I can’t take it… I have to say something about it.

Long, long ago I read Watchmen as it rolled out, one lone comic at a time. Each one was a stark re-imagining, a multi-layered shitstorm that took every DC hero concept we knew before and ran it through the shredder of cynicism and a more realistic and yet bitter political worldview.

It was brutal. It was harsh. It laughed at the heroes we had loved, and painted our love for them as the idealistic fantasies of immature 12 year olds.

I was amazed.

Nothing in comics has ever really been the same since. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

A lot of what I consider the anti-hero crap, the self-awareness and cynicism that came into comics afterwards can be laid at the feet of Watchmen.

In many ways, the independant comics had tried to achieve the same goal beforehand, but it took Watchmen to really take mainstream comics lovers and force us to grow up… to change our worldview.

I don’t think the death of Superman could have happened in a world before Watchmen.

I don’t like the turn most mainstream comics went immediately after. Does anyone remember the entire Illyana Rasputin/Magik storyline from Marvel’s X-Men, where demons infested the earth for a time?

During that crossover event, in a Spiderman comic, there was a graphic scene of a group entering a demon-possessed elevator, the doors closed, and moments later the doors opened again to let out a flood of blood and bones and skulls. It was just one better-remembered scene as an example of the years of cynicism and bitterness and outright ‘let’s drench them in blood, if that’s what they want’ bullshit that swept mainstream comics… until a balance was eventually restored.

Some writers took the legacy of Watchmen, and in my mind, managed to claim the political worldview and cynicism, and at the same time instill some joy, adventure, hope, and that rarest of attributes in a comic story- wonder.

One such series that springs to mind is Planetary by Warren Ellis. If you’ve never heard of Planetary… I’m sorry. It was a limited run of 26 (with the promise of a 27th issue someday), and while many of the early issues can be obtained in graphic novel form, most of the last climactic issues must be hunted down individually… and I still don’t have pivotal issue 19, which is rare as hens’ teeth and sells on eBay for upwards of 70+ dollars. Bastards. I’d serious maim someone for issue 19.

Planetary – greatest comic series in history, as long as you read the entire thing fresh, without skipping around. Sense of wonder? Oh my god.

My point is… love it or hate it, Watchmen had a profound impact on comics, and continues to do so to this day.

And the movie is so close to being released, that Apple has a trailer. A full, gorgeous trailer.

I loved Watchmen at the time… and while I am sickened by what other writers did under it’s influence, I cannot help but remember with awe the impression it made on me. The impact, the imagery… I still have the graphic novel, and I will leaf through it from time to time, and marvel anew at how the entire storyline consistently holds up over time.

To see those images brought to such stunning life… it brought chills to my spine.

If you have ever had that comic geek moment about Watchmen… I hope you enjoy the trailer.

I watched it in 720p, and it was mighty fine, mighty fine. 

6 Responses to “Watchmen!”
  1. Doodle says:

    *head asplode*

    Can’t. Wait.

  2. toque says:

    If you maim them it’ll give you a few seconds to shift and run away with the comic while they’re stunned. good call

  3. Clapus says:

    When the Watchmen was published it marked the return of Batman to his dark
    begining. Robin grew up and Bat-Mite disappeared. All superhero books got more serious, darker if you will.
    I still read them and most likey always will. When I retire I plan to get in the attic and reread the 40,000 or so comics i storage up there.

  4. Wulfa says:

    Both my brother and I started drooling over the trailer. Can’t wait!

  5. Azshrin says:

    I guess I got into Watchmen a little late, (just 2 years ago) so I think I was coming at it after having experienced all the changes in the comic industry that had come as a result of it. So to me, it was actually a pretty standard comic, especially after reading most of the DC Vertigo titles. I do have to say that the trailer looks really cool but totally does not look like the Watchmen comic, so I think it’ll be interesting to see how well it translates given that there’s a lot of flash and action that may take away from the point of the story. I’m actually going to the San Diego Comic Con this year (next week) and hopefully I’ll see some more trailer info on this there.

  6. ech says:

    I only recently read Watchmen, I have to confess. However, I’d been away from comics since about 1968 or 69. Yeah, that long. Yeah, I’m that old. (Comics were 10 cents when I started buying them in 1961. I had a Giant sized Superman #1, the first 25 cent comic, and still get a twinge that my mom threw my comic collection when I went off to college.)

    I enjoyed it and can see the great impact it had when I compare it to the “silver age” books I read. It had the visual style of the books I read as a kid (mostly DC), but a post-modernist take on the superhero genre. I’m edging back into reading graphic novels, though the sparse style of many is annoying to my inner child that wants white word balloons in most frames. I’ve read and enjoyed Watchmen, Sandman, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Global Frequency. I can appreciate Sin City (and my brother worked on the film!), but 300 left me cold.

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