Watch: Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons talks character inspirations

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Mar 26, 2021, 9:00 PM EDT (Updated)

Alan Moore is a name synonymous with Watchmen, as he came up with the concept and wrote the plot and dialogue. But it's Dave Gibbons you have to thank for the graphic novel's memorable (and sometimes jarring) images of the Vietnamese woman slashing The Comedian's face in a saloon, the dog's head split open, and Dr. Manhattan vaporizing Rorschach into a bloody pulp on the snow.


A comic book needs great images as well as story to become a classic, and Gibbons is certainly to thank for Watchmen's iconography in the pantheon of graphic novels. Best known for his work on the book, Gibbons also drew the art on the Superman story "For the Man Who Has Everything" and 2000 AD.

Moreover, Gibbons is not as hasty as Moore to disown any attempt to "bastardize" his work. He gave his blessing for the Before Watchmen series at DC, allowed his name to be attached to Zack Snyder's film adaptation of the source material in 2009, wrote a companion book to Watchmen the year before that, and will probably have a hand in the TV show at HBO.

But before all of this, there was only Moore and Gibbons, delivering a piece of literary history. Yes, literary!

In an interview with SYFY WIRE, Gibbons said the American comic book industry believed that comics books were better if they were darker after Watchmen hit the scene. That being said, he doesn't feel that was the right conclusion. "We felt very guilty about that. It was our fault that you had to read all those miserable comics," said Gibbons with a laugh.

When it came to designing the looks of the characters, Moore and Gibbons used the archetypal personalities of the Charlton Comics characters like The Question, Nightshade, and Captain Atom. Other than that, they were free to make their own heroes and continuity without being subject to an already established universe. As a result, something entirely new and fresh was born.

Check out SYFY WIRE's full interview with Gibbons above.

Additional material by Josh Weiss.