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The Books of ‘Watchmen’
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Week of Geek: Watchmen

Watching the Watchmen hardbound editionAs you all know, this week is the one we’ve been waiting so impatiently for, the Watchmen Week of Geek!

In celebration of this momentous occasion, I have a collection of great books to tell you about. But before I get into the movie tie-in books, I should mention that if you haven’t read the original Watchmen graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, be sure to get your hands on that! Ok, now that that’s out of the way, we’ll start this entry up with a review of the grand daddy of the Watchmen tie-in books: Watching the Watchmen. After that, we will have more brief looks at Watchmen: The Art of the Film, Watchmen: The Official Film Companion (Hardcover Edition), Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series), and Watchmen: Portraits.

Watching the Watchmen
The Definitive Companion to the Ultimate Graphic Novel
By Dave Gibbons, Chip Kidd, Mike Essl
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Titan Books (October 21, 2008)

Watching the Watchmen is about as in-depth a look into the world of Watchmen as you could possibly get. Basically, the book is a museum, full of the personal property of artist and co-creator Dave Gibbons himself. You get to see pretty much EVERYTHING that went into the brainstorming, the outlining, the structuring, and the construction of one of the greatest graphic novels ever created — Watchmen.

Gibbons has put together what feels like your own personal treasure chest full of priceless Watchmen artifacts. The book is chock full of concept art, character designs and sketches (like Rorschach with his entire costume made of the material we’re so familiar with as his mask), posters, never before seen actual pages of content, and even letters from writer and co-creator Alan Moore as the two created their masterpiece.

There’s really so much in here that it’s hard to describe it. The very best way to describe it — aside from saying it’s the ultimate Watchmen companion book — is that it’s the very ultimate coffee table book for Watchmen fans. You could quite literally find something new and enjoyable to look at or read about every single time you open this bad boy up — there’s that much going on.

For me personally, I think my favorite part — aside from actually getting a firsthand look at the construction of something as respected as Watchmen — has to be the real human elements. Throughout the book, there lies numerous letters and notes — letters like the aforementioned letters from Alan Moore to Dave Gibbons when they were creating the book; letters from publishers and other comic book talents talking about how brilliant the work was as it was coming together and as issues came out. It’s like time traveling back to the ’80s and getting a good sharp taste of what it was like to witness Watchmen as it grew and before anyone had a damn clue what it was going to become one day. Another was what looks like a very small doodle on the back of a piece of paper by a young and relatively unknown Neil Gaiman. He joked of a spinoff called “Watchdogs” with a small picture of a dog Rorschach and a play on that famous line: “Dead human in the gutter. This city is afraid of me. I have smelt its lamp posts.”

A must-own for any fan.

Watchmen: The Art of the Film
By Peter Aperlo
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Titan Books (February 10, 2009)

If Watching the Watchmen gives you the best look at what went into the graphic novel, then Watchmen: The Art of the Film gives you one of the best looks into what has gone into the movie. This book will give you many great examples of concept art that went into the movie as well as a ton of photographs. You’ll see pictures of the complex sets that were built, the costumes that were used, some stills from the actual movie, miniature designs used for scale, as well as props.

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find a better visual behind the scenes look than you will in this book right here.

Watchmen: The Official Film Companion
By Peter Aperlo
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Titan Books (February 17, 2009)

The title says it all. Watchmen: The Official Film Companion is your complete guide to the movie Watchmen. If the two and a half hours of film just isn’t enough, you’ll find so much more here with even more pictures, interviews with cast members, and crew and surely a lot of inside information on the production of the film. Maybe even a peek at the supposedly many Easter eggs and nods to the graphic novel that director Zack Snyder has very meticulously placed in various scenes and backgrounds of the film.

Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test
(The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)
by William Irwin (Editor), Mark D. White (Editor)
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Wiley (January 20, 2009)

Probably the most interesting in this series of Watchmen-related books — Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test looks deep into the complex mythology taking place in this alternated U.S. history. Some of the questions posed in the book include: What might be the ramifications of the Comedian’s work with the government? How do you explain the nature of Dr. Manhattan? How do you justify Ozymandias and Rorschach’s various actions? Even questions outside of the story, like how do they consider a graphic novel as being literature?

As you can tell, if you grab this one, you’ll be doing a hell of a lot of thinking, pondering, and even a little deducting!

As shown above, this book is part of The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, which also includes philosophical looks into pretty much everything in pop culture, like Lost, Family Guy, Battlestar Galactica, South Park, and Batman.

Watchmen: Portraits
By Clay Enos
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Titan Books (February 10, 2009)

Simple and straight, Watchmen: Portraits is a photography fan’s dream come true. Characters, people, moments, props, and other things associated with the movie — all captured in breathtaking high resolution black and white photographs. Unlike the other books with a lot of pictures and artwork, these pictures were specifically and magnificently taken through the eyes of a great photographer in Clay Enos.

Every single one of these photographs should be shown off in some kind of a special Watchmen art gallery, they’re that good.

1 Comment »

  1. omg do want both watching the watchmen and Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test

    Comment by tarsonus — March 6, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

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