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From Utopia to ApocalypseScience Fiction and the Politics of Catastrophe$
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Peter Y. Paik

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816650781

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816650781.001.0001

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Utopia Achieved

Utopia Achieved

The Case of Watchmen

(p.23) 1 Utopia Achieved
From Utopia to Apocalypse

Peter Y. Paik

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter studies the graphic novel, Watchmen, written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons, which utilizes metafictional devices to reflect on the genre of superhero fantasy. It investigates the medium by placing its costumed adventurers in a realistic world governed by power politics, rather than the juvenile idealized universe of moral certitudes, in which the upholders of truth and justice battle against the forces of darkness. It is impossible to identify whether the costumed adventurers in Watchmen are to be considered heroes or villains, as they either serve or are otherwise forced to settle with the brutal expansionist policies of a belligerent American administration. Watchmen makes full use of the strategic advantages provided by superheroes in prosecuting its wars and generating coups against uncooperative governments.

Keywords:   Watchmen, Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, metafictional devices, superhero fantasy, power politics

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