By now, you have probably heard of Watchmen. You might even know that there is a movie adaptation coming out next year, and if you’re lucky, you saw the trailer for it in front of The Dark Knight.

What you might not know is that most critics consider Watchmen one of, if not the, most important superhero graphic novels ever written. Its influence can easily be seen in a vast number of comics, TV shows and films. Everything from The Incredibles to Lost has claimed Watchmen as inspiration.

So the question is, can a Watchmen movie ever hope to meet the impossible expectations thrust upon it as a result of its origin? Let’s hope so.

First published as a 12-issue miniseries in 1986, Watchmen quickly became a critical and commercial success. Written by Alan Moore, a legend in the comic book industry whose works include The Killing Joke and From Hell, with art by Dave Gibbons, the Watchmen is considered by many to be the book that changed superhero comics. Now we have to wonder if the Watchmen movie can do the same thing.

In a way Watchmen is a total deconstruction of the superhero genre; it took everything we knew and flipped it. It stripped away the shiny perfect people that populated comic books of the past and gave us a grim, realistic world with no clearly defined villains. It played with your expectations and delivered a superhero experience more layered and complex than most novels.

Is it possible for this adaptation to change the way people look at superheroes all over again? Certainly, enough superhero films have come out in the past couple of years to justify a Watchmen movie, and the public understands the rules of superheroes just well enough for Watchmen to tear them down.

The good news is, so far, everything seems to be going right. Due to the recent hype, the Watchmen graphic novel is already selling out nearly everywhere — not bad for a comic more than 20 years old. If nothing else, the trailer pushed all the right buttons. As a fan, it’s hard not to get excited watching Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan and Nite Owl up on the big screen. But, for now, all we can do now is sit back, cross our fingers and hope that Watchmen will indeed be worth watching.