Heroism In Watchmen Essay

1198 words - 5 pages

In their graphic novel Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons establish their story during the Cold War period, when a group of superheroes tackle the task to save humanity from a potential World War III caused by tensions among governmental powers. Managed by the intelligence of Adrian Veidt, the worst was avoided after the attack of alien forces causes the death of millions of New Yorkers that leads to a temporary world peace. The representations of the Watchmen superheroes of Moore and Gibbons, particularly Rorschach, display the concept of heroism being a part of the real world, among the regular public of our society.
Towards the end of the chapters in Watchmen, the reader is introduced to journal entries, revealing the ordinary human-like representations of the superhero characters. The representations suggest that these superheroes have chosen to serve society for mundane reasons, such as fame, power or to promote an ideology. This belief is confirmed when the graphic novel presents an in-depth look at the character of Sally Jupiter. During an interview, Sally says: “Well, let me say this, for me, it was never a sex thing. It was a money thing” (Moore and Gibbons IX, 32). This quote ultimately points out Sally Jupiter’s true motive of becoming a superhero. She chooses to fight crime in hopes of furthering her modeling career and making a fortune out of it. Additionally, when Dr. Malcolm Long is questioning Walter Kovacs, the reader is introduced to the origins of Rorschach. It is then revealed the story of Kitty Genovese, a young woman who gets raped, tortured and then killed while all of her neighbors just watched, not even thinking of alerting the authorities. Kovacs then shares his feelings towards humanity saying: “I knew what people were, then, behind all the evasions, all the self-deception. Ashamed for humanity, I went home” (Moore and Gibbons VI, 10, panel 8). Walter Kovacs chose to put a mask on his face to avoid the disturbance when looking at himself in the mirror, consequently trying to forget about the cruelty that humanity is responsible for. Finally, when an excerpt from Hollis Mason’s Under the Hood is presented, the reader confronts Mason’s life leading up to him becoming the Nite Owl. He first became a member of the New York police department, a decision inspired by the “basic notions of decency that were passed down directly from [his grandfather]” (Moore and Gibbons I, 30). Hollis also adds: “Nevertheless, some of the things that I saw in the city during my first few years here filled me with a sort of ethical revulsion that I couldn’t shake off. To some degree, I still can’t” (Moore and Gibbons I, 30). It is this statement that makes us believe that Hollis became Nite Owl to maintain law and order in the city. Up to this point, it is apparent that the superheroes of Moore and Gibbons are nothing more than regular individuals caught up in their own ideologies. None of these characters chose to become superheroes to...

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