Watchmen’s Clockwork Origins Span Comics, Lit, Film, Physics

Still more Watchmen coverage, this time on the origins of the origin. That is, the comics, literature, film and science that inspired Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons to create what might be the greatest graphic novel ever written. Nerd out:

From Mars’ Galle crater to comics, literature, music, politics and even quantum physics, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons borrowed from a stunning wealth of sources to create Watchmen, a work that’s generally accepted as the greatest graphic novel of all time.

With Zack Snyder’s cinematic adaptation of Watchmen hitting theaters Friday as 2009’s must-see comic book movie, it’s time for a deep dive into that fountain of influences.

Watchmen’s origin story starts with characters from Charlton Comics, which DC Comics acquired in 1985. Moore and Gibbons’ brilliant revisions of Charlton’s stable of heroes — characters like The Question, created by the legendary Steve Ditko — became immortal copies of their original sources.

Moore’s literary influences didn’t stop at comics, though. He cited greats like William S. Burroughs, Herman Melville, Graham Greene, Joe Orlando and many, many others. In the process, Watchmen revolutionized comics with a dizzying intertextuality packed with density and allusion, becoming one of the most lasting artistic exercises pop culture has ever known.


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