Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' epic masterpiece, Watchmen, is a novel unlike any I've read before. The Graphic Novel genre as a whole has always struggled against the notion that they are merely longer, more fantasy driven "cartoons." While Watchmen may sometimes look like the Sunday morning funny pages, and its premise is definitely within the realm of fantasy, the literary presentation and the sheer scope of the content make this celebrated novel well-deserving of all the praise it has received since its 1987 release. Watchmen takes the "what if" question and runs with it from the very beginning. What if superheroes existed and some of them worked for the American government during World War II and the Cold War? And what if someone or something was trying to kill off all the heroes in an attempt to shift the political balance of the world? The most interesting aspects of Watchmen occur within the relationships that the book explores; relationships between the various masked adventurers, between those heroes and the public they are protecting, and the strained political situations that were in place from 1945 through the 1980s. All of this builds to a shocking conclusion that unites all of the subplots and obscure details that Moore's writing explores and Gibbons' artwork expresses. If you're willing to try something new, this is it. Graphic Novels like this, as well as the work of others within the genre such as Craig Thompson and Marjane Satrapi, have helped to elevate what many see as merely "cartoons" into an art form as vital and interesting as any other today.
Recommended by Ian Lashbrook