No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Sunday, May 10, 2009

#35: Watchmen -- Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

Things have their shape in time, not space alone. Some marble blocks have statues within them, embedded in their future.

Reread for bookclub. There's a lot in there -- primarily the connections between graphics and words, the visual tricks, the palindromic nature of the chapters that each start and end with the same, or similar, images -- that I hadn't noticed on previous reads: did I notice them this time because the film had referenced or reworked them? There are certainly plot elements that I didn't pick up on the first few readings, back in the 80s: JFK, genetic engineering, the right-wing leanings of most of the costumed heroes, the casual sexism. And I suspect that when I first read Watchmen I had far less idea of how comics worked -- how to read that connection between text and image.

Some observations:
- Rorschach may be a monster but he is a principled monster. We do not do this thing because it is permitted. We do it because we have to. We do it because we are compelled.
- This was never our world: for instance, the motto of the Watchmen USAF is per dolorum ad astra (through suffering to the stars).
- There is some glorious prose.
- Adrian Veidt (who would like to be the Buddha when he grows up) is clearly a Villain, given his expressed preference for Stockhausen and Cage. <g>

I really want to see the film again now, not instead of but as complement to the book.

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