Date of Award


Document Type




First Reader

Dr. Johnny Wink

Second Reader

Dr. Amy Sonheim

Third Reader

Dr. Randall Wight


Zack Snyder's film adaption of Watchmen was my first exposure to the rabid side of the comic book enthusiasts. During that year, I took tottering steps towards comic books and superheroes, but the clamor of frenzied supporters of the film battling zealous purists nearly blew me off my feet. Alan Moore--the name reverberated through the internet and spilled onto the sidewalks in front of the movie theater. I pondered the identity of this individual for an infinitesimal amount of time before contenting myself with Batman for a few years. Years later, various enthusiasts were singing his praises to me, painting him as the god of the graphic novel, the original breaker of stereotypes. So, I settled in one weekend with a copy of Watchmen and braced myself. Twelve issues later, I had arrived at two conclusions: 1. I had just experienced catharsis at the hands of colorful pictures; 2. I did not feel empowered as a woman in this alternate world. A few years and a few of Mr. Moore's comics later, I am still pondering the latter conclusion.

Alan Moore, author and anarchist, is often acknowledged as the premier comic writer by critics. Moore packs broken character into plots that are crack from the complexity. He does not give simple answers to any unsettling questions which might peer at you from the pages; so if you find yourself confused as a fictional human being grapples with a piece of morality, you are reading it right. His series of graphic novels leave no system or viewpoint unchallenged. Yet sexism still seems to surface. Even knowing Moore's comics are not Disney fare--here there be dragons named "Unhappy Endings"--I continued to discover elements of prejudice. Far beyond fictional women enduring ill treatment because of equally fictional men, I found women who lacked power or voice.



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