Alan Moore does something truly inspiring with his characterization of the individuals he depicts in his comics. He tries to bring out the real personalities of people that consider themselves superheroes. He writes for an adult audience that can clearly understand and even relate to the characters he writes about. The comedian, for example, is one of the most important characters in which we can see this development. He is a man that is complex in many ways and we can view this complexity first by his death being the event that introduces us to the story.

The Comedian, Watchmen
The Comedian, Watchmen

We see him die and not fight back. We see him being playful (page 5, panel 1). We see him beating a woman (page 6). We see him almost rape a woman(page 7). We see him during down other people’s dreams (page 11, row 2, panel 2). We even see him gun down a woman he impregnated (page 15). Most importantly, we only see him through other people’s eyes. Their perspectives are what shape every characterization we have of him. However, the comedian seems to be a fully formed character. He has his faults that are extremely gruesome, terrifying, and downright evil yet he is considered a superhero. Alan Moore makes us all think about who gets to be a superhero and what does it mean to take on that title if you are led by no real moral compass. To the public Edward Blake is the Comedian, the hero that is part of a crime-fighting group yet to those who knew him, as we can see through their memories during the funeral scene (page 9), he was probably one of the filthiest human beings in the city.


Hancock, Will Smith as a Homeless Superhero

So then who really gets to be a superhero? Should real life people claim to be superheroes? What if the superhero we have aren’t even good and don’t fit into what society considers morally correct? These are the questions I think Alan Moore wanted to present. In an age where all superhero seem fairly good overall, where do we see deviations. Alan Moore most likely inspired others to make similar commentary on this superhero culture. Even today movies like Hancock and Kick-Ass show us what regular people, with a subjectively “good or bad” moral compass can do. The truth is we are all yearning to be super in some way even though we may not all actually deserve to be.