Watchmen: I don't understand the hype/big circle jerk

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Watchmen: I don't understand the hype/big circle jerk

Postby DDMAN26 on Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:02 pm

About a year ago I picked up Watchmen, I heard many great things about it. How it transcended comic books and was literature. That it's a very important work. That there are so many layers to it and you could literally discuss each panel in depth. Now, I read it a few times, enjoyed it each time. However, it doesn't cross into that great category for me, like the Dark Knight did or Crisis on Infinite Earths. Am I missing something that maybe another reading could cure.
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Re: Watchmen: I don't understand the hype.

Postby Adam Balm on Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:07 pm

DDMAN26 wrote: Am I missing something that maybe another reading could cure.


Probably not. My guess is it's just a 'different strokes, for different folks' thing. Just because you didn't love something that's acclaimed doesn't necessarily mean you didn't get it.
Last edited by Adam Balm on Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nachokoolaid on Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:07 pm

I think you sort of answered yourself. You are missing something. Seriously, I count this as literature, not a "comic."
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Postby Colin on Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:07 pm

Read this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmen

Close the thread.
Last edited by Colin on Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby instant_karma on Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:10 pm

Watchman has been out for a few years now, and has had a pretty massive influence on the superhero genre, so perhaps reading later works that owe a debt to Watchman has lessened it's impact.

You are holding the book the right way up, right?
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Postby DDMAN26 on Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:15 pm

instant_karma wrote:Watchman has been out for a few years now, and has had a pretty massive influence on the superhero genre, so perhaps reading later works that owe a debt to Watchman has lessened it's impact.

You are holding the book the right way up, right?


Now that you mentioned it.....damn it!!!! :wink:
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Postby MasterWhedon on Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:29 pm

instant_karma wrote:Watchman has been out for a few years now, and has had a pretty massive influence on the superhero genre, so perhaps reading later works that owe a debt to Watchman has lessened it's impact.

Yeah, that's where I come from. I read Watchmen for the first time about six months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, but it was one of those instances where it was hard for me to divorce the work itself from its history, from all the hype that's placed upon it.

There's also the fact that I was four-years-old when it came out, so I've grown up reading comics in Watchmen's shadow. Any number of the ideas first expressed in there have been elaborated upon (for better or worse) in other comics I've read, therefore diluting the impact somewhat.

I prefer Powers to Watchmen when it comes to superhero deconstruction, but I get why people are so head-over-heels for it.
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:00 pm

I outright hate Watchmen.

Actually I am kidding. It's brilliant, and I am not much of an Alan Moore fan!
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Postby instant_karma on Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:08 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:
instant_karma wrote:Watchman has been out for a few years now, and has had a pretty massive influence on the superhero genre, so perhaps reading later works that owe a debt to Watchman has lessened it's impact.

Yeah, that's where I come from. I read Watchmen for the first time about six months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, but it was one of those instances where it was hard for me to divorce the work itself from its history, from all the hype that's placed upon it.

There's also the fact that I was four-years-old when it came out, so I've grown up reading comics in Watchmen's shadow. Any number of the ideas first expressed in there have been elaborated upon (for better or worse) in other comics I've read, therefore diluting the impact somewhat.

I prefer Powers to Watchmen when it comes to superhero deconstruction, but I get why people are so head-over-heels for it.


I feel so old.

Thank for that...
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Postby GreatMoose on Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:15 pm

Honestly, I don't really get the hype either. It's a good comic and all, but it's not <i>that</i> great. Although, I just got into comics over this past year, so maybe I don't <i>get</i> it.
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Postby Adam Balm on Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:24 pm

instant_karma wrote:Watchman has been out for a few years now, and has had a pretty massive influence on the superhero genre, so perhaps reading later works that owe a debt to Watchman has lessened it's impact.

You are holding the book the right way up, right?


You know, I'm kind of in the same boat as Whedo in that I was just a tyke when it came out. I think I only read it for the first time around 2000 or so. But I guess I had the opposite reaction. I could see all the works that were later derivative---er influenced---by it but I remember being surprised at the time when I realized that what I was reading was almost twenty years old and that in my opinion still nothing had come along to equal it.

It wasn't really that it deconstructed the genre, or that it was dark or 'edgy' or any other reason that most people give when they talk about why they think it's so brilliant. Since then we've all seen superheroes cursing, fucking, being psychotic, or being completely amoral. We've seen a billion attempts at 'superheroes...but in the real world!' and so none of that was terribly interesting to me. What impressed me, and still does, is the level of density in the work. Yeah, it's pretentious, but here in a field such as comics, where everything is quick and dirty, easily digested and soon forgotten( Hell, we call 120 page illustrated books 'graphic novels'), here was something that felt like literature. It was labyrinthine, hard to read at times, and it was like nothing that came before it. To me, Watchmen is still one of the only superhero comics that I would deem worthy of the title 'graphic novel'.
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:12 am

MasterWhedon wrote:There's also the fact that I was four-years-old when it came out


Holy.

Crappa.

Goddamn I feel a so old...
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Postby Evil Hobbit on Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:51 am

Colin wrote:Read this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmen

Close the thread.


:lol:
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:16 am

Colin wrote:Read this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmen

Close the thread.


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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:41 am

Adam Balm wrote:
instant_karma wrote:Watchman has been out for a few years now, and has had a pretty massive influence on the superhero genre, so perhaps reading later works that owe a debt to Watchman has lessened it's impact.

You are holding the book the right way up, right?


You know, I'm kind of in the same boat as Whedo in that I was just a tyke when it came out. I think I only read it for the first time around 2000 or so. But I guess I had the opposite reaction. I could see all the works that were later derivative---er influenced---by it but I remember being surprised at the time when I realized that what I was reading was almost twenty years old and that in my opinion still nothing had come along to equal it.

It wasn't really that it deconstructed the genre, or that it was dark or 'edgy' or any other reason that most people give when they talk about why they think it's so brilliant. Since then we've all seen superheroes cursing, fucking, being psychotic, or being completely amoral. We've seen a billion attempts at 'superheroes...but in the real world!' and so none of that was terribly interesting to me. What impressed me, and still does, is the level of density in the work. Yeah, it's pretentious, but here in a field such as comics, where everything is quick and dirty, easily digested and soon forgotten( Hell, we call 120 page illustrated books 'graphic novels'), here was something that felt like literature. It was labyrinthine, hard to read at times, and it was like nothing that came before it. To me, Watchmen is still one of the only superhero comics that I would deem worthy of the title 'graphic novel'.


Don't forget the artwork too! It was the first comic I read where the frames and what they contained took on a much deeper degree of meaning and a , barely unheralded, attention towards incredible location mapping and alternate tales within frames, sometimes with non specific characters. The text might hint at this, but it was the signs actually on the walls that started me thinking about space other than I normally might in a 2D environment; such as looking out the diner window to see the mystery of the "end is nigh" man. The colour palette was lurid and yet pastelle, like the fashion of the 80's and there were so many little details rather than intricacies which literally littered the panels. This is substance over style and ultimately why I rate the book.
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Postby Nordling on Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:52 am

Oh, Comic Book Guy. You never fail to make me chortle.
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Postby Orcus on Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:57 am

I read the comic when it first came out and was sold from the first panel. Back then it was taking things into a new direction. Between that and the Dark Knight Returns, it pretty much set the gold standard and template for that which was to come. Folks have been acclimated to 20+ years of the gritty turn of comics that it almost has become mainstream. The fact it holds it's own (after, what, 21 years?) is a testament of quality

I remember waiting for each issue and speculating with others in rec.arts.comics on usenet as far as who the mastermind would be. I remember one speculation as far as the degree of polar oposition when the characters were paired off, with Rorschach (Sp?) being diametrically opposed with Dr Manhattan. I forgot how the other characters lined up to their degrees of opposition but eventually it formed a huge V which I thought was brilliant.

If memory serves me well (Oooh, Iron Chef flashback) the issue called Symmetry where the front and back pages up until the center mirrored one another almost frame to frame.

I can't think of another miniseries which matched it's scope and brilliance evenr since
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Postby instant_karma on Tue Mar 20, 2007 12:01 pm

Dino, has Snyder approached you about playing Moloch yet?
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Postby Orcus on Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:06 pm

I just checked out http://www.aintitcool.com/node/31814 and the image of Rorshach was gone. Did someone complain?
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Postby unikrunk on Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:09 pm

Is there not a Watchmen thread?

/I don't understand the thread.
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Postby Adam Balm on Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:13 pm

unikrunk wrote:Is there not a Watchmen thread?


No one was more surprised than me to find out that, no, we don't have a Watchmen comic thread. There's one for the movie, but not one for the comic oddly enough.
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Postby unikrunk on Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:14 pm

Adam Balm wrote:
unikrunk wrote:Is there not a Watchmen thread?


No one was more surprised than me to find out that, no, we don't have a Watchmen comic thread. There's one for the movie, but not one for the comic oddly enough.


Thank you to Adam teh Balm; well, I guess we have one now. :oops:
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Postby so sorry on Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:45 pm

Orcus wrote:I just checked out http://www.aintitcool.com/node/31814 and the image of Rorshach was gone. Did someone complain?


The image is right here

Rorschak on wiki
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Postby Orcus on Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:47 pm

Cool. But now I wondering on why it was removed
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Postby unikrunk on Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:01 pm

In Soviet Russia, teh Watchmen hype does not get you!

/that is all
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Postby Fawst on Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:06 pm

I only just recently read this (within the past year), and I was blown away by it. Someone mentioned it earlier, it was the realization that this was 20+ years old, and it was showing themes that are basically commonplace today, but absolutely unheard of at the time it came out.

The idea that these "caped crusaders" really were nothing more than every day Joe and Joan Average in a nice costume was great. The fact that they were all put out of a job essentially by a REAL superhero was great. The big bad villain who truly wanted world piece? Brilliant. The (to me) main protagonist being almost as villainous as the villain... very good.

I really need to read it again.
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Postby Orcus on Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:28 pm

*edit*
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Postby Lady Sheridan on Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:47 pm

I still have to read it. I finally managed to pry a copy (one of the three he owns) out of the hands of a friend--and without giving "Pride of Baghdad" as hostage in return.

It's on my spring break "to do" list which seems to grow ever longer, argg.
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Postby wonkabar on Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:09 pm

I just read it for the first time about six months ago as well (I've had it since I was a kid).....I dug it, but I can see how it would have had a much bigger impact reading it as an adult in the 80's. The ending was kinda weak I thought, but maybe I just need to read it again.

Don't know how the hell Snyder is gonna work in the pirate story. I mean, I love that part and I'd try to work it in too if I were making the movie, but I imagine it would be really hard to pull off.... and certainly make the movie long as hell.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:35 pm

I read this for the first time a little over a year ago and it absolutely blew me away. The fact is that I wasn't even BORN when WATCHMEN first came out.

Teh Balm pretty much summed up my feelings:

Teh Balm wrote:It wasn't really that it deconstructed the genre, or that it was dark or 'edgy' or any other reason that most people give when they talk about why they think it's so brilliant. Since then we've all seen superheroes cursing, fucking, being psychotic, or being completely amoral. We've seen a billion attempts at 'superheroes...but in the real world!' and so none of that was terribly interesting to me. What impressed me, and still does, is the level of density in the work. Yeah, it's pretentious, but here in a field such as comics, where everything is quick and dirty, easily digested and soon forgotten( Hell, we call 120 page illustrated books 'graphic novels'), here was something that felt like literature. It was labyrinthine, hard to read at times, and it was like nothing that came before it. To me, Watchmen is still one of the only superhero comics that I would deem worthy of the title 'graphic novel'.


WATCHMEN means an awful lot to me. Moore wrote a story that will stick with me forever.
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Postby Evil Hobbit on Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:36 pm

Lady Sheridan wrote:I still have to read it. I finally managed to pry a copy (one of the three he owns) out of the hands of a friend--and without giving "Pride of Baghdad" as hostage in return.

It's on my spring break "to do" list which seems to grow ever longer, argg.


PRIDE OF BAGHDAD!! I am in love with that book. Such a fine piece of work. Hmmm, never give it hostage! Don't you let it out of your sight! Preciousssss.
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Re: Watchmen: I don't understand the hype.

Postby dorodevil on Tue Mar 20, 2007 7:36 pm

DDMAN26 wrote:About a year ago I picked up Watchmen (..) it doesn't cross into that great category for me, like the Dark Knight did or Crisis on Infinite Earths.


Please tell me you are joking....
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Postby Lady Sheridan on Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:39 am

Ok, I'm about halfway through--oh, I'll just read a bit...and found myself at the part where Nite Owl redons the suit before I knew it.

I've tried to avoid spoilers with some success, but I've been so sucked into it that everything I knew about it flew out of my head. It's still surprising me--when Rorschach was unmasked, I was all "Whoa! That's who it is!" And that panel's been floating around the Zone for how long? I love when books and movies do that.

Of course, I was really into V for Vendetta and then ended up really disliking it by the end, so I could totally turn on it. ;)
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Postby buster00 on Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:36 am

Lady Sheridan wrote:
Of course, I was really into V for Vendetta and then ended up really disliking it by the end, so I could totally turn on it. ;)


:shock: :cry:

As a great man once said to me:

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote: :shock: You are a the dead to me... DEAD!
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Postby unikrunk on Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:58 am

Lady Sheridan wrote:Ok, I'm about halfway through--oh, I'll just read a bit...and found myself at the part where Nite Owl redons the suit before I knew it.

I've tried to avoid spoilers with some success, but I've been so sucked into it that everything I knew about it flew out of my head. It's still surprising me--when Rorschach was unmasked, I was all "Whoa! That's who it is!" And that panel's been floating around the Zone for how long? I love when books and movies do that.

Of course, I was really into V for Vendetta and then ended up really disliking it by the end, so I could totally turn on it. ;)


It just gets better; Manhattan on Mars is some of the best writing in a comic book you will ever read.
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Postby Lady Sheridan on Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:40 pm

buster00 wrote:
Lady Sheridan wrote:
Of course, I was really into V for Vendetta and then ended up really disliking it by the end, so I could totally turn on it. ;)


:shock: :cry:

As a great man once said to me:

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote: :shock: You are a the dead to me... DEAD!


:cry:

It was vastly superior to the movie...does that count?
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Postby Lady Sheridan on Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:04 pm

I finished this on Friday...terrific! I can honestly say this is the first Moore book I have liked beginning to end. Unlike the thread title, I get the hype.

I've had people tell me they "still don't get everything that's going on" in Watchmen, but I didn't feel that way at all. I didn't feel like there was anything to decode. It requires a bit of interpretation and you can debate whether Ozy was right, or whether Dr. Manhattan & Co were right not to "turn him in" but I don't think the story is as cryptic as people make out. Am I wrong?
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Postby unikrunk on Sun Apr 01, 2007 4:05 am

Lady Sheridan wrote:I finished this on Friday...terrific! I can honestly say this is the first Moore book I have liked beginning to end. Unlike the thread title, I get the hype.

I've had people tell me they "still don't get everything that's going on" in Watchmen, but I didn't feel that way at all. I didn't feel like there was anything to decode. It requires a bit of interpretation and you can debate whether Ozy was right, or whether Dr. Manhattan & Co were right not to "turn him in" but I don't think the story is as cryptic as people make out. Am I wrong?


Not at all; there is subtext that I think may be lost on some, but not one as astute as you.

Glad you liked it; I have a connection with the work that leaves me with a feeling of victory when people read and appreciate it. And now, reading that, I think I may be a little obsessive...
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Postby Leckomaniac on Sun Apr 01, 2007 4:09 am

unikrunk wrote:Manhattan on Mars is some of the best writing in a comic book you will ever read.


Oh gosh yes. I love that whole sequence with every fiber of my being. It holds a very special place in my heart.
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Postby underscore on Sun Apr 01, 2007 11:29 am

It's a wonderful story. I'd say its only flaw is that the dialogue is far more wordy than it needs to be in a lot of spots. It can definately be made into a great 2h 15m film too, but having read ALL the different screenplay adaptations (including the latest draft), that won't be happening any time soon, sadly.
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Postby Cha-Ka Khan on Sat Jul 21, 2007 12:32 am

BUMP!

So check THIS out...

I was in the library yesterday, looking through the graphic novel section. I came across Marvel's "Essential 'The Tomb of Dracula' #3" and was flipping through it, remember the days when I used to collect this as a kid. This one caught my eye in particular because it also included the first few issues of the magazine-style re-boot of "Tomb of Dracula" in 1979, which was a black-and-white format, with longer, more "mature" storylines, etc. i.e. it had the occasional flash of nipple, which was exciting when you're a kid.

Strangely enough, they whited-out all the nipples in the reprint of this book, which I thought was funny, considering that they left in the story from issue #3 that featured Dracula having the hots for a little girl, and eventually getting her in a trance as he has her strip naked(!!!!!) while he admires her young form "so full of life," as he says.

Anyway, why am I telling you all this? Well, as a kid, I missed issue #2 of the magazine, which was included in the book. I was shocked... SHOCKED... to see the character of RORSCHACH in one of the stories called "The Dimensional Man," a story by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by Steve Ditko.

That's right. Steve Ditko. I dare say that Dave Gibbons (and possibly Alan Moore) saw this story and thought "that's Rorschach. That's the look."

You be the judge... remember, this was illustrated 7 years before Watchmen was published. Sorry about the one scan with the dodgy edge... the book is super-thick and I couldn't get it to flatten easily:

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Image

Image

Seriously. That TOTALLY has to be the inspiration for Rorschach in "Watchmen."
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Sat Jul 21, 2007 12:40 am

too shiny!
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Postby Cha-Ka Khan on Sat Jul 21, 2007 12:42 am

D'OH!
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Postby instant_karma on Sat Jul 21, 2007 12:59 am

I'd always thought The Question was the inspiration for Rorschach, but it's hard to deny the similarities here.
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Postby DennisMM on Sat Jul 21, 2007 2:16 am

Watchmen is not just another "mature" superhero comic. Watchmen is more layered than any other hero book I have read in my 39 years of comics. You can't read it just for the story. Read the story, then read it as you would a piece of literature. Examine the themes, look for the use of symbols -- dogs, the tenor of the media, fashion and design trends, Richard Nixon as president -- consider it as an artifact of its time. You can write a book just about Watchmen. It's like reading the more comprehensible works of Thomas Pynchon or James Joyce.

(Should I post my essay here, or is it already overexposed from being in the movie thread?)

Rorschach was based directly on The Question. Rorschach, in the original Watchmen proposal, was The Question. When Moore created Watchmen, he talked with DC about using the Charlton Action Heroes -- a short-lived group of characters from the '60s -- to which DC recently had acquired rights. DC said it sounded good, Moore did some background work and he brought in a proposal for what became Watchmen. DC thought the story was great but didn't like the idea of half the Action Heroes ending up crippled, dead or light years from Earth.

So Blue Beetle became Nite-Owl, Judomaster became Ozymandias, Captain Atom became Dr. Manhattan, Nightshade became Silk Spectre, Peacemaker became The Comedian and The Question became Rorschach. Moore devised backstories to fit the new, harder characters and was free to destroy his new world as he liked. (Dennis O'Neil and Denys Cowan wrote a sequence in one issue of The Question where Vic Sage buys a copy of Watchmen to read on the plane and dreams about the difference between his ethics and Rorschach's.)

That image from the Ditko story may have inspired the look of Rorschach, but remember that Moore and Gibbons both are English. Lower print-run Marvel material like the B&W mags probably reached the UK in very small numbers. Also, Rorschach was designed, by Moore, with a full-body costume that worked like his mask. It wasn't until he and Gibbons were developing the series more fully that they decided just a mask would be better.

Most of the above can be found in the supplemental materials in the Watchmen Absolute Edition.
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Postby Chilli on Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:13 am

Got 60 - 70% through this before given up. Not awful, but I felt that the hype for it hurts the quality. Now it is a helluva read, and its fascinating to read, but... at the time I started it felt like the expectations were built up for something astronomical, which I think is a huge dis-service to the text.

Soon as I finish HP7, I'll go back to it and do a review/
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Postby Cha-Ka Khan on Sat Jul 21, 2007 7:56 am

DennisMM wrote:Rorschach was based directly on The Question. Rorschach, in the original Watchmen proposal, was The Question.


Thanks Dennis. I was hoping you would chime in here. I guess I remember reading something about The Question connection years ago, because the name is familiar, but promptly forgot about it. It's been about 20 years since I read Watchmen.

I did a Wikipedia search on The Question and sure enough, there he is... created by none other than STEVE DITKO!

So Steve was ripping off himself!

Pretty cool...
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Postby DennisMM on Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:33 pm

Sorry I forgot to mention that part. It was getting late. Ditko created The Question and the second Blue Beetle and drew the revamp of Captain Atom and therefore was significantly involved in the creation of Nightshade. Lots of Ditko to go around in Watchmen, but only Rorschach came anywhere close to expressing Ditko's philosophy of heroics.
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Postby worstsuperheroever on Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:31 pm

did they make a comic book out of that movie or something?
Wiki wiki wild.
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Postby DDMAN26 on Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:54 pm

I just finished Watchmen again for the third time I'm finally starting to understand it and even appreciate just how good it is. I think that was my problem at times it seemed a little too smart for its own good. I appreciate challenging complex work but sometimes you can too far.
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