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Editor's Choice

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons with John Higgins (DC Universe, 334 pages, $19.95 paper). Alan Moore, in 1988, discussing his and Dave Gibbons' graphic novel "Watchmen" which Time magazine would put on its list of 100 best novels since 1923: "We've written and drawn the comic. We've helped design the badges and approved the wristwatches. We've discussed the film and the role-playing games and given the nod to the T-shirts. We've done the British tour and the American press interviews. We've done the photo session where they've asked us to pose as Adam West and Burt Ward walking sideways on a wall on our bat rope."

That was 20 years ago. Ronald Reagan was still president. Miley Cyrus wasn't born yet and it was still Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show."

And we are only just now seeing the inevitable film of Moore and Gibbons' strip/graphic novel, which is assuredly one of the cult smash hits of the past quarter-century -- and was once considered "unfilmable." That it was destined to be a movie was obvious from its very first page which is, in effect, an embittered, apocalyptic and spectacular zoom shot from a crane re-created in comic form. It is, in other words, a distinctly cinematic way of seeing.

The film opens on Friday after foretastes for fanboys at Comic Con. and movie junketeers, and it's safe to say that among the comic cognoscenti, few movies will be more anticipated this year. It's directed by Zack Snyder who directed the remarkable "300."

Alan Moore again: "From a relatively conventional nuclear-powered superhero, we found ourselves wandering into some post-Einsteinian quantum ruminations about time. The same thing applied to the disturbing moral territory we came to from the starting point of a standard masked urban vigilante."

To put it mildly, we're a long way from "Superman" -- a narrative galaxy away.

This is the book which began the phenomenon which will finally come to full fruition next week.

-- Jeff Simon

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