The Watchmen

+ The Minutemen + Crimebusters

Created by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

Adapted from Who's Who entries

The Minutemen were an organization of costumed super-heroes that existed from 1939 to 1949. Its members were the predecessors of the super-heroes of later decades called the Watchmen. The first costumed crime fighter of this reality was Hooded Justice, who first came to public attention in the fall of 1938. Hooded Justice's true identity was never publicly revealed, but it has been speculated that he was really circus strongman Rolf Müller. His debut inspired New York City policeman Hollis Mason to become the original Nite Owl in early 1939.

Former waitress and burlesque dancer Sally Jupiter had become the first Silk Spectre by the middle of January 1939. Unlike the other Minutemen, Jupiter did not conceal her true identity. Instead, she and her agent, Laurence Schexnayder, used her career as the Silk Spectre to bolster her modeling and acting career. A number of other costumed vigilantes arose in 1939, including the Silhouette, Mothman, the Comedian, and Captain Metropolis. Capitalizing on the faddish public interest in costumed heroes, a major national bank also hired a star college athlete from Kansas as its own super-hero, Dollar Bill. These heroes had no real or artificial super powers and relied on their wits and athletic prowess in fighting crime.

The group was formed when Captain Metropolis wrote to Sally Jupiter proposing that super-heroes band together as the Minutemen. Schexnayder adopted the idea and helped organize the group in the fall of 1939. Tragedy followed these heroes, however. In 1940 the Comedian attempted to sexually assault the Silk Spectre but was stopped by Hooded Justice; as a result, the Comedian was expelled. In 1946 the Silhouette was also expelled following a homosexual scandal; she was killed by an adversary shortly afterwards. Dollar Bill was killed while trying to stop a bank robbery. In 1947 the Silk Spectre left the group to marry Schexnayder. The Minutemen finally disbanded in 1949.

In the 1950s, rather than comply with a congressional committee's demand that he reveal his true identity, Hooded Justice vanished. A corpse tentatively identified as Müller's was later found. Mothman became an alcoholic and ended up in a mental institution. Nite Owl retired, opened an auto repair shop and published his autobiography, Under the Hood. Sally Jupiter now lives in retirement in California. After an unsuccessful attempt to organize a new super-hero organization, Captain Metropolis is said to have been decapitated in a auto accident. Hollis Mason was murdered in 1985.

Dr. Jonathan Osterman was a physicist who, in 1959, was accidentally locked inside a test chamber being used for an experiment to remove the "intrinsic field" that held together the atomic structure of a concrete block. As a result, Osterman's own intrinsic field was removed from his body, causing his body to disintegrate. However, in November of that year, Osterman succeeded in completely reconstructing himself physically as a superhuman being who was given the code-name Dr. Manhattan. Osterman could now manipulate the atomic structure of matter at will. Due to his enormous powers, Dr. Manhattan's very existence altered the balance of power between the United States and the Soviet Union in America's favor. He was responsible for America's victory in the Vietnam War. Dr. Manhattan's powers made possible amazing advances in science and technology. Osterman's transformation enabled him to perceive reality in ways that ordinary people could not; for example, he could see events in the past and the future as if they coexisted with events in the present. Osterman became increasingly detached from ordinary human concerns.

Daniel Dreiberg idolized Hollis Mason, the costumed crime fighter known as Nite Owl. When Mason retired, Dreiberg contacted him and asked if he could adopt his name since he wanted to follow in Mason's footsteps as a crime fighter. Mason agreed, and Dreiberg became the second Nite Owl. In addition to his own athletic ability, the new Nite Owl employed amazing technology, including his flying vehicle, the Owlship. Adrian Veidt, the world's most intelligent man, idolized Alexander the Great, who had unified much of the ancient world through wars of conquest. Veidt also greatly admired ancient Egyptian culture. Adopting the pharaoh RamsesII's Greek name, Ozymandias, Veidt set out to conquer the evils besetting humanity.

In 1964 Walter Kovacs, who had had a traumatic childhood, read about the murder of a woman and how many of her neighbors had heard her screams but had done nothing. Appalled, Kovacs afterwards became the masked crime fighter Rorschach. He and the Nite Owl teamed up a number of times. In 1975, investigating the kidnapping of a six-year-old girl, Rorschach discovered that she had undergone a terrible fate at the hands of her captor. This incident caused Rorschach to believe that there was no innate meaning or moral order to existence. From then on, Rorschach was far more obsessive and violent in his crime fighting, and was perceived my many as not entirely sane. While she was still a teenager, Laurel Jane "Laurie" Juspeczyk became the second Silk Spectre on the urging of her mother, Sally Jupiter. Laurie became the lover of Dr. Manhattan. It was not until the 1985 that she learned that the Comedian had been her father.

In 1966 Captain Metropolis, a former Minuteman, unsuccessfully attempted to organize the then-active costumed crime fighters into a new team called the Crimebusters. In 1977 policemen went on strike in protest against the legal sanction given to the activities of costumed vigilantes. Protesters opposed to these adventurers used the slogan "Who watches the Watchmen?" On August 3rd of that year the Keene Act was passed, which made vigilantism illegal once more. Since they worked for the federal government, the Comedian and Dr. Manhattan were exempt from the act's restrictions. The Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, however, both retired as crime fighters. Rorschach, though, continued his vigilante activity in defiance of the law.

As for Ozymandias, at the 1966 Crimebusters meeting the Comedian had pointed out to him the alleged inevitability of worldwide nuclear war. Veidt believed that Blake was right; moreover, Veidt foresaw the turn of public sentiment against costumed heroes in the late 1970s. Veidt began to build a vast fortune and to work on his plan to prevent a nuclear holocaust. He retired as an adventurer in 1975 to concentrate on this plan. Veidt intended to fake an alien invasion of Earth in order to frighten Earth's governments into uniting against this new threat. His "alien" was actually a genetically engineered monster secretly created by scientists in Veidt's employ. Veidt cloned the brain of a deceased psychic and had scientists genetically engineer a more powerful brain for the monster from it. The monster's brain would act as a psychic resonator which, at the onset of the creature's death, amplify and broadcast horrifying psychic images. Veidt planned to teleport the monster to New York City, killing it and triggering a psychic shockwave that would kill half the population of New York City.

In October 1985 Veidt murdered the Comedian, because the latter had learned about his plan. Shortly afterwards, Dr. Manhattan left Earth after Laurie Juspeczyk left him and he was accused of inducing cancer in several people who had been associated with him. In fact, Veidt had caused these cancer cases in order to discredit Dr. Manhattan. Dreiberg and Juspeczyk returned to their costumed identities, and they, Manhattan, and Rorschach confronted Veidt in his Antarctic base early in November. However, Veidt had already teleported his monster and killed 3 million people. The atrocity did indeed bring about worldwide peace, at a point that Earth was on the verge of world war. Rather than disrupt this peace, all the heroes but Rorschach agreed not to expose Veidt's scheme. To prevent Rorschach's revealing it, Dr. Manhattan disintegrated him.

Dr. Manhattan left Earth once again, and Dreiberg and Juspeczyk, who have fallen in love, adopted the new identities of Sam and Sandra Hollis and intended to continue being costumed adventurers. However, it remains to be seen if Rorschach's journal, which exposes part of Veidt's scheme, will come to public attention.

Note: Originally, the Watchmen series was not a part of mainstream DC Universe continuity. After the Infinite Crisis and Convergence restored the DC Multiverse, the Watchmen are considered residents of a parallel Earth (not designated) In the mini-series Multiversity: Pax Americana, writer Grant Morrison purposely used the original Charlton heroes in the style of Watchmen. This story took place on Earth-4.

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Watchmen #1 (Sept. 1986)


  • Watchmen, 12-issue limited series (1986)
  • Before Watchmen: Comedian, 6-issue limited series (2012–13)
  • Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill, one-shot (2013)
  • Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan, 4-issue limited series (2012–13)
  • Before Watchmen: Minutemen, 6-issue limited series (2012–13)
  • Before Watchmen: Moloch, 2-issue limited series (2013)
  • Before Watchmen: Nite Owl, 4-issue limited series (2012–13)
  • Before Watchmen: Ozymandias, 6-issue limited series (2012–13)
  • Before Watchmen: Rorschach, 4-issue limited series (2012–13)
  • Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre, 4-issue limited series (2012–13)

 Member (Real Name)

1st app.


Captain Metropolis (Nelson Gardner) Watchmen #1 Deceased
Comedian (Edward Blake) Watchmen #1 Deceased Watchmen #1
Dollar Bill (unrevealed) Watchmen #1 Deceased in the 1950s
Hooded Justice (unrevealed) Watchmen #1 Disappeared; presumed deceased in the 1950s
Mothman (Byron Lewis) Watchmen #1 Institutionalized
Nite Owl (Hollis Mason) Watchmen #1 Deceased Watchmen #8
Silhouette (Ursula Zandt) Watchmen #1 Deceased in the 1940s
Silk Spectre (Sally Jupiter [Juspeczyk]) Watchmen #1 Retired
Comedian (Edward Blake) Watchmen #1 Deceased Watchmen #1
Dr. Manhattan (Dr. Jonathan Osterman) Watchmen #1 Active in adventuring
Nite Owl II (Daniel Dreiberg) Watchmen #1 Active in adventuring
Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt) Watchmen #1 Active in adventuring
Rorschach (Walter Kovacs) Watchmen #1 Deceased Watchmen #12
Silk Spectre II (Laurel Jane "Laurie" Juspeczyk) Watchmen #1 Active in adventuring