The Superhero Through Mythology and Philosophy – How Academic Writing on Alan Moore’s Watchmen Considers Identity & Ideological Power
Richards Reynolds (1992) has described the superhero genre as a modern mythology. He discusses how the genre often reflects the socio-political ideologies of society, and offers Alan Moore’s comic series Watchmen (1986-1987) as a key text which subverts the superhero identity. In Moore’s own words, his work on Watchmen is an application of the Solve of the alchemists’ Solve et Coagula to the superhero genre; the act of taking it apart and examining it (Graydon, 2009). Moore brings superheroes into a “completely new realm” (Kavanagh, 2000) by placing them into the real world and giving them “sexual neuroses, bad breath and anxiety disorders” (Leith, 2010). This creates grounds for rich reflection on the intersection between superheroes and real-world issues of identity and ideological power. The following will be a discussion and evaluation of the relevant literature around identity and ideology in Watchmen.