Watchmen - Art and Composition

Art and Composition

Moore and Gibbons designed Watchmen to showcase the unique qualities of the comics medium and to highlight its particular strengths. In a 1986 interview, Moore said, "What I'd like to explore is the areas that comics succeed in where no other media is capable of operating", and emphasized this by stressing the differences between comics and film. Moore said that Watchmen was designed to be read "four or five times," with some links and allusions only becoming apparent to the reader after several readings. Dave Gibbons notes that, "s it progressed, Watchmen became much more about the telling than the tale itself. The main thrust of the story essentially hinges on what is called a macguffin, a gimmick ... So really the plot itself is of no great consequence ... it just really isn't the most interesting thing about Watchmen. As we actually came to tell the tale, that's where the real creativity came in."

Gibbons said he deliberately constructed the visual look of Watchmen so that each page would be identifiable as part of that particular series and "not some other comic book". He made a concerted effort to draw the characters in a manner different than that commonly seen in comics. The artist tried to draw the series with "a particular weight of line, using a hard, stiff pen that didn't have much modulation in terms of thick and thin" which he hoped "would differentiate it from the usual lush, fluid kind of comic book line". In a 2009 interview, Moore recalled that he took advantage of Gibbons' training as a former surveyor for "including incredible amounts of detail in every tiny panel, so we could choreograph every little thing". Gibbons described the series as "a comic about comics". Gibbons felt that "Alan is more concerned with the social implications of and I've gotten involved in the technical implications." The story's alternate world setting allowed Gibbons to change details of the American landscape, such as adding electric cars, slightly different buildings, and spark hydrants instead of fire hydrants, which Moore said, "perhaps gives the American readership a chance in some ways to see their own culture as an outsider would". Gibbons noted that the setting was liberating for him because he did not have to rely primarily on reference books.

Colorist John Higgins used a template that was "moodier" and favored secondary colors. Moore stated that he had also "always loved John's coloring, but always associated him with being an airbrush colorist", which Moore was not fond of; Higgins subsequently decided to color Watchmen in European-style flat color. Moore noted that the artist paid particular attention to lighting and subtle color changes; in issue six, Higgins began with "warm and cheerful" colors and throughout the issue gradually made it darker to give the story a dark and bleak feeling.

Read more about this topic:  Watchmen

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