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The man who makes superheroes; // WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT.

B ritish comic book artist Dave Gibbons is best known for his collaborations with writer Alan Moore, including the mini series/graphic novel Watchmen, which was released as a live action film earlier this year. Dave comes to the IMAX, Millennium Point on September 18 for an exclusive screening event of Watchmen: The IMAX Experience (18). At this one-off special event supported by the British International Comic Show, visitors will hear Dave Gibbons introduce the film, and be invited to take part in a question and answer session.

Were the characters in Watchmen inspired by any existing superheroes? Not specifically; originally the watchmen characters were going to be some characters published by Charlton Comics who were bought by DC, and these were people like The Blue Beetle and The Question and Captain Atom and they were kind of archetypal superheroes - the kind of atomic superhero, the Batman-type character and the vigilante detective character - so when we designed the Watchmen characters we really did them out of whole cloth, we really just wanted to come up with some costumes that were interesting to draw and I made sure that I really enjoyed drawing them all - I still love to draw The Comedian and Rorschach and I suppose in as much as they were archetypal superheroes we looked at the archetypes of superhero costumes to come up with the different elements.

What did you think of the film? Alan Moore refused to have anything to do with it...

I really loved the film; I think it was an excellent job. I couldn't say it was perfect, but then the graphic novel's not perfect. I think it was as good a movie version of Watchmen as you could possibly hope for - in fact much, much better than you could have hoped for. I've seen it seven times and I'm still enjoying it.

Alan Moore's refusal to have anything to do with it had nothing to do with the quality of the movie or anyone involved - he decided to have nothing to do with Hollywood before anyone was announced to take Watchmen on - it's really just Hollywood in general he's displeased with.

What were the main hurdles in transferring Watchmen from page to big screen? I didn't have a great hand in doing that - I saw a draft of the script and gave my notes and feedback on that and I saw a rough cut of the movie and again was very happy to comment on that.

It really was the screenwriters and [director] Zach Snyder who had the heavy lifting to do - it's really just a question of boiling down all that material into something's that manageable as a movie; at the same time there was something called the Motion Comic which was virtually every panel, every word balloon of the graphic novel, translated and animated, and that runs to about five and half hours so it was a question of boiling the material down from what would have been a five and half hour movie to a two and a half hour movie and still make sense and still have the feel of the graphic novel, and I think they were really very successful at doing that.

What did you think of the film ending [which is different from the novel's]? I thought it was very, very appropriate for the movie, I think it fitted much better than the ending we had in the graphic novel would have done, because there would have had to have been so much back story to establish what was happening and also I like the way the elements of the ending were tied back into the main themes of the movie - it wasn't just something different stuck onto the end just for the sake of it - it was something that actually related to what had been happening in the rest of the movie - as the best endings always do.

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in art? It was just comics really; from the time I could first read, I read comics. I love comics and I love to draw and I just like the idea of telling stories in pictures, because that's what it always was for me, not just drawing for drawing's sake but drawing with the purpose of telling a story - and of course to begin with I didn't realise that these comic book stories were written by somebody different from the artist in most cases... That's how I gravitated to what is now called graphic novels.

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Hear the full interview at www.birminghampost.net/film
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 3, 2009
Words:768
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