Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons: My first exposure to this comic was the movie a few years ago. I’d heard of it, of course, knew it to be one of those Graphic Novels Everyone Should Read, but before watching the movie I never had much interest. However, given both the amazing scope of the plot and my general confusion about same, I picked up a copy of the book within a week of seeing the film. (And promptly left it on the shelf for the next two years, but that’s par for the course.) And while the movie is actually quite true to the book, there were some things left out by necessity, such as the entire subplot about the people at the newsstand and the pirate comic book. Which were interesting and added quite a bit, but not strictly necessary in the larger scheme of things. If you’re not familiar with it, this story takes place in an alternate 1985, where the existence of superheroes has changed history – we won the Vietnam War, Nixon is still president, etc. Between comic chapters are additional documents, such as excerpts from the original Nite Owl’s memoirs, Silk Spectre’s scrapbook, and newspaper articles. It’s all very well-done, very believable. Rorschach remained the most interesting character, but the comic brought additional depth to Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias – the latter in particular, actually. (It didn’t help that he was horrendously miscast either.) The story as told in the comic made sense and was actually far more astonishing and memorable than the movie. It’s the most believable superhero story I’ve ever read, and one of the more plausible alternate histories as well. If you can handle the violence and often disturbing imagery (the comic-within-a-comic especially), this is one graphic novel you should definitely check out.