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Buzz Book Club: Watchmen, Section One

Hello, Buzz Book Club readers! I hope you're enjoying the dark and mysterious alternate reality of Watchmen so far. I think tackling a comic book series is rewarding in some ways and a little harder than a regular book in others. It definitely makes me excited for the movie. We'll discuss more in a second.

First, here's a recap of how the Book Club goes if you're new: Every week I'll suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, will go up every Friday in February). In these weekly Book Club posts, I'll posit a few questions to prompt discussion in the comments section.

Of course, you are always welcome to read beyond the weekly chapters, but please don't spoil anything in the comments! After the jump you'll find some questions that struck me as I read this section.

The next section: Read from the start of chapter four to the end of chapter six (stop before chapter seven). We'll chat about this section a week from today, Feb. 13.

To discuss the first section of Watchmen, in which we read from the start of the book through chapter three,


  1. Do you read this visual story any differently than you read a regular book? I sometimes read all the text on the page pretty quickly, but then I have to remind myself to go back and look at the pictures, too.
  2. So far, which characters and stories are grabbing you the most? Are there any that particularly intrigue you? Any that aren't holding your attention?
  3. The Watchmen are masked avengers — real, ordinary people, as opposed to superheroes like Superman or Spider-Man. What kind of story do you prefer: One about characters with superpowers, or one about average humans as masked avengers?
  4. Do you think that having the story set in an alternate version of our society — as opposed to, say, a made-up place like Gotham — works? Does it make the story seem spookier or more real? Or does it not make much difference to you?
  5. Do you like the chunks at the end of each chapter, in which we see documents or bits of other books? Or are you anxious to just keep going with the story?
  6. And I'm kind of loving the quotes that close each chapter, too (one from Bob Dylan, one from Elvis Costello, one from the Bible, etc.). What do you think of these quotes?
Join The Conversation
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 8 years
I'm finding it a little hard to read, but I like it! So, so far I see Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach are creepy, different, but creepy. And yeah, I am reading and going back to see the pictures again. Maybe I find it hard to read because English is not my language, as Diana0504. And sometimes I find myself bored on the parts for only text that are supossed to be part of books. But I read them, because I think it is part of the story and I will need that story to understand this graphic novel. I am far behind this book club, I am going very slowly, first because I've got the book from a friend and me and my brother are reading it at the same time, so the poor books travels trough both rooms.
Choco-cat Choco-cat 8 years
Diana0504 - your english seems to be just as good as mine, and I am a native speaker!
Alithyra Alithyra 8 years
It's always a challenge for me with these kind of things to look at the artwork. I read very quickly and have to remember to slow down to appreciate the art. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all. I had to read this section a couple of times for the story to really grab me. This seems to be all setup and nothing really gets going to later. Masked avengers versus real superheroes .... There are a lot of books out there about superheroes with super powers. Having true masked avengers is almost a change of pace. It's kind of nice to at least have one story where the answer isn't going to be some deus ex machina of someone discovering a new power or a more powerful version of an old power. I think the setting works. It plays back into the masked avengers thing -- almost like this could be real people in a real place with these things happening. History could be so different with just people making different choices or wars having different outcomes, and what would have happened in those cases? By not using some fictitious setting everything seems more realistic yet still allowing the exploration of some other reality. Some of the end chunks are ok. The ones in this section are good background but some later on are just weird. I like the quotes -- they seem to echo what the chapter has been about.
Diana0504 Diana0504 8 years
1.I actually read it a little different than other books,because I try to pay attention to the designs of each square,but i follow the story as I would in any book. 2.I love Rorshach,because he seems to be the type of guy who wants to be a hero,but in a psycho way.. it`s actually intriguing me. and i also like Dr.Manhattan's wife.because she seems to represent a type of strong woman. 3.I prefer hero stories with actual people,because the stories could somehow really happen.. or so it seems.. Of course it is just fiction and many things are a bit exagerated,but still,it makes you think :"What if it could be possible for a man to act this way?". Superheroes like Superman or Spiderman are cool in their own way,but too fictional for my taste. 4.Like I said before,I prefer a real place,stories that could be true. I love reading,but I guess it`s easier for me to imaginate a story if the places and the people are more realistic. 5.I like them. They seem to be chunks to read between the lines,like a puzzle,which when you solve,gives you more insight to the actual story. Also,they`re quite entertaining :) 6.I`ve kind of skipped.. So I don`t really have an opinion on them,since they really didn`t have any effect on me. P.S:sorry if my english isn`t so good,but i`m not american/english and I wanted to join your book club for a long time
beanbagchair beanbagchair 8 years
I've actually read Watchmen a few times in the past, and it's always a new experience to read it again and pick up on all the complexities that weren't clear the first time. As Chococat says, this is one where the art and writing interact with each other. There's a ton of subtle elements hidden in the artwork that won't be clear the first time around. Dr. Manhattan has always been my favorite character; he's the only super-powered character, and what's great is that the comic makes it clear that he really doesn't think or experience the world the way other people do. He's much more of a god than a man. Rorschach is fascinating but creepy; ditto the Comedian. Laurie's never gripped me much. She seems like a plot device more than a character. I've always wanted to be intrigued by Dan Dreiberg, but I'm just not. He's meant to be boring, and he is. It really does depend on the Masked Avengers in question. I love Batman and even more obscure ones like Green Arrow, but the imagination possible with a superhero is typically more fun overall. This might be why I like Doctor Manhattan so much. It all depends. I like altered reality, and I like imagined universes. I don't like things like Peter Parker being in a New York identical to our own. It just doesn't work well. I love Watchmen's New York a ton, but they don't explain how it came to be until issue 4 (reading ahead, I know). The good news is that they make it quite clear. I like some of the text back-up stories, not all. The Hollis Mason memoir is great, but other pieces are just tedious bonus content that doesn't add anything. I actually find the pirate story way more distracting. I'm pretty indifferent. It's a device that I've seen in a lot of comics, and I think it's more effective when integrated into the comic itself. Neil Gaiman did that a lot in Sandman (no doubt influenced by Watchmen), and so did Grant Morrison in Doom Patrol; there, I find them genuinely moving. These are mainly just epigrams...
Choco-cat Choco-cat 8 years
Hi, I have been attempting to read The Watchmen as I am a comic book fan and am definitely looking forward to the movie. Since I have been reading comic books regularly since I was in grade school, I don't really think about how I "read" them. While I don't pay great attention to the artwork (consciously), there is definitely particular styles of comic book art that I find detracting from the story. Happily, that is not the case with The Watchmen. I find the artwork matches up sufficiently with the story for me. I don't have The Watchmen in front of me, so I'm going to try very hard not to reference anything past chapter 3. I am having trouble getting into The Watchmen, the reason being that none of the characters are particularly grabbing me. I am somewhat interested in Sally Jupiter's life; moreso than her daughter Laurie Juspeczy's life. These appear to be the only females we're introduced to. Adrian Veidt could also be interesting, but I don't feel like we really know anything about him at this point. Generally speaking (actually, maybe across the board), I prefer superheroes - not masked avengers. I'm not so much of a fan of the well-received superheroes, though, like Superman; rather the superheroes received like masked avengers - like the X-Men. I think an alternate version works as well as a mad-up place (if not better), but (so far) I feel like The Watchmen hasn't been very clear on exactly how this story location is an alternate version. What event caused it to split off into an alternate version? I feel like the alternate versions I've read always base off of some event going the opposite way as it did in our reality. I can't figure out what that event is for The Watchmen. I'm actually quite liking the chunks of other media at beginning of each chapter. I think it gives us more insight to the story, which is helping the story along. I haven't given too much thought to the quotes. I guess I've liked them fine. I feel like it's a fairly common thing to do in books.
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