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What do you think about Watchmen?

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  • What do you think about Watchmen?

    ...Do you think it's the "bible of comic books"? Do you think it's totally overrated? Or do you think it'd make a great saturday morning cartoon?

    Let's be moderate about differing opinions about this. We should husband our tempers for the "The Living Tribunal vs the Cosmic Balance" debatte.

  • #2
    Beyonder, could you start the ball rolling by giving us your critique of the comic please?
    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

    Comment


    • #3
      Generally, I think it's one of the best, outranked only by Crisis, the Warlock saga, some issues of the first Silver Surfer series, and the first 5 years of Spider-Man.

      But, even there, I think it's somewhat overrated, and just to cynical: Sure, once in a blue month, we see a couple of lights in a dark, nightmarrish world: the kiosk owner trying to protect the boy from Ozymandias' attack, Nite-Owls true, pure goodnes, the love between Nite-Owl and Silk Spectre, Dr Manhattan's inhuman love for Silk Spectre - remember how he looked at her and Nite-Owl, when they were huddled together in Ozymandias' sanctum? -, or Ozymandias' seeming benevolence. But all this are exeptions, mere bright points accentuating a world of stark darkness.
      Last edited by The Beyonder; 09-15-2006, 01:05 PM.

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      • #4
        Hey! Good timing...

        Comment


        • #5
          Okay, I'll bite (although I was waiting to see if anyone else would join in before giving my version of the comic).

          First off, Alan Moore is a genius and not just probably the greatest comics writer ever, but one of the greatest writers currently living and working period. If Watchmen isn't his masterpiece - I would offer From Hell as that - then it comes pretty damn close. It is not only a great comic but it is a great historic event in the timeline of comics. Without Watchmen there wouldn't (imo) have been comics like Neil Gaiman's The Sandman or Garth Ennis' Preacher.

          Watchmen is not just a literary triumph however, it's also an artistic and technical wonder as well. At least half of Watchmen's success is due in no small measure to Dave Gibbons' contribution. In Watchmen there is a synergy where the writer and artist combine their individual talents to produce something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

          To the actual work itself - rather than its genesis - the world of Watchmen is indeed one of "stark darkness", it presents a world where the nuclear doomsday clock stands at 10mins to Midnight. It's a world where the Cold War has heated up to boiling point, where the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is more real than since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

          And yet I truly don't think it is a 'cynical' story at all. There may be cynical characters in it - ie The Comedian - but that doesn't mean the comic itself is cynical. In fact, there is a great seam of Humanism running all the way through the comic that comes to its apex in Chapter IX: The Darkness of Mere Being. I've quoted it before in the Provocative Literature thread, but I hope you'll indulge my citing it again.

          WARNING: Possible Spoilers follow

          The bulk of Ch.9 takes place on Mars, as Dr. Manhatten permits his ex-lover Laurie Juspeczyk to attempt to persuade him why he shouldn't give up on the human race, a species that he has become increasingly detatched and alienated from ever since a atomic particle experiment caused him to under a physical transformation into a super-human. During the course of their discourse, Laurie recounts episodes from her life, until she comes to realise that the man she hated most in the world is in fact her father...
          Osterman: Laurie? Are you alright?

          Laurie: Of course not! Blake, that bastard, and my m-mother, they...pulled a gag on me is what they did! My whole life's a joke. One big, stupid, meaningless...aw shit...

          Osterman: I don't think your life's meaningless.

          Laurie: Oh no, well, obviously that's what you're going to say because anything I'm stupid enough to believe is true, you just disagree with it and...uh...you don't?

          Osterman: No.

          Laurie: But...listen, you've just been saying life is meaningless, so how can...?

          Osterman: I changed my mind.

          Laurie: But...why?

          Osterman: Thermodynamic molecules...events with odds against so astronomical they're effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing. And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter...until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged.

          To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold...That is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle.

          Laurie: But...if me, my birth, if that's a thermodynamic miracle...I mean, you could say that about anyone in the world!

          Osterman: Yes. Anyone in the world...But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget...I forget. We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another's vantage point, as if new, it may still take the breath away. Come...dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredicatable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes...and let's go home.
          Manhatten's point is that every life in the comic, from Edward Blake to Adrian Veidt, from the News-vendor to the Top-Knots, from The Big Figure to the fat kid who works at The New Frontiersman, is important. Every life has meaning. In Moore's world the heroes aren't the costumed crime-fighters who run around in their underwear but the ordinary man and woman in the street; which is precisely the reason why we spend much of the story listening to the people interacting at that central crossroads where much of the story takes place.

          In the end, Moore turns his attention away from the characters in the story in order to address the reader him- or herself. The comic's final words are directed not just to the fat kid but to the reader - for once in your life, says Moore to us, take responsibility for yourselves, don't leave it to others (ie heroes & politicians) to make decisions for you.

          A question is posed to the reader in the final page: if your world had been pushed to the brink of the abyss and had only stepped away from extinction through the murder of 100,000 innocents would you reveal the awful crime against humanity that had been committed? Would you attempt to undo Veidt's work? Veidt is someone who decided that things couldn't be left to others to solve, he would have to do something himself to prevent the world destroying itself. Was he right? Are his methods justifiable?

          In my opinion, Watchmen scores immeasurably over the comics you mention, like Crisis on Infinite Earths, because it's more that just a great superhero comic. It's much more and much deeper than that. It asks - indeed demands - more of the reader than just to sit back and enjoy a great romp. It wants the reader to think about their own world and their own lives in the light of what they've read.

          And I haven't even begun to address the physical composition of the comic and Gibbons' art in any detail. Just look at Chapter V: Fearful Symmetry to see one of the most technically accomplished comics ever published. The motif of the bloody smiley repeated appears throughout the comic in all sorts of places, not just in badge form.

          I would strongly encourage anyone to read all the Wikipedia articles on Watchmen - start at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmen (and there are many exploring all aspects of the comic) - to see just how truly complex and mature the comic is compared to anything that preceeded it. And indeed much of what followed after.
          _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
          _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
          _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
          _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
            ....Alan Moore is a genius and not just probably the greatest comics writer ever, but one of the greatest writers currently living and working period.....
            Alan Moore knows the score...
            Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
            Bakunin

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            • #7
              In terms of The Comedian's cynicism, what I took from his death scene was that despite his world weary disgust, he really thought that the 'hope' offered by Veidt's grand design was likely to work. In my mind, his final laugh was targeted at the pointlessness of his own cynicism and grudging acceptance that the optimists (Veidt) might have been right all along (not to mention, capable of acts he could never have contemplated, cynic though he be).
              "Between the stirrup and the ground, he mercy sought and mercy found"
              Perhaps such applies not only to divine forgiveness but also one's world view?
              Question, then: He may have lived a cynic, but did The Comedian die a cynic?

              (I am of course reading far to much into a laugh, but that's literature for you!)

              Comment


              • #8
                The Watchmen is not only Alan Moore's finest work, it is the finest comic and one of the finest forms of printed storytelling. Its complexity, depth and subtly are truly amazing (putting most novelists and film makers to shame), and it remains unsurpassed as the most impressive use of the comic book form as a storytelling medium. My only gripe, if I was pushed to make one, is the actual main story arc is perhaps a little contrived and is largely superseded by the setting, characters, art, storytelling techniques, etc… but this is only a small gripe. As great as Alan Moore’s other comic creations have been: V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing and Halo Jones being the best IMO, they are both left in the wake of Watchmen.

                Slightly off topic, but IMO nothing Alan Moore has done since the 80s has come close to the standards of his earlier work. From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Promethea, while all decent comics in their own right, all lack the sophistication of the Watchmen’s storytelling techniques. Maybe he needs to work with Dave Gibbons again? (I can dream). Also I imagine I’m not the only person here who would happily sell a kidney to fund another volume of Halo Jones, my all time fave heroine!

                I guess Frank Miller has come pretty close to Alan More in sheer quality: Bat Man Year One, Dare Devil Born Again, Electra Assassin and Dark Knight Returns are all equally amazing, although Watchmen still has the jump on them all.
                forum

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                2. a medium for open discussion, such as a magazine
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                • #9
                  Watchmen

                  I read the series in one go as I had bought the collected edition, liked it very much, especially when Rorshach is in prison and they find he is wearing built up shoes but still managed to show how lethal he is! I agree, a great series which was a turning point in comics history. Frank Miller's work in Batman The Dark Knight was brilliant as was his 300 but the Watchmen was outstanding.


                  , [Ok Emerson ...oot the motor !!!!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Groakes View Post
                    Alan Moore knows the score...
                    Yay, PWEI! Can you dig it?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You seem to forget Watchmen as a comic. It wouldn't be such a piece of art without the brilliant pencil of Dave Gibbons. More than anything, I appreciate the cinematographic way he built the story.



                      For those who didn't notice: if you pay attention, you will see that the smiley appears in many draws, as well does the watch...
                      Free the West Memphis Three

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Every time I read Watchman I discover something new in the artwork.

                        I've been reading it for 20 years.
                        _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                        _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                        _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                        _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dug it out of the bookshelf again last night and started reading it again. It never fails to blow me away the way that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons weave the narrative. I wish I had gotten it when it was originally serialised so as to have that wait between the episodes - never quite knowing what was going to happen next and what perspectives were going to open.

                          With regard the film, I hope they can work out a way to properly blend the "Tales of the Black Freighter" stuff into the narrative - It was done so beautifully in the original I almost can't imagine it working properly in any other medium...
                          Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
                          Bakunin

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Groakes View Post

                            With regard the film, I hope they can work out a way to properly blend the "Tales of the Black Freighter" stuff into the narrative - It was done so beautifully in the original I almost can't imagine it working properly in any other medium...
                            I can safely say that I'm positvely dreading this film. If Hollywood struggle to get things like the X-men and the Hulk right, how the fuck are they going to cope with the Watchmen? It will be like trying to cram War & Peace into a 30 second advert. I vetoed V for Vendetta because it looked shocking and I imagine I'll do the same here too.
                            forum

                            1. a meeting or assembly for the open discussion of subjects of public interest
                            2. a medium for open discussion, such as a magazine
                            3. a public meeting place for open discussion

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Groakes View Post
                              With regard the film, I hope they can work out a way to properly blend the "Tales of the Black Freighter" stuff into the narrative - It was done so beautifully in the original I almost can't imagine it working properly in any other medium...
                              I suspect that they would drop the TotBF segments and just concentrate on the 'mask killer' storyline. There are many things you can do in comics you can't do in films and imo you shouldn't try to shoe-horn the one into the other. It's not as if comics aren't a legitimate art form in their own right or require the endorsement of Hollywood to have any validity.

                              Originally posted by The English Assassin View Post
                              I vetoed V for Vendetta because it looked shocking and I imagine I'll do the same here too.
                              No, no, you should really go and see it. It is - without doubt (imo) - the best film adaptation of an Alan Moore story ever - although I appreciate that's not saying much. David Lloyd has spoken very positively about the film, even if Alan Moore has disowned it, but then Alan hasn't seen it, has he?

                              Yes, they've changed the storyline somewhat, filleted entire sub-plots and diluted the Anarchy v. Fascism axis of the original comic, but in its own right and on its own terms it is a fine film. You do have to leave the graphic novel at the door, and if you just go: 'That's not right, that wasn't in it, that's been added...' etc. then you probably won't enjoy it, but if you can put the comic aside for a couple of hours (and it will still be there when you come out) it's actually a very interesting and thought-provoking movie.
                              _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                              _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                              _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                              _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                              Comment

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