Watchmen (Universe) (DC)

Publication information

Publisher: DC Comics
First appearance: September, 1986
Created by: Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons

In story information

Official Name: Watchmen


"Watchmen" was a 12-issue maxiseries published from September of 1986 through October of 1987, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. The events of the story take place in 1985. The title takes its name from a popular translation of a latin phrase, "Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?": "Who Watches the Watchmen?"

Publication History

Although Alan Moore has stated he originally wished to use the old characters from MLJ Comics in the story, which were no longer being published at the time, he was unable to obtain usage rights. Dave Gibbons, who had worked at Charlton Comics, inspired him to use the old Charlton characters instead. However, Charlton had recently been bought by DC, and as they intended to introduce those characters into mainstream continuity, they were unavailable as well. As a result, Moore simply made his own new characters based on the Charlton characters .
A film adaptation was released in 2009, along with a video game, Watchmen: The End Is Nigh and a direct-to-DVD story, Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter. From 2012 to 2013, DC also published an addittional tie-in, Before Watchmen, which covered the lives of most of the Minutemen before the events of the series. 


In the 1985 of an alternate reality where superheroes are real (though only one, Dr. Manhattan, has superpowers), one of the vigilantes, The Comedian, is brutally murdered. This causes one of his former colleagues, Rorschach, to investigate on his death, and uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes.

Points of Interest





  • Rorschach
  • Ozymandias
  • The Comedian
  • Nite Owl (Dan Dreiberg)
  • Nite Owl (Hollis Mason)
  • Doctor Manhattan
  • The Silk Spectre (Laurie Juspeczyk)
  • The Silk Spectre (Sally Jupiter)
  • Captain Metropolis
  • Hooded Justice
  • Mothman
  • Dollar Bill
  • Silhouette
  • Moloch 


  • In 2005, "Watchmen" became the only comic book to appear on Time Magazine's List of 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.
  • The characters are mostly inspired by Charlton Comics characters:
    • Rorschach is based on The Question.
    • Nite Owl is based on The Blue Beetle.
    • The Comedian is based on The Peacemaker.
    • Doctor Manhattan is based on Captain Atom.
    • Ozymandias is based on Thunderbolt.
    • Silk Spectre takes inspiration from several female heroes, including Nightshade, Phantom Lady and Black Canary.