Blog Post: When Watchmen were Klansmen

Grade Range: 8-12
Resource Type(s): Reference Materials
Date Posted: 9/4/2020

““You know how you can tell the difference between a masked cop and a vigilante?”


“Me neither.”

This exchange between Laurie Blake, former costumed vigilante turned FBI agent, and Angela Abar, masked Tulsa police detective, lays out a conundrum at the heart of HBO’s 2019 series Watchmen. Theirs is an America where police, costumed vigilantes, and hate groups all wear masks to protect their “secret identities,” where anonymity leads to the corruption of power, and where those identities become dangerously blurred. The show is an “extrapolation” based on the groundbreaking comic series created in 1986 by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins, in which the introduction of masked vigilantes— real-life “superheroes”—in 1938 creates an alternate history. The series sees that history play out in strange and uncomfortably familiar ways.”

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