Male-oriented revisionism

Document Type

Research Paper


Alan Moore and David Gibbons’ Watchmen has been deemed by many to be one of the first, and most important, revisionist superhero texts. By using the graphic novel to hold a conversation with superhero comics’ own history, Moore and Gibbons have amended common superhero tropes by applying real-world psychologies to the superheroes in an attempt to create a progressive superhero narrative. For the purposes of this argument, unless stated otherwise, the term “comic” refers specifically to those of the superhero genre. A majority of the current work on Watchmen recognizes the differences between the graphic novel and the comics before it. Yet, there is not much criticism that also recognizes the ways the text has not broken superhero tropes. Many of the elements in Watchmen appear to have changed in comparison to its predecessors, but once explored deeper, its elements can be seen to have stayed the same. These unchanging aspects of Watchmen that will be explored in this argument are those relating to the portrayal of female characters within the text; their role in Watchmen is unchanged from the nominal role of the female in comics. The representation of female characters in Watchmen is highly representative of a heterosexual foundation that can most easily be seen through their interaction with male characters within the text. Watchmen may indeed be a revisionist comic, but it is revisionist in terms of the straight, cisgendered male. Watchmen fails to replace the damsel-in-distress trope with female characters that are not overshadowed by a male counterpart.



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Superheroes--Comic books, strips, etc.; Women in popular culture


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Subjects - Names (LCNAF)

Moore, Alan, 1953- Watchmen; Moore, Alan, 1953- --Criticism and interpreation; Gibbons, Dave, 1949- --Criticism and interpretation; Moore, Alan, 1953- --Characters--Women








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