Characters of Watchmen

With Watchmen, Alan Moore’s purpose were to produce four or five “radically opposing ways” to perceive the entire world and also to offer readers of the story the opportunity of determining which one was most fairly understandable. Moore didn’t have confidence in the concept of “[cramming] spit out morals” down the readers’ throats and rather sought to show heroes in an ambivalent light. Moore said, “What we would have liked to accomplish was show all of these people, warts and all sorts of. Demonstrate that even the worst of them had something going for them, as well as the best had their flaws.”

Walter Joseph Kovacs / Rorschach: A vigilante who wears a white mask that contains a shaped but constantly shifting ink blot pattern, he continuously combat crime regardless of his outlaw status. Moore said he was wanting to “come up with this perfect Steve Ditko character-someone who has got a comical name, whose surname begins with a ‘K,’ who’s got an oddly designed mask”. Moore based Rorschach on Ditko’s creation Mr. A; Ditko’s Charlton character The Question also served like a theme for making Rorschach. Comics historian Bradford W. Wright explained the character’s world view “a group of black-and-white values that take many shapes but never mix into shades of gray, just like the ink blot tests of his namesake“. Rorschach sees living as unique and, according to Wright, this viewpoint makes the character “free to ‘scrawl his own design’ on a ‘morally blank world”. Moore said he did not predict the death of Rorschach prior to the fourth issue as he pointed out that his rejection to meeting half way would result in him not surviving the story.

Edward Blake / The Comedian: 1 of 2 government-sanctioned heroes (together with Doctor Manhattan) who remains active after the Keene Act is passed in 1977 to ban superheroes. His murder, which occurs shortly before the first chapter begins, sets the plot of Watchmen moving. The character appears throughout the story in flashbacks and areas of his character are unveiled by some other characters. The Comedian scaled like the Charlton Comics character Peacemaker, with elements of the Marvel Comics spy character Nick Fury added. Moore and Gibbons saw The Comedian as “a type of Gordon Liddy character, only a much bigger, tougher guy“. Richard Reynolds described The Comedian as “ruthless, cynical, and nihilistic, but able to deeper insights than these in to the part of the costumed hero.” He tries to rape the first Silk Spectre in the nineteen forties. Issue nine reveals that years later he fathered her daughter Laurie included in a consensual sexual relationship.

Dr. Jon Osterman / Doctor Manhattan: A super powered being who’s contracted by the United States government. Scientist Jon Osterman gained control of matter when he was found within an “Intrinsic Field Subtractor” in 1959. Doctor Manhattan was based upon Charlton’s Captain Atom, who in Moore’s original proposal was surrounded by the shadow of nuclear risk. However, the writer discovered he might do more with Manhattan as a “kind of a quantum super-hero” than he could have with Captain Atom. Contrary to other superheroes who was missing scientific exploration of their origins, Moore sought to look into nuclear physics and quantum physics in building the character of Dr. Manhattan. The writer considered that a character living in a quantum universe wouldn’t see time with a linear perspective, which may influence the character’s perception of human affairs. Moore also wanted to avoid making an emotionless character like Spock from Star Trek, so he sought for Dr. Manhattan to retain “human habits” and to develop far from them and humanity generally. Gibbons had created the blue character Rogue Trooper, and explained he reused the blue skin motif for Doctor Manhattan because it looks like white skin tonally, but includes a different hue. Moore integrated the color into the story, and Gibbons noted all of those other comic’s color scheme made Manhattan unique. Moore remembered that he was uncertain if DC allows the designers to depict the character as totally nude, which partly affected the way they portrayed the character. Gibbons thought about being classy in depicting Manhattan’s nudity, selecting very carefully when total frontal shots would happen and giving him “understated” genitals-like a traditional sculpture-so the reader would not initially notice it.

Daniel Dreiberg / Nite Owl: A retired superhero who makes use of owl-themed gadgets. Nite Owl took its origin from the Ted Kord type of the Blue Beetle. Paralleling the way in which Ted Kord had a predecessor, Moore also included an earlier explorer who used the name “Nite Owl,” the retired crime fighter Hollis Mason, into Watchmen. While Moore devised character notes for Gibbons to work from, the artist provided an identity along with a costume design for Hollis Mason he had developed while he was 12. Richard Reynolds noted in Super Heroes: A Contemporary Mythology that despite the character’s Charlton roots, Nite Owl’s modus operandi has more in common with the DC Comics character Batman. Based on Klock, his civilian form “visually suggests an impotent, middle-aged Clark Kent.”

Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias: Drawing inspiration from Alexander the Great, Veidt used to be the superhero Ozymandias, but has since retired to dedicate his focus on the running of his very own enterprises. Veidt is considered to be the smartest man in the world. Ozymandias took its origin from Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt; Moore liked the idea of a character who “us[ed] the full 100% of his brain” and “[had] complete physical and mental control”. Richard Reynolds noted that by taking initiative to “help the world”, Veidt displays a trait normally related to villains in superhero stories, as well as in a sense he is the “villain” of the series. Gibbons noted, “One of the worst type of of his sins [is] kind of looking down on the entire content of humanity, scorning the rest of humanity.”

Laurie Juspeczyk / Silk Spectre: The daughter of Sally Jupiter (the 1st Silk Spectre, that she’s a strained relationship) and The Comedian. Of Polish heritage, she had been the lover of Doctor Manhattan for a long time. While Silk Spectre was based partly on the Charlton character Nightshade, Moore was not astounded by the character and drew more from heroines such as Black Canary and Phantom Lady.

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