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June 03, 2006

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Some interesting additional context to Watchmen, and its appearance in 1986:

Moore has said in various interviews in the 20 years since it was originally published that he had profound regrets about Watchmen, particularly how it served unintenionally as the springboard for the whole "grim and gritty" course correction taken by the comics industry starting in the late 80s and reaching its dubious climax during the Image Comics big-guns-gritted-teeth era. Most critiques of that movement cite Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns (released the same year) as the progenitors of this turn.

I find that funny because I don't think Moore or Frank Miller were tapping into a common zeitgeist. Moore was using a genre he loves (superheroes) to tell a transcendent story about morality, human nature and determinism. Miller was using a genre he was more or less contemptuous of (superheroes) to disguise what was really crime fiction, and in the case of Dark Knight a successor to the kind of reactionary noir that includes Chandler and Spillane. In debunking media hippocracy and going after left- and right-wing myths, Dark Knight says "be what you are, always. even if what you are is crazy and borderline fascist."

It could be argued that Moore has spent the last half of his career trying to rehabilitate superhero comics from their nihlism. Frank Miller on the other hand, eventually got the carte blanche to start making crime comics for real, and his contempt for the superhero genre becomes more and more evident every time he periodically dips his toe in that water.

Incidentally, if the threatened Watchmen movie ever makes it to the screen, I think we can look forward to post-9/11 themes being hewn willy-nilly out of the marble of the original metaphor... I hope it remains in development hell at least until the current preoccupation with comic book properties runs its course.

With Hollywood all but circling the drain at this point we'll be lucky if we get Watchmen porn never mind an actual theatrical release. More than likely the Watchmen ‘movie’ will be an under funded Sci-Fi channel masterpiece event 4 hour mess of cheesiness the likes of which we haven't since Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood.

Back to the salt mines for the both of you-enough of the chatting about the comics and more with the fabrication of the content and the dancing of the pixels. Pimp out some terrorist elves or something.

HOLLA

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