text, I found the book hard to put down.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    Considered by some as the watershed graphic novel of the late twentieth-century, my best comparison of Moore and Gibbons’ epic comic-book series – for you neophytes out there -- is to Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. How, you ask? Well, think of the recursive nature of the narrative, as well as the adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely. That and the fact that the ubiquitous smiley face is akin to Kane’s Rosebud in its symbolic power. (Perhaps not in its meaning per se, but in its figurative u Considered by some as the watershed graphic novel of the late twentieth-century, my best comparison of Moore and Gibbons’ epic comic-book series – for you neophytes out there -- is to Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. How, you ask? Well, think of the recursive nature of the narrative, as well as the adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely. That and the fact that the ubiquitous smiley face is akin to Kane’s Rosebud in its symbolic power. (Perhaps not in its meaning per se, but in its figurative use throughout its narrative.) Reading Watchmen in its first collected printing back in the late 80s was a literary awakening of sorts – at least when it came to the comics medium. Even though Frank Miller had just published The Dark Knight Returns, which also reinvented the scope and power of the medium, Moore and Gibbons were actually working in isolation – which was also physical, as these two British blokes were hacking away at their soon-to-be-proclaimed-masterpiece across the Atlantic. The comics medium was forever changed, as was my expectations. (Which likely explains my aversion to mainstream comics shortly thereafter, as well as my critical eye when I tepidly returned to the medium in the 90s.) Dave Gibbons’ coffee-table book is an amazing inside look into the conceptual development and design of this remarkable series. Although Moore’s absence is conspicuous – being the odd hermit that he is, as he likes to hide-out in his UK home away from the outside world (according to most reports). Despite that, Gibbons succeeds in holding his own throughout his narrative as he lovingly details the development of the Watchmen from his thumbnail breakdowns of each issue – including issue number five's (“Fearful Symmetry”) visual symmetry (imagine an onomatopoeia in comic panel form) – all the way through selected penciled, inked, and colored pages. Think of it as a veritable “how-to” manual of comic-book making. Not to mention an awe-inducing behind-the-scene peek at a watershed even in the graphic novel form. Many years ago when I introduced Watchmen to a friend, she criticized Gibbons’ art. But I will, and even must, defend it. Although his style is iconic – and perhaps uninspired for some – his visual plotting and pacing have few competitors. Again, just take a look at the thumbnails for issue five “Fearful Symmetry”, the many abandoned conceptual designs, the planned trajectory of the spinning Nostalgia perfume bottle on Mars (yes, the physics of this was actually and accurately planned), and even the multiple angle/perspective layouts for the dramatic and destructive finish in the final issue. You don’t have to be a huge fan of Gibbons’ style to appreciate the level of attention to the minutiae of this fully-realized fictional world on two-dimensional paper. No doubt like many while devouring this beautifully hard-bound coffee table book, I quickly became eager to re-read Watchmen. But I’m just as hesitant as I don’t want it to spoil my growing enthusiasm for Zack Snyder’s cinematic translation due in March. (What a great present during my birthday month!) As with The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, I waited to re-read Tolkien’s classic until after The Two Towers was released, as I didn’t want become overly critical with Jackson’s interpretation. I’m planning to do likewise with Watchmen and its film version. For any fan of Moore and Gibbons’ masterpiece – or even those whose curiosity is piqued by the upcoming theatrical adaptation (don’t you just love the new trailer before Quantum of Solace, with its Phillip Glass score?) – Watching the Watchmen is an absolute must-read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chad Bearden

    I've been a big fan of "The Watchmen" since I read it many years ago. It was my first exposure to Alan Moore's writing, and Dave Gibbons' art as well for that matter. In addition to being blown away by the mere complexity and depth of the story, I also found it quite fun to look for all the symbolism, which in my pre-sophisticate days, consisted mostly of finding all the smiley faces. In the subsequent years, I've flipped through my "Watchmen" volume a few times and found other interesting little I've been a big fan of "The Watchmen" since I read it many years ago. It was my first exposure to Alan Moore's writing, and Dave Gibbons' art as well for that matter. In addition to being blown away by the mere complexity and depth of the story, I also found it quite fun to look for all the symbolism, which in my pre-sophisticate days, consisted mostly of finding all the smiley faces. In the subsequent years, I've flipped through my "Watchmen" volume a few times and found other interesting little tidbits, aided at times by various websites replete with detailed annotations. I've read just about everything Alan Moore has written. And I've promptly ignored everything Dave Gibbons drew for the remainder of his career. So I wasn't super excited when I heard this coffee-table type book compiled primarily by Dave Gibbons, and with zero involvement from Alan Moore was coming out. Alan Moore's reputation and aura, and their absence in this project, kind of overshadows what, when you stop to think about it, is kind of an interesting perspective on "The Watchmen". Sure, an in-depth behind the scenes volume written by Moore would be infinitely interesting. But though it doesn't quite reach that theoretical level of fascination, Gibbons drops in enough in-the-loop material that this proved to be a very satisfying, if quick, read. The text in this volume is a bit sparse, but what's there is interesting. Gibbons gives an account of his involvement in the genesis of the comics; the grueling pace of drawing each issue; his growing fame as he traveled around England and America to various comic conventions. We also get the tiniest of glimpses into the British comics scene (that's a book I'd like to read). Art wise, there is a LOT of cool artwork. There were thumbnail sketches of nearly every page from all 12 issues, plus preliminary artwork for "The Watchmen" role-playing game and posters and issue covers. There are even a couple of really cool diagrams Gibbons drew which offered a neat insight into the throught-process behind laying out a few scenes. One featured an overview of the city block where the giant-other-dimensional-squid-monster manifests. He drew the whole scene in a long shot (which never appears in the actual comic) in order to better help him plot out the placement of buildings and tentacles and victims in the several zoomed-in individual panels. That was pretty cool to see for a design junkie like myself. Anyhow, this is a solid volume that may not include the thoughts of certain involved parties that we'd all like to hear from, but Mr. Gibbons offers enough unique insights, and a plentiful bounty of artwork that will be something I can go back and browse through frequently and with great satisfaction.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Helena

    If you are obsessed/in love with WATCHMEN and want to be a comic artist, you WILL LOVE THIS BOOK. This book was written by Dave Gibbons, the artist behind WATCHMEN, who introduces us in the comic world, talk us how he met Moore and how they used to spend hours on the phone chatting about WATCHMEN. Gibbons explains us how hard and complex was to produce only a page and how enjoyable was to create it. When I was reading this book and felt a charming warmth in my chest and my fingers ached with desir If you are obsessed/in love with WATCHMEN and want to be a comic artist, you WILL LOVE THIS BOOK. This book was written by Dave Gibbons, the artist behind WATCHMEN, who introduces us in the comic world, talk us how he met Moore and how they used to spend hours on the phone chatting about WATCHMEN. Gibbons explains us how hard and complex was to produce only a page and how enjoyable was to create it. When I was reading this book and felt a charming warmth in my chest and my fingers ached with desire to draw. --- Didn't like that much the layout, was meh.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael Sorbello

    Set in an alternate history where costumed heroes have helped shape society since the beginning of time, the controversial yet prolific costumed hero Edward Blake (more commonly known by his alias The Comedian) is found dead and the perpetrator is nowhere to be found. Unable to solve such a bizarre murder by conventional means, the masked vigilante Rorschach who once served as a costumed hero alongside Comedian and four others takes matters into his own bloodstained hands to track down a mysteri Set in an alternate history where costumed heroes have helped shape society since the beginning of time, the controversial yet prolific costumed hero Edward Blake (more commonly known by his alias The Comedian) is found dead and the perpetrator is nowhere to be found. Unable to solve such a bizarre murder by conventional means, the masked vigilante Rorschach who once served as a costumed hero alongside Comedian and four others takes matters into his own bloodstained hands to track down a mysterious assassin that's taking out costumed heroes one by one. Conspiracies abound, political tensions are through the roof, the threat of WWIII is lurking just around the corner and the gritty and depressive atmosphere of a rotting New York City during the 1980's sets the scene for a grim dissection and criticism of classic superhero archetypes. Watchmen redefines the term superhero. With the exception of Dr. Manhattan, none of them have any notable powers. The Comedian is merely a grotesque reflection of American society and all its shameless faults, as well as how misguided patriotism can be used to justify mindless violence and prejudice. Rorschach is a vigilante who throws around the words good and evil to justify his brute force and questionable methods of solving problems. Silk Spectre is a normal woman struggling between following her own path in life and forever remaining trapped in the shadow of her mother's legacy. Nite Owl almost feels like a comedic parody of Batman, poking fun at the fact that he's an awkward old nerd that loves owl-themed gadgets and dressing up in what is essentially a big Halloween costume. Dr. Manhattan is the embodiment of how power, knowledge, wealth and limitless freedom to do anything imaginable can alienate and dehumanize a person from the rest of the world. All of the superheroes are extremely flawed everyday people with everyday issues and imperfections who hide behind masked personas to cope with the questionable acts they're performing and the faulty morals behind them. The heroes of this tale defy the image of flawless paragons of justice that can do no wrong. They are just as capable of being selfish, abusing their powers and doing evil things out of spite and unchecked negative emotions as everyone else. This critiques the very idea of putting idols on a pedestal in the first place. This can be compared to the famous actors, pop stars and politicians of today. It's easy for people to treat the words and actions of their idols like the words of God himself, forgetting that they're ordinary people with many imperfections just like everyone else. Again, most of the Watchmen have selfish reasons for hiding behind their costumed personas, because they feel powerless, guilty and ordinary without them. What does it say about who you are when you can't even show yourself in public without hiding behind a carefully crafted disguise? Why wear a mask if you're in the right and have nothing to hide? All of this deception and abuse of authority is where the popular slogan (Who watches the Watchmen?) comes from. The people in power are constantly watching and judging the actions of the average person, but who are watching and judging the actions of the people in power? The people in power punish us for our wrongdoings but who punishes the people in power for theirs? Dismantling the infallible images that figures of authority try to maintain, dissecting issues of confused morals and identities hiding behind literal and figurative masks, tearing the veil from the one-dimensional definition of superheroes, all of these things are masterfully challenged in the shape of a dark psychological crime-thriller with many timeless themes that go harsh on politics and society. Our heroes and leaders are never the flawless, perfect beings we romanticize them to be. *** My Social Media My YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPPs... My Instagram Account: https://www.instagram.com/michael_sor... My Wattpad Account: https://www.wattpad.com/user/Michael-... My Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/SorbelloHorror My Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/michael.sorb...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eli Bishop

    If you just like Watchmen a lot, then I'm not sure this big coffee-table slab is necessary; there are a couple of nice stories about the making of the comic, and some cool character sketches and so on—although not a lot in the way of full-page original art, because most of that was long gone into the hands of collectors before this was put together. Fanatical completists of course will want it—although, for reasons that I'm sure you know, none of it is from Moore's point of view. But if you're i If you just like Watchmen a lot, then I'm not sure this big coffee-table slab is necessary; there are a couple of nice stories about the making of the comic, and some cool character sketches and so on—although not a lot in the way of full-page original art, because most of that was long gone into the hands of collectors before this was put together. Fanatical completists of course will want it—although, for reasons that I'm sure you know, none of it is from Moore's point of view. But if you're involved in writing or illustrating comics, it's both a pleasure and a great resource. I could look at Dave Gibbons's thumbnail pages all day (which make up the bulk of the book) and learn more about design and storytelling than I would by actually reading the comic, and the stories about how he and Moore bounced ideas back and forth are like a best-case scenario of how collaboration can work.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chris Browning

    I’m still ambivalent about Watchmen: it’s a tremendous achievement but I do think it heralded in several unpleasant habits for comics, and Moore’s writing is technically impressive rather than likeable. So it’s nice to get a book that looks at the art, and specifically Gibbons’ achievement - who gets main credit here, although John Higgins gets a chance in the spotlight too - which I think is massively underrated because focus is usually on the text. It’s a handsome, lovingly researched book - b I’m still ambivalent about Watchmen: it’s a tremendous achievement but I do think it heralded in several unpleasant habits for comics, and Moore’s writing is technically impressive rather than likeable. So it’s nice to get a book that looks at the art, and specifically Gibbons’ achievement - who gets main credit here, although John Higgins gets a chance in the spotlight too - which I think is massively underrated because focus is usually on the text. It’s a handsome, lovingly researched book - because it’s a Chip Kidd volume, so of course it is - and manages to demystify a lot of the book’s slightly worthy air

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rich Rosell

    This whopper of a book (which weighs a ton) consists of Gibbons notes regarding the creation of the Watchmen comics with Alan Moore. But the real joy of this are pencil sketches, rough drawings, character variations, etc. Heavy paper, bright colors, and an absolutely perfect companion to peruse after a reading of Watchmen. Love it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tony Ricketts

    Great insights into the genesis and production of the acclaimed work. Naturally, it is very focused on the artwork, hand-drawn sketches, themes, colouring etc. A lot of it went over my head, but it is an inspiring collection.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wednesday

    I've always loved Watchmen and it is great to see all this information and beauty behind the scenes

  20. 5 out of 5

    David Wilson

    Not for everyone, but a fantastic art book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    K. Carters

    A work of art. I want to frame every page and I love it. The perfect coffee table book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joie

    I was a little scared when I started to read "Watching the Watchmen", not really knowing what I was going to get myself into, just knowing it was about the watchmen and I had to feed my inner nerd. I was scared that the book would withhold to much information about the secrets and wonders of the watchmen, things that shouldn't be told, much like Shakespeares' Macbeth and it's hidden secrets that no one can figure out even to this day, yet I was pleased to see that this book gave you enough infor I was a little scared when I started to read "Watching the Watchmen", not really knowing what I was going to get myself into, just knowing it was about the watchmen and I had to feed my inner nerd. I was scared that the book would withhold to much information about the secrets and wonders of the watchmen, things that shouldn't be told, much like Shakespeares' Macbeth and it's hidden secrets that no one can figure out even to this day, yet I was pleased to see that this book gave you enough information for you to enjoy it and learn from it, yet not exposing any real secrets. This is a great book on showing the basic yet complicated steps in making comic books and graphic novels. It is defiantly inspiring to any artist who is into comic book art, and to any watchmen junkie like myself! I rated it with 4 stars because I'm selfish and would of liked to hear more about Alan Moore and his writing technique for the watchmen, yet he had nothing to do with Watching the Watchmen, so what do you expect?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael Allan Leonard

    The next best thing to sitting down with Dave Gibbons and leafing through his sketchbooks and files while he tells you how Watchmen got made from his perspective. Be warned, though: the level of painstaking detail here is for uber-fans and other comics writers and artists only -- if you're not interested in seeing a full set of Dave's thumbnail layouts for the entire series, or photographs of the test inkblots Gibbons made for reference for Rorschach's mask, move along. The thing I appreciate mo The next best thing to sitting down with Dave Gibbons and leafing through his sketchbooks and files while he tells you how Watchmen got made from his perspective. Be warned, though: the level of painstaking detail here is for uber-fans and other comics writers and artists only -- if you're not interested in seeing a full set of Dave's thumbnail layouts for the entire series, or photographs of the test inkblots Gibbons made for reference for Rorschach's mask, move along. The thing I appreciate most here is that Dave specifically avoids the post-publication acrimony between Alan Moore and DC Comics -- it's an important coda to know and recognize, but this book is a record of the creative process and celebrates the craftsmanship of the art itself, not the industry politics that followed. I would highly recommend this to any aspiring writer or artist so they can see that even one of the most celebrated works in the medium's history still has rough edges and missteps along the way, and the kind of sweat-the-small-stuff attention to detail that goes into making something that will be remembered for more than a brief period.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    excellent overview of the production of the series by artist dave gibbons. not even chip kidd could mess this up. yes, it's true, i hate kidd's designs. i know they're supposed to be "innovative" and "cutting edge" but it always looks like some dude from design school went nuts. anyway, presentation is very clear and concise, and the layout is very pleasing. if you're into it - it's my favorite super hero story ever - then this book is well worth having. although it offers insight on the making o excellent overview of the production of the series by artist dave gibbons. not even chip kidd could mess this up. yes, it's true, i hate kidd's designs. i know they're supposed to be "innovative" and "cutting edge" but it always looks like some dude from design school went nuts. anyway, presentation is very clear and concise, and the layout is very pleasing. if you're into it - it's my favorite super hero story ever - then this book is well worth having. although it offers insight on the making of the comic, avoids any sort of, uh, "difficulties" surrounding it involving moore and gibbons vs. DC. all that stuff has been well-documented over the last 20 years, anyway.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jean-Paul

    As I fan of this graphic novel since it came out in the late eighties, and as someone who finds the business of comic books and their "production" interesting, I enjoyed this book, though it is little more than a grandiose coffee table book. I suspect that those who have never read of or heard of Watchmen before will find it of little interest, especially as the original graphic novel is NOT part of this book, though there are quite a few pre-production pages and other interesting oddities inclu As I fan of this graphic novel since it came out in the late eighties, and as someone who finds the business of comic books and their "production" interesting, I enjoyed this book, though it is little more than a grandiose coffee table book. I suspect that those who have never read of or heard of Watchmen before will find it of little interest, especially as the original graphic novel is NOT part of this book, though there are quite a few pre-production pages and other interesting oddities included. For Watchmen aficionados (a number sure to grow with the rel;ease of the film adaption) this is a nice diversion... for those who've never read the source material, I would strongly recommend reading that in advance.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    This is an excellent deconstruction and history of the writing, drawing, coloring, and lettering of the Watchmen comic series. Gibbons doesn't get into any of the ridiculousness and bad blood that may exist between parties and instead focuses on the creative process. That's not to say that there aren't a lot of different anecdotes from the time, but they are always focused on the creation and reception of the book. I've always liked Watchmen, but the level of detail within this book really incre This is an excellent deconstruction and history of the writing, drawing, coloring, and lettering of the Watchmen comic series. Gibbons doesn't get into any of the ridiculousness and bad blood that may exist between parties and instead focuses on the creative process. That's not to say that there aren't a lot of different anecdotes from the time, but they are always focused on the creation and reception of the book. I've always liked Watchmen, but the level of detail within this book really increased my appreciation for what Moore and Gibbons did with Watchmen. Definitely worth a read for it's original perspective on the business and the effect that the publication of Watchmen had in general.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Davies

    It is quite disconcerting to feel that you are missing important aspects of the story when you are reading a graphic novel designed in the best comic tradition. But this is supposed to be the great Graphic Novel and it’s themes are many and were ground breaking for this genre in 1986. The Cold War arches over all the stories, whilst characters inner turmoil, psychological profiles and environmental conditioning are brilliantly explored. Read in 1986 this would have indeed been revolutionary, but It is quite disconcerting to feel that you are missing important aspects of the story when you are reading a graphic novel designed in the best comic tradition. But this is supposed to be the great Graphic Novel and it’s themes are many and were ground breaking for this genre in 1986. The Cold War arches over all the stories, whilst characters inner turmoil, psychological profiles and environmental conditioning are brilliantly explored. Read in 1986 this would have indeed been revolutionary, but we are more comfortable with it’s themes and it’s characters depth today and this lessens the impact of the story. It was interesting to spot lines of dialogue, situations and ideas that have subsequently been absorbed into popular culture.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matt Harris

    Wish I could give it 3 1/2 stars. At times really insightful into how comic artwork comes together and comes from concept to realisation, colour and lettering forming a big part of it. Dave Gibbons is clearly a match for Alan Moore in this instance, both of them at the top of their game when DC ran with this title. Developmental sketches form the bulk of this lavish book, with some amazing watchmen collectibles detailed at the end, my favourite being a swatch type watch with the smiley face on th Wish I could give it 3 1/2 stars. At times really insightful into how comic artwork comes together and comes from concept to realisation, colour and lettering forming a big part of it. Dave Gibbons is clearly a match for Alan Moore in this instance, both of them at the top of their game when DC ran with this title. Developmental sketches form the bulk of this lavish book, with some amazing watchmen collectibles detailed at the end, my favourite being a swatch type watch with the smiley face on the face! Perfect - watch-men, smiley-face. But the actual comic, without knowing how they did it, is just so exceptional that this pales a bit in comparison, unless you're an artist or very much into comics. Thanks Clay, for this book, the third and last in my Watchmen trilogy!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Greg Pettit

    A good coffee table book that discusses the creation of the famous The Watchmen graphic novel. Dave Gibbons offers a lot of great insights about the initial ideas that drove the work and the processes he used to bring it to life. The book is full of sketches, thumbnails of pages, and a few pages of Alan Moore's script. Unfortunately, the majority of the artwork doesn't merit more than a passing glance. The text, though definitely interesting and worthwhile, doesn't go into as much detail as one m A good coffee table book that discusses the creation of the famous The Watchmen graphic novel. Dave Gibbons offers a lot of great insights about the initial ideas that drove the work and the processes he used to bring it to life. The book is full of sketches, thumbnails of pages, and a few pages of Alan Moore's script. Unfortunately, the majority of the artwork doesn't merit more than a passing glance. The text, though definitely interesting and worthwhile, doesn't go into as much detail as one might hope. I appreciated that Mr. Gibbons wanted to steer clear of the more controversial and negative aspects of the back story, but I would have enjoyed just a little more depth in certain areas.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megan Brown

    What was most enjoyable about this book is the background information and anecdotal stories told by the illustrator of "Watchmen". He describes the creative process behind the drawings as well as the evolution of several character designs. Also included are many original drawings, sketches, and page layouts. With the upcoming film incarnation of "Watchmen", fans of the graphic novel will appreciate and enjoy this unique opportunity to "Watch the Watchmen", a clever response to the graphic novel' What was most enjoyable about this book is the background information and anecdotal stories told by the illustrator of "Watchmen". He describes the creative process behind the drawings as well as the evolution of several character designs. Also included are many original drawings, sketches, and page layouts. With the upcoming film incarnation of "Watchmen", fans of the graphic novel will appreciate and enjoy this unique opportunity to "Watch the Watchmen", a clever response to the graphic novel's oft graffitied question: "Who Watches the Watchmen?"

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