Monday, February 23, 2009


No post. Spent the time I usually give over to the hypergraphia to re-reading Watchmen.

The edition I'm reading is the Absolute Edition, a slip-cased hard-cover printed on oversized, very high quality paper. I own it, and I still treat it like its someone else's artifact. It's heavy, and cumbersome, but the the details in Gibbons' art are just phenomenal.

Its been a few years since I read this thing, and like all good books, movies, etc... I can't believe how much is there that you let slip away between reads. Sure, once you know how it ends, it reads totally differently. Glad I'm taking the time before I inevitably end up seeing the movie.

I've said it before and I'll say it again... It is so of its medium, I cannot see how Snyder will translate this thing to film. Plus, man... how do you translate Rorschach for a mainstream audience looking for a superhero romp? Or The #$%^ing Comedian?

Fun Moore reading tip of the day: I recommend his run on "Supreme".

It's the Silver Age Superman story DC probably never would have let him tell.


Simon MacDonald said...

Yes, it is hard to imagine how Watchmen will translate to the screen. I don't know how they are going to link all of the visual panel tricks they did in the book with a motion picture. Plus how do get people to understand that these heroes are not to be worshiped when they will be kicking ass in slow motion stylized ultra-violence.

Anyway, I second your recommendation on Supreme. Moore's two volumes on that title are excellent. I did "The Year of Alan Moore" while listening to the Around Comics guys. You really can't miss on his work including:

* Watchmen
* V for Vendetta
* From Hell
* Supreme
* Anything from his ABC line but especially Top 10, Promethea and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
* Swamp Thing
* DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore

I just wish I could get my hands on his early Captain Britain stuff.

Simon MacDonald said...

Hey, I just found a clip of what I was talking about in the previous comment stylized slow motion ultra-violence. It is an actual clip from the movie so don't watch it if you want to be surprised.

J.S. said...

I'm going to go ahead and make the call now that Watchmen is going to fall incredibly flat and be a big disappointment- not just for the fanboys who won't end up getting a very true adaptation of the book, but I think this thing is going to also fall falt in that it's not going to give the mainstream audience what it's looking for in a superhero movie. I'm just not very convinced that the acting will be very good or that the thing will be adapted very well. I think we're going to end up getting handed something that's super stylized, glossy, and sort of fun to look at, but with some really questionable acting and an adapted screenplay that doesn't live up to task.

NTT said...

I guess I'm going to be contrary and say that 1) I hope the Watchman movie does very well, and 2) actually think that Snyder can pull it off depending on the strength of his actors.

Will the movie capture the emotional richness, the meta-allegory and incredible graphic novel specific narrative that vaults it into one of the greatest pieces of literature in the modern age? Nope.

But, it can be a very rich, emotional story that presents a post-modern take on the realities of hero worship and political intrigue in very direct format that only motion pictures can capture. At its heart is a murder mystery wrapped around an international conspiracy with a reluctant and complicated anti-heroes trying to prevent armageddon. You play the story to movie strengths and not get bogged down in the details. I don't see how the movie will lose the 3 main themes from the graphic novel:

1) The redemption of humanity from Silk Spectre contrasted by the its loss in Dr. Manhattan
2) The loss of innocence and the true cost of justice from Rorschach
3) The meaning of "truth" from Ozymandias.

From all I've seen, Watchmen is certainly better already than the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film.

I think mainstream america is more open to different stories than many think. Is the story told well, is the story told clearly?

The League said...

NTT: "From Hell" movie vs. book. COMPARE AND CONTRAST!!!

I think LOEG is the outlyer on the statistical charting for Moore translations. I'm expecting something more akin to the "V for Vendetta" or "From Hell" experiences. You can't say they don't follow the basic plot or that they don't retain the basic themes, but something was simply missing from those two adaptations. I won't rehash it here, but neither translated the imagery or subtleties of storytelling terribly well.

I also think that the clip Simon linked to is instructive in how Snyder is approaching the material. Its not how I'd read the scene, so I'm curious what other ways Snyder and I will have parallax views regarding how scenes play out.

My gut tells me that Jason is probably right, but only $7.00 and a "Raging Bull" pizza at the Alamo can tell me for sure...

Or, it may end this way:

NTT said...

Hey, I'm trying to be optimistic here. No more cynical NTT in the new year. The world is full of rainbows and unicorns if only we wish it enough.

Ummm yeah. Well, I think that Zach Snyder has a better grasp of narrative than the Hughes brothers in my opinion. Anyway, if Watchmen does not quite meet expectations, then at least it brings recognition to Alan Moore. The V for Vendetta graphic novel (which I loved as much as Watchmen) saw a huge uptick in sales after the movie. That's genuine new fans.

The League said...

True enough, NTT. I've heard all kinds of crazy numbers for Watchmen sales. 100's of 1000's, possibly cresting 1,000,000. Which in this day and age, for a $20 comic, is mind-blowing.

If I ran a comic shop or bookstore, I'd be building a really nice Alan Moore display, and/ or "if you like Watchmen" display.

Simon MacDonald said...

Don't get me wrong, I really hope that Watchmen is a huge success in the theaters. I'm merely tempering my fanboy optimism so my expectations of the movie are not all out of wack.

Also, I was in my LCS today and they just happen to have Moore's Captain Britain trade but they want $30 for it. I'm gonna have to think about that some more.

J.S. said...

Hope NTT is right about the flick. I'm still very conflicted about 300.

Anonymous said...

Here's an early review (with spoilers)

The League said...

This is totally unrelated, but when I read the note the reviewer made about "I'm newer to superheroes, but I've read Watchmen", I knew the reviewer was female.

Someone's boyfriend forced Watchmen upon them, and they were pleased to have the street cred that comes with having had read Watchmen.

The review was interesting. I'll be curious to read more.