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Watchmen: The Film Companion Hardcover – February 17, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books (February 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848561598
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848561595
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,243,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Book Description
It is the most eagerly awaited comics-to-film adaptation of them all. The graphic novel that changed an industry is now a film from Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures in association with Legendary Pictures, directed by Zack Snyder (300), and Watchmen: The Official Film Companion is the essential guide to this cinematic event. A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985 in which costumed super heroes are part of the fabric of everyday American society. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present super heroes. Their mission is to watch over humanity… but who is watching the Watchmen?

Featuring exclusive interviews with the cast and crew, and scores of photos, this is the comprehensive guide to the new movie event.

A Q&A with Dave Gibbons on the Making of Watchmen

Question: You were tasked with drawing new illustrations of key shots from the new Watchmen film. Was it a difficult challenge to re-imagine your work in this movie format?

Dave Gibbons: I don’t think that I actually did many key shots from the film. I had to actually imagine them rather than exactly recreate what was going to be in the movie. But as far as the drawings I did for the licensing purposes, accuracy was the real key so that they looked exactly like the movie. Whereas doing the graphic novel was creating stuff afresh and being very creative, this was more the case of interpreting something that already existed. So it was rather more a commercial art job than a creative thing.

Q: How many scenes from the original graphic novel did you redraw in the new "movie" format?

DG: I kind of did them piecemeal, these licensing drawings. I did do a section of storyboarding for Zack Snyder. There is a part of the movie that isn’t in the graphic novel and he wanted to see how I would have drawn it, if it had been in the graphic novel. So I redid the storyboards as three pages of comic on the nine-panel grid, also getting it coloured by John Higgins so it looked authentic. But I think there were probably only 3 or 4 scenes that I drew, which were from the movie.

Q: What was your working method for producing these new illustrations from the film? And how has it changed from when you originally illustrated Watchmen?

DG: When you’re producing things from existing material, you have to look at and assemble the references... you know, keep looking backwards and forwards to make sure what you’re drawing is accurate to what’s in the photos. I did have lots of photos from the movie and in some cases I had more or less the illustration I was going to do in photo form, which made it a lot easier. On others I had to construct it from various references: really just the usual illustrator’s job of drawing something to reference. And on the original illustrations of Watchmen, I was free to come up with exactly the angles and exactly the costumes and everything that I wanted to. When you’ve designed a costume and drawn it a few times, you actually internalize it and you find you can draw it without having to refer to reference at all. So in some ways it’s more creative and in some ways it’s easier!

Q: In Watchmen: The Art of the Film, there are concept designs by other artists of their visions of your iconic characters. What do you think of their versions and did you offer any guidance while they were working on these?

DG: It’s always really interesting to see versions of your characters drawn by other artists. You tend to see things in them that you hadn’t noticed before. So I really enjoyed looking at those. I certainly didn’t offer them any guidance. The purpose of getting those kinds of drawings done is to get a fresh perspective on what exists. I noticed actually that they really stuck more closely to my original designs than those, but I really enjoyed seeing them.

Q: Watchmen: Portraits is Clay Enos’s stunning black and white collection of photos of each character from the Watchmen movie. What was it like looking through this book at all the characters you had conceived years ago now being brought to life by actors?

DG: It’s rather interesting; you know if you look at the Watching the Watchmen book you can see these characters as fairly sketchy rough conceptual versions. Then when you look at Clay’s book you can actually see them right down to counting the number of pores on the skin on the end of their noses! It’s incredible high focus! It’s like zooming in through space and time to look at the surface of some moon of Saturn or something. I thoroughly enjoyed his book... it had a real artistic quality to it that was really so good. And of course to see these actors who so much are the embodiment of what I drew, that it’s a tremendous thrill to see them made flesh!

Q: Watchmen: The Film Companion features some stills from the animated version of The Black Freighter. What do you think of the look and design of this animated feature?

DG: It looks really interesting! Although I drew my version in the comic book in a kind of horror-comic style, these are very much in a savage manga style. I think they work really well... they’ve got the kind of manic intensity, which I think that work should have and I really can’t wait to see the whole feature. I’ve seen the trailer for it and that looks great and again they’ve used a lot of the compositions that I came up with but just translated them to this kind of very modern drawn animation.

Q: How much time did you spend on the set of Watchmen? Was it a surreal experience to see your work recreated like this?

DG: I was on the set of Watchmen for a couple of days and it really was surreal to walk through a door and then suddenly be in the presence of all these people in living breathing flesh! I was there for what you would call the Crimebusters meeting where they were all there in costume in the same room, which was incredible. They had obviously planned that so I would get to see everyone. It was surreal though quite a wonderful experience to see it come to life.


"I'm overwhelmed by the commitment, the passion, the palpable desire to do this right." - Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, on visiting the set of the movie.

Praise for Watchmen:-
"Watchmen is peerless" -- Rolling Stone
"The greatest piece of popular fiction ever produced" -- Lost co-creator Damon Lindelhof
"A masterwork representing the apex of artistry" -- Entertainment Weekly

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By S. Smith on February 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The latest in the Watchmen related books released just prior to the film, this is a bargain at under $20. I am a Watchmen fan and can't wait for the 03/06/09 release. I have not spent as much time on this book as I did not want to see too much before the movie. But I did flip through it quickly, and it does not disappoint. It appears that there is some duplication in material between this book and the "Watchmen - The Art of the Film", but it is presented differently and they compliment each other. If you are a fan, don't miss this. I can't get enough, and hope there will be a few more books that come out after the film.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 25, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Length: 0:20 Mins
Here's a look at Watchmen: The Film Companion, one of the three tie-in books for the Watchmen movie. The other two being Watchmen: Portraits and Watchmen: The Art of the Film. The copy I have is a paperback version, but there's a hardcover option as well.

The content in the book is split into six parts, namely, Pre-production, World of Watchmen, The Characters, Production, Post-production, Making Manhattan. The pictures included and mainly film stills and set photos. Some images overlap from Watchmen: The Art of the Film but not to the point I would complain.

The section devoted to character introduction is sizble, and includes the lesser known characters from Minutemen and some villains, oh, and Richard Nixon (no JFK though).

I'm actually more interested in production stories. The production writeup talks about the casting, costumes, sets, filming process, using of computer graphics for special effects, motion capture with Dr Manhattan and other stuff. Interesting bits include knowing that the film was actually short from start to end instead shooting all set-based scenes first.

Overall, I felt the writeup could be more because the movie is 160 minutes. But this is not totally a "making of" book anyway.

For viewers who want to find out more about the Watchmen and the movie, this is the book for you, especially so if you've never read the original graphic novel.

(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By GraphicNovelReporter.com on November 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Watchmen train that is hard to avoid. Given that you're visiting this particular site, you've probably already succumbed to it, at least in some small part. But just in case, here's a quick recap of the pivotal plot of the book the movie is based on: America is in possession of a gigantic nuclear weapon in the form of Dr. Manhattan, a former scientist who has been transformed into the most powerful being on the planet. Not surprisingly, this has led to an alternate history from the one we know, one in which Nixon is still president, masked crime fighters have come and gone (after being outlawed in 1971), and America won the Vietnam War. In the mid-1980s, America and Russia stand at the verge of nuclear war, with a countdown clock frozen at five to midnight. And in that precariously balanced world, someone may or may not be murdering former masked heroes.

It took more than 20 years for Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' career-defining work--which, by the way, changed the field of comics and graphic novels forever, which everyone is probably well aware of by now--to reach the silver screen. Directors and screenwriters came and went (and Alan Moore dropped his name from all references to the movie work), but 2009 is finally seeing the release of the Watchmen movie.

Watchmen: The Film Companion is a beautiful retrospective. The interviews and extensive essays it contains elaborate incredible details about how the movie was filmed and what went into making it possible. More than that, the book goes into detail on what makes the movie pop, those small touches that don't seem like much from a distance but ultimately make or break the entire work.

Since the book is packed with hundreds of color photos (and really, the photos are awesome), it's a lovely way to extend the magic of the movie.

-- John Hogan
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sickly Child on October 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am new to the 'Watchmen' ouvre, so please take that into consideration. I like 'noir' movies like 'The Maltese Falcon', 'The Third Man' and 'Blade Runner' and the Watchmen story fits right in there. The characters are enjoyably quirky and complex and the whole scenario is just plausable enough to create a realistic world for the film. For neophytes like me, this book is a great way to liesurely explore the story and characters without having to read the graphic novel or rerun the movie. Like 'Blade Runner' the film production has taken great pains to make the Watchmen's world very dense with detail. This photo book is a great way to enjoy it.
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Format: Paperback
Length: 0:49 Mins
"Watchmen: The Official Film Companion" is a book which serves as a guide to the movie. The book discusses the story and characters of "Watchmen", while also exploring some of the finer details of the film and it's production. It also includes a lot of imagery from the film (and some from the graphic novel as well). There are also some behind-the-scenes photos and insights into the making of the movie; these are definitely the most interesting parts for me.

This book is certainly worth owning if you are a fan of the film. As a side note, there are multiple books out there that are related to the "Watchmen" movie. If you want to only buy one, in my opinion you should skip the Film Companion book and purchase this one instead: Watchmen: The Art of the Film.
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