For over 20 years, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen miniseries has been upheld as the prototypical ‘graphic novel,’ used by generations of comic fans to justify spending a lifetime chasing Spawn back issues, rubbing off to Mary Marvel, and buying Batman underwear at Zellers. In the comic, Moore, one of the most respected writers in the medium, introduced a fascinating level of formal experimentation, creating a complex work that inspired a generation of creators. And though Moore’s literary sensibilities are obvious, the book exists firmly in the comic book world, playing off of the conventions of the super-hero genre while pushing the boundaries of the medium’s structure. Which is why it makes perfect sense to put the Watchmen adaptation in the hands of an action movie director who makes Nike commercials.
Zack Snyder, whose previous feature films, comic book adaptation 300 and the Dawn of the Dead remake, were box office blockbusters, has finally brought a Watchmen film to the big screen after years of legal wrangling and script-problems. But is it faithful enough for comic geeks, or too faithful for mainstream audiences? Tonight, Sound on Sight takes a look at the Watchmen film, as well as From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, two other adaptations of Alan Moore’s comic book work.