Essay on Heroism in Watchmen

Essay on Heroism in Watchmen

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In their graphic novel Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons establish their story during the Cold War period, when a group of superheroes tackle the task to save humanity from a potential World War III caused by tensions among governmental powers. Managed by the intelligence of Adrian Veidt, the worst was avoided after the attack of alien forces causes the death of millions of New Yorkers that leads to a temporary world peace. The representations of the Watchmen superheroes of Moore and Gibbons, particularly Rorschach, display the concept of heroism being a part of the real world, among the regular public of our society.
Towards the end of the chapters in Watchmen, the reader is introduced to journal entries, revealing the ordinary human-like representations of the superhero characters. The representations suggest that these superheroes have chosen to serve society for mundane reasons, such as fame, power or to promote an ideology. This belief is confirmed when the graphic novel presents an in-depth look at the character of Sally Jupiter. During an interview, Sally says: “Well, let me say this, for me, it was never a sex thing. It was a money thing” (Moore and Gibbons IX, 32). This quote ultimately points out Sally Jupiter’s true motive of becoming a superhero. She chooses to fight crime in hopes of furthering her modeling career and making a fortune out of it. Additionally, when Dr. Malcolm Long is questioning Walter Kovacs, the reader is introduced to the origins of Rorschach. It is then revealed the story of Kitty Genovese, a young woman who gets raped, tortured and then killed while all of her neighbors just watched, not even thinking of alerting the authorities. Kovacs then shares his feelings towards humanity saying: “I kn...


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...ort the same element that this graphic novel supports. These people rushing to the aid of the woman (Moore and Gibbons XI, 25, panel 7) suggest that a true hero is not always in a costume, and does not always cover his/her face, however heroes are ordinary citizens that put their own issues aside just to help others.
To conclude, the graphic novel Watchmen presents the non-fantastic representation of a superhero, implying that not all heroes are like Superman. This notion is explored within the novel by mentioning the realistic motives of the characters choosing to become superheroes, by Rorschach’s representation and through the heroic reactions of the New Yorkers to a street crime. These elements all contribute to Watchmen’s uniqueness and complexity as a superhero comic. 



Works Cited

Moore, Alan and Dave Gibbons. Watchmen. New York: DC Comics, 1986. Print.

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