Study Guide

Watchmen Identity

By Alan Moore

Identity

“That’s Juspeczyk. ‘Jupiter’ was just a name my mother assumed because she didn’t want anyone to know she was Polish” (1.20.3).

What’s in a name? Ask around. It’s safe to say that you or someone you know had an ancestor change the family name once upon a time.

I’ve heard all the psychologists’ theories […] but what it comes down to for me is that I dressed up like an owl and fought crime because it was fun and because it needed doing and because I goddam felt like it (Chapter A.5).

Fashion holds us back and it frees us up. Think about uniforms in sports or dresses and suits at prom.

“I spent the Seventies in jail. I’m not Moloch anymore. I just want to be left alone” (II.21.4).

Can a tiger change his stripes? Do you know where we could get a bowl of Frosted Flakes right about now?

“Sometimes I look at myself and think, ‘how did everything get so tangled up?’ “ (III.10.2).

It’s never a bad idea to pay attention when mirrors pop up, especially in a graphic novel.

Only Hooded Justice refused to testify, on the grounds that he was not prepared to reveal his true identity (Chapter C.11-12).

Rolf Müller or Hooded Justice, neither identity can exist without the other.

They explain that the name has been chosen for the ominous associations it will raise in America’s enemies. They’re shaping me into something gaudy and lethal (IV.12.8).

Even the zero-personality Dr. Manhattan has a logo, so his “brand” can be popularized.

“Rorschach’s an unhealthy fantasy personality. Y’know, he wouldn’t answer to anything else during his bail hearing?” (VI.8.3).

Hmm, a hero with a Rorschach test for a face, and he has identity issues? No surprise there.

“It must be great for you, having a secret identity, a secret place nobody knows about” (VII.10.8).

Nite Owl may have a “secret” workshop, but Rorschach has a “secret” journal. Which is more useful in the end?

Firstly, figurines based upon Rorschach and Nite Owl seem to be viable […] Our lawyers seem to think that since the costumed identities themselves are outlawed and illegal, there can be no legal claim to copyright […]” (Chapter J.1).

Toy licensing, that’s where the money is. How come Veidt can capitalize on Nite Owl and Rorschach’s identities? Who owns them?

“Y’know, this must be how ordinary people feel. This must be how ordinary people feel around us” (XI.14.7).

Last time we checked, there was no such thing as an ordinary person with an ordinary identity, not in Watchmen anyway.