Watchmen: by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
"Following two generations of masked superheroes from the close of World War II to the icy shadow of the Cold War, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's monumental Watchmen is one of the most influential comics series of all time, and is now a national bestseller."
The first time I picked up Watchmen was done so rather unwillingly. Having just been assigned to read the graphic novel for my Modern Literature course, I had no choice other than to grit my teeth and bear with what I thought would be nothing but your typical cookie cutter good guys vs. bad guys bore. My preconceived notions of the comic book medium allowed me to readily dismiss reading it from being any sort of worthwhile endeavor.
Well, long story short, it only took 1 page, 7 panels, and 192 words to make me think otherwise.
Watchmen is set in an alternate history during the Cold War era. As tensions between the United States and Russia reach an all time high and the possibility of nuclear war becomes seemingly inevitable, the end of the world seems closer with each page you turn. The story centrals around several superheros, who, with the exception of a couple who've been allowed to work for the government, have been outlawed from crime fighting. In the first chapter we learn of the murder of Edward Blake. Rorschach, a costumed vigilante who works outside the law, discovers Blake to have been a fellow superhero, The Comedian. Due to his distrustful and cynical nature, he immediately suspects a conspiracy and sets out to warn the other retired costumed adventurers. He pays visits to Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl), Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias), Dr. Manhattan, and Sally Juspeczyk (Silk Spectre), hoping to shed light on the matter. However, each visit yields no explanation. With so many questions left unanswered and with time running out, the novel becomes a hurried tale of "whodunit".
To say this novel changed my life is no overstatement. Nor to say it changed the way I think, either. Between Alan Moore's insightful nonlinear story telling and Dave Gibbons's striking illustrations, this graphic novel is fantastic cover-to-cover. I strongly recommend Watchmen to anyone who's willing to give it a chance, I promise you that it'll be one of the better choices you've made it your life.