Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Big Picture: "The Will Never Be Another Watchmen"

Here it is. Stop asking now :)


Sean said...

I think this was true the moment Watchmen was released.

The key to Watchmen was how it obliterated the rules of how a very staid, static form (the superhero comic) was played. This did not, of course, happen in a vacuum, a lot of comics at the time were trying to do the same thing. (A lot of ink has been spilled on the connections between Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen, of course, and some on the role of Infinite Crisis as well -- but Scott McCloud's Zot!, released around the same time, also deserves credit for looking at how superheroic themes could extend beyond the usual palette.) But Watchmen did it best.

But once the rules were smashed so hard, the staid environment Watchmen depended upon to work as it did was also demolished. You couldn't do the same sort of thing ever again -- It's not for nothing that some critics claimed Watchmen 'destroyed the superhero comic'. It did. Everything since is in a very real sense 'post-Watchmen' superheroes.

The real question is, what form right now has the potential for a Watchmen moment of its own?

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

Good episode, Bob, and not just because it talks about comics.

These Watchmen prequels are clearly a DC cash-grab, regardless of the high-quality talent assigned to them.

I think it's a cash-grab because Watchmen was a completely developed, fully realized world. What are they going to possibly say that we didn't already know by reading the original?

It's not like they can actually change anything drastic about the characters because, being a prequel, we already know where they end up.

As for the broad strokes, Watchment somewhat killed the superheroes' innocence.

Prior to Watchmen, the idea of having super-powered folks/costumed vigilantes didn't seem like too terrible an idea.

Watchmen, along with Moore's Marvelman run (Or Miracleman, depending on where you're from), obliterated that concept.

In that respect, there never will be another Watchmen.

*Endnote: I never saw the movie (I heard it blew), but from what I've heard of the plot change, the comic was better. Just my 2 cents!

Joshua the Anarchist said...

I've never thought of Kingdom Come as a rebuttal to Watchmen, but it fits now that I think about it. Kingdom Come is actually my favorite graphic novel, even above Watchman. I think it's because part of me will always prefer a happy ending especially in my comic books. Not that I think all stories should end on a happy note, I just get tired of this idea that a story is inherently better if it ends tragically. I've never liked Moore's approach to endings. Looking at Watchmen, "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?", and even his rejected "Twilight of the Superheroes", he seems pretty fixated on superheroes having tragic ends. I'm sorry, I'm just not down with Superman's story ending with the implication that the world never needed him in the first place. Give me All Star Superman any day.

As for the Watchmen prequels, I'm still wondering what the hell Dr. Manhattan's & Rorschach's stories will be about. I mean each got an entire issue of Watchmen devoted to their origin stories, what more is there to say? That said, I'm actually mildly curious about seeing Ozymandias's background. That sounds potentially interesting.

Anonymous said...

Spoilers ahead!!

I think the novel is better because Manhattan, by far the most powerful being in the world, was completely marginalized. This much better fits the overall theme of both Oz' plan and the novel itself.

Also, Manhattan makes a bad Common Enemy. He has already demonstrated that he is capable of strong emotions. not a good idea then to make him your (or humanities) enemy. He is also invincible, so the effect will probably wear off after they lugged a few nukes on him. Third, he could conceivably simply recreate the destroyed cities.

More important, the movie's plot is rubbish, the Russians would launched a nuclear strike after the destruction of Moscow. At the very least, for a Cold War to work, they must make a convincing case that they would, and Oz' wouldn't have risked it.

So you are wrong.

Sylocat said...

It's a shame the filmmakers didn't realize this when they were making the movie... they might not have embarrassed themselves trying to make "shocking" violence, for a theatergoing public that has already seen the works of Tarantino and Rodriguez.

Ezenwa said...

To be honest, I saw Kingdom Come as sort of an answer to Marvel's "Marvels", really.