Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Watching the Watchmen; Movie Based on Graphic Novel That Revolutionised Comics Hits Screens

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Watching the Watchmen; Movie Based on Graphic Novel That Revolutionised Comics Hits Screens

Article excerpt

THE long-awaited WATCHMEN hits cinemas this week touted as a groundbreaking movie set to challenge people's perceptions of "super-hero" films.

Watchmen is a 1986 graphic novel written by British writer Alan Moore (From Hell, V for Vendetta) and illustrated by Dave Gibbons.

It is perhaps the most celebrated title in comic-dom and has been showered with accolades including a Hugo Award, science fictions highest honour.

Time listed it as one of its top 100 English-language novels.

Watchmen touched on many Reagan-era themes, including the Cold War and the nuclear arms race. But, ultimately, it moved comic books away from the kitschy, kids-only image of the '60s and '70s and proved the genre could handle more complex, adult drama.

Originally released as a 12-issue limited series, Watchmen focuses on a group of retired heroes living in an alternative version of 1985 New York. When one of them, The Comedian, is murdered, the rest uncover a plot that could spark a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Here's what you need to know to enter the Watchmen world.

The characters:

* Dr Manhattan (aka Jon Osterman)

Played by: Billy Crudup

(Almost Famous, Big Fish)

Trapped inside an intrinsic field generator during a test run, scientist Jon Osterman was ripped apart by the ensuing explosion. Somehow his consciousness survived, and he rebuilt himself as a glowing, blue-skinned being with a dislike for pants. The only super-powered hero in the Watchmen universe, Dr Manhattan can do just about anything, from rearranging any kind of matter to teleportation.

Crudup stars in the upcoming film, Public Enemies, which opens in Australia on July 30. He plays J Edgar Hoover, who allegedly also had issues with clothing.

* Rorschach (aka Walter Kovacs)

Played by: Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children)

Wearing a black-and-white mask that resembles a Rorschach test, this vigilante patrols the streets of New York. Spewing conspiracy theories and smelling like a garbage bin, Rorschach is considered more of a brutal nuisance than a help. …

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