Recently, I’ve been getting my face stuck in the Watchmen graphic novel. Apart from maybe reading the Simpsons comics as a kid, I’ve never been a heavy reader of comics but hopefully reading Watchmen has changed that.
Surprisingly, reading Watchmen has made me appreciate the film even more (even though the film seemed to have copied the book shot for shot); I feel I know more about the characters (their motives, values etc.) and I am more aware of the messages Alan Moore sends out to society but that could easily just be a representation of how more conscious I’ve become since watching the film! Watchmen’s short bursts of comic strips are usually followed by numerous pages of much larger pieces of texts (so you kind of get the best of both worlds) which better your understanding of the story’s characters and turn of events. There is also always a interesting quote at the end of each chapter that, in one way or another, sums up the whole chapter.
So what? A book tells a story with much depth anyway. What do comic books add? Besides the fact they’re aesthetically very appealing, there’s a lot of room for visual puns and also metaphors (a small example of this is shown above). Comic books, I’ve found, are also easier to digest; you can read many pages in one bus trip. Furthermore, I’ve found it’s easier to “get into the book” as the visuals are already set out on the page, thus the only job left for your imagination is to animate them. I think because of this “light readability”, comic books are more accessible to a wider audience and unsurprisingly, have allowed rappers, like Eminem, who possibly would not have enjoyed reading largely text based books, to become great writers.
I look forward to watching Watchmen once again and comparing it with the book (so it might be worth watching this space).
Now I’m off to continue my exploration of this newly discovered world!