Paul Reads the Classics: Watchmen

 

I imagined a lot of things before sitting down to finally finish reading Watchmen

I imagined Christopher Lee, pacing through his stately parlor, his three cats cocking their heads with trepidation as he bellows passages from a leather-bound copy of The Lord of the Rings. I’d heard in interviews that he reads the book each year. In a performance for none but his ancient self, the pitch changes for every halfling and Balrog and shamed son of Gondor. It happens only at night, smelling of incense and stale peppermint. A strict tradition, something like a puritan’s Christmas. Such is my own lack of focus that I doubt I’ve ever read anything more than once. Christopher Lee and his ritual frighten me. And so, too, did Watchmen. It’s something of a sacrament to some.    

I’m a raging hypocrite, mind, but I’ll own up to it. I’ve crusaded against the lunacy of hype induced fear and loathing. I’ve decried the insistence that one morsel of media or another could never possibly live up to the expectations piled up by the subject masses. I believe I’ve even called hype a myth. But I’ve shuffled at the gates of Watchmen for years, sniffing suspiciously and making my own observations from the ignorant side of the moat. I’ve avoided it and made excuses and kicked any cans within view. But until this week I hadn’t read the thing in full. This whole “Paul Reads the Classics” business was really a means of forcing me to finally read the big scary yellow book. 

And so I have.

I’ve prepared some thoughts, my personal reaction. Some fears were realized, but there were also surprises. As happens with, you know, experiences. In a few weeks you’ll be hearing a fair share from me concerning things like craft and technique, so until then I’ll just be doing my usual riff on themes. But the usual ones, like hope and escape and the harmony of creative voices don’t really apply with this book. As you may well know.

I attempted Watchmen once and encountered a character I really didn’t like very much. He had ink blots on his face and wrote a very huffy journal. He did unpleasant things to German shepherds. He scared me, because at that point in my life I was sure he was right about all the horrors he was observing. I was certain that he spoke the truth, however bleak it was. And I didn’t want it to be true. Rorschach was an anti-hero, and though he was portrayed as being broken, I couldn’t shake the concept that this was our protagonist, this is the keeper of the book’s sacred truth. He knew what all the others didn’t. And if that was the message of the book, I didn’t really want to see it through. That said, the book has haunted me. But now that I’ve finished it, I know that there’s more of gravy than of grave to Walter Kovacs.

Watchmen’s dark, by and large. It’s a deconstruction in every kind of way. I’d avoided it because I knew it might be depressing. I’m impressionable. Sensitive, like a thin layer of glass between tundra and tropics (see, I referenced the story; impressed). And Watchmen, I always assumed, was the friend you call from time to time, an old and respected friend, but something of a downer. He talks about war a lot. Actually uses words like famine and cyclical. The kind of friend you’ve long since learned to stop calling at night right before going to bed. Someone like Christopher Lee. I didn’t want to read Watchmen because I didn’t want to be left with the receiver in my hand, left to the darkness. I didn’t want to see my vehicles of escapism, my heroes, torn down for cynical and academic purposes. Speculative fiction does shake us up and alert us to the absurdities of existence. But sometimes, sometimes, isn’t all the wallowing just serving to keep our heads down? Instead of blinders against atrocity, there are blinders against all that makes any kind of movement worthwhile. I didn’t want to trudge. I knew the story. I knew there was betrayal and dogs through windows and impotence and exploding tentacles. So why put myself through it?

Chapter IX. Order and chaos on the planet Mars. It’s a bleak chapter amongst bleak chapters, another troubling dialogue on the insignificance of human emotion in the greater sea of existence. But it’s the end of that chapter which made everything alright. We’ve seen Rorschach’s view of life as hopeless and random. And we’re reminded of Manhattan’s omniscient view that we are all just puppets marching towards destiny, whether we see the strings or not. But even he concedes that there’s something miraculous about life and the collision of lives, not just in conflict, but in meeting and caring, and often, loving. And it’s not just the sentimentality of that observation. It’s the fact that there are cracks in the surface of any absolute. There are exceptions to every rule, and in that, I think there is hope.

I don’t know that I’ll revisit Watchmen often. I respect it. Ever so much. I even began to enjoy the ride towards the end there, once I learned that, no, this is not a treatise on absolutes. And I see now that plunging these characters into such hopelessness allowed for an amazingly transcendent journey through twelve issues. There are caped heroes out there with print run over ten times that number who have not enjoyed such depth or dimension. There’s a lot in here, and nothing I’m typing is anything new or of value. But let my personal take on it be as such: isn’t it incredible that any one book, any one story, can be so many specific things for so many specific people? When we put words down on a page, we do something special. We give it our own experiences, and we also key in to the experience of all who read it. When we read it, we gain something new, but we also grapple with things that were already in us. We see what what we want to see, and also what we don’t. Worlds collide.

In the panels of chapter XI, find a butterfly in the snow. Just short of a warm, yellow shaft of light from indoors. Dead to the world, or struggling toward the light?

What do you see?

(It’s clearly dead, but just roll with me here…)

 


Paul Montgomery is apparently not the biggest fan of absolutes.  You can reach him at paul@ifanboy.com or on Twitter.

      

Comments

  1. I first bought it and read it myself about 3 years ago…..With the movie coming out i’m due for a 3rd reread of it….At first, I didn’t care for it that much…But it was also like that with DK Returns, BM Y1 and V for Vendetta…I’m expecting Watchmen will grow on me in time as I mature learn to appreciate them more. 

  2. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I’ve never felt so empty after writing anything.  I don’t know how people read this multiple times or anticipate new formats.  This one really struck a nerve with me, and while I "like" Watchmen, I can’t say I "enjoyed" it.  I’ve been miserable for the past week just thinking about reading the book, actually reading the book, and writing this.  I need some JSA or Hellboy or something.  

  3. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Seriously, I need to go to a theme park or something.  I feel like If I went outside right now and an old man saw me, he’d say something like "Why so glum, chum?"  Maybe I should ask this:

    Which comics have caused you to experience a visceral reaction, like real sadness or anger or happiness or fear?  What books really get you?  And, more importantly, how are you going to cheer me up, iFaithful?  Help! 

  4. V for Vendetta but it got to me so much and things in my country got so much worse that I never finished reading it. I’ll finish it in the future. (I was too busy being annoyed at current events and it’s not getting any better to be honest, and when I noticed that I forgot to finish the book, there was too much of a gap).

    As for cheering you up, here’s a line I’ll steal from a comedian whose name I can’t remember (it’s not en exact quote): I find it very relaxing to know that one day I can just shoot myself in the head and all of this will stop.

    He said it better… you can always commit suicide – there is always that option. How’s that for a cheering up?

  5. @PaulMontgomery  There are things in Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men that actually, literally, depressed me.  I joke about it, but I joke because it’s true.

    Oddly, I really genuinely enjoyed ‘Watchmen’ last time I read it.  I think of it as a fun book.  Then, I had an absolute blast last weekend at a production of ‘King Lear.’  My depression triggers are apparently different than many people’s.

  6. Also. . ."there are cracks in the surface of any absolute."

    That’s a really great observation.  ("That’s how the light gets in", right?)

  7. I’ve honestly never read Watchmen. I got back into comics when I moved away to college a couple of years ago, after being burned by my local store closing down and 90’s comics in general, and before then I only read strict cape and cowl stories. Everytime I gained courage to go get it from my local comic book store at the place I moved they insisted I should buy the absolute version which I either didn’t have the money for or after deliberateing, when I did have the cash, decided to buy more things I was confident I’d like instead of taking that leap.

  8. @Paul-Watchmen is on of those books that no matter how carefully I read and reread it as I go, when I’m done I feel like I rushed through it, like I missed something.  Its so dense, it almost made me feel stupid.

    As for cheering you up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vb2f8HUoS8

  9. Paul, I have to say I do like your articles because you seem to make analogies like I do, especially when I’m teaching. It’s also the way I learn some things or relate to them, so it makes your style of writing easy to go through.

  10. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @psyguy411 – At this point you should just go the library root.  Check it out, see if you like it, and then you can decide whether you want to drop it, grab the paperback, or seek out the Absolute.  Yes, I just did an advertisement for the public library.  

    @hbk – That video and the arrival of the updated DC Encyclopedia from UPS have cheered me up.  Thank you, sir.   

  11. @psyguy411 – my comic book guy also tried that. I just asked him if there is a TP version and he said yes, I said that I wanted that version. I don’t see a reason to spend that much cash on something you might not like – I’m sure there are TP versions used and cheaper if you don’t want to but the same thing twice.

    @hbkhumanity – bad choice of movie – it was based on a book that said that the earth was never the same again. The land got destroyed and the old glory days would never come back and it won’t be the last time that the earth will suffer (if i’m not mystaken – it’s a big ass book so I’m not sure).

    Elves leaving for good was one of those things – they brough wonders and great growth and happiness to where ever  they were. If I remember correctly the writer says that human beings decended from a great race but are getting worse as time goes by. If I remember correctly it was about world war 2 so that can’t be too cheerful. It was about the end of innocence in a way.

  12. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @psyguy411 – Thanks.  Sometimes I get a little metaphor happy, but there is a method to our madness.  If one analogy doesn’t work for a reader, the next examples might.  Out of chaos, a little order, a little common ground.  And it’s fun!  Love making connections.  I should have been a rapper.   

  13. @Monty P (Paul Montgomery, Schoolly D, Monty Python… I am terrible at rap names.)

    Watchmen is definitely great for evoking real emotion, whether they’re emotions you like or not. It’s a shakespearean tragedy of funny book proportions. A lot going on, and a lot of crazy themes. I revisit it knowing full well I will probably end up contemplative and depressed afterwards. Dr. Manhattan is my saving grace, though. His whole perspective and all of his talks just seem so right and inline with what I think our view of people really should be. I had similar concerns to yours with Rorscach my first time reading it, but that whole thing unfolded pretty well. 

  14. Here’s something cheerful: the best superman version ever.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=f5Pjo0WjBcs

    And maybe in this continuity everything is okay for Superman…

     

  15. I’ve read Watchmen twice now, and it’s amazing how different the experiences were. Part of that is the fact that the second time was for a class, and it’s a great book to discuss in an academic setting, but once you know the story, you can pick up on so much of Alan Moore’s craft. The Perfect Symmetry chapter alone blows my mind.

    The stuff that you will be sharing about craft and technique…will this be Watchmen related at all?

  16. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @androidmoser – Not specifically, but…hmm……maybe….

  17. @Paul There’s a lot to be said for Moore’s craft, should you chose to go that way.

  18. @Paul, Great read as usual but is it possible that the book affected you as it did was the combination of the writing style and the characters, as well as the weight of it being considered my many a "classic"?  In your title you call it reading the classics, that is a serious goal for a book or story to live up to because it is so subjective, and when a person encounters what is considered a classic by many and that person doesn’t enjoy it, they will face a backlash of some sort.  And how is a book declared a classic? Popularity? Quality? When people use words like "classic" and "legendary" after a while the grouping begings to expand and that leads to a dilution of the meaning.  For example in the DC Absolute editions, a lot of people at my LCS feel that the Batman Hush story doesn’t deserve that treatment yet because it hasn’t stood the test of time, but more to appease the popularity of the artist on the book, whereas, something like Kingdom Come or Crisis on Infinite Earths, have stood the test of time, are deserving of the treament.  Iguess what I’m trying to get at is who defines what a classic book is? What is the criteria?

  19. I must compliment you on your articles sir, they are always entertaining and thought provoking.  As I read through Watchmen the first time a while back, I kept thinking "whats the big deal?"  Then I finished it and really didn’t know what to make of it either.  It was such a downer at times, and like you it just made me feel like there was no hope in the 80’s, let alone now!  Then I reread it, less than a week after finishing it for the first time mind you, and I loved it.  I won’t try to explain why, I don’t think I can say anything that hasn’t been said, but I just did.  Not my favorite book of all time, but the only one I have purchased the absolute edition of.

    Anyways, you know what cheers me up?  Ice cream and an old school Mariah Carey song.  Preferably "Dream Lover" but to each his own

  20. Interesting take, Mr Montgomery.  The depth of Watchmen is what bring me back for regular readings.  It’s so packed with so much, it’s a different experiance every time I pick it up.

    I also feel like Paul has finally reached comic book manhood.  My little man’s all growned up.

  21. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @k5blazer – You know, I brought up the hype factor in the piece, but that weight disappeared after I read the first few issues of the story many months ago.  It was replaced by my impressions of Rorschach. So the "classic" moniker didn’t play in so much.  My reaction has everything to do with the overall tone of the story, which is so incredibly bleak throughout.  It probably affected me more than a generic bleak horror film because it was written with such sophistication and authority.  It’s easy to write something that would destroy a character emotionally, but it’s something else entirely to write something with such skill and conviction that it could truly depress a reader.  Or cause any emotion in a reader.  Moore is a genius, and that’s evident early on and, indeed, in any other piece of his writing I’ve experienced.  And since I respect his voice and his methods, Rorschach was like a gut punch.  He had me convinced that the world is a shithole.  And it really stuck with me.  The book scared me.  I didn’t even think about the book’s popularity this second and most recent time I picked up the book.  

    As for the classics status, this is the second in a series.  I used the same "cover dress" for my Maus review.  I have no strict criteria as to which books fit in this area, but I’m trying to select the books that, by and large, transcend the medium and reach critical success in circles wider than our own.  They also persist, not just flavors of the month.  The household names.  It has more to do with popularity and name recognition than actual quality, although these books do get recognition for a reason.  I think Watchmen and Maus certainly fall into this category.  As a preview, I think things like Dark Knight Returns do as well.  

  22. I intend to re-read it, but this is one of those books where I just don’t know if I will ever get out of it what other people get out of it.

     

  23. Watchmen?  Never heard of it.

    That inkblot is making me feel Oedipal.  It’s messing with my Freud gland.

    Even though the Cold War was a very real cloud hanging over our heads in ’86, there was still that Reagan Era optimism that’s in stark contrast to the America live in now.  I bet if you had waited until after the election, with Obama optimism sweeping the nation, it might have read differently to you.  I’m saying this in all seriousness.  Do you think the current climate in America had something to do with your reaction to it?

    This brings to mind another question:  had Watchmen come out in the last two months, do you think its box office would have been affected by the blow the American psyche has taken from ailing economy?

  24. Paul — nice article. I like that it’s not so much a review (I don’t think we need another Watchmen review) as a journal of your reaction, and even your reaction to your reaction.

    As such, there’s really nothing to disagree with. There’s a great deal of craft at work in that novel, but as far as content goes — it’s gloriously bleak. And that’s definitely not for everyone.

    It’s also very much a product of its time. We hadn’t really seen anything like Watchmen. Now you’re raised in its shadow. Watchmen spawned a lot of progeny throughout the late eighties and nineties. We paid for Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen with a glut of "grim and gritty comics."

    But even so: there are always books like this. And films, too. Not everyone likes Adrian Tomine’s Optic Nerve because of it’s bleak worldview. Not everyone likes Todd Solondz films. And if that doesn’t appeal to you, no amount of criticism that says otherwise will change your mind. So, I appreciate your description here — an honest reaction to a seminal comics work.

    Also, I will throw this out there: If you wondered why I liked James Robinson’s Starman so much? Because it came on the heels of books like the Watchmen and Swamp Thing, but it had just enough distance to separate itself from all the bleak post-Moore copycats and actually snatch back some of the goofy revelry of pure super-hero fun. It’s a balance between the light and dark. It was more poetic than a typical super-hero book, but it didn’t use its poetry to atomically deconstruct the genre. 

  25. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Horatio – I will say that it had more to do with my personal state of mind than the current economic climate, although the latter didn’t help the former.  

  26. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Dave – Yeah, I was like, "What am I going to say about this book that hasn’t been said?"  So I just decided to write what I felt.  What I’m left with is this puzzle.  We talk so much about striving for character depth, but what is the cost of that?  There’s a point where you can achieve so much empathy that it stops being fun.  Results will vary, but for me, this book is literally so good that it’s no longer entertaining.  Also in that category: Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, which reminds me of my youth in the old west.  

  27. Hmm, I thought issue #8 was beautifully optimistic, and even at the end there was a twisted kind of optimism.

    You should give Miracleman a go.  Really.  Wait until you’re in a different state of mind and see what you think of it.  You can read it online if you know where to look.

  28. ooh, Miracleman? That’s also pretty bleak, as I recall. Still from that super-hero deconstruction phase. Even if it’s damn good. Also, I really liked Neil Gaiman’s Miracleman stuff, post-Moore. I’ve got all that stuff in storage somewhere.

    Actually, Paul, have you read any of Moore’s Supreme stuff? Shitty art aside, it was definitely all about reconstructing and celebrating the silver age Superman.

  29. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I’ve not read Miracleman or Supreme.  I’ve enjoyed Tom Strong and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen though.  I have Top Ten somewhere around here as well.  

  30. one bad rat by bryan talbot really depressed me. and walking dead gets me every trade. but i never found watchmen to affect so much.

  31. A book that kind of got to me was Black Hole.  It was all about the mood I was in at the time.

    I’d say Top 10 is better than Supreme, although I know Paul will love Supreme because Supreme’s dog is absolutely hilarious.  (He’s like a witty version of the dog in We3.)  Alan Moore is not only good at the dark stuff but his humor is really sharp as well.  Top 10 and Supreme are great examples of this.  Also his brief run on Youngblood and his Wildcats were funny as well.

  32. You know, I have to say that I never really liked Watchmen. Oh, it’s very good and has it’s outstanding moments, but in the grand scheme of things, I don’t know that it’s really the sacred cow it’s been made into. I was talking with a friend of mine recently and I came to the conclusion, much as Paul did earlier, that I didn’t really enjoy reading Watchmen. Indeed, until the last Chapter I always felt like I was forcing myself to get through it. Now the big "35 minutes" reveal is excellent. it’s something I had never seen done until that point. But this was one Journey I didn’t feel like I had to make. Indeed, I even revised my thoughts on Dark Knight Returns which I the more I reread it (and indeed think about it’s sequel) the more I realize it’s a dated take on Batman. Which doesn’t diminish its worth, but Batman has moved beyond that role in comics. He’s more the dark manipulator, super genius (Really, making him an equal to his greatest adversary, Ras) than the cloak-and-dagger, roid-ed out strong man of DKR. 

    I personally feel Moore has a lot of better work, the first volume of League, V for Vendetta are both things I rank higher than Watchmen when I suggest them to friends. Certainly my favorite piece of Moore’s writing is "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" closely followed by "Killing Joke." But I can still appreciate the literature that is Watchmen, even if I don’t think it’s as good as it others do. As an example, I hate Moby Dick, but definitely see the appeal of it and the importance of its theme. I just don’t think it’s that interesting nor that well written. However, I love Hamlet, The Tempest and Julius Caesar. (Even though they were considered about as intellectually low at the time of their writing as our beloved Funny Books.)

    Now, this is not at all to say to Moore isn’t a good writer, or we shouldn’t read Watchmen. I do think any fan of Superhero comics should read it, though. But also read things like Kingdom Come, Marvels and Squadron Supreme which deal with the implications of heroes in different ways. Heck, I think JMS’s issue of Supreme Power, which I forget the number, but it’s titled "A Story in Four Part Harmony" is one of the best single issues I ever read on virtue of being novel.

    As for being depressed by a comic? I can’t say I ever was made to feel that way by any piece of literature, film or comic.

  33. If I were only allowed to speak about two comics, they would be Miracleman and Micronauts, so excuse me if I drop those names every chance I get.

  34. Depressed in a comic? Well the best example I can think of is the famous scene in Idenity Crisis. The fact that Meltzer went that far to show Dr. Light raping someone….that gave me upsetting thoughts for a good couple of days. I deplore rape in any media, but Meltzer was able to hit me with something and not make me feel happy for the next couple of days. Now of course Dr. Light’s raping is now a joke for some reason…..but back then it really upset me dearly.

    I feel the same way about Watchmen in that every time I read it; I feel like I completely miss things from the book. Like I re-read it a couple of weeks ago and I completely missed the painting of the psychic getting the octopus alien. Or the subtle hint on how Rorshach killed that midget criminal in the bathroom. There are little touches in the art that makes me miss a lot of the aspects of the story. Overall I love Watchmen, I think it is one of the greatest comic stories of all time. It’s got everything you would want: comedy, tragedy, action, violence, drama, monologues, quiet moments, WTF? moments, just about anything you want in a story is in here. If it wasnt for Kingdom Come bringing me back to this comic world, it would definitely be my top book in my personal list.

  35. if you want a visceral reaction from a book, read dave sim’s "judenhass."

    it’s easy to joke about how depressing the topic is, but the fact remains that i think it’s one of the most powerful comic experiences – heck, one of the most powerful artistic experiences in ANY format – that i’ve ever had.

  36. I think the most emotion (beyond visceral anger for the wrong reasons) I’ve given to a comic is the end of Bone when Fone has to say goodbye to Thorn.  I never get misty for any fiction (beyond Transformers: The Movie… I cried a little when Starscream died, and maybe the end of An American Tail when Fievel is found) but I got a little for Bone. 

    I will say, though I don’t find Watchmen the greatest comic ever (or the greatest thing Moore’s done, actually), it’s still something everyone should read at least once.  I really don’t identify or care for any of the characters beyond Rorschach and I find the middle to sag just a little and I’m not particularly wowed by the ending, but it’s still a pretty good book. It’s like Maus, DKR, and A Contract with God: you should at least read the thing to understand what people have done with the comic form even if you don’t really enjoy the experience.

  37. @Tork: I’m gald you brought up A Contract with God. I think Will Eisner’s work is being gravely ignore right now (and yes I am ignoring the disrespectful Spirit film) and all of his non Spirit work is something to read.

    Especially Contract with God, New York: The Big City, and Dropsie Avenue.

  38. I expected a highly technical critique and was relishing an exploration of art itself, but I’m very glad I got this deeply personal reaction instead. I felt your struggle, Paul and I appreciaite it.

    As for the work itself, I’m always comforted that it avoids complete nihilism. I’m comforted by Mahattan’s teleological perdpective and by the signs of life, however small in the dense cloud of darkness.

  39. Wow. Paul the comments juggernaut. Congrats.

  40. @Paul-Your criteria for selection sounds great, and the piece on Maus was amazing, and that is defeintely a book that transcends the medium.  I look forward to more insightful commentary in this series!

  41. I used to think of Watchmen as a really big story, a "message" book, a pre-apocalyptic warning. But when I re-read it a couple months ago I was struck by some of its smaller moments. By how many of its characters are just real people dealing with what’s happened to their lives. Sally Jupiter wants a little peace and happiness, but wishes her daughter understood her better. Hollis Mason wants to commiserate with a peer. Dreiberg has a secret lust for the high that comes with playing a hero. Veidt wants to put his abilities to use to save an imperiled world.

    I also appreciated the writing in a way I couldn’t the first time through. The narrative layering is impressive, but it does create a kind of mania where everything seems to be connected. It’s daunting. But there are actually a lot of different perspectives in the story. Those first three chapters of Under the Hood are in a voice that I didn’t think Alan Moore was even capable of writing.

    I do think Watchmen pays off in the re-read. Give it time and come back. You just wolfed down a 12-course meal. The next time you’ll be able to enjoy some of the individual flavors.

  42. I tried and tried to read Watchmen and can’t do it.  I just bores me.  🙁  One of these days I will get to it again ’cause I feel like I’m missing out on something, like there is a piece of my geekdom that is just missing.  Am I not complete till I read this?

  43. @patio – I think that was really well said.  I think people get intimidated by the supposed overarching themes.  If this story had no characters in it, then it would be intimidating, but the characters are real and relatable.  One of my favorite characters is Hollis Mason, who’s barely in the main story, but through flashbacks and the supplimental material, I got to know the character well.  Dan and Sally are also great characters, completely human and fantastic.

  44. "What’s that you smell of?"

    "Nostalgia."

     That’s one of my favorite parts.  I hope I’m quoting it at least somewhat accurately.

  45. That’s more or less the exchange.  I don’t know how I feel about it as direct dialogue.  It was a dramatic day for them, so I let it go.  

  46. I know what you mean.  It reads awkwardly but I appreciate the idea.  I hope they rephrase it in the movie.

    Moore was still working on his American dialogue at the time.  There are a few lines that sound odd coming from an American and I dread hearing them aloud when the movie comes out.  For example, when Rorschach says, "I wish the scum of the earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."  I’m already cringing just thinking about it.  I had a similar reaction to V’s soliloquies in "V for Vendetta" and the internal monologues in Sin City.  It’s often cooler hearing it in your head than it is hearing it out loud. 

    One of the surprisingly interesting and enjoyable things about the motion comic is the line readings.  Having read this many times I have in my head the way I think the dialogue should sound in my head and where the pauses should go.  Sometimes I go, "that’s not how that should sound," or "that’s an interesting way to go."  I’m really liking the motion comic so far.

  47. Not looking forward to motion comic love scenes.  

  48. My nethers just tingled thinking about it. 

  49. my god that article was full of blabbering nonsense and self indulgence

    however hard people try they cannot take away from Watchmen’s greatness

  50. No one is trying to.

  51. @Tork – Spoiler Alert…

     

    Also, this is much more interesting:

    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=637AED6ADDFB5682

    Also spoiler alert to those videos. 

  52. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @seagalism – I’m sorry you feel that way, man.  If it felt indulgent, it’s because I was offering my personal reaction to it.  Completely subjective.  There are plenty of objective and academic reviews of Watchmen out there.  But I’m conflicted.  I’m grateful that this review doesn’t hurt your positive opinion of Watchmen, because it’s just my take on the experience.  Alternatively, I’m sort of disappointed that there are still closed off, absolute opinions of anything. Even if they’re positive ones.  I’m not a huge fan of sacred cows.  Not that I’m targeting them with this review series (I loved Maus).  But I don’t see anything wrong with questioning the classics.  

  53. People are not entitled to enjoy Watchmen.  It’s not a crime against humanity or anything.

     

  54. i think this article changed my mind about the comic. up until now the only thing i liked was that a movie was being made. i was annoyed about comics i’d read where he’d said he wanted to write something that would put an end to the superhero genre. and i still am a little suspiscious about the ending and ozymandias’ outcome but maybe that was the point. but i think if i read it again maybe i’ll like it more, even just to appreciate the craft which i had thought about, but not that much, though i think it won’t be just that. i think personal opinion matters more than people realise and to suggest otherwise is not true. i always just go by how i feel whether i should recommend it or not, in this case i’ve recommended it a few times and never really known why. heh. it did get me thinking about the pirate comics though, something i wouldn’t miind reading some more of, kinda like jonah hex on a boat. or maybe not. 😉 awesome trailer, though, i like pa winchester as a bad guy and gravelly voice hollis mason should be cool from my favourite ds9 episode.

  55. You might want to check out Sea of Red.  It’s not Jonah Hex on a boat but it’s vampires on a pirate ship.  It’s like a sci-fi channel movie with a good script.  Rick Remender, too.