Rich Handley Author and Editor

Throwbook Thursday—Watching Time: The Unauthorized Watchmen Chronology

I’ve decided to highlighr books I’ve written, edited, co-edited, or contributed to throughout my career, and to post a new one every Thursday, in keeping with the whole “Throwback Thursday” trend. Hence, “Throwbook Thursday.” Get it? (But please do not throw books. It can hurt someone and damage the books.)

For this first installment, I thought I’d discuss Watching Time: The Unauthorized Watchmen Chronology. In 1986, the comic-book world experienced a profound paradigm shift, thanks to writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons. Gone were the long-held notions that crime-fighters always did the morally right things for the intellectually right reasons, that heroes and villains were rigidly defined constants, that good always prevailed over evil, and that happy endings were a foregone conclusion. In their place, there was DC Comics’ Watchmen.

Since the release of Moore’s seminal deconstruction of the superhero genre, others have revisited its dystopian setting in the form of a film adaptation, role-playing books, various prequel miniseries, and multiple video games, all built upon the foundation that Moore and Gibbons laid down thirty years ago. More recently, DC brought Watchmen‘s characters into mainstream continuity with its Doomsday Clock and Rorschach titles, while Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen TV show aired on HBO to critical acclaim.

In this volume, published in 2016 by Hasslein Books, I provided a detailed history encapsulating every known event from all corners of the franchise up to that point—alas, not including Doomsday Clock, Rorschach, or the TV show since they hadn’t yet existed when the book was published. I covered not only the comics, games, film, and RPG books, but also viral videos and websites, trading cards, unproduced scripts, and other ancillary sources—including some that were truly obscure. Plus, a mini-“crimeline” summarized the careers of masked crime-fighters and supervillains throughout Watchmen history.

I didn’t create Watching Time in a vacuum, of course. The insightful foreword was provided by comic guru Brian Cronin of “Comic Book Legends Revealed” fame, the author of thousands of meticulously researched online articles. Duy Tano, the creator of the popular blog and YouTube channel The Comics Cube, contributed a nostalgic essay explaining why Watchmen is simultaneously dated and timeless. And my sadly departed and sorely missed friend Paul Giachetti visually brought the book to life as the project’s art director.

I was particularly proud of how this volume turned out, which is why I chose it for Flashbook Thursday’s debut. I had enormous fun researching and writing it, and I was thrilled to feature Duy’s and Brian’s outstanding bookend essays, as well as Paul’s beautiful design work. I had hoped to eventually update the chronology as new stories were added to the mythos, but after Paul’s untimely passing, I chose to keep it exactly as it is for posterity—though what it is, I’m very happy with. And you can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, eBay, and elsewhere.

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