Saturday, June 30, 2007
Ich Liebe Watchmen
My favorite writer is Alan Moore and any chance I get I'll try to bend someone's ear as to why I think he's such a great writer. Anyone who has read any of his great works such as V For Vendetta, Watchmen, The Killing Joke, Lost Girls, From Hell, Promethea, and on and on knows his greatness already.
In this week's Wizard there's a great roundtable discussion of Watchmen by David Goyer, Brian Vaughan, Ed Brubaker, and Damon Lindelof. Usually Wizard isn't the greatest source for insights into great works of the comic medium, but they do often rightfully give props to Alan Moore's comic work and they'll occasionally have in-depth articles like this one.
Brubaker, Vaughan, Goyer, and Lindelof go on at length as to why Watchmen is such a benchmark of not just great comics, but great writing and how Watchmen was so influential to their writing. They talk about the way Watchmen was structured and how every word and panel is inter-connected. Really every time I re-read Watchmen I pick up something I hadn't noticed before and I just am blown away by Alan Moore's writing wizardry. A particularly interesting story that Brubaker recounted that he remembered when Watchmen was coming out in comic book installments was how Howard Chaykin had, at the time, in his DC contract that he would get advanced Xeroxed copies of anything Alan Moore was working on!
My favorite chapters (issues) of Watchmen are: Chapter six, The Abyss Gazes Also, in which we find out Rorschach's back-story and how this affects his psychoanalyst (very chilling and of course powerful) and chapter four, Watchmaker, in which we get Dr. Manhattan's back-story and ends with a great quote by Albert Einstein (actually all of the chapter have great end quotes).
After every chapter / issue of Watchmen there are prose pieces that pertain to the characters / world of Watchmen. They really enhance the whole reading experience of Watchmen with my favorite being the first one, "Under The Hood". "Under The Hood" (especially the first chapter) can be read as a single self contained great example of the power and skill of Alan Moore's writing.
As much as I love Watchmen, my favorite Moore work is V For Vendetta. I actually really liked the V For Vendetta movie and thought it did a good job of retaining the essence and spirit of the book with Natalie Portman being especially good as Evey. I still would bet that a movie of Watchmen will never happen and probably shouldn't because really how can all of the many layers present in Watchmen translate to the screen? I think Watchmen would be best as an anime series animated by the people that did Millenium Actress or Steamboy (which has a really slow story, but has great visuals). Anyway I like when a movie happens for great comic works like V For Vendetta or Watchmen because even if they end up being bad, they do end up turning on a great many people to the source work. Of course it can be argued that if a movie from a comic is really bad like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen that people who haven't read the comic will think the original is bad, but it's still true that for the populace at large movies do bring attention to the comics (more so adapted works like V For Vendetta, Road To Perdition, and Ghost World than the superhero movies).
What's your favorite Alan Moore graphic novel / comic?
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