Watching the Watchmen


Moore’s original brief for the series that would become Watchmen was to revamp the superheroes from the Charlton Comics line, a somewhat obscure but fondly remembered lineup from the “Silver Age” (roughly the 1960s) of comics—an era that has consistently provided Moore with inspiration.

DC Comics, who owned the rights to the Charlton characters, ultimately decided not to allow Moore to kill off or otherwise compromise potentially valuable franchises. Moore and Gibbons duly came up with their own superteam, which bore a more than passing resemblance to the Charlton crimefighters.

Watching the Watchmen CONTINUES...



Trenchcoat, fedora, eerily obscured face, quasi-psychotic moral absolutism? Meet Rorschach’s forebear, The Question.


The jingoistic Peacemaker became the cynical government killer The Comedian.


Ozymandius, The Smartest Man in the World, recalls Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, who had learned to access the full potential of his brain.


The animal-themed gadgeteer Nite Owl clearly references Spider-Man cocreator Steve Ditko’s iteration of the Blue Beetle—a character already transparently derivative of Batman.


The ominous, nuclear-powered Dr. Manhattan, whose powers were forged in a military mishap, was a nod to the mighty, nuclear-powered Captain Atom—another Ditko creation.



"The Paley Center Watches the Watchmen" pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Photo credits—Charlton characters and Watchmen characters: ™ and © DC Comics