......I need to air this out. I need to be free of this. I need to move on. Let start with the boring nerd stuff. I don't think any movie fills me with as much tension as the Watchmen film adaptation. It's not the worst movie I've seen by far, but it's a movie that puts me on edge. I realized years ago that generally any news I've ever heard about Watchmen has always put me on edge. That's a thing.
It makes me vaguely sick to my stomach. I feel that's unfair of the world to do that to me a little bit, or whatever. 'Cause Watchmen is, and I think for most people who like comics, my favorite. It's probably one of the greatest, maybe the greatest comic ever written. Essentially the Citizen Kane of comics.
Every time I read about a new story or something like Promethea being brought into the DC universe, ugh. I get tension from this. I don't think this is a healthy thing for me to do, be angry, and because Damon Lindelof recently said some stuff about Watchmen, I thought I should get all my thoughts out about this stuff.
Let's first address my issues with the Watchmen film. Let's talk about Watchmen in general and the Watchmen movie and why I dislike it. The Watchmen movie ... the issue with the Watchmen movie is the fact that it's deferential, but it's deferential and clearly loves the source material, but it doesn't know when to adapt and when not to adapt. I think the issue essentially starts right off in the beginning of the scene where they show the fight scene between Ozymandias and the Comedian.
It hints A, the tone takes a decidedly more cartoon-y tone. The sound effects and the Kung Fu-ish stuff, is an issue. The Comedian is supposed to be, one of the things about him, at least in my interpretation; this might not be yours, but this is my site. The Comedian is essentially pushed to the brink and is drunk and disheveled and he was such this horrific figure in the 20th century, and he represents what America became, starting out as a relatively innocent Spiderman-esque figure and turning into this nightmare of a person. And finally he's just broken and disheveled. He was supposed to die easily, and the fact that the movie feels the need to give him this heroic action hero ending shows the miscalculation of this movie.
What I disliked about the movie is that the movie is afraid of itself. What I mean by this is the visionary director in charge of it afraid of the type of movie he wants to make, and I can feel it. I can feel it so bad that he's trying to push these all together. But one of the biggest hints is the best chapter in Watchmen, and let's say this definitively, is the issue where Rorschach is in prison. That's the best part of Watchmen. Right? It's where the best writing happens, it's where a lot of the famous scenes happen, it's maybe some of the most beautiful writing, beautiful and bleak writing in comic books.
It defines everything about what Watchmen is, and the thing about it is it's about Rorschach, but it's also about the psychiatrist. They cut it. They cut it down to maybe two scenes of cursory explanation, and Dr. Malcolm is such an important character, 'cause he's ... it shows the true nature of what these people are and how it's affecting everybody else around him, and it's important to have that in this sort of story, to have this really ground level explanation, ground level person come in. That's an entire astro-city itself. aslo I do relly do not like that Doctor Malcolm the most prominent black person in the book, who got a whole issue as the co-lead got so cutdown in the movie.
One of the great comic book series of all time is based around this whole what it's like to have ground level perspectives of superheroics. To cut that down and to cut the more beautiful aspect of the speech, the great speech which is "The fire rose and I saw no one was there," which is one of the great, the equivalent of Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech for comics. To cut it down, and the reason they cut it down, and this shows the issue, is the reason they cut it down is because of Saw.
Saw sucks! And the fact that they were con-, Saw is gross, ugly torture porn, and the fact that they were so concerned that people would compare this to Saw shows you, to me, was the reason, angered me that ... Yeah, comic book, mm, clearly teenage boys who like to see people get brutally killed. That angered me in such a way that I've never been angered before.
So that's the issue that I have with the film, and I can feel it. That's the fundamental nature of it is all. That's the problem with the film. It's violent, it's more violent than it needs to be, it's more obsessed with violence than it needs to be, and it prunes over the character aspects of what it needs to be. I always try and write for the perspective of reading in the future, so we're not gonna, I'm gonna try and speak less ... veiledly about what caused me to write this.
I'd like to talk about Alan Moore and Alan Moore's strengths as a writer, and what appears throughout his entire bibliography of comics he's written. One of Alan Moore's strengths is he has a very great sense of place in comics. What I mean by that is every Alan Moore story you read; I've read a lot of them. There's a recurring theme, is that we're seeing usually the middle or the end of the career of an established adventurer, and we constantly go back. That's precedent in Watchmen and stuff like that.
There's this accusation about Moore, and I'm gonna get into it later, why this accusation is a wrong and bullheaded and they're kinda missing the point of what the issue is.
That's what's so great about Moore. That's kind of another reason why the Watchmen movie failed, and why it doesn't work to have, say the Ozymandias start the Watchmen instead of because it needs the other people. Every Alan Moore story is about a living, breathing world. Arguably one of the greatest strengths that Moore has as a writer is that he has a very good sense of place, and you can see that even in his personality, 'cause he's so obsessed with Northampton.
I guess I want to get into the accusation against him, or whatever that stupid accusation against him is. I'm gonna say a few words towards Damon Lindelof. I like you as a writer, I like you, Damon Lindelof. I think you get unfairly yelled at a lot of times. I thought Lost was a good show for a few seasons, and the idea that you're pitching about Watchmen is, of making it a Fargo-like anthology show is ... probably the best way to do it,
I agree with that method. Explaining that about Alan Moore, that Alan Moore really likes his history, his sense of place, his world, it fits perfectly within that ethos, and it shows to me that you've read his comics and get it, so I want to say this. And I want to say this generally, and about this hypocrisy that people are claiming about Moore, that he dislikes that people use, so ... here's the thing.
We're gonna get a little irritated. Let's talk about the nature of originality. Maybe a more general question. Is it possible to be totally original? No is the answer to that question, not in a million years. It's impossible, and if you think you are you're a liar and you're wrong.
So think of it like this question. Do you ever notice how weird it is that there's always six or seven people who all invent something around the same time? If you look at the camera, the movie camera, it's hard to come up with definitively who invented the movie camera, 'cause there's like 8 or 9 or 10 people who all, right around the same time, independently of each other come up with something. Well, the reason that is, is because several hundred years prior, we were all up to that point we have all been trying to do that.
What do you think Why do you think things like comic books exist? Comic books first came into existence, it was attempting through our medium to show motion. People all had this idea, people had this idea and it was just kinda there. So I know what you're saying, this is generally whatever. This is general, the great conscious, unconscious, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the fact that people wanted ever since photographs were invented, we've been attempting to make them move, 'cause always been obsessed with further documenting life, ever since the cave paintings, so since the beginning, and we've gotten more and more advanced at that. Every artistic development has been in some way, trying to obsess over the documentation of life. This is an idea that humans had.
Humans build off the generations previously, and nowhere is this more apparent than the artistic world. I've gotten into long arguments with people about the concept of originality and what does originality mean, is it possible to be totally original, and I have definitively, definitively come down with the thing, you are always inspired by something no matter what.
It's just an impossibility, man. Nobody, no one person can truly come up with a genre. There can be codifying within genre. Who, to use Watchmen to circle back and around into the concept of Watchmen who, Watchmen is credited with bringing darkness and maturity to the superhero genre, et cetera, but then they'll go like, "Wha- well, yeah. That's true but the- the thing about it is there, there are several other, uh, uh, comics. You know, there was Batman the Dark Knight, there was Frank Miller's Daredevil. There was The One, you know. You know, and also the whole Bronze Age. You know like, say like, The Green Arrow, Green Lantern stories were, they're were dealing with more mature subjects."
Oh. Really. Then you could also argue, "Well and, you know, that's just focusing on the mainstream superhero comics. But if you get into indie comics ... " There's an impossibility to that. I guess what I'm working up to is the accusation that Alan Moore, that people dislike it when Alan Moore complains that he used other people's characters to create superheroes, he wrote other people's characters? He doesn't like it when people do that. Let's talk a few things. The main one that this is brought against to is, and this is the main one this is brought against to, is League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Moore has always countered that he did not use anybody else's characters. He simply stole them. The thing is, he's right about that. He's right about, stole them. What he means by that is, and this was an argument used for that awful, awful, awful, awful period of time before Watchmen. Holy shit, was that bad. I don't know. I'll be honest, I never read them. I was just angry at every development and even somebody- even the ones that were praised, the only one I tried to read was Darwyn Cooke who, I love Darwyn Cooke. His reboot of The Spirit is, I feel, one of the best reboots that, one of the best comic series that nobody talks about.
I love them but well read this thing it says it better then me . But that's another thing. The thing about it is, he never- Alan Moore was always- there's a difference between continuation and adaptation? What that means is adaptation When people read this. When people read League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and they see a Prospero or Moriarty or Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Captain Nemo, all those people, nobody is really thinking to themselves, "Oh! Alan Moore is saying all of this really happened." Or not all of this really happened but, "All of this is canon and true of the story and this is the real, legitimate continuation."
No. No. No, that's ridiculous. This is an adaptation of those characters or a- this is total stealing. It's more of an adaptation. It's a different universe. It's his interpretation, and everybody goes into League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with that understanding. Nobody's thinking, "Oh! This is the dole’s official thing." What irritates me, and I think I would have been okay before Watchmen if they established- and this is honest. This is truthful. There's two ways I would have been fine with more Watchmen. This is neither of the ones that DC or anybody really wants to do. That's what irritates me.
The first one is, this is a very similar universe to Watchmen. You're not claiming definitive ownership of The Watchmen or number two, if they want to continue Watchmen they have to play by Watchmen's rules or what they set up. The thing about Watchmen is A, you need to get- Watchmen's rules is, and I don't think this is a part that people talk about because everybody's focused on Rorschach and we get into a little bit why focusing so much on Rorschach is an issue. But Watchmen actually ends open-endedly. Sincerely, it ends open-endedly. There's an open-ended thing.
That's Dan and Judy continuing to be superheroes. The series continues, and honestly that's an open-ended thing. You can continue it from that point. I like- and Dan and Judy are both good characters, but they're not the most memorable characters. I think the reason people are upset by this is because Watchmen ends. Over the last 100+ years of comic book writing, I think it's becoming progressively clear that people are frustrated. That by how static continuing superheroes got. What that means is, like Batman and Superman stayed roughly the same age but more sidekicks were added.
The supporting characters were added and honestly, it's been better. One of my favorite modern series is Chip Zdarsky's Spiderman series. I love that J. Jonah Jameson acts like a weird father figure now a little bit to Spiderman, and that he has a sister now or how superman is a dad now I love that. I love that. The thing about that is, Rorschach ended, died. Rorschach died in the way that made sense and that ended his character arc beautifully. It's cheating to bring him back. It's cheating to make him like a traditional hero, because Rorschach, he's a tragic, fallen hero.
He's a character that succumbs to the horror of the world and because of his own beliefs, died because of that. That's what frustrates me. To do that invalidates the story of Watchmen. Especially, I want to get in a little bit why I don't like Geoff Johns as the person writing this. I guess I was trying to justify this, but I'll just say a few words. I'm not a fan of Geoff Johns. I think DC has a new Alan Moore on its staff, and that's Tom King.
I have no idea in the world why, if you're forcing the thing that Tom King has not been given the reins of whatever the thing is. Tom King would get it. Essentially Vision is his vision, maybe our ... I don't know. People talk about The Vision but I don't know why people aren't fucking freaking out about Tom King's Vision run. Anyways, that's a article for a different time. I was trying to defend this. To get back to my further point about the originality question. let's further talk about originality. As we established, all writing is half based on the person's perspective and half based on the things they read.
Read and watch, media they consume. The question is well, why does Alan Moore get dumped on for this when he complains? Maybe it's the world we're living in or something, but the thing about Watchmen is, and why I dislike these comments a little bit. Does anybody remember Raging Bull 2? I don't remember if they ever released it. Does anybody remember- has anybody heard of Easy Rider 2, The Way Back? Let's say it's Easy Rider 2, The Way Back. That's a more apt comparison. Easy Rider 2, The Way Back is- has anybody heard of this movie? I don't know if anybody's heard of this movie, unless you follow the bad movie world. Then oh boy, have you heard about this one.
It's horrifically what it sounds like. It's a sequel to Easy Rider. It was made by this rich lawyer guy who loves Easy Rider. Well he loves, aka he loves all the motorcycle riding and pot smoking. It's hilariously incompetent. The thing about it is, I think it's lucky that it was as hilariously incompetent as it turned out to be. I think that masked the problem. The main criticism of, because without it people would be very, very angry at the total betrayal of the politics of, I think, the original Easy Rider if it wasn't so hilariously incompetent.
Maybe that's a more- this is pretty good. Raging Bull 2. Raging Bull 2 fits my point a little bit more. People were mad about Raging Bull 2, right? Raging Bull 2 is a definitive movie. One of the great films. It says a lot, and the reason people were mad about it was because it was a story that didn't need a continuation. There was no clarifying parts that needed to be explained. The reason why x, y and z were not that interesting. Because that was a movie, people were really angry about that. They protested and fought against it. I don't want to go like, "But, because it's a comic," people are like, "Well that's just what comics are part of."
I hate that. I hate that so fucking much, that idea of, "Oh well, comics are like that." Fuck you, comics are like that. Comics can be anything they want to be. It's a medium, not a set rigid- or a list of rules. There's no federal definition of that, all comic books must be an ongoing, continuous series. The reason Batman and Superman are ongoing, continuous series ... Oh, wait. There's a reference to Superman here. Note that for later, because I'm going to use that as a point pretty soon. Can be, work as ongoing, continuous series is because they were meant to be ongoing, continuous series.
meant to be ongoing series. Batman and Superman can work because they work on the same principle alike. And this is apples and oranges, but they work on the same principle as like Sherlock Holmes and stuff like that. As long as there's a new villain for them to fight, they can keep going. You can always make new villains. But Sherlock Holmes retired to keep bees at some point. That was probably the way to go. So, let's move on to the next point.
So, originality doesn't exist so pretend it doesn't exist, but claiming the ... So, originality doesn't exist and stories end at some point. But what the irritation is, and I think what the irritation most people have, I know these are rambly, these things are always rambly, but I write these stream of conscious, I'm sorry. And what the irritation is, it not, it's not ... And I think what Alan feels or Mr. Moore feels is not that, "Nobody can write my characters as good as I can." I think what Moore, and why he's always been defensive of like this stuff is like he's not, he's stealing them, it's because he doesn't like other people claiming his voice as a writer. And that feels like the mean part. And that feels like what he dislikes, is that other people can claim his voice as a writer and claim his ideals as a writer.
'Cause Watchmen is of him and he dislikes I'm putting the words into his mouth. If I'm wrong please email me Alan Moore, I would love to get your email. I would have that framed at email me at email@example.com. Wink. And that feels the crime, because you're not adapting how the character is it's almost like you're kind of stealing his soul and claiming it as your own, man. No matter how angry and personally betrayed he feels, that's still part of him, man. That was still a part of his ideas and his hopes. And I don't know, that feels cruel that we don't accept that. And you know, there's artistic reasons and
Remember when I cleverly alluded to Superman and I said, "Note that." There's another thing I think we should all talk to about the defense of Alan Moore. When did we all become such fucking corporate lapdogs? Jesus. "Well, they're DC's characters, and they can do with what they want them." These are the same fucking people that go like, "Well Jack Kirby and Joe Shuster made billions of dollars their families had to live in sub-poverty for years." I am so fucking sick of seeing comic book fans mercilessly defend multi-billion dollar corporations against people. No, because who do you ... I mean, "I know who I support. I support the billion-dollar corporations trying to take money from the artists." Do you want to know why, and this is a side tangent, but this whole thing's filled with side tangents. Do you want to know why super hero stories struggle for years at a time and why the comic book industry is becoming cultishly fragmented? It's because Marvel and DC refuse ... like originality is dead, and we get the same bullshit, "I don't know, maybe the character's dead. This is a new number one. Oh, the character's evil, but the character's good again. Let's have super heroes fight." It's because creators know that if they can just wait long enough they can ... it's because creators would much rather have all that money for themselves.
And I know it's bullshit, fundamentally bullshit, that DC reneged on the deal that what supposed to ... reneged on the nature of the Watchmen deal. "Oh, but they're following the letter of the law." But fuck you, fuck you. That's not what the spirit meant. Do know what it means? Alan Moore created those characters in that story with the full understanding that within a year he and David Gibbons would own them. He created them for them. He's the owner and he should have a say in how they're adapted. And if he doesn't want to have a say because in the end DC, who has been essentially ripping him off for years and grave-robbing any shred of work that Moore wrote for them, wants to blithely profit off his name, he should be angry. He's justified in his anger by this. As Shuster was justified in the anger of him making billions for DC and them refusing to pay him any of it. They were the ones who created, they were the ones who did all the work. All they did was put it out. In this modern age, none of that would happen.
And I like that the universe is big and connected, and I like the Justice League, not the movie but the idea and the marvel and all that stuff. I like the end results of a lot of it, but I don't like how it happened. Call me idiot or hypocrite, So, I guess that's just kind of my opinion about all this Watchmen stuff. There's a whole other article into the faults of Geoff Johns as a writer that I think I covered mostly in that thing I wrote about Impulse. So if you want to get my fuller ideas about why Geoff Johns doesn't work for me, and read that.
So anyways, I guess I just want to say, I kind of wish people would just like give a little bit of the respect to Alan more, that's sort of what I wish. I wish people wouldn't always dismiss him. But what are you going to do? You can be the all time greatest creator in a certain medium, but it's not a real medium so nobody cares. And honestly, if he hadn't said that, I probably would have been fine with this idea. I was angry and mad, and I don't want this to be all about him, so I'll write a little ... mad about the Fargo idea, but in the end that turned out great. Jeff has been a boon to superhero ideals now. But attention must be paid, I guess. Attention must be paid to this.
I just want to make one more small point. This an irritation I've had for a while. Why do we feel the need, why did we want a Watchmen movie to begin with? And I'll admit fully, I'm young. I wouldn't have read Watchmen without the knowledge of the movie. But let's talk in theory. Why did we want a Watchmen movie to begin with? And I've noticed this a lot about a lot of things. Like people really want everything to be made into a movie. I love cinema, cinema is beautiful, cinema is my life. I bleed celluloid, but is it because in some way we wanted it to be legitimized? Why do great things need to be adapted into film? Well, does it make it a better ... Let's see. Would adapting Gravity's Rainbow into a movie make it a better book? Do we need that? Why does film legitimize everything? Why do we feel the need to be legitimized by film? That's the thing I don't get. I don't really understand that whole ideal. 'Cause even if the movie was perfect, and it was everything we wanted it to be and it was a beautiful seven-hour long opus, why did it need to be? Would it have changed our perspectives? Do we just like seeing things we liked in something else up on the screen? No wait, I answered my own question there, didn't I?
So, in wrapping up, I guess, my full thoughts. I just want to say about Watchmen, I love Watchmen. It's great, and the original series will always be amazing to me, but, and this is a big but, at least for me ... And if the show turns out great, and I hope it does, I may watch it. And I'm done with the comics they had to Watchmen. I don't If you want to, although I feel it betrays a lot about, and pretty much everything about how perfectly Watchmen ends, and says something deeply terrible with our culture. That we can't move on, and we have to keep reliving the old things, and we have to keep reliving the old things when in the past it used to be I mean, to paraphrase Naked Raven(Nathan Rabin I meant write but It got changed to that, and I am keeping it) the new Hollywood people were influenced by the French new wave films, and the French new wave films were influenced by the films of the 20s in the US.
But nobody was trying to do that. They were all taking those influences and pushing it through their own ideals, and I feel we've lost that in an artistic world, but whatever. I feel like this conversation a loss, and I can't win it, but I'm done. I'm done with Watchmen. I don't care about what they do, but I'm finished with it.
They may, unless it's fantastic, but I just can't care anymore. They can't It was great, it was beautiful, and they didn't violate the story for the longest time, but I'm done with it. I still reread the comic about once every few years, but then that would be it. To me,
then in end. That's not why I wrote any of this. See None of this is healthy for me to keep going on with. It makes it hard for me now to read Watchmen without this stuff. I just want to go back to reading it and liking it, so I need to move on and I need to let go of all of this. This is the way the world works now. We just crave the past, and we crave things to get more of what they were. I hate it. I hate every instance of it. I don't know what to do about this, but this, I guess I'm not a real fan. Whatever the hell that means?
I didn't want to see one of my favorite things of all time get changed or messed with, and that I would have preferred if people just took inspiration from it, and did their own thing, which would've been better, but that's where it is. That's where I am. I'm just tired of yelling about this. I'm tired of being angry about this. I concede, or whatever you want to hear. I let it go. Alan Moore let it go (or not), so I guess I should just let it go myself. The world will do what it wants, and I just hope ... I don't know. I don't know what you people want. That's, I think, the truth of it.
I never knew what you people wanted, but I need to walk away from this hostility I have towards all of this stuff. I'll never read it. You can't make me read it. I'll never acknowledge it as true, but it's just gonna happen. It's just going to be there and that's the only thing I could think of. I resent the fuck out of you people who want this to happen it , and I pitty you if you need this, but it's not mine anymore to argue. It's not my point to fight. I've been shot in battle. I ran that train for myself off the side of the cliff. It careened down and crashed. I got engulfed by the flame.
Do you guys want to hear a joke? A man goes to a doctor and says, "I'm depressed. The world feels cold and alien to me, and the future is barreling down on me like a freight train." The doctor says, "I have cure for you. Great clown Pavarotti is in town. He will cheer you up." The man, with tears in his eyes, turns to the doctor and says, "But, I am the great clown Pavarotti."