Posted by: Vozzie | January 13, 2009

Watchmen

Watch, man!

Watch, man!

I am able to log on to WordPress!  My school servers were returning an error whenever I tried to log on the first week I was here, but now I’m back, and boy, oh boy, do I have a lot to talk about.  I read Watchmen in one sitting last week, and this was my response:

Watchmen is a graphic novel whose strength lies in is complex characters and their graceful interaction. Each character plays a specific and significant role in the larger story arc, and the back story for each of the characters is crucial not only to why they are the way the are, but to what role they will play in the story. This depth of character paired with a very complex character web results in an exquisitely fashioned story that is epic in scale.

The graphic novel plays off of an alternate reality, but it holds to logical processes, and in this way it demands to be taken seriously. This allows the reader to approach the story with the same rules that they would in real life. Without this sense of reality, the story would not have the same broad, expansive, and epic scope that it is able to maintain.

The characters, however, are what are able to really give the story its edge. Each of the main characters has a very detailed and involved history that intertwines with the histories of the other characters, so that many situations are seen from more than one, and often more than two points of view throughout the novel. The detail and subtlety of emotion and relationships makes the stories feel real and personal, and keeps the whole of the novel from feeling distant. Instead, it gives one the impression of real life, where there is interest and action from each point of view, and even more so from an omniscient point of view.

watchmenSince one of the characters, Dr. Manhattan in the story is nearly omniscient, the writer uses this as a special tool to point out to the reader how complex and intricate reality is, from the detailed parts of atoms and quarks to the large scale wonders of the landscape of Mars, to the enormity of the galaxy, universe, and all of the celestial bodies that inhabit it. This, then, gives the reader a firm handhold when trying to process the vast amount of information regarding so many characters; each character can be seen from very close, and the detail is astounding and unique, but they also play a role in a larger story, in which their character affects their large-scale decisions.

The believability of the book reminds me of the radio drama of War of the Worlds by Orson Wells. It has the same uncanny realism and feel of life as it exists, that one has a difficult time believing that it could all have been made up. Various excerpts from different books, publications, and private documents that characters pick up along the way are “paper-clipped” into the book, giving the reader not only different points of view, but essentially citing resources to back up the validity of what has been going on. Not only that, it gives insight to different nuances of different words, characters, and symbolism. The writer did all this with great attention to detail.

An interesting facet of the book was an inserted comic, written by one of the characters in the story, about a man who was stranded on a raft. As a minor character reads the comic, it is paired with the voices and actions of the people around the reader, making an incredible detailed metaphor of humanity and its predicament. Extending throughout the whole of the story, this comic-in-a-comic was possibly the most interesting and impressive single piece of the graphic novel.

The strong point of this book was not the visuals. The detailed characters and grand scale of events is far more stunning. Although the drawings themselves do not take away from the power of the story, they hardly hold it together. This is what makes me doubt that making this novel into a film will be very successful. It appears, at least from the trailers, that the movie will be more effects-heavy, which is not surprising, but since it is not split up into multiple installments, much of the detail will be lost. This loss of the strength of character will have to be compensated for by powerful imagery in order to do the graphic novel justice, and I simply cannot believe that computer generated imagery will be able to take the place of stories that capture the imagination and make the characters human, and I’m not sure if that will be enough for this viewer.

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Responses

  1. yes phil i got this account to work, anyone who reads this comment should get the graphic novel WATCHMEN. No seriously get it. Then watch the movie. Its sick balls

    • watchmen is my twilight

  2. Strong together! United for ever! They’re the best of frieeeends!

    but when trouble’s about, you’d best WATCH OUT!

    for the WATCHMEEEEENNNNN!

    The movie: not as good as the comic.


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