Document Type



Master of Arts


American Studies

First Adviser

Dawn Keetley


This thesis examines the links between the graphic novelization of America within Watchmen to contemporary American experiences. In transgressing the borders between this work of fiction and reality, I connect the moral crises and nihilistic attitudes highlighted by Alan Moore in his writing and Dave Gibbons in his illustrations to historical figures and events. I utilize qualitative analysis to illustrate how examples of propaganda within Watchmen function as symmetrical counterparts to modern-day propaganda techniques. Lastly, I highlight the shortcomings of the 2009 film adaption, arguing that it glorifies aspects of the original text intended for readers to critically analyze. In grounding Watchmen to reality, I contend that this graphic novel mirrors the cultural shift currently underway in American culture and politics. This thesis presents avenues to interpret Watchmen, providing insights to expand readers’ understanding of its story world and its connections to the ambiguous nature of morality in our world.