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One Piece Secretly Proves Watchmen's Weirdest Prediction Right – Screen Rant

Watchmen predicted that in a world saturated with superheroes, the public would turn to pirate comics like the record-setting One Piece manga.
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is a series rich with political and social commentary, but few would have expected one of its weirdest ideas to come true in the real world, as proved by the popularity of Eiichiro Oda’s beloved manga series One Piece. A dark work that redefined superhero comics forever (although not as much as Moore had hoped), Watchmen depicts a world in which costumed adventurers are a fact of life, changing the course of history through their presence. Of course, in a world where superheroes are real, comic creators have to look elsewhere for larger than life heroes.
With an abundance of comics to choose from and heroes from the MCU, DCEU, and even superhero-parodies like The Boys and Invincible dominating the mainstream, the modern market is indeed saturated with superheroes. Though not quite the same as a world where superpowers openly exist, this has nonetheless set the stage to test Watchmen‘s prediction of where comics will turn when superhumans become overly familiar. In fact, a meteoric surge of interest in manga has proved Moore and Gibbons correct in a fun and entertaining way, as one of the most-read manga titles is Eiichiro Oda’s pirate-centered One Piece. 
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An excerpt from the fictional ‘Treasure Island Treasury of Comics’ in Watchmen – Chapter V offers some details from the fictional history of comics in the Watchmen universe, revealing that in a world where superheroes are real, fans of pulp fiction turned to pirates instead. A Tales of the Black Freighter comic runs through Watchmen as a text within a text, and adaptations and sequels like Tom King and Jorge Fornes’ Rorschach have developed this further, drawing direct parallels to suggest that pirate heroes took the place of superhumans like Spider-Man in the public imagination. Of course, while superheroes didn’t suddenly come to life in the real world, they did shift from a niche interest to a mainstream obsession, and it’s startling to realize that in this cultural climate, a pirate story like One Piece really has seen unprecedented success, just as Watchmen predicted.
One Piece is a smashing success, setting a Guinness World Record for the most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author and charting as the best-selling manga for eleven consecutive years (2008-2018). It is also the best-selling manga of all time, with each of the 100 published volumes selling a million copies. Pirates may not have replaced superheroes (after all, superhero media does still exist in reality), but One Piece shows how viable their stories are as an alternative, and it’s not alone. An interest in swashbuckling adventures on the high seas has given rise to this and similar pirate manga, such as Sunset Rose. Sunset Rose’s main character Cherry Blossom has more bloodthirsty motivations than Luffy, as he is intent on slaying the world’s greatest sea monster, and the difference in tone between these properties helps demonstrate that the variety of pirate stories can equal superhero narratives currently on the market. Indeed, it’s manga’s willingness to vary its subject matter more widely than comics that is partly behind its increasing market presence.
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ groundbreaking Watchmen series is known for its genre-awareness, satirizing and critiquing the concept of the superhero as a violent arbiter of moral justice. Its themes of nationalism, moral absolutism, and the value of humanity are serious concerns, so its prediction that readers in a superhero-saturated world would turn to pirates is one few fans have focused on. But as market trends shift and manga claims a larger and larger segment of reader interest, it’s fascinating that the standard bearer is a story that fits into Watchmen‘s prediction for pulp fiction’s new obsession once superheroes become too familiar. At the time, it seemed to be one of the weirder parts of Watchmen’s story, but One Piece’s runaway success is a case of real life imitating fiction.
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