Saturday, 8 November 2008

Watchmen - The Greatest Graphic Novel of All Time Comes to the Big Screen

The wait for Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal graphic novel WATCHMEN to take the leap from the printed page to the big screen has been going on for almost two decades. Now that the film is on its way for real (pending Fox's lawsuit against WB), the light is at the end of the tunnel for comics fans who have waited so long to see the story come to life. The graphic novel, originally published in 12 individual issues by DC Comics in the 1980s, became the benchmark by which all other similar works would be judged for years afterwards. It turned the superhero genre, and indeed the comics industry, on its head, it became a New York Times bestseller, and it achieved that most rare of accolades for a comics based story: Actual respect.

At its most basic, the story is a whodunit, but that is a gross oversimplification of a tale that has so many layers, so many dimensions, and so much going on in its pages that you will still be finding new things in various frames after several readings. A dense, enthralling masterpiece, it has stood the test of time for the simple fact that it is GOOD. The writing and art work so well together that it transcends a mere comic book story. This is a novel in its own right, a weaving, plot and character driven story of redemption, love, emotion, violence, politics and ideas so grand that they would only really have been given any attention in comics in the first place.

WATCHMEN is something that is a byword for quality. The graphic novel has been a bestseller for several years, and that isn't down to marketing, advertising or product placement. It is largely through word of mouth and the legend that has built up around the book. "Read this, you'll love it," people have said the world over, and they've been right.

When it came to light that a feature film adaptation of the book was finally going into production after years of false starts and various people attached to it, the comics industry feared the worst. Zack Snyder, director of the visually stunning 300, was signed up to direct, and work got underway on turning the most loved graphic novel of all time into a movie. Many had said that it wouldn't be possible to do the story justice in one film, that it should be three, that it couldn't be made properly, that the characters and their relationships were far too complex for Hollywood execs to approve of. Thankfully, it seems that throughout the film's production, Zack Snyder and his team, the cast, the effects artists and indeed Warner Brothers, have taken on the same mindset of the book's original creators and created something seminal.

Early showings of footage from the film, coupled with an incredible trailer and test screenings that have left people astonished suggest that the impossible has indeed become possible. WATCHMEN is coming, and even though Alan Moore disowned the project (as he did with 'V For Vendetta'), it seems that Zack Snyder and Co have treated the source material with great respect and humility, while still creating something new. The film looks truly unique, its characters a perfect representation of their comic book counterparts, and audiences are gearing up for what has long been dubbed the Citizen Kane of comics and comic movies. Who watches the WATCHMEN? Once the film hits, we all will.

Andrew is an expert on comic books, graphic novels, film, TV movie memorabilia and more. He writes for the famous movie merchandise and graphic novels site http://www.starstore.com and their blogs. He is also a renowned music journalist and Science Fiction author. For the latest updates check out====> starstoreblog.com

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