In the movie adaptation of Watchmen, we clearly see The Comedian assassinating President Kennedy during the opening montage.

But in the new prequel Before Watchmen: Comedian #1, we see that The Comedian was nowhere near the assassination.

a page from Before Watchmen: Comedian

Now I realize that Alan Moore was not involved in either project, and I don't recall anything about the JFK assassination in the original series.

So which version (movie adaptation or comic prequel) is more in line with the original universe?


5 Answers 5


In the comic, the Comedian was in Dallas at the time of the JFK assassination, guarding Richard Nixon, and it is implied that he killed JFK. See the Watchmen Wiki for details. So while it was much more explicit about it, the movie is truer to the original comic.

  • See my comment to PeterParker. The Comedian makes a tasteless joke alluding to killing Kennedy. It is exactly the sort of a joke his character might make whether he did or didn't.
    – Jacob C.
    Oct 31, 2019 at 22:29

In The Watchmen comic, at his party, The Comedian is telling his "opinion" about the assassination of Watergate journalists Woodward and Bernstein, ending in the following line.

"Nah... I'm clean, guys. Just don't ask where I was when I heard about J.F.K."

After which everybody around him (some right-wing politicians, I assume) are laughing.

Two panels from _The Watchmen_, depicting the scene described above

So in Alan Moore's version the Comedian is clearly at least connected with the assassination of JFK and possibly the cover-up of Watergate allowing Nixon a 2nd and even 3rd(!) term after changing the constitution.

  • It could just be a nasty joke. It's not clear.
    – Jacob C.
    Oct 29, 2019 at 22:30
  • of course but the author tries to transport something and if you know Alan Moore he is quite certain about wording things. Everything in his comics has a meaning. Oct 31, 2019 at 15:46
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    Even accepting without question the often problematic premise that "[author X] is so careful about every word that every comment, joke and turn of phrase has significant meaning", in this case, the author may be trying to convey exactly the meaning "The Comedian is a crude enough asshole to lightly make a joke about having murdered the president in cold blood." It's true that Alan Moore delights in inserting subtle details --e.g. with the mirroring stuff-- but this isn't subtle. All that can be said is that the Comedian joked about killing Kennedy and others were amused.
    – Jacob C.
    Oct 31, 2019 at 22:23
  • True that. But in regard to the question there is (in my opinion) a reasonable argument that the original sources hint to the fact that "The Comedian killed JFK" which then the movie depicted. It is neither far-fetched nor totally unrealistic. But you are right, there is no proof(and there will be none, at least not from Moore). This is always the limitation trying to find truth in Fiction: Fiction is barely a functioning world, it is just a small thread of events shown to the consumer. The world is only an illusion. It is only hinted and phantasy is doing the rest. Nov 1, 2019 at 15:50

Another hint of the implication of The Comedian being involved in the assassination is a 1986 B&W promotional poster of The Comedian standing with a sniper rifle

enter image description here

  • 1
    I've reluctantly given this an upvote. I'm not convinced it supposed to be him assassinating Kennedy in this particular shot (not that he's not in the Texas Book Depository, the newspaper is the "New York Gazette, etc) but it's certainly indicative that he assassinates people generally
    – Valorum
    Dec 22, 2018 at 12:19
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    I remembered this as well, and would have thought it direct confirmation. However, based on the background elements, I doubt it's taking place in Dallas, too. Based on the furniture and what we see of the buildings across the way (and various accounts of the US meddling in the timeframe), I'd guess it's a Central or South American country.
    – RDFozz
    Dec 22, 2018 at 16:30
  • @RDFozz The person on the portrait looks like Salvador Allende ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_Allende ). In real life Allende died during a coup led by Augusto Pinochet, with alleged CIA support and definite approval of Nixon administration. Seems reasonable that in the Watchmen universe the Comedian could at least participate in staging civil unrest, and maybe in a direct assassination.
    – IMil
    Mar 18, 2020 at 2:20

We really can't accept either of these accounts as canonical, since Alan Moore wasn't involved in either of them.

However, we also shouldn't believe anything that The Comedian says, considering the kind of man he is. While it is easy to believe that he was capable - and probably willing - to kill Kennedy, it is also very easy to believe that he would lie about killing him, if he thought it would impress the people around him. As far as I can recall, the only evidence we have to support the claim that The Comedian killed JFK is the implication he made about it at a party (see the image included in a previous answer).

If you know anything about The Comedian, you know that he can't be trusted. His word is meaningless. He's a degenerate, a murderer, an attempted rapist, and an all around horrible person.

Thus, if you prefer the version of events in the movie, you are free to accept that account. If you prefer the version of events in the Before Watchmen miniseries, you are free to accept that account. The only thing you shouldn't do is take The Comedian at his word.

Since Alan Moore has all but disowned Watchmen, especially the adaptations of it, we'll probably never know what really happened between The Comedian and JFK.


In my opinion the Before Watchmen comic covers both the reality of the Comedian and the movie adaption. In issue 6 he meets Gordy in a bar, who gives him information on an attempt on JFK's life. He comments on his involmvent with the FBI and JFK; he also states that "in the right light you could be mistaken for me". During the JFK assassination the Comedian is in Dallas with the FBI attempting to take down Moloch with inaccurate info. I surmise that the FBI planned to frame the Comedian for JFK's assassination if someone matching his description was identified on the grassy knoll. Makes sense to me and covers all 3 adaptations of Watchmen law.

  • This could be. Do you have the comic pages?
    – Adamant
    Feb 3, 2017 at 6:14

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