06 August 2008
So I read this: Watchmen by Moore and Gibbons
Pretty much everything you've heard is true. This really is the grandaddy of the postmodern comic book. It haunts me to no end that this came out back when I was a serious comic reader and collector and it completely passed me by. Though, truthfully, a lot of Alan Moore's more meta conceits would have gone right over my head. Certainly this was aiming higher than anything else at the time, but it still took Elektra: Assassin to bring me into the world of adult comix, and I still stand by that. You can take Frank Miller's hypersexed reactionary fever dreams of statuesque assassins and the grotesque violence they deal and respond to that from the perspective of a twelve year-old, which I was. But I worked my way through its fragmented and experimental narrative and found it rewarding. I would probably not have been able to appreciate anything about Watchmen had I been reading it back in '86-'87.
But I will say this, and it's the damned truth; Dave Gibbons' art is kind of boring. Perhaps that is intentional- a way to get some of the more baroque narrative touches across without triggering to many warning lights until Moore's ideas get their hooks into the soft grey matter. But if you could have had Moore working with Bill Sienkiewicz on Watchmen- holy shit. I mean, that would have been a work of art that society couldn't withstand. It would have been amazing.
But Watchmen on its own is something unique and well-worth exploring. The forthcoming (if you can call March of next year forthcoming) movie adaptation by Zack (Dawn of the Dead remake "yay," 300 "boo") Snyder has got interest in the title up, which is good. But it's not a particularly cinematic work, and I don't think that this movie will work. But it's good to have some of the concepts in Watchmen resonating throughout global culture.