Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book limited series created by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins, published by DC Comics in 1986 and 1987. Watchmen focuses on six main characters: the Comedian, Doctor Manhattan, the Nite Owl, Ozymandias, Rorschach, and the Silk Spectre. These characters are primarily based on superhero properties DC had acquired from Charlton Comics in the early 1980s. Series writer Alan Moore created the main characters to present six "radically opposing ways" to perceive the world, and to give readers of the story the privilege of determining which one was most morally comprehensible.
The Comedian is Edward Blake. The Comedian was based on the Charlton Comics character Peacemaker, with elements of the Marvel Comics spy character Nick Fury added. Moore and Gibbons saw The Comedian as "a kind of Gordon Liddy character, only a much bigger, tougher guy". Moore has observed elsewhere that the character's pseudonym was inspired by Graham Greene's novel 'The Comedians'. Gibbons went with a Groucho Marx-style appearance (moustache and cigar) for the Comedian in his design, deciding that the "clown" look had already been appropriated by DC Comics' Joker. His costume itself was noted by Gibbons as being particularly problematic, he was initially designed with a more militaristic costume which was later dropped for a black leather outfit with a "rapist mask". He believes that humans are savage in nature, and that civilization can never be more than an idea. He therefore chooses to become a mockery of society, fighting and killing without reservation.
Blake's murder, which takes place shortly before the story begins in 1985, sets the plot of Watchmen in motion. The character appears throughout the story in flashbacks and aspects of his personality are revealed by other characters. Richard Reynolds described The Comedian as "ruthless, cynical, and nihilistic, and yet capable of deeper insights than the others into the role of the costumed hero". Paige MacGregor said Comedian's unusual appeal to women was due to "the willingness of Sally Jupiter [...] to have consensual sex with [him] after he tried to rape her" and because of a later moment in which he breaks down and shows his "innate humanity".
He and Doctor Manhattan are the only two superheroes to be government-sanctioned after the Keene Act banning costumed vigilantism is passed.
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