Study Guide

Watchmen Time

By Alan Moore

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Some might say this theme’s a cheater, that the subject of every novel ever written since the dawn of time is, well, time. To those people, we say, “hmm, that’s a large blanket statement you’re sitting on.” Watchmen begins at humanity’s eleventh hour, with the Doomsday Clock literally ticking down to midnight.

Its characters are all past their primes, and some of them live more in the past than the present. Either way, there are more clocks in this book than you can shake a stick at. Check out the “Symbols” section for more.

One of the many weird things about regular superhero comics is that characters don’t age like we do. Shouldn’t Batman be 100 by now? Watchmen takes that idea and runs with it. Okay, time’s up. Not really, we just wanted to write that.

Questions About Time

  1. So Watchmen isn’t about watches, or is it? Who do you consider the Watchmaker in Chapter IV’s title? Jon Osterman, his father, or Alan Moore?
  2. Which character least wants to turn back the clock? Which character most wants to? Why?
  3. Yeah, this book has as many chapters as there are hours on an analog clock (twelve). We’re thinking you noticed, too. Does this affect the story?
  4. Why does Adrian Veidt pick “Nostalgia” and “Millennium” as brand names for his company’s perfume line?

Chew on This

From the front cover on (with its blood-stained smiley in the eleven o’clock position), the characters’ greatest challenge is to find happiness at humanity’s 11th hour.

At its core, Watchmen is about nostalgia vs. the millennium, as in how folks deal with the past and/or prepare for the future.

Watchmen Time Study Group

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