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.