Watchmen Wiki

"Give the American people uniforms over costumes."

—John David Keene

John David Keene is a U.S. Senator of New York and author of the Keene Act which made masked vigilantism illegal and regulated the use of masks in law enforcement.


Early life

John David Keene was born in 1930 in New York City's Greenwich Village. From an early age, he demonstrated an aptitude for public speaking, delivering his first speech at age twelve while attending Hunter College High School. From there he studied Political Science at Yale University for seven years.[1]

Political Career

"If they [costumed vigilantes] have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear. So why do they hide?"

—John David Keene

John David Keene as depicted in The Keene Act & YOU.

Keene Act

In 1972 he was elected as a Republican senator of New York. His first four years in the senate were mostly uneventful. In 1976 he allied himself with the New York Police Officer's Union on protesting at the liberties taken by the masked adventurers. In 1977, the following year, he tabled the infamous Keene Act, which banned costumed crimefighters except for those sanctioned by the government.[1][2]

On September 21st, 1977, the Political Gazette publishes an article by writer Louise Easton titled "Senator Keene Acts", profiling Keene's rise to political power.[1]






  • John David Keene is supposed to be based on David Keene, Spiro Agnew's adviser during the Nixon administration.
  • Because Keene's given name and background were never formalized in any original source material, the persona of "John David Keene" was invented for the viral marketing surrounding the live action film adaptation of Watchmen.
  • In Gary Goldman's unproduced 1992 screenplay, Keene's name is Norman Keene.
  • The HBO series reveals his name to be Joseph David Keene Sr. which is a compromise with the film material persona.