Watching Time: The Unauthorized Watchmen Chronology

Author: Rich Handley

Softcover, 370 pages • ISBN: 978-0-692-78191-3

Hasslein Books

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 thing for the intellectually right reason, 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 Watchmen.

Watchmen, about a group of dysfunctional ex-vigilantes in a Nixon-controlled United States on the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, transformed the comic book world overnight. This unique twelve-issue miniseries was beautifully drawn and wholly unexpected. It viewed the concept of costumed crime-fighters with a harshly critical eye—a dystopian dissection of fascism, conservativism, liberalism, dogmatism, na├»ve idealism, hypocrisy, and the slow, painful, deteriorating death of the American dream. Bradford W. Wright, in his book Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America (Johns Hopkins, 2001), characterized Watchmen as "Moore's obituary for the concept of heroes in general and superheroes in particular." His description couldn't have been more dead-on.

Since the release of Moore's seminal deconstruction of the superhero genre, others have revisited Watchmen's dystopian setting in the form of a film adaptation, role-playing books, prequel comics, and multiple video games, all built upon the foundation that Moore and Gibbons laid down thirty years ago. With DC Comics soon to bring Watchmen's characters into its mainstream continuity, and with a Watchmen TV show reportedly in the works, it's time to reexamine all that has come before.

Rich Handley's Watching Time: The Unauthorized Watchmen Chronology, now available from Hasslein Books, will bring you:

Designed both for fans new to Watchmen and for those who can identify Hooded Justice's parents, Ozymandias's four islands, Silk Spectre's favorite crooner, Mothman's family butler, and Rorschach's breakfast food of choice, Watching Time tells you everything you need to know about Alan Moore's highly influential and Hugo Award-winning epic.

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Justin Francoeur, DC in the 80s:

The book is easy to read, organized in a logical method, and quick to scan through. In short, this is everything you'd want in a chronological reference guide... Who would most enjoy this book? Most obviously, a Watchmen fan (such as myself). Anyone who has been reading and collecting Watchmen material for the past twenty-five years and wants to see how it all 'comes together.' I see this book happily accompanying the Watchmen reprint trade paperback and Before Watchmen collected editions on your bookshelf.


Glenn Romanelli,

Rich was gracious enough to to give me a preview draft of the book to get my opinion and insight on what he did, and all I can say is I was very impressed. He literally covers everything. This book is an absolute essential for any fan who needs to know all of the whats, whens, and whos of the Watchmen universe. Rich was also kind enough to share with me that our website and forum were quintessential in his comprehensive research for the book. Sweet.


Mike Sterling, Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin:

There is an enormous amount of information presented here, and for someone like me, who likes seeing how the various interpretations of the same material/franchise fit together (or don't), there's a lot to enjoy. And yes, even the unproduced film scripts are included in the chronology. Rich was very thorough.


James Floyd Kelly,

If you're a fan of the original Watchmen series, the book will open your eyes to many secrets and behind-the-scenes details that you've likely never considered (or even noticed). Add in sources such as the film, the prequel series, video games, and others, and you'll find your head swimming with how much research Handley has done here. After finishing the timeline, I'm now a few issues into my (slow) re-reading of the original series looking at the story from different angles, all thanks to the care and detail that Handley is now offering to the Watchmen fans around the world.


Steve Czarnecki, Beyond the Marquee:

Beyond the Marquee readers are no strangers to some of our past reviews of the amazing and incredibly detailed books written and produced by author Rich Handley. From Planet of the Apes, Doctor Who and Back to the Future, his meticulous publications are always packed full of juicy trivia, nostalgia, amazing facts, intricate time-lines and more. Rich's latest is now available and we're sure will not disappoint!


Miles Hamer, We Are Cult:

Handley's book is an astonishing achievement, a full-bodied accompaniment to a dizzyingly complex series. There's real nitpicker's joy to be had ploughing through the entries and comparing alternate timelines... Dense with fact and exceptionally detailed continuity of a stunning legacy, this is mightily impressive work. A fan's fan kind of book, Watching Time will truly sort the mice from the Minutemen.


John Trumbull, Atomic Junkshop:

I can't imagine anyone doing a more comprehensive job with a Watchmen chronology than Handley has done here. As a timeliner, I doff my hat to him. Watching Time is a thoroughly impressive piece of work. If you're into Watchmen, fictional timelines, or just creative scholarship in general, I highly recommend it.


Paul Simpson, Sci-Fi Bulletin:

The book is topped and tailed with a couple of pieces by other writers, both of which make interesting reading: the foreword sets up the real world chronology, while the essay makes a case for Watchmen needing to be seen as of its time. Verdict: Definitely a book aimed at the Watchmen fan; for others, it's an insight into how detailed that universe has become. 8/10


Remy Carreiro, Forever Geek:

This is not so much a simple chronology as it is a microscopic lens held up to this magnificent piece of work, ultimately making even more sense out of it by laying it all out in a way people can understand. Author Rich Handley had his work cut out for him, and when you see the final product, you cannot help but stop for a second and acknowledge how massive an undertaking this would have been for anyone. Well done, sir. We geeks recognize and acknowledge.


Andrew Salmon, Novelist and Watchmen Film Extra:

Watching Time is not only a valuable reference work for comic fans wanting to celebrate the incredible achievement Watchmen was, and is, but the volume will also be a crucial historical document in the history of the medium as it draws so much material so far afield into one place. If you've ever got a question about Watchmen nagging at your gray cells, you'll find the answer in Watching Time. This book should be on the book shelf of every comics fan. Don't miss it!

Read Andrew's Amazon Author Page...

Haven Riney, Author, Messing with Telemarketers:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Well you could be doing your part if you pick up Watching Time by Rich Handley. Seriously... They aren't going to watch themselves. Why are you still reading this instead of picking up the book?

Learn more about Messing with Telemarketers...

Damian Fasciani, DC Comics News:

For Watchmen fans that collect, [the cover] gallery's purpose is to help you with your everlasting hunt for more books. A beautiful layout of covers that won't disappoint and can be used as your own personal guide to expanding on that Watchmen collection. Overall the book is written well and is a great read not just for Watchmen fans, but pop culture fans in general. The book was fun, dynamic, and engaging in a way that I didn't expect.


Watchmen©™ is the intellectual property of Time Warner and DC Comics. No copyright infringement is intended or implied. Watching Time: The Unauthorized Watchmen Chronology is a scholarly source-work that has not been licensed or authorized by any person or entity associated with Time Warner or DC Comics.