Saturday, March 8, 2008


First Look at the cast of WATCHMEN in full costume

Now for those of you who don't know...i'm quite keen on comic books. Sometimes my love of the form causes me irreparable damage, both to myself and my love of the medium. Putting up with mind-boggling continuity headfucks (MARVEL), title-to-title crossovers that amount to little more than really colorful gangbangs (DC), Flat Style and Fluff-Under-Gore substance (IMAGE), and Rob fuck Liefeld.

The most frustrating thing though is not the books themselves, but the more often than not half hearted excursions into film and television. now for every Batman Begins or Sin City there is 4 Electras, 3 Ghost Riders, and several half-ass Justice League centric episode of Smallville. I used to think these incidents, while embarrassing and more than a little pathetic, were relatively harmless. the good stories were always going to be there to remind me that there was once something pure and good before the Watchowski Bros. got a hold of it.

this is different, though...because none of these books are Alan Moore's WATCHMEN.

Moore's multi-layered, richly complicated dissection of culture, both comic book and real world, is an island unto itself. Each book is not just part of some overall framework, but works as a stand alone. There's the issue detailing the life of Dr. Manhattan, the Otherworldly Protector of Earth. There's an entire issue devoted to the harrowingly grotesque psychological profile of Rorschach, the book's primary narrator/stubborn vigilante/poet of disgust. At first Rorschach seems to be of the Batman variety, but as the book goes there's an even more vile and sad kind of sordid lonliness to the character that reveals Rorschach to be Dexter in a white mask. Then there is the Comedian, whose amoral nonchalance, near-hateful black humor, and frighteningly gleeful fascism make him more akin to an 80s Action Film villain than any sort of heroic crime-fighter to ever grace four colors. and that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of WATCHMEN. there is so much going on and so many stories within the story that it's the perfect love-letter to both comic book fans and the medium itself. it's also a scathing inditement of the medium. it raises the question of how much is enough? what gives people who are so obvioulsy unbalanced the carpe blanche to do and go as they please? is being all powerful enough of a reason to put other people's lives in your hands? is having a fucked-up child hood or an inordinate amount of disposable income or running around in a colorful costume with a self-christened moniker, enough of a reason? what if these individuals are no better than you? what if they are worse? what if in reality, it's all about making themselves feel better rather than helping the tired and poor and defenseless masses?

After viewing the pictures of Zack Snyder's upcoming film version i have to say this; i can already feel something will be lost in the translation. The characters look enough like their funny-paper counterparts (save for Nite Owl and Ozymandias, who look SCHUMACHERED), but even so, i fear that the scope of the story simply can't be condensed into a 2 and half/3 hour movie (and that's if we're lucky). that's been covered ad nauseum though. truth is i don't know what to think. i think if done right, this can be the comic book movie to end all comic book movies. if done wrong, this will be the comic book movie to end all comic book movies. either way... the end is nigh.

Who Watches the Watchmen? we'll have to wait...

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