It’s Based On a Graphic Novel…
Damon Lindelof’s HBO series is, of course, based on the DC Comics “Watchmen” graphic novel from the 1980s. Originally published in 1986, the 12-issue comic series gained notoriety, success, and critical acclaim for its deconstruction and satirization of the superhero genre.
Created by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave GIbbons, “Watchmen” depicts a contemporary alternate history — also set in the ‘80s — where the emergence of superheroes in the ‘40s (the Minutemen) and ‘60s (the Crimebusters) changed key historic events. The United States won the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal was never exposed, and by 1985, the United States and the Soviet Union are on the brink of World War III. The latter team, the Crimebusters, were the central focus of “Watchmen” and consisted of Captain Metropolis, The Comedian (who was also part of the Minutemen), Nite Owl II, Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, Silk Spectre II, and Ozymandias.
Also by 1985, those established superheroes had either retired or transitioned into working for the government, as “costumed adventuring” had been outlawed due to the Keene Act of 1977. (Rorschach, however, continued to fight as a costumed adventurer, in open defiance of the law.) But when The Comedian is murdered, the Crimebusters come out of retirement to investigate.