Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Was at the cashier of a bookstore the other day paying for a copy of House Beautiful: How to Paint (A complete guide to painting your home) when the boss came by and plunked a copy of Watchmen in front of me, asking if I'd read it before.

I'd never heard of the book, frankly; but since the cover says it was a Winner of the Hugo Award and one of Time Magazine's 100 Best English-Language Novels, my interest was immediately piqued. The fact that the book was marked down 20% as part of an ongoing book sale clinched the deal for me. I bought a copy.

Turns out Watchmen is a graphic novel which was first published by DC Comics in 1986. The story is written by Alan Moore, who is also the author of V for Vendetta (which, I've now learned, originally appeared also as a graphic novel).

Watchmen begins with the mysterious murder of a former masked hero / vigilante. I'm only in Chapter 3 now, so I'm eager to reach the end of the book and find out where all this is going to lead.

Reading this book brings back memories of high school, when I used to borrow copy after copy of DC and Marvel comic books, following the adventures of The Uncanny X-men and the heroes in the Justice League of America (among others).

It surprises me to realize that I now find it difficult to read a story that is told primarily through images. Words have become so much a part of my life over the years that it really takes an effort of will to stop and look at each image before reading the words in the character's thought bubbles. I find myself rushing through the pages, not giving myself enough time to appreciate the beauty of the artist's work.

Which is why reading this book is one of life's "full circle" moments for me. We all started out as little kids looking at picture books before we ever learned what the alphabet was. And now here I am, having to relearn the value of images as a form of story-telling, and reading a novel that some people might easily dismiss as just being a spectacularly thick comic book. Haha!

Life can be funny sometimes.