Personal Identity

Belonging without Acceptance


  • Jake Fillery Nottingham Trent University


What makes Alan Moore’s 1986 graphic novel ‘Watchmen’ a classic is its subversion of the superhero genre. The relatable moral compass of these characters makes it easier for them to appear human, as like ourselves, they all have stories and a path. Moore exposes superheroes, taking away the idolised perception that modern times has gifted; with the rise of pop-culture in multiple medias.
With the rise of social media, fan accounts of pop-culture are finding home in discussing similar interests and superhero culture on sites such as Twitter. The common theme between these fans, and these characters, is that they are all seeking acceptance. The contrast between characters from ‘Watchmen’ like Doctor Manhattan, a man turned God, who is slowly concluding that he is not human, as the world fears his power. To that of the every-man, someone who invests into characters like these, for their passion for the genre, and their desire for belonging within a sub-group known as a “fandom.”
In this article, I will discuss the importance of ‘Watchmen’ and its relation to belonging and personal identity. I will attempt to dissect Moore’s deconstruction of the genre, and how ‘Watchmen’ isolates characters, and how the novel plays a part in the genre’s presence today, 35 years on.