Study Guide

Watchmen Chapter A

By Alan Moore

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Chapter A

Under the Hood (I-II) by Hollis Mason

  • Hollis Mason’s memoir kicks off with the heartbreaking story of Moe Vernon, his father’s boss in Depression-era NYC.
  • Earlier, Pa Mason had moved his family off their Montana farm to try his luck as an auto mechanic in the big city.
  • Moe Vernon, the ultimate practical joker, is a favorite with young Hollis, even as Vernon’s dark, ironic suicide via exhaust fumes is set up.
  • We should point out that this section swings way more towards “novel” than “graphic.” Images like Mason’s 1938 Police Academy portrait are secondary to the words on the page.


  • If you’re looking for an origin story—a way to understand what makes a grown man dress up like a hooting, nocturnal bird—here it is.
  • Officer Hollis Mason wants to clean up the city and finds inspiration in ACTION COMICS, The Shadow, and the forgotten character Superman (say wha?).
  • But it’s not until the masked vigilante Hooded Justice starts taking matters into his own hands that Mason decides he should be a costumed hero himself.

Watchmen Chapter A Study Group

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