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Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1

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21 Aug 2012 17:17 #133067 by SuperflyPete
Everyone remembers him for his monologue about never compromising, or him looking down and whispering, "no", or the "You're locked in here with me" bit.

Not me. I remember him most for two lines:

"One, nothing. Come and get me."
"Once a man has seen society's black underbelly, he can never turn his back on it. Never pretend, like you do, that it doesn't exist."

Those two lines really tell you all you need to know about the man. He's danced too long with the devil and it changed him inexorably, and he's a truly sadistic fuck.

My kind of guy.

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21 Aug 2012 17:28 #133068 by hotseatgames

Michael Barnes wrote: Watchmen is a great- maybe even the best ever- comic book.


My top 3:

1. Akira
2. Watchmen
3. The Crow

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21 Aug 2012 17:55 #133070 by TheDukester
Cloudy, tread carefully here. You've approached one of Nerd-dom's sacred cows without remembering to bow; that sort of thing tends to get the natives all restless. Also, Han shot first.

Fucking Watchmen. Christsakes, but it does get old hearing about its "brilliance." Actually, that got old in 1996. I must be the only person in the world whose life wasn't changed by reading those 12 comics. It was so strange; other than having finished a generally well-done and enjoyable comics series, my life was exactly the same!

I'm buying — and enjoying — many of the Before Watchmen series; some have gotten off to a better start than others. And much of my enjoyment, I'm proud to admit, comes from how spittle-flying angry that seems to make the Watchmen purists. That's just good, clean fun. In fact, I was going to skip the Rorschach series, but I think I'll go buy that first issue right now. You know, for the free lulz.

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21 Aug 2012 18:10 #133072 by Michael Barnes
Well,I guess it changed your life enough to give you something to get pissy about!

Watchmen did change my life. When I read in 1986, that was definitely a coming-of-age moment. Some of the ideas and concepts in it just blew my mind. Things that are obvious to a 36 year old aren't as obvious to a 11 year old. Rorschach's evaluation in that book, at that time, altered the way I thought about things.

It's one of those things like the Stooges. If you hear their stuff now, it doesn't sound hardly as transgressive, violent, idiotic or anti-everything as it did in the 1960s and 1970s. But if you were around to catch it when it was new- or if you experience it with an understanding of context, then it's not hard to see why that music was so mindblowing and innovative at the time.

Before Watchmen, whatever. If people read and like them, great. There's some big talent involved in making them, and they're likely folks that really give a damn about the source material. But let's call it what it is, it's pure exploitation. There's no need- or even really demand from fans- for these books. There are no "untold stories" from the original book. This is simply DC saying "let's monetize", which is fine, but let's not kid ourselves that these exist for any other reason...including being just "fun".

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21 Aug 2012 18:38 #133076 by Shellhead

TheDukester wrote: Cloudy, tread carefully here. You've approached one of Nerd-dom's sacred cows without remembering to bow; that sort of thing tends to get the natives all restless. Also, Han shot first.

Fucking Watchmen. Christsakes, but it does get old hearing about its "brilliance." Actually, that got old in 1996. I must be the only person in the world whose life wasn't changed by reading those 12 comics. It was so strange; other than having finished a generally well-done and enjoyable comics series, my life was exactly the same!

I'm buying — and enjoying — many of the Before Watchmen series; some have gotten off to a better start than others. And much of my enjoyment, I'm proud to admit, comes from how spittle-flying angry that seems to make the Watchmen purists. That's just good, clean fun. In fact, I was going to skip the Rorschach series, but I think I'll go buy that first issue right now. You know, for the free lulz.


Even if you weren't impressed by Watchmen, you have probably noticed that a lot of well-written comics have come out since then. And that happened because other people read Watchmen and were inspired. Alan Moore raised the stakes, showed everybody that comics could deal with serious issues in a mature and subtle way. In less than five years, I started seeing the Watchmen trade on the shelves in public libraries. These days, I can walk into the local branch and see more three tall bookcases of comic book trades paperbacks and hard covers that I can check out. And we finally started getting really good comic book movies more than a decade ago, which might have a thing or two to do with Watchmen changing perceptions of comics.

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21 Aug 2012 18:47 #133078 by SuperflyPete

Michael Barnes wrote: ...but let's not kid ourselves that these exist for any other reason...including being just "fun".


Says the author of "Fun First" as a genre to be embraced.

LOL

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21 Aug 2012 18:50 #133079 by Shellhead

SuperflyTNT wrote:

Michael Barnes wrote: ...but let's not kid ourselves that these exist for any other reason...including being just "fun".


Says the author of "Fun First" as a genre to be embraced.

LOL


You missed his point. DC doesn't even care if these new Watchmen comics are fun. That isn't their priority. They just want money.

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21 Aug 2012 19:24 - 21 Aug 2012 19:25 #133083 by SuperflyPete
I didn't miss shit.

tongue in cheek.
Last edit: 21 Aug 2012 19:25 by SuperflyPete.

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21 Aug 2012 20:05 - 21 Aug 2012 20:05 #133087 by dragonstout
Speaking of DC's motives: dunno if y'all saw the obit DC posted upon the death of Joe Kubert, easily one of the top 5 artists of the Silver Age (the caps below aren't mine):

We are saddened to learn of the death of our colleague and friend Joe Kubert. An absolute legend in the industry, his legacy will not only live on with his sons, but with the many artists who have passed through the storied halls of his celebrated school. His latest work on BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL was among his best, and we are so honored to have worked side-by-side with such an unforgettable force in both comics and in life. – DC ENTERTAINMENT EXECUTIVE TEAM.


Mark Waid's response:

When I die, I pray that my DC-written obit doesn’t include a link to a Comixology FLASH sale.

(they fixed it after the outrage)

TheDukester wrote: Cloudy, tread carefully here. You've approached one of Nerd-dom's sacred cows without remembering to bow; that sort of thing tends to get the natives all restless. Also, Han shot first.

If someone came on here after having just read Watchmen, hating it, and talking about why he didn't like it, that'd be one thing; there are plenty of smart people who dislike Watchmen. No one's getting cranky that Watchmen's been dissed; it CAN'T have been dissed, because *the OP hasn't read it*. You read it, were unimpressed, whatever. The nerd-rage here is coming from substituting cash-grab knock-offs for something that, even if you knock it, you have to admit was incredibly ambitious and was at least *trying* for Great Art.
Last edit: 21 Aug 2012 20:05 by dragonstout.

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21 Aug 2012 22:35 #133096 by ChristopherMD

Michael Barnes wrote: You're reading like someone that saw the Zack Snyder movie but didn't read the Alan Moore comic book.

As mentioned, the movie is a surprisingly faithful representation of the events, scenes, characters, and dialogue in the book. However, it's also quite clear that the filmmakers completely missed most of the more compelling subtext, meaning, and comics medium-specific things that are what make Watchmen a great book. Watchmen is a great- maybe even the best ever- comic book. It's a fucking horrible movie, especially in the hands of an adolescent-minded filmmaker who probably thought it would be "awesome" to have Dan and Dan and Laurie practically rip people's arms off and then have a hilariously embarassing sex scene in the Owlship after they get all hot and bothered by killing people.

Rorschach is most definitely not a "good guy". He's the ugly, psychological truth of the facscist potential of masked crimefighters and superheroes. He is the dark, violent, psychopathic side of self-appointed vigilantes and law enforcers like Batman. He's a broken, deranged man, a tragic figure much more than a sympathetic hero. But he has reasons that resonate to even the most right-minded, well-adjusted person. He's a very complex, ambiguous character that is open to interpretation- hence the inkblot. You imprint meaning on to fictional characters through the act of reading about them. The dog's head and the butterfly. But he's definitely not a good guy, and he's not intended to be some ass-kicking bad ass more in line with Lobo or the Punisher than Travis Bickle.

I don't have a picture handy, but I have the "main" Rorschach from issue 6 on my right foreaarm- the butterfly/dog's head. At one point I was going to get the Dr. Manhattan atom thing on my left forearm but I went with a Giger thing instead.


For what its worth I look at the sex scene in the movie being completely appropriate when you consider that every 80's movie had a cheesy overly long sex scene in it.

Ive read the original Watchmen and agree with others that I feel no need to read prequels.

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21 Aug 2012 23:23 #133098 by Michael Barnes
But Watchmen wasn't intended to be a parody or satire of 1980s movies. In the comic, it's handled so tastefully and actually kind of romantically and in the film it's just ludicrous. It's almost like Snyder said "how childish, un-erotic, and silly can we make this...oh, I know! We put "Hallelujah" over it, because, you know, they're so happy that they're gettin' laid!"

Anyway, Watchmen is one of those kinds of things like Citizen Kane or The Velvet Underground & Nico. You can be The Guy On the Internet Above All The Hype all you want but the fact of the matter is that truth will out, history shows, and all of that. Regardless of any and all efforts of hype-busting forumistas, Watchmen was beyond a shadow of a doubt the most important comic book of the 1980s. And the case could be made, I think, for it being the single most important and influential comic book ever published barring the obvious Golden Age/early Silver Age antecedents. If you pick up just about ANY book today, there's traces of Watchmen in it. Not in terms of specific plot points, characterizations, or anything like that. But the _approach_, and the use of the medium's strengths to leverage deeper ideas.

I hate to use that whole "Citizen Kane" of comics chestnut, but that's really kind of what it is. It created new syntax. It literally did things that weren't done before. Yeah, stuff like the Adams/O'Neil Green Arrow/Green Lantern books tackled social issues, Iron Man was a drunk, and X-Men was all about prejudice and whatnot, but that was all very superficial and written into existing characters and continuity. Watchmen made subtext really matter, and there again used the comics language _in a unique way that film could not duplicate_ to express ideas, psychology, and implications.

It also set this unusual precedent that really great writers and artists,when given B or even Z-list characters can work wonders outside of the old warhorses.

Shellhead's comments are apt too. Watchmen is the reason that graphic novels started to get taken seriously in the 1980s. I remember very distinctly the mainstream media picking up on that Spirit of '86..."comics- not just for kids anymore" and so on. It's like that Beatles moment too, where suddenly their music was very seriously regarded and not regarded as teenage bubblegum stuff.

Also, we would never have had The Incredibles if it weren't for Watchmen.

So anyway, shrug all you want it. It's like throwing a penny at an aircraft carrier and trying to sink it.

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22 Aug 2012 00:55 #133108 by QPCloudy
Well thanks to all the buzz in this thread I went to the library this morning and checked out Watchmen. Just finished it a few minutes ago. How can you like this? Complete literary garbage. In fact I've got a stack of Jugheads better written than this piece. At least the Before Watchmen book seem good. Maybe they can make up for Allen Moore's travesty.
The following user(s) said Thank You: MattFantastic

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22 Aug 2012 01:09 - 22 Aug 2012 01:09 #133111 by Shellhead

QPCloudy wrote: Well thanks to all the buzz in this thread I went to the library this morning and checked out Watchmen. Just finished it a few minutes ago. How can you like this? Complete literary garbage. In fact I've got a stack of Jugheads better written than this piece. At least the Before Watchmen book seem good. Maybe they can make up for Allen Moore's travesty.


Last edit: 22 Aug 2012 01:09 by Shellhead.

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22 Aug 2012 01:22 #133113 by QPCloudy
Seriously. 3 hours of my life I will never get back. . .

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22 Aug 2012 02:31 #133115 by quozl
Dude, you read a comic book. Literary greatness isn't found in that medium.

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