When I first began reading “Watchmen,” I didn’t like it- and I didn’t want to admit it, because everyone I talked to said they liked it. Some even admitted being very excited to read it! Truth is, I found “Watchmen” to be a boring book at first. It was the first time I’d ever read a graphic novel and I preferred non-graphic novels to graphic novels. I think I would’ve liked “Watchmen” much more if it had been a non-graphic novel. The comic-book layout of the novel rather annoyed me, because after reading the dialogue bubbles, I had to scan over the images to take in the whole situation.
I read Chapter 6 of “Watchmen.”
That was when I found the book to be interesting for once. It shattered my earlier beliefs that it was a boring book. It was after reading Chapter 6 that I actually liked “Watchmen.” If there’s one thing that I like about “Watchmen,” it’s the emotional depth to it. All the characters feel and act like real characters. They’re not flat, stereotypical characters. Everything they say and do has a back-story to it. I never expected a graphic novel to be so dense. After reading Chapter 6, “Watchmen” became, quite possibly, my 4th or 5th favourite book on the Arts One reading list (Frankenstein being my favourite, followed by Jekyll/Hyde, Medea, and The Yellow Wallpaper).
I also thought about the “monster” in “Watchmen.” I first thought Rorschach as being the lonely, isolated “monster.” Then I thought Adrian Veidt was the “monster.” By the end of the graphic novel, I came to three conclusions: a) There are no monsters, b) Everyone is a monster, OR c) Rorschach is the monster. Why are there no monsters? Because I think of monsters as being individuals that others can’t understand. I can understand why the characters act as they do. As the reader, you get to see snippets of the life history of almost all the main characters. Once you know why they act as they do, you no longer think of them as “monsters.” Or they could be all monsters, in the sense that they all live kind of… isolated from society? Rorschach is certainly isolated. He was framed from the start. Adrian Veidt is the stereotypical villain mastermind in one sense (but whether he truly is a villain or not is debatable) and operates from Antarctica, of all places! Dan and Laurie both change their name at the end. Are they now living in disguise?
Then there’s my opinion that Rorschach is the sole monster in the graphic novel. I’m not a firm believer in this belief, but it’s arguable that he is. He’s actually my favourite character in the novel. If there’s one character that made “Watchmen” worth reading, I’d say it’s Rorschach.
He’s fundamentally good, but because of circumstances and certain decisions that he’s made, he’s sent into “exile” from society. He reminds me of Frankenstein’s creature! Come to think of it… It was after reading Rorschach’s back story that made me like “Watchmen.” Why is he the monster? According to the esteemed Jonathan Beasley-Murray, monsters are creatures or individuals who live in isolation from society and are misunderstood. Rorschach lives in isolation from the beginning of “Watchmen” to the end. He doesn’t enter a relationship with anyone, unlike Laurie + Jon, or Laurie + Dan. He’s sent into prison by society, even though he had punished a man who had butchered a girl and fed her remains to two German shepherds. He cared about his whore of a mother, only to be physically assaulted by her and two guys he encountered on the street. He’s misunderstood a lot. I once thought Jon might be a kind of monster too. He sends himself into exile in the end. Then I decided against it, because Jon had always been welcomed by civilians. Rorschach never was.