“Does Doctor Manhattan Think?”: Alan Moore’s The Watchmen and a ‘Great Books’ Curriculum in the Early College Setting

  • Guy Andre Risko


Risko’s chapter provides a discussion of his use of, and an argument for the larger incorporation of, Alan Moore’s The Watchmen within the traditionally classics-driven format of the Great Books seminar. The Watchmen is a complex and multifaceted text that allows students to experience competing articulations of thought at a point of confluence between linear-narrative, metatexual narrative, and visual arts. As Risko argues, the form-content relationship found in The Watchmen grants it a particularly impactful position in a Great Books seminar, where its narrative complexity allows it to supplement crucial philosophical texts, like René Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy, while also remaining deserving of attention as a standalone work of literature.

Works Cited

  1. Bernard, Mark, and James Bucky Carter. “Alan Moore and the Graphic Novel: Confronting the Fourth Dimension.” Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, 2004,
  2. Carter, James Bucky. “Teaching Watchmen in the Wake of 9/11.” Teaching the Graphic Novel, edited by Stephen E. Tabachnick. Modern Language Association, 2009, pp. 99–108.Google Scholar
  3. Descartes, René and Donald A Cress. Meditations On First Philosophy. Hackett 1993.Google Scholar
  4. DiGiovanna, James. “Dr. Manhattan, I presume.” Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test, edited by Mark D. White, John Wiley & Sons, 2009: pp. 103–114.Google Scholar
  5. Moore, Alan, and Dave Gibbons. Watchmen. Warner Books, 1987.Google Scholar
  6. Prince, Michael J. “Alan Moore’s America: The Liberal Individual and American Identities in Watchmen.” The Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 44, no. 4, 2011, pp. 815–830.Google Scholar
  7. Spanos, William V. America’s Shadow: An Anatomy of Empire. U of Minnesota Press, 2000.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guy Andre Risko
    • 1
  1. 1.Bard High School Early CollegeClevelandUSA

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