Thursday, October 16, 2008

I guess I can watch the watchmen

So this is the inaugural post of GEEK. I know some of you have been following my videos on and others have not. I hope you all made the jump easily over here. Down to business before fun-
There will be video blogs! I promise I will make videos once I know how to upload them.
Commenting is anonymous. If you're one of those people too lazy to register here, feel free to comment on posts anyway. I know you all would be scared off if (god forbid) you have to enter your email address somewhere.

Enough with that.

I've been reading Alan Moore's WATCHMEN 'Graphic Novel' on and off for the past week on the bus ride to and from school and I guess, if I want to be one of those critic folk who get yelled at, I should do a little bit of a review. To preface this-A lot of people seem to think I write stuff off before I ever get around to experience it. Not true. I was a little uneasy getting into WATCHMEN because every single nerdy kid has said "It's SO GOOD AND DARK and the characters ARE SO DEEP." These are also the same people who say "WOW X-MEN BLOWS COMICS SUCK THIS IS A GRAPHIC NOVEL." Fine. Astonishing X-Men is entertaining, but fine.
Anyways, W.M. is a story set in the alternate universe world of 1985. Nixon is in office. The Cold War is at it's zenith and America is in shambles after excess spending on warfunds. We are so splendidly introduced to a New York skyline via the murder of an ex-superhero, The Comedian. It is this murder that introduces us to other masked crusaders (Silk Spectra, What's her face Jupiter, Nite Owl, Rorschach.) Most of these heroes have hung up the cloak because of the outlandishness of their past fashion, save the prying Dick Tracy-ish Rorschach, characterized by an ink blot mask and trench coat. He's our first look at the life of a superhero in W.M. Rorschach, who writes in extremely crude english in a little journal, is the only hero to become suspicious of the Comedian's murder.
To speed things up-everything goes wrong. Russia freaks out. America freaks out. A giant naked blue man freaks out. I don't want to reveal everything because that is half the fun, right? I, myself tried to read W.M. a good two times when I was younger and never made it past the first chunk of the collection, but this time I pushed through. Alan Moore does a great job of writing a plausible story without making it really god damn boring and dull. Sure, Rorschach brings a noir-y element to it all, but I never felt tired when he was being a general dick to all of the hooligans in New York.
Alan Moore knows how to make things seem very tense and anxious. Throughout the story the reader is able to watch many characters crumble under the pressure of a nuclear war. Headlines are shown in the background regarding Nixon's all around foolishness, street-vendors keep spouting things like "Hey! We're America, we can't take none of this! Fuck Russia!" Okay. He doesn't say that. But still. Alan is able to imply this great feeling of..despair. The world is swept up in plague of social decay and he wants us to know it.
I recently started reading comic books again and I always complain how dialogue feels either too modern or too nostalgic. It's either "Hey bro, that was a rad claw to the face you %^&*()" or "Gee, Cyclops, that was a rather fierce strike you delivered to my mandible." Just right in W.M. Just right. I can really empathize with the characters because they don't drive me up a fucking wall.
The art direction is nothing short of fantastic. Nothing flashy-which is great because it fits the mood of the story so well. Dave Gibbons is one crafty fellow, I'll tell ya that much. When I read comics I usually speed through the speech bubbles, look at what they're face is displaying, and read on. W.M. made me read the speech bubble and sort of zoom out, so to speak. There are quite a few instances of dynamic and creative perspectives on an issue. It can be from the front door of a sleazy bar to a genetically engineered dog approaching it's master. I think it is a dog. It's something weird. Maybe a lynx. Dunno.
I feel like I've been vague with the plot, but I think it does WATCHMEN justice. It's one of the only comic books where I didn't feel the need to know the ending immediately because everyone acts accordingly and because you know when it *does* happen, it will be shit. Seriously. Between chapters clock hand's move ever so slowly towards midnight. It drove me bonkers. When it hit midnight-FUCK. I think some of the best artwork has come out of the last 25 pages of WATCHMEN and I really think it deserves more praise. I was shaking my head on the bus and flipping back to past pages because things were so intricately placed.
Pick up WATCHMEN if you have the money and time. A lot of people pass comic books off as very sophmoric pieces of entertainment, but I truely believe Alan and Dave crafted a story that explores timeless themes. Global Warming? Political Strife? Human Rights? Justice? Mercy? You betcha. Half the time I forgot this wasn't written last year. If you don't want to watch the Watchmen, at least read it. For once those dorky kids who put knives between their fingers so they can be Wolverine were right. It is enjoyable.

1 comment:

Jacqueline said...

Holy crap you really are going to be a critic of some kind.