Tag Archives: Watchmen

“No Masks. No Capes. No Gadgets or Experimental Weapons.”

A public service announcement — courtesy of 1977’s Keene Act — in the name of keeping you safe from masked vigilantes.


God, I love this stuff.

Neil Gaiman is Kinda Creepy (But In A Good Way)

Several trailers for a number of films I’m looking forward to. First up, Neil Gaiman discusses koumpounophobia — the fear of buttons. And only Neil could make buttons sound quite so . . . creepy.

Next up, it’s a Japanese trailer for Watchmen, with footage that hasn’t made its way into the American trailer yet:

And finally, in a brilliant bit of viral marketing, here’s a bit of archival footage — courtesy of the New Frontiersman — commemorating the tenth anniversary of the arrival of Dr. Manhattan:

Man, these movies can’t open soon enough.

"Someone Is Gunning For Masks…."

This just keeps getting better and better.

While I and my fellow nerds are squeeeing all over the Internets about the prospects of a way-cool Watchmen flick, there’s one person who is decidedly unenthusiastic about the film: Watchmen writer Alan Moore.

Over at the Los Angeles Times, there’s a fascinating article and interview with the always-interesting Moore, who says he will be “spitting venom” all over the movie. He’s entitled. Moore’s a purist about his work and the comics medium in general:

Moore said that with “Watchmen,” he told the epic tale of a large number of characters over decades of history with “a range of techniques” that cannot be translated to the movie screen, among them the “book within a book” technique, which took readers through a second, interior story as well as documents and the writings of characters . . . he believes “Watchmen” is “inherently unfilmable.”

I agree with Moore only to the extent that it’s impossible to pack into even a three hour movie all the complex layers, subplots, and backstories that embody Watchmen. (There’s already a rumor that the comic-within-a-comic, Tales of the Black Frieghter, was filmed but cut from the movie due to length — and will be put on the DVD release as a bonus feature.) In fact, I’ve always argued that it would make an ideal 12-part made-for-cable film, rather than a full-length feature.

That being said, I’m still excited about the film. And Alan Moore is more than allowed to be crabby. He’s earned it.

The interview with Alan Moore is here — and I warn you in advance not to read the comments, as they make me want to punch some people in the face. (For the record, Moore earns nothing off the film adapatations of his work — he signed the film rights to Watchmen, for example, over to artist Dave Gibbons.)

Collecting Collections, Continued

While we’re on the subject of comics collections, a reader e-mailed to ask me if I prefer reading stories in their collected format, as opposed to their original, off-the-rack comic form.

I’ve got an answer, but let me declare some caveats first.

I like being able to pick up trade paperback collections of complete stories — particularly of titles I’ve never read — not only because it’s easier than tracking down the back issues needed to compile, say, issues 45 to 54 of Super Grim and Morose Guy, but it’s also cheaper. I like the ease of having everything in one compact, bound book, and being able to tuck it into a briefcase, where I can read it on the Metro or an airplane and lie about it being mine.

As for titles I already read and collect — like Sandman — I like being able to read and re-read the stories, or even loan the collection to others, safe in the knowledge that my original issues remain in Overstreet Price Guide Near Mint condition. Not because I want to sell them, but because . . . well, I just like them in nice condition.

But when it comes right down to it, I’m a purist. As much as I like glossy trade paperback or hardback collections, I still prefer comics in their clumsily beautiful, easily damaged, and thus completely perfect comic book format.

I think part of it lies in the fact that, to me, comics are historical documents (they are, after all, technically periodicals). There’s a strangely satisfying tactile pleasure in holding an issue in your hands, looking at the glossy cover (and the price! While I never lived in the golden age when comics were a dime, I do remember when they were forty cents!), and smelling the pulp paper and ink. Each issue is a snapshot of the moment in time when it was published — something lost in the translation over to a more timeless trade paperback.

While advertisements are usually annoying, they do provide an almost twisted historical sense to the reading experience, blaring in all their retro glory about Ataris and Super Nintendos, Dingo boots and fruit-flavored drinks, and Saturday morning cartoons. And on the creative side of things, I like seeing how the writers — who knew in advance where the full-page ads would be placed — sometimes work the page break into the rhythm of the story, providing a beat just before a major epiphany or plot advancement.

A trade paperback is also missing an important part of the personality of the original comic: the letters columns. Sandman, for example, was home to one of the most annoyingly pretentious lettercols in comics history; yet it’s still fascinating — especially with hindsight — to watch readers debate who the prodigal member of the Endless might be, submit bizarre haikus about cats, and speculate on who might die in the closing pages of the final story arc. Lettercols provide readers with a sense of community that’s missing from the trade paperback collection — and while their absence from the trade paperback is understandable, it’s still regrettable.

And finally, there was always something exciting in reaching that final page and landing on a cliffhanger that would carry you into the next issue. I remember reading each issue of Alan Moore’s Watchmen as they were published in the late 1980s, poring over every panel, reading and re-reading every issue until the next one arrived — and each one was usually late, so it took about 16 months for all 12 issues to be published.

But that anticipation was part of what made the reading experience so memorable. When I reached the end of issue 7 — where Dan Drieberg says “I think we should spring Rorschach.” — I couldn’t just turn the page and read the next chapter; I had to wait weeks. That’s an experience I can’t have with the trade paperback.

That said, I’ll still continue to read trade paperbacks and other collections. But I still can’t help feeling I’m missing something.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Translation: Who watches the watchmen?

I do. And now you must, too.