Who Watches the Watchmen : The Revaluation of the Superhero in the Nihilistic World of Alan Moore's Watchmen

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stacy Ryan Ange (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site: http://www.ecu.edu/lib/
Ken Parille

Abstract: Alan Moore's comic book series Watchmen is unique in comic book history in that it possesses a multi-layered multi-interpretive structure and complex philosophically driven narrative. One of the novel approaches of Watchmen is Moore's treatment of superheroes revealing in their realistic psychological portrayals the inherent pathologies present in a person who presumes to act on behalf of a society even if their justification is one of benevolence. In a postmodern world where God is absent and humans are left to construct their own belief systems independent of a creator the superheroes of Watchmen are more often than not just as morally troubling as the villains of the comic. It is Moore's revaluation of the superhero by placing the superhero archetype in a largely nihilistic alternate universe that brings into relief the problematic existence of such super-powered beings and questions their authority and justification to act on behalf of the world. Moore ultimately asks readers to make qualitative distinctions between the moral approaches his superheroes apply generally revaluate the morality and ideals superheroes represent and last but not least use their own critical reasoning to take responsibility for their lives and their own moral systems. Moore in effect asks readers to apply the kind of heroism his superheroes fail to exemplify: hopefully a heroism validated by their own authentic search for truth. 

Additional Information

Date: 2011
British and Irish literature, Nietzsche, Nihilism, Ãœbermensch
Moore, Alan, 1953- Watchmen--Criticism and interpretation
Comic books, strips, etc.--Themes, motives

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Who Watches the Watchmen : The Revaluation of the Superhero in the Nihilistic World of Alan Moore's Watchmenhttp://hdl.handle.net/10342/3706The described resource references, cites, or otherwise points to the related resource.