Best Graphic Novels Like Watchmen If You Loved The Classic
There is no denying that Watchmen is an absolute masterpiece. Written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons in 1986, this graphic novel has stood the test of time.
The movie adaptation couldn’t quite capture the depth of the original story. The graphic novel effortlessly showed a realistic depiction of a world with superheroes. The cutting political commentary in Watchmen is still timely even today.
Whether you loved the HBO sequel series or just the original graphic novel, there are plenty of great comics to check out that carry the same energy as this masterpiece. Here are six graphic novels to check out if you are a fan of Watchmen.
One of the key aspects of Watchmen is the references to the Golden Age of superheroes. It is clear that Alan Moore has a lot of respect for Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the titans of superhero comics.
Black Hammer is a series that also has a ton of love for the Golden Age of heroes. Written by Jeff Lemire and beautifully illustrated by Dean Ormston, Black Hammer is about a group of heroes who are past their prime trying to cope with the changing world.
This series is a beautiful and incredibly well-told story. It has all the best aspects of classic superhero stories while also adding something entirely new to the genre. Any Watchmen fan will appreciate this modern masterpiece.
You may have heard of this graphic novel series from the devilishly good Amazon series. The Boys is a violent and energetic series that will definitely leave an impression.
What if super-powered beings cared more about their number of Twitter followers than actually saving the day? The Boys is all about an evil corporation using their team of superheroes to do their bidding and gain power.
Alan Moore showed that a team of superheroes running the show could get quite ugly. The Boys takes this idea to the extreme with an abundance of violence and humor throughout.
Saga of the Swamp Thing
Alan Moore is without a doubt one of the all-time best comic book writers. Before he wrote Watchmen, Moore made a huge impact in the world of comics by revitalizing the Swamp Thing.
Saga of the Swamp Thing is certainly one of Moore’s most impressive and beloved creations. Moore brilliantly elevated a character that wasn’t that popular at the time. The story feels bigger than any superhero comic should be.
This graphic novel series balances fantasy horror with insightful prose that can only come from an expert writer. If you loved Watchmen, this is a great series to dive into next.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
The Dark Knight Returns is undeniably one of the greatest superhero stories ever told. Written by Frank Miller in 1986, this graphic novel completely reimagined Batman.
This series was published at the same time as Watchmen, and the two stories have a lot of similarities. Most notably, both graphic novels had a permanent impact on the superhero genre.
The Dark Knight Returns is a compelling story about Bruce Wayne in his older years still trying to save Gotham from evil. This graphic novel really created the darker version of Batman that is so popular today. Miller completely changed the way the caped crusader is imagined.
Kingdom Come is an absolutely stunning graphic novel. The most notable part of this book is the art. Literally painted by Alex Ross, every panel could be framed on a wall. However, the artwork is not the only impressive aspect of this graphic novel.
Watchmen interrogates what could happen if “heroes” were given too much power. Similarly, Kingdom Come shows the frightening possibilities if Superman acted as a dictator over his fellow superheroes.
Written by Mark Waid in 1997, this graphic novel features plenty of religious references as the world faces a potential armageddon. Any Watchmen fan will appreciate the similarities in this DC classic.
I have saved the best recommendation for last. The Sandman is a masterpiece that can certainly go toe to toe with Alan Moore’s Watchmen.
Written by Neil Gaiman in 1986, this series is unlike any other. The Sandman is all about the way dreams can shape the world around us. Gaiman shows love to the great comic creators including Moore himself.
From fantasy to horror to comedy, this series creates a beautiful tapestry of stories that are all unique and thought-provoking. I cannot recommend The Sandman enough to anyone who is interested in graphic novels.
Prior to Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, Christopher Priest’s Black Panther and all the rest were very popular. Artists and writers from around the world have taken on the character, but none has been able to infuse his mythology with political undertones. According to fellow Black Panther writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, “unlike previous writers who first saw him as a superhero, [Priest] first saw him as a king.” Priest headlined 62 issues between 1998 and 2003, where he had King T’Challa solving crises around the world, looking fly at all times, and confronting complex villains, including his own brother, all while considering his position as a head of state. Similar to Watchmen, its questions and answers about what power means were intriguing.
Marvelman (aka Miracleman)
Marvelman today is offered in trade paperbacks as Miracleman credited to Moore, due to a series of legal snags too complex to elaborate on, but Moore’s run in the ’80s served as a precursor to much of his later work. In Marvelman, babies were put in peril, the superhero was deconstructed as a focal point of violence, and graphically realistic graphics conveyed the grittiness. Even though Moore has taken his name off of the novel, it remains compelling to read today.
The superhero genre may seem to be a bit overdone by now. Whether it is comics or movies, it can all seem to be on repeat these days. However, Watchmen still stands out as a fresh take on a classic genre that is still important today.
Within the world of graphic novels, there are quite a few examples that surpass the genre they are in. This is just a short list of some excellent series that deserve a shout-out.
While Watchmen will forever be one of the greatest graphic novels ever made, these other choices certainly earned a place alongside Moore’s masterpiece.
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