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Watching the Watchmen 2

Happy New Year, Folks!

I’m still reading the Dave Gibbons book “Watching the Watchmen,” and what an excellent book it is.  Reading this book really makes me marvel at the commitment it took to make comics in pre-computer days.

For example, Gibbons did all the lettering by hand, as well as the logos.  If he was going to reuse a prop, like a framed picture, he would section it off so that he could accurately redraw it again and again.  If he drew a set that he might need to reuse, he did it on tracing paper and reapplied it as needed.  The colors had to work as flats, and they all had hard edges and no gradients.  To make a four-color comic, the colors had to be labeled, and then distributed among twelve layers of acetate for printing purposes.

As you may see, the computer made the overall process very much easier and more streamlined.  Did that make for better comics?  Not necessarily.  While there was a revolution in comic coloring and production values, the content and quality of storytelling in comics of 1990’s suffered.  But, that’s another story.

When Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns were published in the 1980’s, it revolutionized the comic industry and changed it forever.  Searching through my mental catalogue of comics, I wonder if there have been any other really far-reaching and influential comics published in then.  The first twelve issue run of the “Authority” comes to mind, by Ellis and Hitch.  The first series of the Ultimates, by Millar and Hitch, also rank, I believe.  But, what else?

Heroes Reborn?  Nope.  Hush?  No.  Brand New Day?  No no no.  Infinite Crisis?  No.  Identity Crisis?  Close, but no.  Planetary?  Really close, but no.

I don’t want to come off as negative.  There are some truly spectacular books that have come out since the 1980’s.  The Killing Joke.  Alan Moore’s Supreme.  Alan Moore’s Promethea.  The Invisibles.  Seven Solders.  Batman & Son.  World War Hulk.  Planet Hulk.

Well, in memory of 2008, I’d like to mention my favorite graphic novels of the year:

  • Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus
  • World War Hulk
  • Salvation Run
  • Umbrella Academy
  • Batman & Son

As for what webcomics I’m still reading:

  • Girl Genius
  • Wayfarer’s Moon
  • PVP
  • Sheldon
  • Evil Inc.
  • Sinfest
  • Frazz
  • 9 Chickweed Lane
  • Dilbert
  • Nodwick
  • Classic Bloom County

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