Watching the Watchmen is a retrospective look by the guy who illustrated the ground breaking limited series, Dave Gibbons. What with the movie version scheduled to hit the screens in 2009 and Alan Moore more or less having burned his bridges with DC, it's up to his collaborator to pony up some stuff to fill a 250+ page coffee table book. And I fell for it. Now don't get me wrong. Watching the Watchmen isn't a complete waste of money. Gibbons shares with the reader some trips down memory lane: his first meeting with Alan Moore, the genesis of Watchmen, his and Alan Moore's status from nobodies in the world of American comics to superstars after the success of Watchmen among other tidbits. Intersperse that with pictures of Watchmen merchandise, Alan Moore's first draft and a lot of preliminary sketches of the Watchmen characters, and you get a quite interesting book even if you, like me, don't really care about sketches.
But then we reach the bulk of the book: a "dissection" of Watchmen issue by issue. Unfortunately, it is nothing more than Gibbons rummaging through his files and giving us a look of his thumbnail sketches of each issue. And Watchmen was a 12-issue series. So a lot of page after page of rough pencils that were later inked, coloured and lettered. Big whoop.
Okay, the book was advertised as an art book and Dave Gibbons is primarily an illustrator and serves me right for hoping to read about a comic book's history in an art book but dude...valuable trees were chopped down just to print Dave Gibbons test pencils of Watchmen before he actually sat down and drew it for real?? Even a budding artist would find that boring.
Wait till next year after the movie has ended its run. I guarantee you this book will be in the bargain bins by then. Get it then if you still want it.
(The book comes with two different covers. The more commonly advertised one with Dr. Manhattan and the one you see at the top, with the Comedian's mug leering at you. That's the version I bought. Other than that there are no other differences).