Alan Moore, despite the notable handicap of being nuttier than a display of fruitcakes at Christmastime, still knows the score:
"Watchmen" had a major impact on comics and the way they portray violence, turning the industry toward something grittier. Is that what you intended?"
"I don't think we knew what to expect. We thought we were just doing an interesting twist upon the superhero story and it was only around about issue No. 3 when we suddenly realized that the way that we were telling the story was becoming very interesting and multilayered with a lot of new things that we had never done before. At that point perhaps we did start to have high hopes for what the book might achieve -- maybe naively we thought, "Once everybody has seen 'Watchmen,' this will open the door for other people to free their imaginations up and do equally progressive works that will take the medium into countless other directions."
But that isn't the way the culture tends to work. You'll get something like Harvey Kurtzman's excellent "Mad" comics that, while being wonderful in itself, will condemn the humor comics genre to 50 years of magazines that are named after some form of mental illness and which feature stuff that is pretty much the same as "Mad." But I guess that is always going to happen. You've just got to keep hoping for these kind of influence breakthroughs and the stuff that follows on from them is probably only of secondary consequence, you know. I mean, if "Watchmen" hadn't come along, something else would have come along that would have been as violent or as dark and that would have done much the same thing to a lot of the comics. I'm more or less just beating myself up about it."
Very good, if fairly standard for Moore, interview here. I especially like the later bit when he talks about "realism" in comics and what's really driving it.
Sadly, he doesn't get called on the fact that Lost Girls is SO slash-fiction that someone illustrated and published, but you can't have everything, I suppose.