Thursday, July 06, 2006

Absolute Watchmen

I haven't posted anything comic-related in a while so...

I recently received the ABSOLUTE WATCHMEN collection that I ordered from the fine folks at Earth 2 Comics ( Earth 2 is located in Sherman Oaks, CA and Carr and Judd run a great store. I can't recommend their services highly enough so there's a little plug for Earth 2.

I've been slowly rereading WATCHMEN, really enjoying seeing the artwork printed oversized, and have been reminded just how much ass this comic kicks. For a story that I've read fifteen times in the past fifteen years, I'm still seeing new things in the backgrounds or uncovering new subtext in the story. In fact, before I die, I'll probably someday really figure out the pirate comic within the comic.

Much smarter people than me have written about the groundbreaking technical achievements contained between the pages and every word is true. The Rorschach issue, for example, that is laid out so that the second half of the story mirrors the first the way the two halves of a rorschach blot mirror each other is a truly remarkable bit of storytelling. It makes my brain hurt just thinking about trying to plan something like that out. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons threw in everything and the kitchen sink and in spite of all the groundbreaking they were doing, they wisely never forget to center the story around the characters. To me, character should always dictate plot, not vice versa. I think I learned that on a subconscious level from this book when I was a teenager.

Reading it with fresh eyes, I'm also surprised to see how influential Watchmen is. A show like LOST is a great example of this. Take a look at the way they continue to explore the flashback stuff from different perspectives and then see how Watchmen did it, almost twenty years earlier. I'm planning on ripping it off myself in a Green Lantern Christmas story I'll be writing soon, in abbreviated fashion.

For the record, the Dr. Manhattan on Mars issue is my favorite of the series, followed by the Rorschach origin. In fact, those are probably my two favorite single issues of any comic book ever. And I've read a LOT of comics over the years.

I could ramble on all day and not make much sense so I guess what I'm saying is I truly LOVE this book. I remember loving it to death when I was a junior in high school, picking up each issue as they arrived in the stores and I love it even more now. If you're a comic fan and you've never read it, treat yourself. And if you have, go read it again because it's well worth the time.



keith champagne said...

Chris, I've been doing a lot of writing with GREEN in the title lately, hint hint. Should be announced very soon.

Rob, I think it depends on whether you consider Oxymandias a villain. He did actually save the world after all. Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the (relatively) few? According to Mr. Spock they do.

MrNinja said...

I was reminded of the circuitous nature of life, as primarily symbolized by the Comedian badge with the blood drop. Doesn't it return in the end as a burger spill on a T-shirt?
I also felt the pirate comic paralled the journey of the characters in the main story line. The descent into darkness from the idealized state and the ego held logical mind's attempt to justify evil action.

I did the right thing didn't I? It wall worked out in the end.

In the end? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends

I took this to mean that the temporality observed as a product of our physical exhistence is an illusion. This is clearly defined later by the tasty burger (did I mention that already...hmmm..burger)

keith champagne said...

That's a very insightful analysis, Mr. Ninja. I've heard the pirate story theory before but even knowing it in my head, I still haven't completely connected it with the characters.

That's part of what's so great about Watchmen. After twenty years, I'm still trying. How many other comics bring you back like that, time and time again?