By now, all of you should know who the Watchmen are. Besides being one of the most important comic book series ever created (if not the most important) it’s also coming off a hugely successful HBO show. That means it’s time to invest.
If you haven’t read the series, read it. If you haven’t watched the show, watch it. After a very unsuccessful Zack Snyder film in 2009, Watchmen dropped off the map. Hearing the rumors of a new HBO series, I expected more of the same, but I was wrong. Very wrong.
The series isn’t a tv adaptation of the film, it’s simply a story that takes some of the threads in the original comic and weaves them into a new tale entirely. If you aren’t a fan of the show because you were hoping for a straight-up transferal of the original story to the small screen, then I challenge you to think about it differently. The comic was a jumping-off point, a foundation block intended for this new world to be built upon. It does that really, really well.
I think the HBO series has elevated the comic masterpiece to even higher levels. That’s a huge statement considering it was the only graphic novel to make Time’s Top 100 best novels from 1923 to 2010. (That’s putting Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ creation alongside Hemingway and Morrison and Vonnegut.) This is THE graphic novels of all graphic novels, and you can pick up a 9.6 copy of #1 for a little over a hundred dollars. For now. (Although the price hasn’t changed drastically in the past couple years, it will start the slow uptick of a continual classic.)
With the huge success of the television series, more people are watching the Watchmen (couldn’t resist) and are reading the graphic novel. (Let’s hope they aren’t watching the film) The show seems unlikely to return to HBO for a season 2, but you can bet on Watchmen being toyed with for decades to come. It’s simply too good.
And that’s why you should invest in the book now. Think of it like getting a first edition of the Sun Also Rises or Beloved or Slaughterhouse-Five. A first edition of one of those novels in excellent condition can grab substantial coin today. If it’s signed? Forget about it. Then you’re looking at the five-figure range. The bottom of Watchmen will simply never drop out; it’s become a part of the American literary canon.
The Art and Philosophy
This is to lead to a larger point about Watchmen. It’s Fine Art with capital letters. Granted, publishers printed a lot more Watchmen #1 than the first editions of The Sound and the Fury, but not that many more. And this is the book that introduced us to the dark side of superheroes. It brought deconstructionist critique to the masses of comic book readers. We challenged our assumptions of truth and meaning and purpose alongside the Watchmen themselves.
Besides the cultural, aesthetic, and literary value of the book, there’s the guarantee of a remake/remix/reboot in the future. It’s wound its way into our social fabric and besides being great literature, it’s popular. And it’s not going anywhere. Even if HBO comes with another season and it’s terrible and the market drops a 9.6 down to $50, it’s still one of the greatest works of the comic medium and will slowly inch it’s way back up. For the price, it seems like a safe bet to hold on to for a while, but also has the possibility to jump if more seasons come out.
If nothing else, we’ve learned that not even a film of the same destructive quality as the tentacled beast that wiped out half New York could put the Watchmen down. This is no Howard the Duck, but something else entirely.