Watchmen Watch

Comic Book Club

Watchmen Watch is a podcast about all things Watchmen, recapping the new HBO TV show from Damon Lindelof, the comic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, and the movie from Zack Snyder. Featuring deep dives, Easter eggs, and a whole lot more.

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The first season of Watchmen might be over, but we’re cracking open an egg full of speculation about Season 2. On the final bonus episode for Season 1 — and the Season 1 finale, “See How They Fly” — we discuss Damon Lindelof’s insistence that he’s not sure if he would come back for more Watchmen, a big revelation about Lube Man from Peteypedia, some interesting confirmations and surprises from the official Watchmen podcast, and read some of your questions, comments and theories. Nothing ever ends, but this podcast is done (for now). SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: Episode 9.5 appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Dec 2019

55 min 2 sec

The Watchmen season finale, “See How They Fly,” is here as everyone converges on Tulsa for an apocalyptic ending. The 7th Cavalry’s plans are revealed, as are Lady Trieu’s, and they all revolve around Doctor Manhattan. Can Angela Abar save the love of her life? Will Adrian Veidt “save the day” one more time? And will Laurie Blake ever get out of that chair? Those questions and many more are answered, so strap in and grab your wrench as we leave all of this entirely in your hands. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: “See How They Fly” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Dec 2019

1 hr 28 min

Cher Martinetti, Founding Editor of SYFY WIRE Fangrrls, joins our bonus podcast to discuss the fallout from Watchmen’s “A God Walks Into Abar.” While Peteypedia delves further into “Fogdancing” and we maybe learn the identity of Lube Man, the promo for “See How They Fly” teases an apocalyptic finish to Season 1. Plus, Cher discusses what it’s like coming to Watchmen the TV series having never read Watchmen the comic book series, and we take some of your listeners questions and theories. You can follow Cher on Twitter or check out her work on SYFY WIRE Fangrrls. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: Episode 8.5, With Cher Martinetti appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Dec 2019

1 hr 3 min

It’s flashback — or is it flash-forward? — time on HBO’s Watchmen as we find out how Doctor Manhattan met Angela Abar on “A God Walks Into Abar.” While Angela and the being formerly known as Jon Osterman chat in Vietnam for the first time, Doctor Manhattan is waking up in present day Tulsa, a new world is being created on Europa, and an important meeting is happening between Doctor Manhattan and Will Reeves, Angela’s grandfather. Oh, and if you’re wondering how Adrian Veidt ended up on one of Jupiter’s moons? You’ll find that out, too. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: “A God Walks Into Abar” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Dec 2019

1 hr 16 min

The Hollywood Reporter contributing writer Josh Wigler joins us for our bonus episode discussing the fallout from Watchmen’s “An Almost Religious Awe.” In it, we break down some interesting tidbits from Josh’s interview with Damon Lindelof about the episode, discuss the recently released ratings for Watchmen — and what they might mean for a Season 2 — as well as delving into the latest Peteypedia files, the promo for Episode 8, “A God Walks Into A Bar,” and read some of your tweets and questions. You can follow Josh on Twitter @roundhoward, or his ongoing coverage of Watchmen on THR. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: Episode 7.5, With Josh Wigler appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Dec 2019

58 min 51 sec

Get ready for revelations a-plenty on this week’s episode of HBO’s Watchmen, “An Almost Religious Awe.” As Angela Abar continues to trip back through the past – this time, her own upbringing in Vietnam – Laurie Blake stumbles deeper into the Seventh Cavalry’s plans, Adrian Veidt is put on trial, and Lady Trieu reveals the scope of her master plan. Oh, and we learn some interesting information about one Cal Abar. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: “An Almost Religious Awe” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Dec 2019

1 hr 20 min

On our bonus episode for Watchmen’s “This Extraordinary Being,” we talk some corrections from the previous episode, the latest Peteypedia files, and answer some of your questions and theories. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watchmen: Episode 6.5 appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Nov 2019

38 min 23 sec

Angela Abar takes a Nostalgia fueled trip through Will Reeves memories on a game-changing and illuminating episode of HBO’s Watchmen “This Extraordinary Being.” As we head back to the dawn of masked vigilantes in the Watchmen universe, threads tie together, a major piece of mythology from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ comic book series gets ret-conned, and the true enemy is revealed as we meet Cyclops. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: “This Extraordinary Being” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Nov 2019

1 hr 2 min

Marvel Comics Editor Jordan D. White joins the bonus podcast for “Little Fear of Lightning” to discuss his own fears about adapting Watchmen from a comic to a TV show, other spinoffs of the property, and more. We also apologize for misidentifying planets in the recap episode, break down Peteypedia’s latest files, the promo for “This Extraordinary Being,” and take some of your theories and comments. Also: is the show making fun of Zack Snyder… Or not? It’s not. But we discuss anyway. Check out Jordan on his own podcast, Sailor Business, as well as Twitter. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: Episode 5.5, With Jordan D. White appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Nov 2019

55 min 53 sec

Watchmen’s mirror turns to focus on Looking Glass, as we zoom back in time to 11/2, the squid explosion, and Wade’s origin is revealed. Not only that, but we get some huge revelations about the 7th Cavalry, the state of what’s happening in Tulsa, and the overall dramatic plot of the show. Then there’s Adrian Veidt, of course, who is going all Black Freighter on some dead Phillips and Crookshanks. Let’s recap “Little Fear of Lightning.” SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: “Little Fear of Lightning” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Nov 2019

54 min 54 sec

io9 staff writer Charles-Pulliam Moore joins the bonus episode for Watchmen’s “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own” to talk about the lasting ramifications of the season’s opening scene, Ances-trees, and why everyone needs to stop speculating so hard. Plus, we discuss the latest Peteypedia entry, which has some surprising info about Laurie Blake and Dan Dreiberg, the promo for Episode 5, “Little Fear of Lightning,” and take some listener questions. Check out Charles on Twitter and io9. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: Episode 4.5, With Charles Pulliam-Moore appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Nov 2019

47 min 5 sec

Lady Trieu enters the stage in a big way with Watchmen’s fourth episode, “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own.” Meanwhile, Laurie Blake and Angela Abar continue their game of cat and mouse, but it’s unclear which one is which. And somewhere else, Adrian Veidt reveals where Phillips and Crookshanks come from — and that he’s getting ready to escape. Oh, and also some dude lubes himself up and slides into the sewer. Get ready, time babies, because this is a weird one. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Nov 2019

1 hr 2 min

New York Magazine and Vulture writer Abraham Riesman joins our bonus episode to discuss his experiences interviewing Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof, his take on artist rights issues surrounding the graphic novel, and much more. Plus, a big week in Watchmen as we discuss all the fall-out from dildo-gate after “She Was Killed By Space Junk,” the launch of the official HBO Watchmen podcast hosted by our mortal enemy Craig Mazin, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ first Watchmen soundtrack album, a new installment of the Petey-pedia files, the promo for Episode 4, and take your questions and theories. Check out Abraham Riesman’s work on Twitter, or at his website. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: Episode 3.5, With Abraham Riesman appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Nov 2019

45 min 15 sec

We finally (re)meet Laurie Blake, and she’s not the same as we remembered on the latest episode of HBO’s Watchmen, “She Was Killed By Space Junk.” Meanwhile, over on… Wherever Jeremy Irons is, his identity is finally revealed. And yeah, he’s exactly who you thought he was. Finally, Laurie tells a very funny joke to Doctor Manhattan, though he may get the last laugh. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: “She Was Killed By Space Junk” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Nov 2019

1 hr 13 min

On this bonus episode we delve further into your theories around HBO’s Watchmen, Season 1, Episode 2, “Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship.” Plus, we discuss the promo for the show’s third episode, and delve into some serious supplementary material juxtaposition, thanks to the second installment of the Petey Files. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: Episode 2.5 appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Oct 2019

34 min 5 sec

In the second episode of HBO’s Watchmen, “Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship,” Angela Abar delves further into the mystery surrounding Judd Crawford’s death, and discovers a few surprising facts about her own history. Meanwhile, a command performance of “The Watchmaker’s Son” has dire consequences… Sort of. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: “Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Oct 2019

1 hr 5 min

In our bonus episode for Watchmen Season 1, Episode 1 “It’s Summer And We’re Running Out Of Ice,” we talk about HBO’s promo for what’s coming up on the season, the supplementary material released online, and answer some of your questions. Who is Laurie Blake? What’s up with Judd Crawford? And when will Dr. Manhattan finally show up? SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: Episode 1.5 appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Oct 2019

29 min 36 sec

The first episode of HBO’s Watchmen is finally here. Head down to Tulsa to meet Sister Night, Red Scare, Looking Glass and many more new characters in this sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic comic book series. How does this connect to the comics? Are there easter eggs? And who the heck is Jeremy Irons playing? We tackle those questions and more, including how much coke is too much coke, and how many golfers we can name as our Watchmen podcast recaps “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice.” SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. The post Watchmen Watch: “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Oct 2019

1 hr 11 min

Our walk through Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen ends with issue #12, “A Strong And Loving World.” Or does it? Because nothing ever ends? No, this ends, as Dr. Manhattan and Laurie Blake return to Earth to confront Adrian Veidt; and our assembled heroes are faced with an impossible decision. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode, so you can read along as you listen: Alex:                         Welcome to Watchmen Watch, who watches it? We get ready to watch it as we’re coming up on Watchmen Watch on HBO, but first, we’re going to be watching a comic book which just kind of sits there. I’m Alex. Justin:                     I’m Justin. Pete:                        I am Pete. Alex:                         We are going to be talking about the final issue of the Watchmen comic, the 12th issue, A Stronger Loving World, as we wrap up our recap of the comic, and transition totally seamlessly into recapping the TV show, no breaks there, don’t even worry about it. Before we get into it though, I’m a little concerned here, I see you Justin, I see you Pete, our fourth co-host including- Pete:                        Come on man- Alex:                         … some of the biggest four people, isn’t here, what’s going on? Justin:                     Well, It’s a great day here. I actually have some very exciting news. Alan is here, Alan go ahead and introduce yourself. Hello… I’m just kidding, he’s not here. It’s- Alex:                         Man. Justin:                     … he bailed again. Pete:                        That was… Alex:                         That was fine. Justin:                     We’re doing this really insulting them. Alex:                         Yes. We do this over video Skype chat. Even though I can see you when you start doing that voice, I was like, I’m convinced he’s here. That’s how good your voice was. Justin:                     Yes, I am here. Alex:                         He’s here again. Pete is here. Justin:                     No, that’s just me. That’s how seamless when you’re a classically trained actor as I am, you can slip in and out of a character. Sorry, Alan Moore isn’t going to make it for the 12th and final time. Alex:                         Man, that is too bad. Well, hopefully I know how psyched he is about the show, he’s been out on the promotional tour, chatting it up, talking about what’s going on in HBO. Justin:                     He’s at a Buffalo Wild Wings premiere party for Watchmen. Pete:                        I’m going to be there for that. [crosstalk 00:01:48] Are you kidding me? Come on. Justin:                     He has a sauce that’s branded the Alan Moore nuclear explosion wings. Alex:                         I heard they’re also putting that on the Rorschach shows. Justin:                     Those are not shows. Alex:                         Yes. Justin:                     It’s tricky. Alan Moore has lost a step as a writer, especially when it comes to naming a product tie in appetizers. Alex:                         He used to be so good at that too. Justin:                     Yes. Alex:                         It’s surprising. Justin:                     That’s right. He was the one that came up with unlimited breadsticks. They used to be unlimited potential Doctor Manhattan breadsticks. Alex:                         That’s all- Pete:                        Were they blue? Alex:                         … why I always feel like it’s five minutes to midnight whenever I go to the olive garden. Justin:                     100%. Guys- Alex:                         It’s the- Justin:                     … Their original slogan was, when you’re here, you have a blue dick, they changed it to family. Alex:                         I remember I went there one time and I was like, “Hey, we’ve been waiting for a while for our food, can we get our food?” And they were like, “You ate it 35 minutes ago.” Justin:                     That’s how they made a fortune in their early days. Alex:                         They get you, every time they get you, do you know who also gets you? Adrian Veidt gets you, Ozymandias gets you and he gets the entire world. He got them. He did the ultimate punked episode. He punked the entire world in this issue. Really glad I went for that reference. Justin:                     No, this is the context we should speak about this final issue. It is the ultimate punkting. Alex:                         When we left the characters of this book… I was about to say the what. Justin:                     When we left the characters, we said a hardy goodbye last day issue. And here we are, knock, knock, knocking on the character’s doors again. Let’s go inside, issue 12. Alex:                         Hello, Watchmen, you there? Justin:                     Hello Alex. Alex:                         It’s me- Justin:                     Alan Moore. Alex:                         Well anyway, New York got destroyed by a giant psychic squid that Ozymandias dropped there in order to create a fake alien invasion, which is something that we affirm in, we talk about more in this issue, in order to promote and cause world peace. Right now, Nite Owl and Rorschach are both at Adrian Veidt’s headquarters, they’ve just been told about his plan. Alex:                         They are pretty shocked at the end of this issue when it actually turned out to actually have happened. Meanwhile, Silk Spectre and Doctor Manhattan are all the way up on Mars, though they’re heading that way as well and everything comes crashing together in this oversized final issue. Before we get into it, this feels like a very dumb question to ask with Watchmen, having revisited the series, what’d you think about it? Alex:                         But really, I mean like, we’ve been talking about this all along, but I’m curious now that we’ve reached the end, now… and we’re going to go through the whole issue, and we’re going to walk through the issue, but what was your general take on it with this re-reading now in 2019? Justin:                     I think too, we change as readers over the years, obviously, and I haven’t fully sat down and read this in probably six or seven years. I do think, just as a fan of comics, the older you get and the more time passes, the more time that you live, a fan of comics are in the world where the political atmosphere chain is changing all the time. Justin:                     I think this comic deepens so much. I do think that happened. I think the topicality of reading it right now, in our political atmosphere, the current sort of a state of the world and with the series about to come out and sort of reframe this whole series, it’s an exciting time to read this comic. Alex:                         How about you Pete? How are you feeling about it now? Pete:                        Well, it’s a lot to talk about, but for sure, I mean the problem is, when you’re looking at a comic like this that was written so long ago, there’s a lot of bullshit that you have to kind of try to ignore like the female characters, the oversexualization, there’s a lot of bullshit, but- Justin:                     I will say that was there in the original read. They didn’t take any more women out. It didn’t use to pass the Bechdel test and then now suddenly has failed it. Alex:                         Well, I will say, this is coming right off of right before we taped, there was a thread in our patriot slack, about this very issue, which frankly I think is what Pete’s very rightly responding to and that’s something that we’ve talked about all along in the podcast, that this, it’s an incredible comic book, it’s an undeniable artistic achievement, but it’s also very much a product of its time at the same moment. Alex:                         I think something I struck by which you’ve talked about a lot, and you just mentioned Justin, is the very timeless aspects of the book in terms of criticizing society, talking about panic, talking about conspiracy theories that feel so relevant right now but to Pete’s point, same sort of thing that, yes, the female characters are absolutely underserved and I think from a 2019 perspective when we’ve seen… I’m not going to say infinite more but a lot more female creators and male creators also being more cognizant about these sorts of things in terms of creating books, we’ve certainly seen a revolution in comic books. Alex:                         I mean if you look at sales, the predominant force in comic books today isn’t Marvel comic books, it isn’t DC comic books. It’s Raina Telgemeier who is mostly writing graphic novels for, young females almost more than anything and that’s, if you look at the New York Times best sellers right now, that’s what people are reading. That’s what they’re being influenced by. Alex:                         In a certain sense this, just from the comic book perspective is responding to comic books that were coming out in the mid 80’s and before that and pushing those forward. A lot of, we’ve talked about over the course of the podcast, comics since then have been responding and riffing off of Watchmen, often taking the wrong lessons in terms of [uber macho 00:07:58] and dark, and grimness and all of these things, but to its credit, despite the fact that it does have some serious issues in terms of the female characters, which I think we’ll also get to later in this issue when we get to certain material with Sally Jupiter in particular, I think one of the most controversial things that happens in all 12 issues happens towards the end here. Alex:                         But there are also things that are still very relevant and from a modern read, again, like we’ve been talking about all along, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons are never telling you these are good people, this is the right way of doing things. Justin:                     I feel like the thing of taking the wrong lessons, this is not a misogynistic comic in that it’s like, hey, these characters are right, this is what’s happening. This kind of got to be like criticizes so much of the comic book industry and the character development that most comics were having in their pages back then when it came out. I agree the female characters are underserved and you don’t see them a lot but they have depth of character, they’re not just there as objects. Justin:                     And then the male characters are mostly horrible people and they’re shown to be that way, the greatest heroes are the most flawed. Rorschach in this issue, who is the only one that really has integrity at the end of the day, is just mercilessly struck down. I’m just saying, I think this comic is subverting a lot of the stereotypes, as well as it upholds them. Pete:                        Yeah, that’s true. But I mean, you’re right with a lot of things. The female characters, they don’t have conversations on their own. It’s always talking about… At the end, not to kind of jump ahead, but like you’re saying, she loves her rapist. I mean that’s like… it’s not well done. Justin:                     No. Well that’s [crosstalk 00:10:04]. Pete:                        I understand what you’re saying, but like there’s a lot of really fucked up shit. Alex:                         I get it. I’m on board with what you’re saying, Pete, for the most part, except for the, it’s not well done, because to Justin’s point, that this is very much jumping to the end and talking about the Sally Jupiter of it all but, it’s complicated emotions that she’s feeling. And I think you don’t have to agree with what she’s feeling, but it is a very, or it’s a very realistic thing for people to not feel the right thing all the time, to in fact have the wrong feelings about the wrong people. That’s how gas lighting works. That’s how abuse works, is that you feel something, or think you feel something towards your abuser, even if it’s not actually a good thing to feel, if that makes sense. Justin:                     It’s one thing to glorify what happens at the end, and I agree it is controversial. When she kisses that picture, it leaves you with a bad feeling, but maybe there… it’s hard to tell what the intention of that move is, but it’s definitely confusing and it’s… but it does feel like it’s coming from a place of the character, but the character’s wrong, in feeling that way, or the character is, I mean it’s hard to say that I guess, but the character feels, it makes you feel bad, about everyone’s lives in this comic. Alex:                         Yeah, I could be wrong, I’m trying to flip through the comic quickly to take a look at it. I guess she doesn’t have… for some reason I thought it was there, but I, don’t they mentioned til they give her nostalgia or something like that? The perfume, at some point in that scene, or am I imagining that? Justin:                     I think you’re imagining that. Dan’s wearing it when he’s with Laurie. Alex:                         There you go, that’s what I’m thinking of. I think what I take away from that scene, and we’re very much jumping to the end of the issue here, just to give you guys a little context listening at home, Dan and Lori are in disguise after everything else that we’re going to talk about at the issue, they go to visit Sally Jupiter, and chat with her a little bit. Laurie reveals that she knows her father is Eddie Blake. Sally starts sobbing, talks about the complicated emotion of it, and as Justin mentioned, ends up kissing the picture. Alex:                         What I took away from that is that feeling of nostalgia, right? It’s almost the same thing that Ozymandias is working for. The same way he’s talking about this very vague, wonderful, hopeful future, where everybody’s going to work together, when in practice, it may not turn out that way. Nostalgia is the same way, right? We have fuzzy memories, we think warm things about things- Justin:                     Well, and there’s another- Alex:                         Go ahead Justin. Justin:                     There another way to read it. I mean, I agree with you. There’s another way to read it too, she’s just seen her daughter who she thought was dead, surprised her by walking in, is in a relationship that ostensibly seems happy, they’re talking about having kids. Justin:                     And I think there’s something, it could just be she’s happy that she had her child, despite the horrible circumstances that, and relationship she had with The Comedian. Justin:                     Like a lot of great writing, it’s open for interpretation, and one of the interpretations is super fucked up, but there are others that you can take from that. Alex:                         Well, and the other thing we talked about back in the issue where it was revealed that Eddie Blake was Laurie’s father, when she realized that, I think there was issue nine maybe, maybe issue 10, and I think we disagree with this, but I still stick by the interpretation that, Eddie Blake does feel something towards Laurie and he feels kind of something, towards Sally, that doesn’t in any way forgive his actions or what he’s done or make him less of a monster, but that doesn’t mean he can’t also be passionate towards these people in the same way, though ultimately he is a bad guy. Pete, I interrupted you though. What were you going to say? Pete:                        Well, I was just going to say that, some of these things that happen are sort of awful. We’re trying to show these people as not good people, sure. But also all Laurie does is she’s just sleeping with dudes every time you see her, or she’s on her knees in a sexualized position, it’s like, if there was some kind of good quality that they would try to portray, I think it would just go a little bit easier with kind of being like, okay. Alex:                         Well I’ll tell you what, I will disagree with you at certain points on this issue in particular, that I do feel has a re-owning of the Laurie Blake character, and does push her forward into giving her much more agency, which we’ll get to in a moment. Let’s put a pit into this discussion, I’m sure we’ll re-visit it throughout the issue, and why don’t we jump into a page by page of what’s going on, real easy by the way, to get through these first couple of pages, I’m just going to say. It’s just real easy, just flipping right through them, just a bunch of destruction, squid legs, et cetera, et cetera. It’s great- Pete:                        It’s been fun- Alex:                         … just like- Pete:                        pale horse, we would love to see pale horse sold out. Alex:                         … Exactly. Has this series used full page splashes at any point previously? Justin:                     No, definitely not back to back. I think, that’s what is so amazing about this, is the way to sort of hold that back, and then to let Dave Gibbons just go to town here and the colors in these pages as well are just so amazing- Alex:                         John Higgins. Justin:                     We see little references to everything we’ve seen before. We see characters that we’ve met, who are now laying dead in the streets. It’s just such epic storytelling and Plate used it, just the right moment in the series. Pete:                        I mean, I’m def-, I’m sorry. Justin:                     Go ahead Pete. Pete:                        I’d definitely looked through it to see if there was anything like this, and the closest you get, is when they’re on Mars, but it’s not giant scenes like this. They thought about the paneling, and the coloring, and how it was going to hit you so well, I mean, the layers, that’s very impressive. Alex:                         Two things in particular I want to call out, about the sequence, which is, let’s see, one, two, three, four, five, six pages long, the first page is blood pouring over the clock, which of course calls to mind, The Comedian’s button because it’s the same colors there with the blood in the clock, even though it’s a different design, but also- Justin:                     And the sequence actually ends on page six with, some are very small, Comedians button, underneath the news- Alex:                         Yes. Justin:                     … thing. Alex:                         Yeah, that’s right. That’s been the back matter of the entire time. Every time you get to the end page, you see the blood dripping down to the clock. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure if that’s in just the collected edition or that was in the original issues, but that’s, I think super fascinating. The other thing that I think is incredible about this, is the way they slowly work out the squid because you look at that first page, it’s not there, you just see the destruction. Alex:                         Seconds page, if you’re not looking closely, at least my eye initially went towards Madison Square Garden, you see the pale horse and Kristallnacht poster, you see the destruction there and it isn’t until you look at the next page and you go, wait a second, what’s that weird thing coming across the left side of the page that you look up and you see it connects to this tentacle. Alex:                         It’s clearer and clearer as you go on, as you see more destruction, until you can get to that sixth page, and you see the squid face reveal the same as that drawing we saw back on the island, so many issues ago at this point, and as you mentioned Justin, paper’s falling everywhere with war. We see the news, we see The Comedian button. It’s really everything coming together at this point. Justin:                     Yeah, it’s so good. And just the way that that final squid panel, you really get to look it right in the eye and just see what a monstrous creation this whole thing was. Alex:                         Yeah, it’s the final squid down as they say, now- Pete:                        Come on. Alex:                         What? Then we get into a series of pages where Laurie and Doctor Manhattan have come back to earth. Doctor Manhattan being predictably an asshole about all of this. He really is, I don’t know why, the rest of the series, I was like, yeah, I get it, you’re all out of type or whatever. But this, he’s standing in the middle of this and he’s like, this is interesting and I’m like, fuck you do bad. Come on. Justin:                     Yeah. Well I do think- Alex:                         He’s kind of smiling as he’s looking around. Justin:                     Well I think he’s intoxicated by this feeling, he doesn’t know what’s happening. This is the first time this has happened really, since his accident where he is unaware of what it’s… the first mystery he’s really faced, where he wasn’t in control in a long time and he’s clearly intoxicated by it. He doesn’t care about any of the other characters really in this. He’s just enjoying his little fix here and he really sees himself as a god no matter what he actually is. Alex:                         Now, not to open this particular can of worms again, but one thing, that I understand the complications here, but one thing that I do think is in Laurie’s credit that I really like in the scene, is she is the one character in the book, up until later on when Rorschach starts crying, and we’ll certainly talk about that, that feels any sort of motion, she has any sort of feeling about what’s going on. Nite Owl and Rorschach are literally and figuratively very removed from everything that’s going on. Alex:                         Ozymandias is obviously very into his plan. Doctor Manhattan is being an asshole, but Laurie is sobbing and noticing the little things, and I think that does point to her power as a character. The reason I say it’s a complication is because it’s the one female character who is allowed to feel things, but to your point, Justin, I do wonder if that is them pointing out how comics work, that the men need to be [Uba 00:20:26] man and the women are allowed to be women maybe, or am I giving them too much credit there? Justin:                     I mean that yeah, it could be. It just tracks with her character, she’s someone who is very empathetic. I feel like throughout, she’s always going through it, whether that’s attributed to her, or just like women are like that, says I Alan Moore, but I do think also, another good thing about the way she acts in this scene is, she’s fully moved on from her feelings toward John and is just like, alright, take me out of here now. I’m sick of being around you and this horrifying scene. Alex:                         Yeah. Then we do cut to Adrian Veidt who’s still talking tonight, Alan Rorschach and I love Doritos reaction here where he was like, well that’s ridiculous. What are you even talking about? That can’t possibly be true. Why do you think it’s important that he has that reaction? Justin:                     I don’t know. I’ve never… Nite Owl in this whole issue, he just… a character they were supposed to really feel for and be like, he is the, maybe the hero of this story. He’s the one who really helps put it together and is trying to have this romantic relationship that we’re all behind. He’s like, doesn’t believe Adrian Veidt. He doesn’t really do anything in this issue. He just sort of floats there. And it’s weird because over the arc of his, of Nite Owl through this series has been like, he really got his mojo back, and in this issue he’s just like, hey, what? I don’t know, what’s happening. I don’t believe any of you. Then he’s like, I’ll have sex with you, Laurie. Alex:                         Yeah. What’s your take on it, Pete? Do you have- Pete:                        Well I think- Alex:                         Go ahead. Pete:                        … I think that he’s just kind of in total shock. He’s not really comprehending what’s happening. He’s not really aware and you just kind of… And that’s what sucks, is he got to this point and he’s not, at least Rorschach was trying to fight, but he’s just in complete shell shock mode, and kind of shutdown, which, I definitely have heard people say that, when something tragic or they can’t believe happens, they just kind of go into ghost mode and they’re just kind of removed from all of that’s happening. Alex:                         Sorry. I believe that’s called enacting ghost protocol? Justin:                     Yeah, that’s what it is. That’s why in ghost protocol Tom cruise is like, what? Wait, what? What’s happening in this movie? Alex:                         All right- Justin:                     That’s what he says- Alex:                         … I don’t want to deal with this, no thanks. But they’re like, their mission if you choose to accept it, and he’s like, no thanks, I’m good. Justin:                     Please blow up tape. Pete:                        I agree with you while you’re singing about Laurie, she’s the only one who gets her shit together here, and puts up a fight but then the fact that like, let’s just have sex again. It’s like, god, can she just… Alex:                         I mean, what did she… well, I don’t know. I think it’s [crosstalk 00:23:32]. After that, I’m a man, I want to have sex all the time, but after like, okay, first off- Justin:                     Big reveal, big reveal Pete, for the end of this part. Alex:                         Even right now on our podcast. Pete:                        No, but like- Alex:                         This turns you on? Pete:                        … no. Justin:                     This is the only time you don’t want to have sex, is when you’re talking to us? Pete:                        Oh my god, yes- Justin:                     That seems weird. Pete:                        … my point is after all that happened, it seems like that’s like, hey by the way- Alex:                         I’m sorry to interrupt you one more time, but what if I put on my sexiest voice bit? Justin:                     I’m so hot right now. Alex:                         Anyways. I’m starting to feel like I didn’t have my mojo, like Nite Owl. Pete:                        I don’t think you- Justin:                     It’s true. Pete:                        … do have it. Alex:                         Are you sure Pete? Pete:                        Please for the love of God, stop. Justin:                     Also, Alex objectively, that’s not a sexy voice. Alex:                         Are you sure? But that’s too much to have happen- Justin:                     You sound like you have a cold- Pete:                        To then want to do that- Alex:                         I do- Pete:                        … my point. Alex:                         … it’s like a very bad cold. Do you like that? Justin:                     [crosstalk 00:24:36], Sorry Pete, Alex, be quiet. Pete, it’s your turn to talk, no more sex talk. Pete:                        I’m just saying it’s too much to have happen and then be like, hey, let’s have sex. Justin:                     Well, but I will say, it, I mean, we’ll get to that in a second, but it’s Laurie’s idea. It’s not like Dan’s like, all right, let’s get lucky. Pete:                        I’m just saying her only purpose is a sexual object. She should have more. Alex:                         I understand what you’re saying and I understand you’re hitting the same job but, in that scene, and we’re definitely jumping ahead, Laurie is the one who says it, and this might be a shock to you, but some women, like to have sex as well, I don’t know. I think that’s her actually taking control, if anything, when there’s all these men who have been wanting to have sex with her, and she finally says, no, you know what? It’s the end of the world. This is what I want. This is what I need right now. Justin:                     Cool. And in her time of crisis in the past, when her marriage is falling apart and she didn’t know what was, what she was going to do, she did find comfort in Dan’s arms, and maybe it’s that, but on Pete side, it is weird that they, did she, that’s the scene we see with them. They don’t have much of a romantic moment. They just fuck by a pool. It’s definitely a surprising thing. When I was a kid reading this, I was like, what? Alex:                         It gives Doctor Manhattan, he’s happy for some reason about that, which is weird. Justin:                     Because I think he at that moment, I’ve always read that as they belong together and he’s like, I should go. I don’t belong here. Alex:                         I got to go to space, I guess. Justin:                     When I walk in on my partners having sex with another man, I smile and I’m like onto the next town. Alex:                         Man. All right, Nite Owl and Rorschach are there, there’s a great series of panels that happen, where Nite Owl is calling out Adrian Veidt. He’s like, you got assassinated. What if he had shot you instead of the secretary? And Adrian says, I suppose I would’ve had to catch the bullet, wouldn’t I. And Nite Owl says, “You? nah, come on that’s completely, you couldn’t really do that.” There’s just a silent battle of Adrian Veidt smiling and looking him. I love that expression so much. Justin:                     I know, talk about being an asshole. What a dick- Alex:                         Yes. Justin:                     … in this series of panels. Now I always thought this was set up long before, the whole catching the bullet thing, but it really is just like, he says it here and then he does it, a couple of pages later, which I thought was so funny, that’s become such a thing associated with him, but it really is just like a last minute, like I could do that, see, and he does it. Pete:                        What’s f- Alex:                         I think, go ahead Pete. Pete:                        … that’s fucked up though, that the evil villain smile is your favorite panel dude. Alex:                         No, I just think it’s a well drawn expression on the part of Dave Gibbons and the way that it’s timed out there is excellent. The thing I would say Justin about that, that points to, which we’ve talked about before, is that Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons made sure that these issues were a package. There are certainly things that are long running throughout. There were things plot wise, the pay throughout, but every issue, it does introduce things and then pay them off several pages later. There’s still this sense of yes, this is the last issue, but if you’re going to be plunking down your money to buy just this issue, you’re still going to get kind of a complete story at the same time, which I think is pretty neat. Justin:                     Yeah, definitely. I just think it’s funny how I met has grown to be such a bigger thing about his character over the years. Another thing about about Nite Owl, I do think, Adrian Veidt is sort of up on a pedestal for Nite Owl, in the same way that Nite Owl one was for him, that might explain some of his sort of inactive, inactivity throughout this whole issue is, he’s his hero in a way it seems. And his hero just became the biggest villain in all of history. Alex:                         Now we get to the next part when Doctor Manhattan shows up. And this to me is fascinating. This gets back to something that we talked about with the last issue with Ozymandias, which is that frankly, he’s actually been improvising a lot. He hasn’t really had these well laid plans. And this point where Doctor Manhattan shows up, there’s a point where you’re just like, maybe he’s going to turn back, we’ll see what happens. Alex:                         And as soon as he does not, Adrian Veidt goes into, oh shit mode, where he just have to throw everything at him because he’s not sure anything will work. That’s one thing going on, the other thing that’s really- Justin:                     Wait, but on that- Alex:                         Yeah please. Justin:                     … on that though, it’s funny that he has this very, years long plan that he came, he put together, and then his plan to beat Doctor Manhattan was like, I hope he follows my cat down this hallway. And then turns on the thing. He’s definitely not as great, much like Doctor Manhattan, Adrian Veidt is also not all he’s cracked up to be. It’s just what he thinks about himself, and where we go along with it. And I think that’s why so many people take the wrong lessons from this. They’re like that character is confident. He must be right and he’s just a human like anybody else, both these guys. Pete:                        He just really believes in himself and his evil plan. Alex:                         A little detail that I really like a lot, that again talking about Laurie’s humanity and her connection to humanity, is she is carrying a bag the entire time, which I believe she took from the wreckage of Manhattan and what she’s taking, is she’s taking a literal baggage with her as she travels down to the superhero confrontation, where everybody else is playing their games and blowing each other up in the hallways, and fighting, but she’s the only one that really knows and understands what’s happened in the world, and she’s bringing all of that with her. Alex:                         She is essentially, the way I took it is, taking justice for the world along with her and obviously it doesn’t work out in the long run, but that’s the indication I took from that bag. Justin:                     She has sort of a Pandora role in this where she’s sort of maintaining the hope and all these people and sort of keeping everything going. Maybe that’s why she has a little Pandora’s bag. Alex:                         The other thing that’s neat that happens is, we get a double sequence almost that is laid out almost exactly the same way, where Doctor Manhattan is walking up to the fortress, and he says, “I’m sorry, these tacky ons there’s bundling things up. I’d better follow him inside.” But, he’s actually saying that later when he is following Adrian Veidt on the next page. Alex:                         It’s parallel panels, they’re in the same exact position on both pages, but he’s actually saying that to Nite Owl, the exact same phrase. And that happens a couple of times. This is just so great, just in terms of layout, just in terms of pacing and everything, it’s very neat. Justin:                     And the way that he’s in the same, and maybe you just said this, same position and you can swap Nite Owl and Laurie, they’re in the exact same spots if you flip quickly back and forth, very cool. Alex:                         And the other thing that happens here is very briefly, you can see he’s put Laurie in a protective bubble, which makes sense because she’s in Antarctica, and she’s not wearing pants, but as soon as he disappears, he completely forgets about her. She is left alone to walk through Antarctica without the protective bubble, and as to walk in, again, total asshole. Justin:                     Yeah, not cool dude. Keep your force field- Alex:                         Speaking. Justin:                     … up. Alex:                         Speaking of not cool, you mentioned the hallway earlier, that Ozymandias lures them into, Ozymandias kills Bubastis, blows him up, very sad. Do you think like Doctor Manhattan, and like John Ostrom before him, is Bubastis going to be able to come back as some sort of blue cat? Thanks for tribe again guys. Justin:                     100% yes, Alex. I think that cat is who we’re going to really focus a lot on in the Watchmen TV show. Pete:                        Oh man. I hope so. Justin:                     Lot of time traveling cat. Pete:                        I really felt like the cat was underused in the comic and I hope we do get more of it in the next series. Alex:                         Do you think there’s a possibility, we’ve only seen a trailer for it so far, but in the Cats movie at the end, they’re going to turn and say, by the way, this was Watchmen? Pete:                        Wow. Justin:                     Yeah. That’s cool. Then Bubastis goes to the cats universe, cinematic universe. Alex:                         Bubastis would fit right in with old Deuteronomy and Trash, Trash face well I don’t know. Justin:                     I think a lot of the cats are named Trash. It’s a common name. Alex:                         Let’s jump over to the bullet catching sequence. Laurie is sobbing, she comes on Ozymandias after he’s blow up Doctor Manhattan and Bubastis and she says, “Veidt, you’re an asshole,” and she shoots him and he bleeds. Now how do you read the sequence? Because the way that I took it, is he does catch the bullet, but true to form, he also gets very hurt at the same time. That’s what I- Justin:                     Yes, I think so. I think he caught it in his hand, and his hand got bloody from the bullet. Alex:                         Yeah. Which points to that he’s very athletic, he is very smart, but he’s not actually superhuman, same as we’ve been talking about all along. Justin:                     That’s what I’m saying. Unless that’s bean juice. Alex:                         What do you think Pete is it bean juice? Pete:                        I don’t know, it could be capsules that he has, for the show but… I mean, that’s, this to me it was such a 80’s kind of moment where you have the karate move that saves the day when he catches the bullet. But it just makes me mad that it’s like Laurie, shoot ,it bothers me when people… if you want to do something, do it, don’t talk beforehand to give up, somebody a chance to turn around and get in their karate stance. Shoot [crosstalk 00:35:07]somebody if you want to, you have a chance to use a cool line, use that cool line. Justin:                     I agree completely. I’m just going to drop the line if I have a second. Alex:                         What’s your line going to be Justin? Justin:                     It’d be like, am I pointing this in the right direction or what? And then I’m going to[crosstalk 00:35:28] shoot myself in the head. Alex:                         Time to get loaded- Pete:                        Oh, man. Alex:                         … because forgot to load my gun with bullets and then the guy shoots me. Justin:                     Yeah, that’s good. I’m going to say guns make me uncomfortable, and then pull the trigger. Or maybe not. Alex:                         That’s a cool line. These are all very cool lines. Pete, do you have a cool line you’re going to say? Pete:                        Yeah, I would shoot a bunch. And then as they were dying I would just be like, fuck you guys. Justin:                     Oh wow. You’d say afterwards, fuck you guys? Pete:                        Yeah. Justin:                     But they wouldn’t hear you Pete? Pete:                        They might get a little bit of it as they’re dying. Justin:                     I guess what I would say is like, man, I’m turned on right now, no matter what I’m doing. Alex:                         There were getting amazing secrets, Doctor Manhattan was not actually blowed up. He’s totally fine and he’s enormous and bashes into the art tactic retreat. I appreciate the fact that we do not see his enormous blue dick at any point of the sequence, but he does come down to normal size, at which point Adrian Veidt turns on his wall of TVs. Alex:                         We get to see exactly what’s happening in the world. And very quickly because of the psychic rays that have spread throughout the world. I want to get back to this in a second, because of threw me a little bit, the squid not only blew up because of the psychic rays, but also sent thoughts out to psychics all over the world, and seeded the story that he had created with all of these writers. And ultimately, again, in a very short period of time, Russia and the United States cease hostilities. Alex:                         They decided to work together against this extra directional threat, and we end with a panel of Ozymandias standing in front of the Alexander painting in essentially a spotlight saying, “I did it,” like he’s five years old. The psychics thing threw me a little bit because we’ve talked about how Doctor Manhattan is really the only superhero in this world, but this seems to establish that there are people with other extra normal powers in the world of Watchmen, how did you take it? Justin:                     Yeah, I mean, he does. I mean, he says he, the way he got the psychic wave to come out of the squid was by getting a psychics brain, and there’re people out there who are sensitive to it. I also think maybe Alan Moore just believes that? Pete:                        Yeah, when he does comic cons, I’m always hearing him talking about how psychics, he believes psychics are real, and he was like, this is, just proves my point. Alex:                         Yeah. And you mean when he does Comic Cons and also when we all hang out, and get some PSLs or whatever? Pete:                        Yup, Alex:                         Because he’s one of the co-hosts of the show. Justin:                     Yes, we do that. Alex:                         He’s back, hey Alan- Justin:                     Once again, that was me. Alex:                         Oh man. Justin:                     I don’t think it’s go by the, you said PSL, meaning Pumpkin Spice Latte and no one’s going to be like, Alex, don’t bring that shit into our house. Pete:                        I thought you meant to say like PSP or something. Alex:                         No, no, no. I meant to say PSLs they’re back man. They’re back. It’s October. Justin:                     I thought you meant PCP, which is what we usually take, when we’re all hanging out. Pete:                        Yeah. We take- Alex:                         I usually have a PSPCP, which is Pumpkin Spice PCP. Pete:                        Oh man, they don’t make that. Justin:                     No they do. It’s very boutique. Alex:                         Let’s talk about this panel though. This Ozymandias panel where he does the, Steve Holtz raises up his hands and says, I did it again. What do you take away from that? I know I’ve been saying that phrase a lot this episode, but it’s such a different reaction than we expect from Ozymandias. Justin:                     I think it points to how he wouldn’t arrested development like boy man he is, despite the fact that he’s winning… this is what I was talking about before where I think Alan Moore is subtly criticizing comic books, this man, he accomplishes his goal, which was horrifying to the world. He did save the world, maybe, maybe not. And his response is a child’s response to a soar scoring, a soccer goal. For all of his smarts, he’s still just a big old stack of testosterone. Pete:                        But what’s weird is that him doing that stops Doctor Manhattan in his tracks. He was the giant monster, was going to grab him, squeeze his head and kill him, and then all of a sudden he yells, I did it like a five year old, and then all of a sudden everybody just gives up, walks away. Alex:                         Well, I want to talk about this next page as well, it’s very tied to that and what you’re saying Pete, because this really threw me this page. This is the page where everybody, Adrian Veidt lays it out. He says, hey, I did it. I saved the world. Everybody’s working together. Alex:                         What do you think? Is it worse to let everybody know this is what it is and hostilities, resume in the world probably gets destroyed or I already did it, I already killed millions of people and now the world is at peace. Why don’t we just go with that? And we get a series of panels where first Doctor Manhattan, then Laurie, then Nite Owl have two speech bubbles each. Two to three speech bubbles each, where the first one is always, this is terrible. Why did he do this? This is so bad. Alex:                         And the second one in the same panel is, you know what? It’s okay, I think we’re going to go with this, that ends in Rorschach in one bubble saying joking, of course, at which point he walks out, but this is, I think the first speech bubbles structure thing that I’ve noticed in this book. What did you take away from the sequence? What were your thoughts on it? Because again, I was surprised that they rattled through these decisions so quickly. Pete:                        I was very surprised by that. But also just like, he’s, everybody wants to kill him, then he turns on a couple of TVs and everybody… and he goes, I did it. And then everybody’s cool with it. We’re going to talk? Five seconds ago, your hand was crashing through a building to kill this guy. And now we’re just listening to him and pondering him and being like, you know what guys? Has got some points. He just tried to kill you a couple of seconds ago and ow we’re just talking shit out and it’s very upsetting. Justin:                     Do you think Adrian Veidt was right for what he did? If it was true that the world was about to be blown up in nuclear warfare, did he do the right thing? Pete:                        You don’t know if that’s true or not though. Justin:                     Right, but I’m telling you, given those factors, did he do the right thing by sacrificing, a million people in New York City, or it’s four million people in New York city, and The Comedian sacrificing them to save the rest of the world? Alex:                         No, but like, which four million people in New York City? Pete:                        That’s fucked up. Justin:                     It was the four million worst New Yorkers. I mean, they were in Times Square. Pete:                        Come on man. Alex:                         So mostly tourists and Elmos. Justin:                     A lot of dead Elmos out there. Alex:                         Oh man. Justin:                     Sorry. I know that’s horrible to all of the Elmo fans out there, but honestly like, do you think he did the right thing? Alex:                         I will say… Yeah. I mean, that’s the main question of this issue, right? Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         Is, I think there’s a difference though between, was he right to do what he did, versus now that he did what he did, do you expose him or go along with his plan? And what- Justin:                     Well but I think the fundamental question, I mean, if I think they go along with it because they believe in the pragmatists argument that like, he did do the right thing, or did that what he did is tolerable because of what he’s, how he saved the world. Alex:                         Right. I think it’s the latter there. I think he already did it. They can’t undo it. They can’t bring those millions of people back to life or anything like that. Yes. What Pete? Pete:                        Doctor Manhattan was talking about time travel and he has time traveled, why couldn’t he go back and stop this guy? Justin:                     Because I think he thinks it was right and in this panel, he’s like this, no he did it and the world is a better place for it. Alex:                         Yeah. I do want to mention, I said something wrong actually, on the speech bubble thing, Doctor Manhattan in his panel, has two leaked speech bubbles that basically say, no, you argued on Mars, Laurie, that we should save life. Ultimately, the equation balances out to more life the way that Adrian Veidt did it. Alex:                         And it’s only Laurie and Dan who have the two separated speech bubbles, where Laurie says, “Never tell anyone” would we really have to buy this. And then she says, “Jesus, he was right. All we did was failed to stop him saving earth. Jesus” Nite Owl basically does the same thing. And then Rorschach has his one panel joking of course, that’s it. Alex:                         To answer your question though, he’s absolutely wrong. Adrian Veidt, I, from my perspective, no. There is no sacrifice of life as right, but there is a part of me that understands the thought of he already did it. If you expose him, it’s only going to make things worse again. Justin:                     Interesting. You like the passive argument of just being like, well, I may as well not say something and go along with it. You’re saying he’s wrong because he wasn’t sure that it would actually be the end of the world. Alex:                         I think that’s part of it. I think also there’s no scenario where killing millions of people is the right decision to go? Justin:                     Well, I mean this is a direct sort of extension of the end of World War II, dropping the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I think. Those questions are the most difficult ones for all of history. But it’s tough. Alex:                         Well, I think I- Pete:                        I don’t think he should be able to play God, I wouldn’t go along with it. That’s why I like Rorschach, Rorschach’s the only one who’s like, fuck this shit, I’m out. Justin:                     But then he ends up being killed. Pete:                        Well, fine. Sometimes you got to die for what you believe in, but it’s bullshit that he gets to do this and he gets a profit off it, and he gets to live like a King, off the fact that he was just, I’m just going to kill a bunch of people and blame it on a squid. Justin:                     But I think… Alex:                         First of all, never blame anything on a squid. I just want to- Justin:                     Except for how good the Calamari is, you can blame the squid for that. Alex:                         Blame the script for that. Man, you’re too delicious, buddy. I can’t stop eating you. Justin:                     Just had to eat you, and dip you in some sweet chili sauce. Pete:                        Oh, man. No man, Alex:                         What about you, Justin? You mentioned Hiroshima and I think that’s very app, given that we’ve see the Hiroshima lovers sprinkled throughout the entirety of this comic book, for whatever reason, that didn’t occur to me, but I think you’re 100% of the buddy there, in terms of that being the metaphor they’re talking about, because yeah, I think what I potentially would say they’re leaving with is here, is that there’s always going to be that collateral damage. Alex:                         There’s always going to be those innocents who suffer even though you think you’re making the right decision for the world. And then the question becomes, do you do what’s right for the world? Or do you do what’s right for the individual? And that’s what I think Rorschach choice comes down to, you in a weird way, And Pete, I know you’re going to yell at me of this, but I think Rorschach’s decision is selfish. Pete:                        Oh fuck you man. Alex:                         No, I’m not saying I disagree with him. I’m just saying he is making the selfish decision to say, “I’m going to do what is morally right for me, not necessarily what more is morally right for the world.” Pete:                        You don’t know if that’s why he’s doing it. I think he thinks truth is what he needs to, put the truth out there, justice must be served, that kind of thing. Alex:                         But who is he doing that for? Pete:                        For all the people who died because he was wanted to go launch the squid at New York City. Alex:                         I guess I could see that potentially. Justin:                     But if that results in the world than going back and being blown up, is that the right choice? Pete:                        I don’t know, man. If you ask somebody whose mom got blown up in New York City, they’re like, well, we did it for the right, for everybody as a whole because maybe a war would have broke out and maybe the retaliation would have been… there’s a lot of maybes man, that guy’s [crosstalk 00:48:44] Justin:                     And how about this? There are plenty of times in our lives where we don’t speak harsh truths, because we’re trying to make the life easier for us and everyone around us. You don’t see someone with one eye on the street and say, “Most people have two eyes because you’re like…” it’s a truth that doesn’t need to be pointed out to that person. And that to extend that all the way out to this, at this point, to Alex’s point, they accept what’s happened. They believe that- Pete:                        That’s why you can travel in time. You shouldn’t accept what happened- Alex:                         He can travel in time. Justin:                     He can travel in time. Alex:                         He just exists in every time simultaneously. Justin:                     He’s aware of what’s happening all the time. Pete:                        Maybe his blue smart ass and figure some out man. Alex:                         Damn, he’s coming for you man. Doctor Manhattan is coming for you. Pete:                        Fuck Doctor Manhattan. Alex:                         Also on the plus side, I would say, that guy whose mom died in the Manhattan squid accident, he’s still got some nice [galmad 00:49:42]. You know what I’m talking about? Justin:                     That’s right. They’re going to eat for weeks. Alex:                         Then Adrian Veidt leaves because he’s like, hey, I’m feeling pretty good about everything. Got some final details. Rorschach walks. Doctor Manhattan disappears and Laurie and Nite Owl left, and we go back to that thing that we talked about earlier where they make love by the pool. Alex:                         Really if anything, I think this is just to give us that thing that you were hinting at earlier, Justin, which is we end with them by the pool. It’s a reflection of them and the pool. Just their shadows laid out exactly like the Hiroshima lovers. They are the thing that are left behind. That’s it. I think it’s just a set up for that. Justin:                     Yeah. And they’re doing the very human thing of connecting and then having sex. Pete:                        Sure, sure. Alex:                         Which- Pete:                        Right after- Alex:                         We’re going to do at the end of this podcast, right? What? Sorry Pete? Pete:                        Yeah, definitely, definitely. Alex:                         Cool. Pete:                        No, I just think that it’s like, it’s not realistic. You just had too much shit happen to you. Justin:                     I mean maybe, but I do think some people like to fill a gap of, or a trauma up with some sex. Pete:                        All right, all right. Alex:                         Also there’s another interesting thing about the sequence, which is that Laurie pulls off Dan’s mask and earlier the whole thing has been… just to be blunt about it, he’s only been able to get it up because of the costumes and the heroics and that’s it. He’s been impotent. Otherwise, here they are stripped bare. They have become themselves. They finally can be just Dan and Laurie. They don’t have to be Silk Spectre and Nite Owl anymore. Pete:                        You’re saying for this guy to get a boner, four million people have to die? Is that what you’re saying? Alex:                         Yeah, I mean who, let he who is without sin throw the first stone, that’s all I’m saying. Justin:                     I don’t know if that applies there Alex, but I like it. That he who’s without sin, get the first boner after the disaster. Pete:                        Like Jesus preached. Justin:                     Between that panel of the, Dan and Laurie’s shadows on the wall and the next panel there’s something that resembles that but in a different place. It’s two separate pictures or ideas put next to each other. And is there a term that you would’ve used there, the position of both of those things are interesting? Pete:                        Yeah, I would call it something beside myselfism or parallels parallels- Justin:                     Nearatude? Alex:                         The ducks, ducks to, the Dexter- Justin:                     I think it’s the- Alex:                         … Dexter’s laboratory. Dexter’s laboratory. Justin:                     … Dexter’s laboratory. That’s what it. The Justin position of these two images is very cool. Alex:                         You did point that out. That’s a good name for it. Justin:                     That’s what I’m talking about, the brand. Get the brand out there. Alex:                         Yes. Yes of course it does cut to Rorschach’s mask, it’s, there’s no way of not seeing the Hiroshima lovers in his mask, even though I guess you can see whatever you want, it is Rorschach plot. And then we get one of the most famous sequences in the book as Rorschach walks outside, Doctor Manhattan approaches him and says, “Where are you going? He says, “Back to allyship, back to America, evil must be punished.” Alex:                         People must be told, Doctor Manhattan says, “Rorschach, you know I can’t let you do that.” And he says, “Of course must protect Veidt’s new utopia. One more body amongst foundations makes little difference. Well what are you waiting for? Do it.” This is Rorschach and he takes off his mask and screams do it. Doctor Manhattan just blast them apart. Leaving his blood, smoking in the snow. And that’s it. Pete:                        It’s a hell of a way to go out. Alex:                         Man. We were talking about the last couple of issues how Rorschach and I think we all agree on this, has been regaining his humanity. This to me truly is the pinnacle of that. Him finally taking off the mask, being human, being himself, sobbing, looking directly into the camera and saying do it. Justin:                     Yeah. I agree with that. The thing that is bothering me about this right now is why is Doctor Manhattan doing this dirty work? A couple pages later, he’s like, I’m leaving earth behind. I don’t care what happens. I’m going to go make my own planet. What does he care whether whatever happens here? Pete:                        Exactly. Why is he killing dudes on the way out? Justin:                     Why isn’t it Adrian Veidt who comes out here and it’s like, come on man. Alex:                         I don’t know. There’s a lot of wrap up from Doctor Manhattan over the next couple of pages, he takes care of Rorschach, he… as we mentioned, looks over Laurie and Dan who are aligning their post-coital, bathes them in blue light, almost like they’re his children. He walks over water and then he walks through walls until he encounters Adrian. Alex:                         They have a brief conversation. He drops some info on him… just to throw something out here, this is kind of off the top of my head, but certainly there’s a lot of God imagery happening here, right? Alex:                         Given that this is Ozymandias post-tachyons, post squid explosion, post the point when he knew what was going to happen, it’s a new world and he is the God of the new world. He is really doing some Old Testament shit here. He’s smiting people. He’s looking at Adam and Eve laying in the garden. He’s walking over the water. He is talking to his acolyte, his Adam and leaving him with some wisdom, potentially, that’s what we’re going for here. Justin:                     I think that’s right. I also think he gets too, way too close to their naked bodies on that allocate, not necessarily. Pete:                        I’d also like to say Zalben, don’t go off script like this. All right. When you go, start making stuff up that are going to [crosstalk 00:56:03] Justin:                     Sorry about that. Do you just thought of that Alex? It just came to you right then? Alex:                         Yeah. Sorry about that. I know for those of you who are listening to the podcast, this might not be immediately clear, but, Pete spends usually 60 hours a week scripting out our podcasts for us. These are not improvised in any way, including what I’m saying right now. It’s kind of amazing that pea, it actually scripted this part about us being unscripted when I just went off script- Pete:                        I’m a good writer. Alex:                         Yeah, you’re an amazing writer. I apologize for doing that. You’re really, I would say Pete, the Doctor Manhattan of this podcast. Pete:                        Hey, fuck you, man. Alex:                         No, no, no, no. I’m just saying because you’re a d- Pete:                        Come on of all the characters, you’re going to… Alex:                         … you’re just a dick, let’s just tag it out. That’s why- Pete:                        … man you’re an asshole. Justin:                     Sorry, line? Pete could you give me my line? No. Pete, if anything, you’re the Ozymandias of this podcast. Pete:                        Man. Alex:                         What do you want to be? What do you want to be in this podcast Pete? Pete:                        I wan to be- Alex:                         The Rorschach? Pete:                        … Rorschach. Yup. Alex:                         All right, we’ll blast you. Apart at the end of this. Justin:                     Exactly. When this podcast ends- Pete:                        It’s the only way to die, man. Justin:                     … you dead Pete. To be exploded- Alex:                         Here’s the thing though. The thin though is, nothing ends, nothing ever ends. Justin:                     Oh boy. Alex:                         You know what I’m saying? Pete:                        I hope this podcast ends at some point. Justin:                     Oh shit. Alex:                         No, it’s not. Justin:                     It’s happens [crosstalk 00:57:18]. Alex:                         It’s going to go on for hours at this point. I do want to ask about this sequence though. As Doctor Manhattan walks up to Adrian Veidt he walks into the middle of, I think it’s a bottle of an atom, which would probably make sense for Doctor Manhattan and then [crosstalk 00:57:33] Justin:                     Also. Alex:                         The solar system, and he says, “John, wait, before you leave, I did the right thing, didn’t I? It all worked out in the end.” And Doctor Manhattan says, “In the end? Nothing ends Adrian, nothing ever ends.” He says, “John, wait, what do you mean by… and Doctor Manhattan disappears. What did he mean by that? What did he mean by nothing ever ends? Justin:                     I mean, this whole sequence is interesting because the panel right after that, to add it to what we’re talking about, Adrian Veidt is looking, he’s positioned away from the camera. His shadow is looming in front of him, and he looks ashamed or scared about what has just happened. Pete:                        I’m really surprised. You don’t know what he means by that. This is a plug for the Never Ending Story, which is a movie that came out very soon after this. Alex:                         Oh, right. It’s a tease. Justin:                     Another product tie in from Allen wild wings Moore. Alex:                         Yeah, it makes sense then. That explains why Falcor shows up on the next page. Justin:                     Yeah. I- Alex:                         I, go ahead Justin. Justin:                     … I think what he’s saying is, first off he’s brushing him back and saying like, did I do the right thing? He’s like, come on man, grow up. I thought we were beyond these human concerns because I do think these two characters in this issue are like, we’re bros, we make big decisions. Cool what you did, you got best of me, and this is Doctor Manhattan and then one last moment being like, I’m still a god. I know that nothing ever ends, because I see beyond you. You’re, at the end of the day, you’re just a human. Hey, great job on this plan. Great game out there, but I’m a god. Alex:                         Yeah, I think that may make sense. It also points to, again, like a five page beyond tease, but it teases what happens at the end of the issue, which is even though we’re getting to the end of the comic book, comics continue stories continue. They can continue beyond something that I do want to touch on in a couple of pages here. But I think that’s also what he’s setting up than it is Alan Moore being metatextual here as well. Justin:                     Yeah, and also this story doesn’t end. Maybe Doctor Manhattan has seen that vortex journal will eventually come out and like this is far from over for you, Ozymandias. Alex:                         Then we get into the next sequence, which we’ve already talked about quite a bit. Where Laurie and Dan show up at Sally Jupiter’s place. They’re sporting new hairdoes new looks. Dan has a very terrible mustache on, nothing wrong with mustaches in general, but he has a very bad mustache, I would say. And we get that kiss on the photograph that we talked about earlier, that complicated kiss. Anything further to say about the sequence though? Justin:                     I mean, just looking at it, she, it’s not like she’s sweetly kissing that photo. She’s upset and we see in the foreground in the last look at it, like the lipstick on the picture and she’s like sobbing. I do think at the very least, this is a very complicated moment, and not a like expression of like, you know what? I guess I do love the man who assaulted me. Alex:                         Yeah. The other thing that I will mention that I forgot about that happens right before this is as Dan and Laurie are walking off, they talk about, hey, you know what? Maybe we should be mass vigilantes again, and Nite Owl sorry, Dan says, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre sounds neat. And she says, Silk Spectre’s too girly, plus I want a much better costume that protects me. Alex:                         Maybe something with leather with a mask over my face. Also maybe I ought to carry a gun, which cuts to then [shoot 01:01:15] her kissing the picture of Comedian. It’s very clear. She’s talking about The comedian’s costume. That’s what he wore, leather, a face mask, carried a gun. To the point that you were bringing up earlier, Pete, I think Laurie’s journey, you could say over the course of this comic book, is going from being inspired by almost the worst aspects of her mother, to being inspired by the best aspects of her father. I don’t know. Pete:                        Oh man, that’s weird. That’s a weird thing. I don’t know how I feel about that, man. I mean, when I write it and then rewrite it, I didn’t know that. She was like, yeah, I want to carry, I think she wants to carry a gun because it’s a fucked up world. I don’t know if she was trying to be The Comedian, but that’s one way to look at it. Alex:                         Yeah. I mean there’s the thing from the riots, right after the bombs are dropped in the Vietnam war [crosstalk 01:02:16]. Pete:                        No, no. Community in [inaudible 01:02:18] I’m familiar with it. Alex:                         All right, well then we get the last couple of pages. We see a headline that says RR to run in ’88, which is Robert Redford running for president, one world, one accord, we see the millennium perfume. Justin:                     In the panel above. We see burgers in borscht. Russian stuff is cool in New York City, obviously. I thought it’s interesting, in the next panel we have watch the skies rather than who watches the Watchmen on graffiti down the wall. Alex:                         Everything has changed and we see two people who did survive the massacre in New York are the nebbishy assistant and the head of the conspiracy newspaper, he’s pretty pissed off. They’ve got to fill some stuff, but nobody wants to piss off the Russians anymore because there’s the tentative peace. And you talked extensively about this, a couple of episodes back, Justin, but this dude is wearing The Comedian’s button on his shirt. Alex:                         He’s told to get something from the crazy pile and he goes and immediately potentially reaches for Rorschach’s journal and says, “I leave it entirely in your hands.” And there’s so many things going on at that one panel. It’s such a lovely last panel. Justin:                     It’s great. It’s so smart nice little twist to the knife at the end. Pete:                        But it’s just- Justin:                     Or maybe he just reached over the journal and grabbed a letter that said Elvis is my dad. And that’s what changes the world. Pete:                        It is just a smiley face t-shirt that he spills ketchup on, it’s not like he went out and bought a Watchmen t-shirt. But I think that- Alex:                         It’s again, Alan Moore all about that product placement. You know what I’m talking about? Justin:                     Yeah. That Alan Moore special gloppy ketchup that he sells on the side? Pete:                        Dude, that ketchup is good though. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         It is very good. Pete:                        [crosstalk 01:04:17] a gloppy. Alex:                         The couple of things that I take away fore going the panel one, it’s The Comedian’s final joke, right? Is that ultimately the journal is there. Two, is he reaching for the journal? Is he reaching for a letter? That’s up to your interpretation and that last thing, I leave it entirely in your hands, that’s Alan Moore saying it to the reader, that I leave it up to you, what do you think happens next? And it’s funny to me to see that ending, given the preciousness that’s been over Watchmen over the past several decades, and we’ve certainly talked about this quite a bit, but with things like the Watchmen movie with things like before Watchman, which is a project that DC comics did, where they told stories about these characters before the events of Watchmen, and particularly with the Watchman HBO series, where people have said, “No, Watchmen is this untouchable masterpiece,” and what I almost take away, and even to the point where Alan Moore’s like, “You know what? Take my name off of this thing. I don’t want to be involved in this.” Alex:                         But this last panel, it’s very clear to me that he’s saying, “Comics continue.” That’s the point is that nothing ever ends like Doctor Manhattan says earlier. I leave it up to you. If you’re going to continue it, you’re going to tell more of a story, fine. If you’re not going to tell more of the story, that’s fine too. Ultimately we’ve said what we need to say in this 12 issues and we’re done. Justin:                     I agree. He means, I leave it entirely in your hands except for movies, television, other comic books or really anything at all associated with this thing you just finished reading. Alex:                         As long as it’s mayo chip then it’s fine. Watchmen brand mayo chip. Cool. And then we don’t get any back matter here. I have the deluxe version, so there’s some very deep back matter where there’s development art that Dave Gibbons did, that he contributed- Justin:                     Flex. Alex:                         … here. I’m pretty cool [crosstalk 01:06:21]. Pete:                        What’s up big time? Alex:                         But honestly I definitely recommend picking it up if you can, just because there’s also some French portfolio covers that he did that have all the individual characters on the cover. There’s nothing too shocking in here but it’s just great to see the additional information and everything. Before we wrap this up, we’ve certainly talked quite a long time about this 12th issue here. Any final thoughts on Watchmen, the comic book? Pete? Justin:                     Go ahead. Pete:                        I mean it’s an insane story that takes people places and really rips and tears at your questioning of life. And what we’re supposed to be doing, it’s a powerful piece and it’s really well done. Alex:                         Justin, what about you? Justin:                     I mean it’s very similar, Pete, this is like, there’s a reason this comic is held up as the best comic or the ultimate holy grail of the comic book industry. And I think we could talk about this forever. There’s so much depth to it, so much complexity. A lot of people read this being like, this is a great superhero team and this is so far from what they actually are, they’re just a bunch of complicated, messed up characters who, heroes and villains and the line between hero and villain is blurred throughout this whole series. Justin:                     It’s great. I always recommend reading this only after you’ve read many years of other kinds of things. Alex:                         Yeah, that was the thing I was going to say to you, just to bring it back to what we mentioned in our preview episode, in the first episode, just to, really wrap this up, but don’t read it first. But I’m so happy we’ve read it again, because it’s a good book just beyond the density, beyond the weight of it, that it’s had in comic book culture. It’s a fun book to read. It’s a good story. It’s well drawn, it’s well colored. And it’s an entertaining mystery throughout. That to me has been the big thing that I’ve taken away from it. Is I feel I have a better appreciation of it, not just on a textual level, but just also on an entertainment level, that it’s the sort of thing you can recommend to people as, hey, this is something you can take a lot away from, or a little away from but, at the same time you’re going to get something from it. Alex:                         Now a little order of business before we move on, starting next episode, we’re going to move to once a week for our episodes. We’re going to be recapping episodes of the HBO show, those air Sundays on HBO, so our episodes recapping and breaking down those episodes, will go up a little later in the week. Stay tuned for that, versus the twice a week schedule we’ve been doing it for the comic book. Alex:                         But that said for any information on that and when that’s coming up, you can check us out at Watchmen Watch Podcast on either Instagram or Facebook. You can also do Watchmen Watch1 on Twitter, patreon.com/comicbookclub to support this show and many more. And please do, if you can chip in a couple of bucks to do things like transcripts, et cetera, cost a little bit of money. We really appreciate the support. Alex:                         Plus we’ve been having, as we mentioned at the beginning of this episode, some great discussions about Watchmen in our Watchmen watch room on our patriot and on the slack, we would love to have you join there. That would be awesome. We also do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the People’s Improv Theater Loft in New York. Come on down, we’ll chat with you about Watchmen and other things. And remember, we taped this episode 35 minutes ago. Justin:                     And I’m Alan Moore singing off. Alex:                         He came back. The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #12, “A Strong And Loving World” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Oct 2019

1 hr 11 min

As Nite Owl and Rorschach approach Ozymandias’ fortress, Adrian Veidt takes a walk back through his history, and our Watchmen podcast breaks down Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Watchmen #11, “Look On My Works, Ye Mighty…” Plus, one of our hosts has seen the first episode of HBO’s Watchmen series and gives their spoiler-free impressions. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen: Alex:                 Who watches the Watchman and who watches you watching the Watchman? We watch you watch the Watchman right through your window like a bunch of creeps. I’m Alex. Justin:              I’m Justin. Pete:                I’m Pete, but your- Alex:                 And this is- Pete:                Your intro is getting creepier and creepier, man. You got to figure something out with that. Justin:              So is Watchman. So is Watchman, Pete. Alex:                 It is, and we got a lot of episodes together. We got two episodes to go here on the comic, and then we’re going to be jumping into the TV show and by the end, things are going to get real fucked up. Pete:                Yeah. Alex:                 Yeah. that’s 100% truth. Speaking of fucked up, I’m sorry to do this. Our fourth host, Alan Moore, the landmark, the benchmark [crosstalk 00:00:42]- Pete:                Can you even call him a host at this point? Justin:              What are you talking about? He’s been here for a couple of the episodes. Alex:                 Yeah, I remember he had some good things to say about the last issue, I think. Justin:              Yeah, he really, really blew himself up over that last issue. Alex:                 Oh boy. Justin:              It’s like, “Chill out dude. We get it. You’ve Rowe Watchman. But anyway, so he just texted me and he was like, “Hey, I was there 35 minutes ago.” So I don’t know if we missed him. Alex:                 Well, I’ll tell you what, as long as he recorded his part of the podcast, we’re doing this one over Skype. I could just edit it in. I can edit it in afterwards, and I’m sure it’ll be seamless. So, just throughout this podcast episode, let’s take incredibly long pauses. Justin:              Yeah, that’s true, and we’ll just drop in some Alan Moore Bond Moe’s. Alex:                 Yeah, oh, I thought you were going to say beneas for some reason. I don’t know why. Justin:              Interesting, it’s two different words. Bond Mose, means good words. Beneas means doughnut for rich people. Alex:                 Speaking of doughnuts for rich people, we’re going to be talking about chapter 11 and not going intellectually bankrupt over it. As we talk about Look on my Works, ye Mighty the second to last issue of Watchman by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. As mentioned, the show is premiering on October 20th. I don’t know if we want to get into this on this podcast. I will mention we’re about a week out. We tape these episodes about a week in advance, and we’ll probably catch up when we get to the show. I did see the first episode [crosstalk 00:02:14] at Comic Con. Justin:              What? Alex:                 What? No, I did. I don’t know if we want to talk about that at all on the podcast before we get into the issue. Pete:                What was it like man? Justin:              Well it’ll be one side of the conversation, but yeah, let’s do it. Alex:                 Sure, I’m not going to spoil anything for anybody because I do want us to talk about a clean and fresh on the podcast itself, but two observations I will give you all your listeners. The first one, so they showed off the first episode previously at TCA, the Television Critics Association. I did talk to some coworkers and friends there who had seen it, but generally that’s kind of mum, that’s a very private situation for people watching that stuff. So this New York Comic Con, this was thousands of fans inside the Javits Center. Alex:                 It was the first time they really publicly showing off Watchman, and Damon Lindelof came out on stage, and I don’t want to ascribe too much emotion for him because I don’t know him personally or anything like that, but he, in the sweetest way, seemed so nervous about what was about to happen, which you don’t really expect from a show runner. You expect somebody to come out, and usually expect them to come out and be like, “what’s up y’all? We’re showing of Watchman. He came out- Justin:              But I think that’s makes sense to me because these are the people … It’s like if someone were to come into your home and be like, “Hey, I made home videos about you and your family. Here you go.” Because the fans are that into it. They’re that rabbit about it. It’s like something so close to their hearts like family. Alex:                 Yeah, and you could see he was carrying these handwritten notes, and you could see his hand shaking the entire time while I was reading them, talking about how much Watchman meant to him when he was growing up. How it was the first comics that his father had given him. They told him it will change his life. And he’s told this story before in the initial Instagram posts that he put up where he explained why I was doing the project. He repeated a good chunk of that. Alex:                 He did, I thought this was a little weird to call out, but our fourth co-host, Alan Moore, he called them out at the top of the presentation. He said, “I could reference one person’s name. You know who I’m talking about, but I couldn’t do this without him and this goes out to him and I hope we have honored you, even if your name isn’t necessarily on this thing.” Pete:                That’s a classy move men. Alex:                 Yeah, it was very sweet. I just wanted to- Justin:              I read that report and when you take your name off something, well how come you can’t even say his name? He could say is name. Pete:                No man, he was being respectful about it. Alex:                 His name just doesn’t exist anymore. Like anybody who does it… could you imagine if somebody just used his name to promote their product? They’d be [crosstalk 00:04:59]- Justin:              Disgusting. Pete:                Wait a second. Oh, come on guys. Justin:              He’s our fourth co-host. We’re not exploiting. Pete:                Have you ever been hosting a podcast and then you just realize you’re a part of a piece of shit podcast. Oh, that sucks. Alex:                 Jesus man, several times a week I got to tell you. Pete:                It’s a heck of a ride. Alex:                 Well, anyway, that was … Damon Lindelof introduced it. I thought that was very sweet, and then we watched the whole first pilot episode. I got to tell you, I loved it. I thought it was really good. I’m very curious to talk about it with you guys here on the podcast because there’s a lot to talk about, but my general impression overall was even though, and we’ve talked about this from the very beginning, you don’t need to continue Watchman. You don’t need to riff off Watchman. You don’t need to do before Watchman in the comics or anything like that. Alex:                 We talked about that back when it was coming out of D.C., but if you are going to do it, I’m glad that it’s good, and that’s what I thought about this pilot. It was clear that if nothing else, they have put so much thought into every single frame of it and to me it matched my hopes of what I wanted out of the show. Justin:              Wow. A greatness- Alex:                 Being very vague about it. I don’t want to spoil anybody’s experience, but I was very happy at the end with the experience that I have. I’m very excited to watch it again because- Pete:                Would you say the first half was good, but the second half wasn’t or- Alex:                 I know you like to make fun of me for doing that. No, it was good throughout. Regina King is amazing. The cast is amazing. Pete:                She is a national treasure. That woman is unbelievable. Alex:                 It’s going to be a conversation piece, that’s the other thing. People are going to talk about it quite a bit because even when it honors, and echoes, and reverberates off of Watchman, the comic that we’re about to talk about, it’s very much its own thing, and it’s almost, in a certain way, in conversation with Watchman, the comic book. Again, I know that’s being very vague, but it’ll make more sense when you watch it. Pete:                Weird. Justin:              It’s in conversation. Pete:                You’re telling us to watch this Watchman show? Is that what you’re saying? Alex:                 Yeah. I’ll tell you what, I know we were kind of waffling about this. Let’s [crosstalk 00:07:23]. Justin:              Don’t waffle the Watchman. Alex:                 But you buy our Watchman branded waffle bakers made with our good friend, [Wildland Bore 00:07:31]. We sell them by Le Creuset. Justin:              Le Creuset. Excellent partner for this Watchman themed waffle maker. Every nook and cranny is full of syrup and bean juice. Alex:                 Oh, there was one other thing that I wanted to mention to you guys about the Watchman premier. So I went to the Watchman party afterwards- Pete:                Men, you went on all Watchman. Alex:                 I was all Watchman all the time. Now, this was actually the thing that made me feel a little uncomfortable about the whole monetization of the whole thing- Justin:              I’m sorry, the what? Alex:                 Monetization of the whole thing, where as opposed to the premiere where they were very respectful of everything to go in and hear like a DJ blasting 90’s dance music and people dressed in cosplay wandering all over the place, that was a little weird. But the main thing I wanted to mention to you, which I was very excited about, we’ve talked about previously in the podcast, they had Watchman theme drinks and in fact, they had Doctor Manhattan. Pete:                That’s good. Justin:              That’s nice. Alex:                 Now, I know your recipe was a Manhattan with big blue dick in it, right Justin? Justin:              No, I believe my recipe was stirred with a regular dick. Didn’t have to be blue unless you happen to have a blue dick and not naturally then ice- Alex:                 I’ve been freezing my dick all night just to make sure it’s nice and blue when I stir my cocktails [inaudible 00:08:55]. Justin:              You could just get a vasectomy. Pete:                I just want to back up the truck for a second here. Justin:              It’s much cheaper to just stick it in the freezer. What’s up Pete. Pete:                You thought it was people who look like they were going to a Comic Con were at the party that was for Watchman. Alex:                 No, what I mean by it is that Watchman is a very particular thing, without being too snotty or gate keeping or about it. It was just a regular Comic Con party where they were like, “Here we go now, Here we go now oh, oh, oh.” And everybody’s dancing around and getting drunk, and partying. Pete:                I like the way you’re putting a tone on that. I think it’s a great song. Alex:                 Oh, you’re missing my point entirely, Pete. Justin:              Wait, Alex, are you saying you were bothered by the Alan Moore jalapeno poppers they were serving at the party? Alex:                 Yes, can I give you the recipe for a Doctor Manhattan then we’ll move on? Pete:                Okay, great. Justin:              Yes, please. Alex:                 Okay, Doctor Manhattan, according to them, is four roses bourbon, splash Curacao liquor, Bianca vermouth, and orange bitters. Justin:              Well, the Curacao is horrible. Pete:                That’s sounds disgusting. Justin:              [crosstalk 00:10:04] makes it blue. Alex:                 I’ll tell you what, it made it blue, wasn’t great. Pete:                I could have told off from that list. Justin:              Curacao is a bad thing. Alex:                 I’ll tell you what, I got drunk and I made some very poor decisions there that night, extremely poor decisions. Pete:                Good for you. Justin:              When do we get into those decisions? Pete:                Yeah, when do we talk about that? Which podcast is that? Alex:                 Just very briefly then we’ll move on. I bought a ticket to go see Joker. [crosstalk 00:10:29] Pete:                I don’t care what you say. You’re a sellout, man. Alex:                 I was very drunk. We’ll talk about this another time. Let’s jump into Look on my Works, ye Mighty, chapter 11 of Watchman. This is the big issue. This is the big one. Granted, some stuff happens in the next issue as well, but this is really where it all goes down, and for those of you who were, whatever reason, haven’t been reading to this point, we know now that Adrian Veidt is the villain. He’s been masterminding a plan. We don’t know exactly what that plan is. At night, Ellen Rorschach have headed to Antarctica to his base to confront him. Alex:                 Even though they put together most of the clues, they’re still not quite sure why he’s done this or what exactly is going on, and they want to find out more from him. So, this is very much the Ozymandias issue. We’ve seen him a bunch throughout the comic, but this is the first time we’re really getting inside of his head, and it’s pretty huge. Before we get into a page by page or anything, any overall impressions of the issue, things you taken away, themes, anything like that? Justin:              Well, it’s interesting. So when Nite Owl and Rorschach head to Antarctica, they’re like, “Oh, Adrian Veidt is responsible for The Comedian’s death perhaps and threatening the other heroes.” But in the midst of this, they’re like, the world is probably ending, but they’re heroes and they’re like, “Hey, the world’s ending, but we should go investigate this murder our friend may or may not have accomplished.” I think that’s interesting that it happened to work out as we learn in this issue that they caught both problems at the same time. Alex:                 Well, but I think, maybe I’m not remembering correctly, but I believe they made that decision last issue, right? Justin:              Yes, they did. Alex:                 They decided let’s tackle the solvable, potentially solvable problem versus, hey, we’re going to stop nuclear annihilation between the United States and Russia, right? Justin:              Right, but don’t you think … I guess maybe that’s the point. Maybe that’s the like, oh, as humans we can’t actually solve these larger problems, so let’s just do what we think we can handle because I think that plays into a lot of the themes of this issue, which is all about how we as humans set our own traps and end up causing our own problems that come back and get us killed or ruin our lives basically. Alex:                 Well, and the other thing that is playing throughout the issue, that’s actually been playing throughout the series, but really comes to bear here is just kind of the idea of knots. Every issue has its own theme and that’s something that’s gets pushed very heavily. The image on the cover and in the second paddle this time is these butterflies and this fully age peeking through the snow. It’s in the shape of the stain on The Comedians button. So it’s the same sort of thing, but it also kind of looks like a rope tied together. Alex:                 We’ve had the Gordian knot locksmiths or Gordian lock, I think it was called, that’s popped up throughout sort of that running joke about Dan Dry berg’s door keeps getting knocked open and they keep coming back and fixing it. But throughout this, we get the idea of knots, and what I took away from that is that we are all intrinsically tied together, but often it’s hard to tell a knot from a tangle, if that makes sense. Justin:              Interesting. Pete:                Wow Alex:                 Well, I’m riffing a little bit off of your point here, Justin, that everybody is so tied together. When you look at it up close, Nite Owl and Rorschach are heading there and they’re like, “okay, what is this small solvable thing? We can untie a knot, right?” But ultimately they find that it’s this enormous bundle of rope that is stretched all over the world. Justin:              Yeah, I mean, to take that as a larger metaphor for this whole issue, like this issue is crazy complicated. There’s so much exposition. All the Black Freighter stuff, when I was younger reading this, I was like, “Okay, let’s get back to the story.” But I feel like maybe it’s a sign of maturity or growing up or being interested in different things anyway, is that’s the stuff that is so intense here. The metaphor of that is so great juxtaposed against both the people at the news stand, and the crime that happens there, and then the larger story of Adrian Veidt Rise from being just a rich genius to having this plot to save the world by killing half of New York city. Alex:                 Well, I just want to mention, to get back to the thing that you said about the Black Freighter stuff, I agree with you as the same sort of thing. I basically skimmed it the first time I read it when I was younger. So yeah, going back now when we’re really delving into it, it certainly makes a lot more sense, but there’s a very funny exchange towards the middle/end of the issue when Bernie, the news stands dude, finds out that the dude has been reading the Black Freighter the entire time is also named Bernie. Alex:                 He says, what we’ve all been thinking, the dude on the ground, he says, “Why do you keep coming back here for weeks and reading that over and over?” And the younger Bernie says, “Because they don’t make sense man. That’s why I got to read them over.” And I think a, that’s a very funny exchange. B, it ties into that whole knot thing of him trying to unravel what’s going on with the Black Freighter, but I think that also points to exactly what you were saying is that divide between youth and older. Not that Bernie, the newsman, has any real idea what’s going on, but the younger Bernie is just like looking at as a kid and it’s like, “I don’t know why these pirate comics are like this.” And that it isn’t until later that you really get them. Justin:              Yeah, it is funny that the Bernie character there also, he’s young and he also doesn’t read it. Just like we also didn’t really read it when we were meeting this comic. Man, Alan Moore gets it, except for showing up on time for a podcast. Pete:                I mean overall it starts kind of real interesting, tying stuff in but the ending is so massive. That ending blew me away so much that I was like…. that’s when I went back and started rereading stuff and the interview at the end of this, I read that all the way through. That’s the first time. That ending was so bad-ass and that was such an amazing villain monologue thing that I was like, “Oh my God, this comic just went from being really interesting and beautifully drawn, and well done to a whole different level of respect.” Justin:              I mean, I agree with you, the level of just mastery of the art form to pull off telling a story this complex with all these crazy details in it, and also making the end reveals truly shocking and have a great fight sequence in the middle. This revelation about Adrian fight and he kills his assistance through boredom mostly, I think, is great. It’s just such a great issue and it does so much. Alex:                 I don’t know if you’re talking about reading this time or the first time you read it, Pete, but I got to tell you, I knew exactly what was going to happen. But when you get to that final line of Adrian Veidt where he says, “I did it 35 minutes ago,” I cackled when I read it, this time too, because it’s so good. Even if you know exactly what’s coming, the way- Justin:              It still gets you. Alex:                 … the way the word bubbles are paced out too it just hits it at a perfect rhythm. It’s amazing. Pete:                Yeah, it really does. Justin:              And he’s a cocky motherfucker. He’s a cocky motherfucker, this guy. Alex:                 So, the other thing that we’re touching on a little bit here that we should mention, and then I guess we probably, we’ll page-by-page a little bit, but there’s two things that are going on in this issue. We’re following Nite Owl and Rorschach as they are approaching Adrian Veidt to the palace, fortress, whatever you want to call it, and confronting him. Ultimately him laying out his whole history, and plan, and exactly what’s been going on the entire time, cresting in this I did a 35 minutes ago. And then we’re watching what’s going on the street corner with the new stand as every single regular human character we’ve encountered over the course of the past 10 issues all come together at exactly the same time, exactly the wrong time. Alex:                 But it isn’t until later that we realize that we’ve been watching what happened to the past. We’re watching 35 minutes ago through this entire thing. You can tell if you look at the clocks, but they’re off to the side in such a way that it’s not immediately clear until for Nite Owl and Rorschach, it’s far too late. Justin:              Yeah, and the fact that seeing the Hiroshima lovers shadow here and the fact that that’s the blast point where that hits, everything starts to resonate for us backwards as well. That this is the flash point where this disaster happens and all of these characters are the victims of it. I feel like it just … We get to live like Dr. Manhattan because we retroactively feel so bad for these characters that we’ve been following their sort of boots on the ground story this whole time. Pete:                Also a lot of people are like, “Oh, why do you like Rorschach?” This right here is a moment that I really like Rorschach where even though he’s beaten, he still keeps getting up and trying to win. He does that move behind his back to block Rorschach and that to me, I love the fact that he’s not willing to accept this and is still fighting to the bitter end. Alex:                 I got to say he uses a fork, right? Are you sure he’s not trying to eat Ozymandias because he’s so hungry? Justin:              He’s been in the snow for so long and that’s a tasty dude. Alex:                 He’s only had a sugar cube tea. Pete:                Oh man. Justin:              Yeah. And let me ask you, Pete. In this story, in this issue specifically, what character do you want to be or what character are you? Pete:                Rorschach. Justin:              Alex, what about you? Alex:                 What character do I want to be? Justin:              What character are you like, I’m him or her? Alex:                 Oh, I’m having a little trouble wrapping my mind around it. In the real world, I’d probably be one of the assistants that dies in the snow. Justin:              Come on dude, that’s the saddest answer you could ever say. Pete:                It’s honest though. It’s honest. Alex:                 Yeah, man. Justin:              One of the assistants who dies in the snow, come on man. Alex:                 Yeah, or maybe the lesbian who’s getting beaten up by her lesbian lover. Justin:              Wow, jeez. Alex, be best. Alex:                 Okay, [Bu Bust 00:21:31]. Maybe I’ll be Bu Bustiest. Justin:              There you go. Alex:                 Wait what about you? What are you getting at here? What’s your game Justin? Justin:              There’s no game. I just think it’s funny- Pete:                Are you the villain monologue in, are you? Justin:              Yeah. I’m Adrian Veidt. Alex:                 I knew it. Well, what I thought you were getting at was the idea that you touched on Justin, either a podcast or two back about the idea that, sure, we look at Adrian Veidt as the villain, but maybe he actually is the hero of this story. Is that where you’re getting at or not at all? Justin:              No, definitely. In technically if the way … I mean, the next issue we technically don’t know what happens in that because we’re reading this issue, but if the story continues, and we’re going to find out in the TV series, he saved the world from nuclear disaster. So he is really the hero in that way even though he murdered half a million people or half of New York city, and killed a bunch of heroes and all this other stuff. It radiated a bunch of people. But I also think like this issue sets him up in that way because he’s talking about how the ills of the world, how humans just are built to kill each other and kill the environment, and these things resonate so hard with our current life and politics and global disasters. It’s crazy how this series was written so long ago and feels so present. Alex:                 I completely agree with you of that. I would argue that this issue makes a very strong and not completely subtle case that Adrian Veidt is a psychopath, like unrelenting- Justin:              A sociopath. Alex:                 Sociopath, yes. So, just to walk through this a little bit because I do want to talk about that. Actually, I’ll mention a couple of things that come to mind in terms of Adrian Veidt that I think you could certainly read into it. When he’s telling his story to his assistants, he tell his backstory, explains that he was raised rich by his parents. They died when he was 17. There’s a shot of him, I believe, sitting on one of the graves, and the implication that I took away from that is he probably killed his parents. Pete:                Yeah, he murdered them. Justin:              I agree with you. Alex:                 Yeah. [crosstalk 00:23:53] says particularly because Rorschach says he’s never killed anybody, which contrast very directly with, yeah, but he probably has been killing people as long as he has had the capacity to kill. Justin:              Yeah, I mean, I think he’s someone who doesn’t value other humans lives, the lives of other humans, and that’s true sort of especially through this story. Then, again, at the end when we realize what he’s done because he thinks of himself as this person, the man above all other people. Alex:                 Right. There’s also the other thing that’s running through Ozymandias’s backstory is his rivalry with The Comedian that plays out through this issue, which very much straddles the line in terms of how you interpret it. Extensively on the surface, he talks about the first meeting between Ozymandias and The Comedian. It’s something they revisited in the back matter, which seems like this very classic heroes fight before they team up type thing, but they’re very clear about the fact that The Comedian beats Ozymandias, which, again on the surface, if you wanted to read The Comedian as hero, he’s actually beating a villain in that case and once again that paints Ozymandias as a villain, except for the fact that as we know throughout reading this comic book, comedian is a pretty awful dude himself. Justin:              Well, I think they see each other, or at least this is mostly from Veidt perspective, but they’re both still sociopath’s in the way they value other human lives. I think the fact that Adrian Veidt is using The Comedians… his whole plan is inspired by The Comedian and is basically a joke or as he calls it a prank. So, I do think he kills him to prove that he’s the better man but The Comedians sort of POV or philosophy is what Adrian Veidt actually just sort of steals and uses to execute in his plan. Alex:                 Yeah, should we walk through this issue? Should we go a little page by page or two over here? Justin:              Let’s do it. Alex:                 All right, so we do start off on that first page where he is laying everything out about his philosophy. I swore I wasn’t going to use this word again, but there is some really nice juxtaposition on this page as it goes, [crosstalk 00:26:12]- Justin:              Juxtaposition. Alex:                 Let get something that I wanted to throw by you guys. So, he’s watching everything on his monitors. Bu Busts is walking next to him and he’s saying some very cheeky stuff about, of course, the ice they’re skating on is slippery and thinner that it looks. Let’s hope they don’t become reckless and overstep themselves. Let’s hope they know where to stop, and of course they don’t stop. They do keep coming. We had talked about in the last episode that part of Adrian Veidt plan was leading them here, luring them here and then laying everything out for them. Do you think there’s a part of him that thinks maybe they won’t make it, maybe they will turn back? Justin:              Yeah, and I think he’s the kind of guy who’s like, oh they’re still coming? Oh great. I’ll get to talk to them about my plan. My former partners in arms like this is a nice brotherhood, that I can really brag about what I’ve done in front of them. So I think, he takes pleasure in it a little bit and he doesn’t feel threatened in the least. Alex:                 Yeah, neither should he. What were you going to say Pete? Pete:                I say agreed Alex:                 Nice, so then they decided to go out anyway, and we get Adrian reaction to that, realizing that he has to go forth with his plan. He can’t put off things any longer. We get a very clear shot of the clocks in Tokyo, London and New York, so we know exactly what time it is, and there’s a large panel where he says, no time like the present playing off of those clocks. Also playing off of the very large picture of, I believe, it’s Alexander the great who I was named after. I don’t want to brag or anything. Justin:              Oh my God. Pete:                Did you just drop that in? Alex:                 I mean, it’s not a big deal. Don’t even worry about it. Justin:              Your middle name is Alex… Your name is Alexander like the fine? Alex:                 Yeah, my name is Alexander, the beat up lesbian. [crosstalk 00:28:07]. It’s very sad. Justin:              Is that a family name, a family middle name? Alex:                 Yeah, it’s from my grandfather. So, then another very interesting secret, we see Adrian walking through. He says to Bu Bust not coming any further. No, fair enough. Wait here. This won’t take a moment. Why do you think Bu Bu stats who’s basically just a giant cat doesn’t want to come into this chamber and watch Ozymandias know what’s going on? Justin:              He’s worried about getting blamed. Pete:                No, he used to- Justin:              He’s like, let me chill out. I don’t want to be named in the court documents. I’ve got a life. Pete:                He knows where the dead bodies are. He doesn’t want anything to do with that place. Alex:                 I don’t know. I agree with Justin. If you see a bunch of broken stuff on the floor, you’re immediately blaming the cat, not the smartest man in the world. Justin:              Yeah, exactly. That cat is like, oh, I actually like New York. I have some friends who are in the musical cats and I don’t want to be part of this. Alex:                 Yeah. Now, two other things that I want to point out on this page. One, it’s so clear when you look back at it, but there’s a closeup shot if him pressing the button at 11:25 PM, which is exactly the 35 minutes ago. So if you’re paying attention to any of the clocks where they show up at New York, if you’re paying attention to any of the clocks in the actual scene, you know that it’s already happened. But then there’s the panel right after that, which doesn’t become clear until the next issue, but Ozymandias seemingly looks directly at us, the reader, and is bathed in a blue light before he turns back and finishes what he’s doing. It’s pretty clear there that Dr. Manhattan is showing up, right? I think? Justin:              I don’t know, interesting. I mean I hadn’t thought of that. I love this sequence. I mean we talked about the pacing in this a lot. That to me feels like that moment where you’re like, “Oh, what’s he doing? God, this feels important. I don’t know what he’s doing. I wish I could find out what he’s doing.” Pete:                Also, I agree with Alburn. It does look like the blue is like a nod to Dr. Manhattan. Alex:                 Well, it might be, even if it isn’t specifically Dr. Manhattan showing up and I honestly do not remember from the next issue, it could just be based on the fact that for all of his smarts, for all of his planning, everything that he has is really based on dr Manhattan and dr Manhattan’s technology. Justin:              He’s a scumbag. Alex:                 Exactly, he is. He’s stealing. He’s using other people’s works in order to do what he himself is just saying what he wants to do- Pete:                So you’re saying he hooked it up so when he presses the red button, a blue light goes off as like a F you to Dr. Manhattan? Alex:                 No, I mean I think that’s … Again, I think we’re going to probably find out where we’re about in the next issue, if I remember correctly. But I do think it’s firmly indicating that no, this is not Ozymandias doing whatever is happening right now, it’s Dr. Manhattan, even if he would want it to be himself. Pete:                Oh wow. Justin:              Oh, interesting. Alex:                 So then we get everybody coalescing on the same area as we get some of the tales of the Black Freighter. We do meet the girlfriend who also, she’s part of the Knot-tops. This gang that we’ve touched on now and again, that’s another knot reference in the issue. Then also we get the big revelation of the tales of the Black Freighter, which we kind of already knew from reading the previous issue, but the character himself realizes the classic, “Are we the baddies moment,” where he comes in and he’s beating up what he thinks is a pirate and it turns out he’s kicking the shit out of his wife in front of his kids. Alex:                 In her, he realizes he’s become the evil that he thought was coming for him and coming for his family. Same sort of thing that’s going on with everybody in the world. They are becoming the evil that they thought was coming for them. And then we cut back to Ozymandias in his big dome entertaining his three assistants. Now, you mentioned that he’s being an asshole earlier, Justin. I think this is an Egyptian thing. He says, “You’re buried with your attendance, right?” So, instead of burying them in sand, he’s burying them in snow by the end of the sequence. Justin:              Yeah, but he’s not like, oh, I’m going to die too. He’s like, “Sorry dudes, you die. I’m going to go do some other stuff.” Alex:                 I mean, that’s the curious thing about it, right? Like you would think if he really was following this philosophy, he was really believing what he’d say like Alexander, he would die young. I know he says that he wasn’t planning on doing that throughout the issue, but also if he was following Ramsey’s in the Egyptian tradition, he wouldn’t plan on making it out of this, right? So he’s a hypocrite beyond anything else. Pete:                Also I’m really disappointed in a place that cool they don’t have HR. Like tell HR to let them go. They’ll do it a lot nicer. It will be … They’re not such a big thing. I don’t understand. Justin:              No, this is the best way to be fired. Alex:                 When you said cool, I thought you meant Antarctica. Pete:                Cool, like pretty chill. Alex:                 Yeah, pretty chill. Justin:              I mean it’s, especially fucked up that the last thing these three dudes have to hear is another boring story from their boss, and then the one dude’s got butterfly all over his face, like, come on. Alex:                 I don’t know. That happened to me once in the Museum of Natural History. A butterfly landed on my head, very upsetting. Pete:                I’m glad you didn’t die at that exact moment. Alex:                 Who knows? This could be some horrible dream that I’m experiencing right now. So dudes do die. We get this shot of him sitting on the tombstone with hay, or whatever it is, grass in his mouth. He’s kind of smoking it a little bit, and we start to get his archer story. He says that he divested all of his money, traveled the world. It’s not quite here, but we do get a shot of him. It’s actually two pages from there, as he’s continuing to talk to his assistants where he’s standing in front of the stars completely naked. He is bathed in red and it almost to me, I take it as the opposite of Dr. Manhattan. Justin:              Yeah, I think that makes sense, and he’s just had some hashish and he’s like going into that mental state where you can really become a true sociopath. Alex:                 Right, the other thing that I’ll mention just in terms of the coloring is throughout the sequence he is a silhouette. He doesn’t exist. He’s not there. He’s the absence of things. We’ve certainly seen that with the Hiroshima Lovers and other things. I don’t know if necessarily there’s a connection there. The main way that I took it was that he is not yet the person that he wants to be, and it isn’t until he becomes Ozymandias that he is colored. Justin:              Oh, that’s interesting. I liked that a lot. I took it as he’s a void. He’s part of the abyss. He doesn’t contribute anything, he just draws energy and everything into him because he’s a villain. Pete:                Yeah, I thought it was like he had been changing into the villain that he wanted to be. Alex:                 Yeah. So regardless though, as we mentioned, he does kill the assistants. He buries them in snow instead of the sand. Here’s a thing we should probably touch on, the whole Ozymandias of it all, why he’s called Ozymandias. “Look on me, my works, ye mighty,” the rest of that is and despair. But the way that I always interpreted that poem and the way I think you interpret that poem, is they come on this broken statue of a man and there’s nothing around him. It says, “Look on my works,” and there’s no works around except for this broken statue of Ozymandias. How does that connect with the Ozymandias and the book? How does that connect with what he’s doing? I bring that up here because he’s clearly causing the destruction not just of New York, but of his Antarctic hideaway base at the same time. Justin:              He’s vivarium. Alex:                 Yeah. Justin:              I think he’s romanticizing the term. He likes the idea, I think, that he’s this super villain who is created this whole thing in his secret plan to save the world, and no one will ever know the true source of it. Because he does have plans, I think after this to continue his business and go back to his life as Adrian Veidt the hero businessman. But the Ozymandias side is you’ll never see my works because I have erased it from the earth myself. Alex:                 I thought it was an interesting thing you just said, Justin, in terms of him stealing from everybody and not making anything on his own, that essentially he is this parasite on the entire world because if you think about it, he hears all of Alexander’s things and he goes and travels that journey and it’s like, “How can I do this better? I want to do this better.” He hears about Ramsey and he wants to do it better. Dr. Manhattan, but he wants to do it better. He takes all of that, The Comedian, he wants to do it better. That might be the same thing, taking on the name Ozymandias being like, “Yeah, but that won’t be me. I’m going to do better than the guy that said, look on my works of despair because you actually will look on my works and despair because they will last forever.” Justin:              Yeah, I think that’s totally valid. He definitely has that taking credit for other people’s actions while never being that creative force on his own. Pete:                I just think the guy’s a super douche. Justin:              Or that. That is what Ozymandias translates to directly. Alex:                 Well thank you. You speak fluent Greek, I believe, Latin. Justin:              Oz is super and manias is douche. Alex:                 So then we do get a page of the newsstand, the wife of the therapist/psychiatrist who’s helping out [inaudible 00:38:19]. Comes around, is looking for him, is wondering if they’ve seen her around. There is a uncomfortable/comfortably hilarious exchange where the guy’s like, “Oh, why don’t you go to the Negro watchmaker up the street?” And she’s like, “Do you think we have a club? What are you talking about?” And he’s like, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” But what’s happening throughout this page is this exchange is interspersed with the man in the Black Freighter story. Seeing the Black Freighter itself and swimming towards it. I think what’s pretty clear is all of these people, as we see by the end of the issue, they’re all embroiled in this enormous fight. They’re swimming towards their own destruction, right? They’re swimming towards their own death. Justin:              Yeah, and to follow the Black Freighter line as he swims closer, trying to track down the answer to this mystery that’s plagued him, he realizes when he gets there, “Oh, I’m just joining this badness. All this time I’ve been fighting against this and I’m actually a part of it,” and he’s welcomed aboard and becomes one of the pirates of the Black Freighter. Alex:                 Yeah. Now I want to talk about your favorite dude for a little bit, Pete, Rorschach, because then we get to the scene of Nite Owl and Rorschach sneaking into the hideout, touring through everything we’ve seen before. I think it’s pretty clear, at least to me, that Rorschach realizes how out of his depth he is almost immediately, and specifically I’ll call out two lines. As they’re outside, he says, “Palm trees buried in snow doesn’t make sense.” And then later on Dan is trying to open the door. He’s trying to open it with this laser, and is having a little bit of trouble the Rorschach says, “Nervous?” But Dan isn’t actually nervous. He’s fine. This is the sort of thing that he’s kind of used to. He’s just trying to figure it out, but I think Rorschach actually is nervous. I think he is scared of what’s going on because this is so much bigger than he ever could have imagined. Justin:              I 100% agree. In the last couple issues Rorschach has been so chatty. He’s been so verbose when they break into Adrian’s penthouse and find out all this information. He’s like talking for panels and panels, and in this section he is only speaking in sentence fragments, just like random little bits. I think he is terrified and I love the subtle way they present that. Pete:                I don’t know if it’s terrified, if he’s just kind of like taking it all in because they just rolled up on a secret layer that is really weird and freaky, and they’re kind of walking into… I think he’s just kind of like when you first go to a place you’re kind of looking around and soaking it in, and that’s how I feel. Justin:              No, I think he’s scared. He’s scared. He’s a scared cat. Pete:                You’re a douche Justin:              Do you mean Mandy is? Alex:                 There’s one other thing that I wanted to point out. So as they’re walking through the base, we get to see a couple of rooms that we’ve seen before. We see the room with the big Alexander painting. We see the chamber where he transported the squid as we find out next issue. They walked through the stairs that he’s walked before. But right as they come in, we see a weird sort of doomed structure. Nite Owl says, I mean, what the hell is that thing? Half this equipment I don’t even recognize. Is that the chamber that created Dr. Manhattan or a version of it?” Justin:              Interesting, I mean, I had never thought that, but I guess it could be. Alex:                 I don’t know, it just seems weird thing to call out in particular, right? Pete:                Yeah, kind of. It reminded me that’s the only thing we’ve seen close to anything like that. So you’ve got to kind of assume he tried to make his own Dr. Manhattan. Alex:                 Yeah, if he wanted to do that, he probably should have gotten more blue Curacao. So then we get a two page sequence, a big fight sequence as Ozymandias takes down Nite Owl and Rorschach pretty handily. Pete, your dude taken out like a bitch. What’d you think? Pete:                Hey man, if you’re all class, he’s still fighting though. He’s still fighting. Justin:              Yes, he does. He uses his fork wisely. Alex:                 So, the interesting thing, I think, about the structure of the issue here is the first half of the issue when he’s talking to the assistants, he’s repeating his past, right? He’s laying that all out. But then we get this big two page spread in the middle of this fight sequence that’s mostly silent, and then after that we get to see the superhero history that we’ve heard about and seen so far. Alex:                 But through Ozymandias’ perspective, so it’s almost these two halves, these histories laying out. For the assistants who are part of the overall grand scheme, he’s laying out that part of the history. For the superheroes, he’s laying out the superhero history, is how I took that at least. Justin:              Oh yeah. I think that’s great. I mean, it fits nicely in the first part of his story and the second part of his story timing wise. But again, real cocky to be telling your plan literally while you’re fighting the heroes. Alex:                 Yeah. On the Rorschach band, it’s so weirdly upsetting to see Ozymandias rotating his mask. I know that’s such a specific thing, but seeing him take his mask and kind of twist it so that what Rorschach has called his face isn’t on right makes be very sad for Rorschach in that moment. Pete:                I know. Alex:                 Did you feel that way? Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Pete? Pete:                Yeah, that was definitely like a low blow. Alex:                 Yeah, cool. Thank you for elaborating. Justin:              If I was fighting you and if I had just like shaved off your goatee while I was fighting you. Alex:                 Oh, Jesus. Justin:              Which is what I will do with shaving cream. Pete:                Well, since I have a beard that would be weird that you would do that unless you were talking about going back in time to when I did have a goatee. Justin:              No, but your goatee is your power. I will shave just the goatee and leave the beard, which is even goofier. Pete:                I would have to turn it into old school mountain chops then. Justin:              Yeah. And who, who can walk around this planet with- Pete:                That’s a good point. Alex:                 Yeah. It just reminded me of like if you had someone who’s shorter than you and you will hold their head and they’re just kind of flailing their arms and they can’t hit you that’s kind of what he was doing. It’s a super douche move, you know, just like you’re not even worth my time. I’m just gonna pull on your mask and that’s enough to make you useless. Justin:              But they’re not, I mean, they show up here and he dispatches them instantly and then they are literally just following him around while he tells more of his story. They’re there to stop him and then it’s like, “Oh cool. Yeah. Take us on a tour of your cool place.” Alex:                 Yeah. Got any snacks? We’re pretty hungry. Any sugar cubes or anything like that? Love a good sugar cube. So they do want it around. He lays out the whole plan. He explains how he killed The Comedian. He gave several people cancer in order to frame Dr. Manhattan and get him off planet. He heard about Rorschach thing. I thought this was an interesting detail. It sounds like he didn’t plan his own assassination until Rorschach started sniffing around. So it’s interesting that there’s a certain level of improvisation to what Ozymandias is doing. Justin:              That’s smart. Pete:                But also like this plan, the odds of it working out are insane. He started his plan by just irradiating some random people, that’s wild. The only reason it seems cool is because we’re here at the end of it hearing how great it was. If he walked up to you and was like, “I have this plan to save the world. I’m just going to irradiate these strangers for the next couple of weeks.” It’s like, what dude are you talking about? Alex:                 That’s a real chest move, man. He’s using the ponds that he has. I think it’s a boss move. I mean, when you think about it, there’s so many villain plants and never really happened. Pete:                That’s what I’m saying. This is like a guy who like you’re playing monopoly with and he’s like, “ha ha, I’m going to run waterworks.” It’s like, “Okay man, we’re going to quit in 20 minutes, so do whatever you want.” Alex:                 But that also points to something that we’ve talked about all along, which even to he cops too, everybody calls him the smartest man in the world. He’s not actually the smartest man in the world. He’s very smart. But to your point, Justin, his Bain plan is I’m going to build this big bod stir, get a bunch of Hollywood screenwriters to work at it and then teleport it into New York, and then cool times everywhere at that, and then most of the rest of the plant is, ah, shit. I gotta do a bunch of cleanup on all these people that figured out my plan. What do I do now? He’s remaining very cool about it, but it’s not as perfect a plan as he wants to let on at all. Justin:              No, he fucked up. Alex:                 Yeah. Justin:              When you got shove a pill in a dude’s mouth and the fountain of your own building, like- Alex:                 Yeah, it’s going to slop. It’s getting sloppy. Yeah. So then we get to the moment we get to the big moment as the New York city streets starts to clear out from the fight that’s happening in the background, which itself is very sad because we do get to see this lesbian couple devolving into a fight we didn’t even touch on. There’s this incredibly sad moment, uh, where the grapher member of the couple who’s being broke up with he’s like,”I just want to sleep with you. I just want to fucking sleep with you. I just want to feel something. I just want to be happy. I want to die,” and starts beating her up and it broke my heart reading that. We see the same thing with the therapist and his wife where they’re having almost the same conversation Lori and Dr. Manhattan had about are people worth it or not? So do you save the earth or not? Alex:                 And then Bernie and Bernie are having a very similar conversation where Dreiberg is like, “I don’t care what’s the big deal? We have the same Big birdy.” They’re completely falling apart across the board. And as that’s happened and things are tightening and simplifying with Ozymandias to we get that paddle where he says, “Do it… Dan? I’m not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I’d explained to my master stroke if there remain the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it 35 minutes ago.” And then we cut to that paddle of Night Owl and Rorschach stnding in front of the clocks. We see that it’s one minute to midnight in New York, and the streets of New York have cleared off. But of course this is all happening into the past. And that final page, we see all the characters seeing what’s happening, which we don’t find out until the next issue. Alex:                 And then the ultimate heartbreak, Bernie and Bernie turned to each other. They hold each other as it happens after younger Bernie has said, “No, I don’t want anything to do with you, man. Leave me alone.” And they fade. And we end once again with the same splash pattern on the comedians button. But this time it’s the dissipated molecules of Bernie and Bernie who had been blown apart the same way Dr Manhattan was created and we’re left with one white panel just like the snow in the beginning. So sad. Justin:              So sad. The fact that they have the line of like, “What does it matter that we’re both named Bernie?” And then it actually is the most meaningful thing at the end that they were, had a somewhat of a connection and there with each other when they die, such a great subtle little little package. Alex:                 Well then it pays off. Like we touched on earlier in the podcast, all of these various things that of course aren’t randomly thrown in there, but feel like they’re similarly randomly throw it in there. Like the newspaper people like the therapist, all of these characters. We lived with them so long beyond the “main characters” in the book. All for this moment. Also, we could feel this moment and understand the weight of this moment. Pete, how did it hit you? Pete:                I mean it just it sucked man. Who really was it’s such a powerful ending after like such a Oh shit moment. It’s like, you know, you really feel it. Alex:                 Yeah. And then the back matter of course is a rolling stone style interview where the interviewer puts themselves in the interview way too much where he’s talking to Ozymandias. Of note it takes place in 1975, which is about when he has started to kick his plan off. We have about 10 years there where he’s putting it into action. So there’s little hints there. There’s little touches there, but already you get a sense of where Ozymandias is heading even though the guy himself doesn’t realize it. Any final thoughts about this issue? Justin:              Just like I, like I said before, the storytelling here though, the way it all culminates here, we have gotten all of the heroes sort of origins and at this point all the characters origins and now we’re here at this final point moment where the trap is sprung and it’s just great. Alex:                 Yeah. Justin:              I live for the day when I can somehow get captured the moment of like, Oh, I did it 35 minutes ago. Alex:                 Yeah. Pete, any final thoughts from you? Justin:              I’m spent, dude. Alex:                 Oh, man. [crosstalk 00:52:15]- Justin:              Well, I just think that we covered it. it’s a powerful ending. Alex:                 It is absolutely a powerful landing and this is a powerful ending to our podcast. If you’d like to support us, patrion.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the People’s Improv Theater loft in New York. Come on by. We’ll chat with you about Watchman. You can follow us at Watchman watch podcast on Instagram and Facebook. WatchmanWatchone on Twitter, comic book club alive to up for this podcast, and many more. Also, subscribe and please comment on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, or the app of your choice. And remember, we taped this podcast. Oh God, I’m forgetting. What was it, how long ago. in the past? Oh yes. Six weeks. Six weeks. Yeah. We taped this a week ago. Oh, Alan texted. He’s definitely gonna be here next week for the last dish. I don’t believe him. The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #11, “Look On My Works, Ye Mighty…” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Oct 2019

54 min 35 sec

Nite Owl and Rorschach strike up their old partnership to try to crack the case of the mask killer, and in the process discover a much more insidious plot. Meanwhile, Ozymandias moves to Antarctica, which is a super normal thing to do, and we discuss Watchmen #10, “Two Riders Were Approaching.” SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen: Alex:                         Welcome to Watchmen Watch, a podcast about Watchmen, and you watch it, you watch it. You watch it. I’m Alex. Justin:                     I’m Justin. Pete:                        I’m Pete. What the- ? Alex:                         And we are going to be talking about the tenth issue of Watchmen: Two Riders Were Approaching, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, as we get very close here to the premiere of Watchmen on HBO. But first, a little bit of news. Alex:                         Justin, what’s happening? Justin:                     Yeah, Alan Moore, our fourth host, who- Alex:                         Right. Justin:                     It’s hard to remember, but he’s been here for most of the episodes I think. Alex:                         I think so, at least nine of them. Justin:                     Nine, and this is the tenth one, so it’s just … He leaves a hole when he’s not here. But when you work with people, you want to be on time, and sometimes they’re not, but you still love them. You still love those people [crosstalk 00:00:45] who are not … Pete:                        What the fuck? What the fuck? Justin:                     So anyway, let me get back to this. Alex:                         That was weird. A mirror just appeared in front of Justin for no reason. Justin:                     That’s- Pete:                        Oh, my God. Alex:                         Very strange. Justin:                     If we’re not holding a mirror up to ourselves [crosstalk 00:00:56] then what are we doing? And that’s what Alan Moore is doing, is he … He’s a big autumn guy, so he went upstate for leave peeping, tasting some cider. He has an Affinity scarf and tweed jacket on. He’s- Alex:                         That’s just … Justin:                     He’s lost in a corn maze. Alex:                         All right- Justin:                     So cozy. Alex:                         Oh, he’s lost … Boy, you buried the lead there. Justin:                     Oh … Alex:                         He’s lost? Justin:                     I think when he was texting with me, which he does a lot- Alex:                         Sure. Justin:                     … he was like, “Oh, I’m walking to a corn maze.” And he’s like, “This is a fun corn maze.” Then he’s like, “Dear God, help me. I’m trapped in this corn maze. Help, help, help.” And he’s- Pete:                        Why- Justin:                     … panicked. Pete:                        Why doesn’t he just throw a bottle of perfume in the air? That way we’ll be able to see it. Justin:                     See, I’m sure he’s doing that, but that’s not the clearest single of what’s happening with you, if you- Alex:                         Yeah, we’re also … We’re in the middle of the city. If he’s upstate, it’s going to be a little rough to see a perfume a bottle he’s throwing over a corn maze. Justin:                     But keep your eyes up in the air. If you see a perfume bottle, you are close to Mr. Alan Moore. Alex:                         Yes, let’s talk about this comic book. What do you guys think about that? You want to do it? Justin:                     Let’s- Pete:                        Sure. . Alex:                         We are getting down to it here. Lots of stuff going on. While Laurie and Doctor Manhattan are up on Mars debating the fate of the human race, debating the fate of Earth, down on Earth, Dan Dreiberg, aka Nite Owl and Rorschach have been left behind. And they are trying to figure what exactly has been going on. Is there a conspiracy, is somebody trying to kill of masks, or not? Alex:                         Nite Owl is still a little suspicious, but pretty on board with Rorschach’s theory. And at the same time, the world is very quickly heading towards disaster thanks to Russia and the United States escalating tensions over Afghanistan. Alex:                         Now, of course, the theme is right there in the title, and it’s hit multiple times very hard throughout the issue. Two Riders Are Approaching, I believe this is from a Bob Dylan song? Justin:                     There’s a Bob Dylan quote at the end. I think the two riders thing has been in a bunch of things over the years I think. Alex:                         Yeah, but I think the two riders … oh, my gosh, I’m blanking. Two Riders Were Approaching is from whatever that Bob Dylan Song is. We’re very knowledgeable about songs. We’ll get it for you in a second. But you have … Rorschach says it later in the issue, but War and Death are the two riders that we have right now. And those are the ones that are hit over and over starting from the very beginning, when we have the approach of the president and vice-president on their planes, Air Force One and Air Force Two, heading to a bunker to stay. We got a flash again of the Comedian’s button on the radar screen, with the splash being the radar ray, or whatever you call it. Justin:                     Yeah, the little wand? Alex:                         Yeah, the little wand. Justin:                     We’re knowledgeable. Alex:                         Yes, already, I’m glad you’re tuning into this podcast for our expert commentary on things in life. But yeah, we hit the two riders thing over and over and over again. What did you think about this theme, what did you take away from it, why is it important to have in this issue right now? Justin:                     Right out of the gate, I mean, this is the issue where all of the darkness is gathering. This is like the sad part. I think there’s a lot of Bob Dylan stuff in here. “Two riders were approaching.” That’s from All Along the Watchtower. And then it’s … “I’ve been waiting in the dark too long.” Is a theme here, I think, and that’s also from You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go, another Bob Dylan song. So I think there’s that sort of looking at the world and seeing it for what it is rather what it’s … like finally facing the darkness around you and within you. Alex:                         It’s interesting to me, pacing-wise, that this doesn’t come right after issue eight. We talked about issue eight was the overture in a certain way, [inaudible 00:04:39] was checking in with everybody. We were setting the stage for the final act of the book, and then we went to this conversation with Laurie and Doctor Manhattan, which obviously is vitally important, but almost pacing-wise feels like a pause, because it’s so focused on them, and so focused on the past. Versus here, this does feel like it’s picking right up on everything that was set up to issue prior. Justin:                     Yeah, I mean, this definitely … But this is like … This is the low point. This is like right into the act three, the final fight, the final set piece. Alex:                         Yeah, yeah, it is. Justin:                     So I feel … I hear you, but it does make sense here, and we need that issue with Doctor Manhattan and Laurie on Mars, because that’s sort of lays out some of the higher themes, while this gets into the plot. Alex:                         Sure. Pete:                        Yeah, this is a lot of just moving people into the right position, so we can have our final showdown. Alex:                         But it’s also … I mean, it’s not just table-setting, it’s not just moving around chess pieces, it’s also hitting that theme of doom, of apocalypse that plays throughout here. Justin:                     Yeah, this whole first section with Nixon and DEFCON-2 and basically prepping for the end of the world is so scary. The parallels to today are intense. Alex:                         But at the same time, it’s funny, like the way that they play off the president and vice-president. I believe Gerald Ford trips down the stairs like in an SNL sketch, which- Justin:                     Yeah, noted clumsy man. Alex:                         Yes, which is ludicrous. The nuclear football is actually shaped like a football as well, which to me, I almost took that as, A, it’s a joke, but it also feels like a very Nixon thing to do, that if he was president for so long, he’d be like, “Make it into a football.” Justin:                     Yeah, good. Pete:                        Wow- Alex:                         Thanks. Pete:                        … look at you. Justin:                     I do think … I mean, it has a Doctor Strangelove vibe that I feel like is intentional for these first three pages, but it still has that dark side to it, that the whole like … it’s scary. Alex:                         Yeah- Justin:                     All the reds we see in this. The art is so great. Alex:                         Yeah, throughout. Again, John Higgins is using that red pretty liberally to push forward when there is actual danger on things. And then from there, do you want to keep walking us through this? Justin:                     Yeah, so then we go into Nite Owl and Rorschach, who are the main characters we’re with for this issue. And, man, the art in this issue, it’s just so good. It has this great … No one draws like Dave Gibbons, I feel like, anymore, with these art deco style, really clean lines. It reminds me of Mr. X from back in the day in this comic called Terminal City, which I really liked from Image years ago, really great. Pete:                        Yeah, but, I mean, what’s just crazy now is you got this picture of them docking their ship, and then you got the Twin Towers in the background, you’re like, “Oh, God, now it’s more painful.” But I just think that you’re seeing Rorschach here, who before was very much freaked out by the fact that he’s without his mask, without his skin, just talking. And they’re trying to piece together what’s going on, and how it’s going work. So it’s kind interesting to see him … Like they’re going to get it, they’re going to go get his face back on. But it’s very interesting, because most of the comic he’s masked, but here, we just have him walking and talking here. Alex:                         Well, I think part of that is he is very slowly … not necessarily against his will, but I don’t think he knows this is happening. He is getting his humanity back over the course of this issue as he continues to work with Nite Owl. And as a consequence, particularly later on, when they end up in the bar, they’re interrogating criminals as they’re trying to figure out who the mastermind is behind this plan. Nite Owl finds out hat Hollis Mason was killed, and he does a very Rorschach move. While Rorschach is just interrogating a guy, Nite Owl nearly chokes the man to death. Alex:                         So they’re feeding off of each other in this issue. They are these two horses of war and death themselves, they are bringing this apocalypse with them. And that happens right there in that scene that you talked about, Pete, where they’re walking off of the ship. The way that I take that is they have brought their own doom to themselves. Alex:                         We’ve talked about this quite a bit on the podcast, but this world might have been okay if there were never masked vigilantes. It’s certainly worse off for them. So to have Rorschach and Nite Owl walk off, and as we find out later, they are very much playing their part in Adrian Veidt’s plan right now, whether they know it or not. He is laying out all of these breadcrumbs for them. They are hastening this doom that is coming to the world, instead of running to stop it. Pete:                        Yeah, and they are powerless to do anything else though. They have to follow these clues because of what they are, they are these masked crime fighters. There’s a great scene here where Rorschach confronts the woman next door who called him a pervert, I believe, into the newspaper, and he seems himself in one of her kids. Like to your point about him getting his humanity back, it’s a nice moment where you can actually see him for who he is. Alex:                         Do you think … ? This is very much jumping ahead, but do you think this issue and Rorschach regressing … I mean, maybe progressing towards humanity, is that why he eventually makes the decision that he does at the end of the book? And I’m dancing around it. I assume everybody has read the book, but just in case, when we get there. I do think part of that is brought about by the fact that he does feel human and he can feel things again. Pete:                        Yeah, and I think it points to what we talked about a lot, with isolation and a lot of people that are on the fringes of society, like Rorschach loses his place when the superheroes aren’t allowed to function as themselves anymore. He goes rogue, he’s by himself all the time, and he starts to become hardened. And this, he’s back with his partner, and he’s back in his action again. He feels like he has a place, and so he’s a better human. And I think that’s a very big theme in our current world now, that really resonates. Pete:                        People are becoming so isolated and getting more extreme in their views, when what we really need is reaching out and more humanity. Alex:                         So I’ll throw something else out at you. This is just something that I’m working through as we’re talking about it. But part of, as we mentioned the mission of the book that they go on is Rorschach needs his face back, he needs his costume back, and he has a spare hidden. He goes to pick up the spare. That spare is most likely the costume that he last used the night he essentially became Rorschach. Alex:                         If you look at the stain on it, it’s the same- Pete:                        Oh, yeah, yeah. Alex:                         … stain that he got that night, which is that we were talking about this, and I completely forget when we were talking about this, but that’s the same stain he gets in the prison when he’s escaping that’s on his body. And so, one could potentially argue that him putting that costume back on brings him back to that night, and then he has a choice to make. He can either become that Rorschach that left that night, that was fully 100% Rorschach, or he can be the Rorschach before that was kind of a fucked up, creepy guy, but not the same level he was after. Pete:                        Yeah. Justin:                     Yeah, and I think he definitely chooses the more human version to the point what we’re talking about. He can’t help it. He’s around other people, and that changes you, changes your choices. Pete:                        Yeah. Justin:                     Moving forward, we get into Adrian Veidt’s Antarctic home. And obviously, we’ve read this before, we know he’s a villain, but this is some straight up villain shit. It’s like a crazy villain lair from the jump. He’s an ice cold dude the whole time. He’s changing his clothes in front of his series of butlers. Justin:                     I thought this was really cool. They’re like, “Oh, what do you want to do?” And he’s like, “Monitors, change channels every hundred seconds.” And that’s literally how we watch TV now, is like we watch multiple screens, we’re always … everything’s changing very quickly, attention spans are lower. And he then is like, he’s like, “Okay, I’ll start recording.” He’s making a podcast of his views. Justin:                     So, this, it feels so prescient that he’s doing what we do now as people, and it also shows that watching this much, taking this much information smooths out your emotions. It doesn’t let you react to things, and that’s why we’re also cold like Veidt is about everything we’re taking in. We don’t have time to think about it. Alex:                         So you’re saying, us, the three of us here on this podcast, we’re basically Ozymandias? Justin:                     Exactly. Alex:                         Excellent. Justin:                     And our plan is cool too. It involves a squid. Pete:                        Naturally, naturally. Alex:                         We’re going to share a nice squid. Justin:                     Yeah, exactly. Pete:                        Yeah, but, I mean, but- Justin:                     A plate of [inaudible 00:13:25]. Pete:                        But I tell you, what’s great is like the … This is like villain stuff before the villain stuff was really famous. I mean, you’ve got the- Alex:                         [crosstalk 00:13:40] you’re saying. Pete:                        The shot of him in front of his TVs, in his big throne, stroking his evil cat. That becomes a trope later, that becomes such a- Alex:                         You’re thinking of Inspector Gadget, right? Pete:                        Yes, but there’s tons of- Justin:                     No, James Bond is where that came from. Pete:                        Dr. Evil. It goes on and on, but this really set the precedent of this [crosstalk 00:14:02] evil overlord and a cat, and- Justin:                     No, petting a cat has always been evil. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         You think so? Justin:                     You ever pet a cat? Alex:                         Oh, no thanks. [crosstalk 00:14:10] Pet a dog, that’s good. Justin:                     Yeah, exactly. That purring is like growling from their stomachs. Alex:                         Yep, wow. Pete:                        You don’t have a cat, do you? Justin:                     No. I like cats though. I had cats, but I’m evil. Alex:                         I’m allergic to cats. Are we just offering up stuff about our- Justin:                     Hey, time for cat facts. Hey, everybody, shout out cat facts. Pete, your turn. Mine was I had one. Alex is he’s allergic. Two fun facts, two fun cat facts. Pete:                        Yeah, I like cats. Cats are cool. I mean, I prefer dogs, but no big deal. Justin:                     Okay, well, let’s try to stick with cat facts though. Give us the [inaudible 00:14:44]. You see their butt-holes too much. That’s another cat fact. Alex, your turn, cat fact. Alex:                         They eat cat food. Justin:                     Okay, very basic fact. Expected fact there. Pete, another cat fact. Pete:                        Maintaining a litter box is too high maintenance. Justin:                     Great. That’s more of an opinion, great. That’s enough for cat facts. Alex:                         (singing) Meow. I did mention want to mention about the villain thing, the villain reveal in this issue, because though it’s not 100% confirmed, we do get by the end of the issue Nite Owl and Rorschach figure out, oh, shit, Veidt’s been behind this thing the entire time. And they go to confront him to actually get the villain monologue, which we’re going to get very shortly [inaudible 00:15:23] happens next issue. Alex:                         And what I like about this is what I liked about the last issue, which is even if at the beginning of the last issue you started to suspect and think, “Oh, wait, I think Eddie Blake is Laurie’s dad.” It’s not dragged out. Justin:                     No. Alex:                         By the end of the issue, you find out. And same thing with this issue- Justin:                     I love that. Alex:                         … when they lay out this clear villain scenario with Adrian Veidt for the first time, where he’s like, “Yes, I’m evil. Hello.” You think you’re ahead of the book, but you’re not, because five pages later, it’s like, “Yo, Adrian Veidt is the bad guy.” Alex:                         So they don’t give you enough time to get that smug sense of self-satisfaction. Justin:                     It’s such a better form of storytelling. I feel like … Again, not to harp on our modern world too much, but so much of our entertainment is like, “Now, end of episode. Clue. Now, think about who you think the villain is.” And then we think about it. We’re like, “Oh, we know.” And it’s like … And then it gets proven true, so you feel ahead of it. Justin:                     This, you’re not allowed to feel ahead of it, because you don’t have time to think, because you’re taking in the rest of the issue. Alex:                         Yeah, exactly. Justin:                     So smartly done. There’s this great moment where he says … Rorschach and Nite Owl are talking, and they’ve been in the dark too long. I thought that was interesting from their two different points of view, because Dan’s been in the dark because he hasn’t been doing any super-heroics, so he’s been isolated on his own and is now bad at it, or he’s a little rusty. Justin:                     Rorschach has been in the bleakness of his worldview, because he’s been isolated. And now, just being together they are coming toward the light. Alex:                         But on the other hand, owls operate in the dark. Not to look into it too much, but- Justin:                     [inaudible 00:16:59]. Alex:                         … that would be a good thing for Dan, right? Justin:                     Being in the dark? Alex:                         Being in the dark. Pete:                        Yeah, but he is human. Alex:                         It’s like [crosstalk 00:17:05]- Pete:                        [inaudible 00:17:05]. Justin:                     Whoa, whoa, big reveal, dude. Alex:                         Hold on, hold on. Justin:                     You don’t know what he’s like underneath that costume. Alex:                         This is a time for human facts. Pete:                        Oh, my bad, man. Alex:                         That’s later in the show. Justin:                     I mean, he eats mice just like a cat. Alex:                         He can turn his head 360 degrees. Justin:                     He seems a lot like an owl. Alex:                         Yeah. There was that one panel, where he hocked up a pellet. Justin:                     And then a little pellet came out. It was just little bones. Alex:                         Who’s bones? Justin:                     Who’s bones? We don’t know. Alex:                         Find out next issue. Justin:                     Was it a mouse, or a very tiny man? We’ll never know. That’s just one of fun things about rereading this comic. You never know- Alex:                         Yeah, Watchmen leaves so many things dangling. Alan Moore is like, “Fuck it, we’ll get to it in the next series.” Justin:                     Yeah, “I’ll follow this up rather than take my name off it.” Sorry, Alan. Alan definitely listens to this podcast thought. Alex:                         Yes, he does. Well, he’s got to get caught up for the next episode. Justin:                     Exactly. Alex:                         We’re actually broadcasting this directly into the middle of a corn maze. Justin:                     Yeah. There’s a sweet moment between Nite Owl and Rorschach that is awkward. And also, so much of this issue is in dark shadow, and then in these couple panels, it’s super bright and Nite Owl looks goofy. You see his underwear, the underwear-y parts of his costume, and they’re stuck in a handshake by themselves. But it’s still sweet, instead of being like, “We’re happy when we’re together doing this.” I thought that was just- Alex:                         Well, and it’s very different from Nite Owl’s relationship with Silk Spectre, which obviously is sexual. Justin:                     Very different. Alex:                         Very different. But also the way that they work together, you know? Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         Just Rorschach and Nite Owl, they have this partner … What? Justin:                     [inaudible 00:18:45] that Rorschach and Nite Owl are also … fight crime, they’re like … and then they make out for a while. It’s just a funny side thing then. Alex:                         That definitely seems like Rorschach in particular. Justin:                     They’re like, “You know how Nite Owl fucks everybody he’s partners with?” Alex:                         Oh, man. Justin:                     Everybody;s like, “What?” I mean, I guess that’s true. He just- Alex:                         Huh, I never thought about that. Pete:                        Well, the key part with Nite Owl is you just don’t let the beat happen after the fight. Justin:                     Yeah, exactly. Pete:                        You just got to walk away right after that fight. Justin:                     “Hey, anyway, great fighting with you Nite Owl [crosstalk 00:19:12]- Alex:                         [inaudible 00:19:14]. Oh, man. Justin:                     Oh, blue balls. Alex:                         That’s why Archie is shaped that way. Justin:                     Yeah, he’s big. Alex:                         He’s like a big old scrotum. Pete:                        Oh, my God. Why? Justin:                     That’s true. Alex:                         Speaking of which, we see this great panel of Archie bursting out of the water, with the water dragging under him. Justin:                     So cool. Alex:                         They are emerging from it, and then waiting for you to scroll down- Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         … so I could watch. Justin:                     Then we get to Black Freighter stuff. Alex:                         Let’s talk about the Black Freighter stuff. This another Two Riders Approaching scenario is set up here. We also get a big reveal of the suspicion I think we’ve harbored for a long time with this Black Freighter thing. The whole plot-line has been that this pirate was stranded by the evil Black Freighter. He is worried they’re going to attack his hometown. He’s desperately trying to get back there, he’s fought sharks, he’s eaten seagulls, he’s lashed dead bodies together to make a raft. And this issue, he finally makes his way back, and thinks, “Oh, God, I’m too late. The pirates are clearly already here. Everything has been destroyed. My wife has been enslaved, or worse. Same thing with my children.” Alex:                         “Now, here are these two people out having a lovely time. Oh, they must be collaborators with the pirates.” And he kills them. He kills both of them, dresses up as one of them, takes the other body, attaches it to a horse and rides back into town. He sees what he thinks is a sentry. Later on, he’s like, “Well, I’ll just skip past this pirate sentry. But of course, it’s a scarecrow. All of this is so very blatantly metaphor-ing exactly what is going on in the quote-unquote real world of Watchmen, where we talked a couple of issues back in the big Rorschach issue, how Rorschach was closest to the pirate, or survivor, or whatever he is, in the Black Freighter story. Alex:                         And here, it’s pretty clear this guy is creating a conspiracy theory. He’s following it through, he’s lashing out. All evidence that he sees backs up his theory the way that he wants to see it. Justin:                     Yeah, again, on the theme of isolation, it’s like … You go mad if you’re isolated for too long, and that’s what happen to him, and it’s what happen to Rorschach, it’s what happens to Russia and America. They’re not talking to each other, so they’re fearful of each other. And Doctor Manhattan got cold when he … grew cold when he was up on Mars. Reaching out to people is what fixes things. And because the Black Freighter guy can’t do that, he starts murdering people. Alex:                         Right. And just like how we talked about earlier, the same way that Nite Owl and Rorschach are breaking the doom even though they don’t realize it, same thing with this pirate guy, where he is the doom that is coming to this town. The pirates are not there. He is the thing that is bringing horror and disease and death, everything along with him. Pete:                        Right, but in his … I mean, I can’t believe he survived that raft. That’s going to really shake you up, man. Alex:                         You survive the raft- Justin:                     The dead body raft- Alex:                         … you can legally do anything you want. Pete:                        Well, that’s the thing. I mean, you get away with a couple murders after you survive a raft ride like that. Alex:                         Yeah, well, it’s the same thing, like a bone raft is basically your own personal Vegas. Justin:                     Yeah, that’s true. What happens in bone raft stays in bone raft. I mean, the best flotation device is a dead body as we know. Most life-jackets are actually made out of pieces of corpse. Alex:                         Yeah, I learned that in camp. Justin:                     Yeah, you went to a fucked up camp. Alex:                         I did. I went to Camp Crystal Lake? I want to say. Justin:                     Good. Alex:                         Oh thanks. Justin:                     That’s right. Pete:                        Yeah – Justin:                     Nice, nice. Alex:                         Is that a good reference? Justin:                     Yes, that’s a great reference. Alex:                         Is that a good reference, daddy? Justin:                     Yes, son, that’s … You’re a good boy. Alex:                         Oh, thank you. Justin:                     You’re the best boy. You’re my best boy, because you make good references. Pete:                        I went to Crystal Light Camp. It was not as- Justin:                     Wow. Alex:                         It’s not as [crosstalk 00:23:04]- Justin:                     No calories. Pete:                        Yeah, no calories. Justin:                     Is that another way of saying- ? Pete:                        All the same great lake, just less calories. Justin:                     Is that another way of saying fat camp? Pete:                        No. Justin:                     Oh, great. Alex:                         Well, let’s talk about this other scene that you just flipped to over here, because we got little hints of this before. And if you didn’t know it was going on, as we mentioned on the podcast, very confusing. But in the background, Veidt has been building this whole story and this whole scenario. We don’t get to see the breadth of it yet, but he has employed hundreds of people to create something that he is told is a super-secret movie. And here, they all get on a boat off of this island together, are having a big party. The author of pirate comics that we found out was missing several issues back in the back [inaudible 00:23:47] is down below deck- Justin:                     Yeah, below deck. Alex:                         … below deck, trying to make the moves on this woman that he’s wanted to make the moves on for a while, when they discover there’s in fact a bomb, and they all die. They all get blown up. Now, there’s one moment that I wanted to talk about. It’s a very human moment. I couldn’t read whether there was more to it, or not. But as they’re starting to make love, they’re down there, she notices the bombs. She’s like, “Something is biting into my back a little bit.” She says, “Don’t stop.” And he says … He holds her, and says, “Don’t worry about it, my love. Hold onto me.” Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         What’s going on there? Is there something more to that? Because it felt like it was at the tip of my brain that it was referencing, or bumping off of something else, but maybe it’s just a moment. Justin:                     I think he’s just like … He knows they’re going to die, so he’s like, “Lets- Alex:                         Trying to be comforting, yeah. Justin:                     “Let’s go out on a hug.” Alex:                         Yeah. Is it … ? I mean, it could be … Is it in the same position as the Hiroshima lovers? They’re certainly leaving the shadow in the background, right? Justin:                     Yeah, it’s hard to see the shadows. Alex:                         There’s that. Justin:                     It’s covered by word balloons. But yeah, I think it’s … I just mentioned this a bunch, but isolation versus reaching out. Like, they’re about to die, so they cling to the person- Pete:                        That’s why I wouldn’t go on cruise ships for a really long time. Alex:                         Oh, yeah. Justin:                     Well, remember, when we did that comic-con on the cruise, and that’s how we slept. Pete:                        Well, yeah, but I [crosstalk 00:25:10]- Alex:                         But then we got blown up, right? Justin:                     Yeah. Pete:                        But I always would … We would have to every night go down and look for bombs. Justin:                     That’s true. That was a fun- Pete:                        Otherwise, I couldn’t sleep. Alex:                         [crosstalk 00:25:17] Yeah, at midnight, every night, they start blaring the alarms, and saying, “Hey, everybody, bomb check. Justin:                     Yeah, I went to the casino, and Pete went looking for bombs on the deck. Alex:                         Now, we can probably, not speed through, but clip through the rest of the book, because we get to see them investigating the mystery. As we mentioned, they interrogate people at various bars, and then ultimately they end up in Veidt’s office, because they’re trying to find out where he is, to get his help. At which point, Nite Owl puts it together. Justin:                     Yeah, it’s just funny seeing … Like, Rorschach is just a real blabbermouth all of a sudden. He’s like, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Talking about all the Egyptian shit. Pete:                        Well, he’s finally around somebody who he doesn’t think is evil, or something. So he’s really just finally opening up. Alex:                         Well, this is what we talked about with Rorschach all along, that he is throwing the darts everywhere and hoping one of them stick, and Nite Owl is precise. He- Justin:                     Yeah, he’s the detective. Alex:                         Exactly. Justin:                     They need each other in every way possible, and this just proves. Nite Owl puts it together based on all the vomit that Rorschach is just spewing out in this thing. He grabs the things that makes sense and puts it together. He cracks the password. I mean, Adrian Veidt seems so smart. Throw an exclamation point in your password, dude. Alex:                         Right. Justin:                     Come on. Pete:                        Well, this was a while ago, before you needed that kind of stuff. [crosstalk 00:26:33]- Alex:                         But also, he knows that they’re going to figure it out, right? He’s left it there, he’s left the clues there, he’s left a map, he’s left documentation. He’s basically walked them right up to it, so that they can come find him as we find out at the end of the issue when he’s like, “Everything is happening according to plan.” But- Justin:                     So one other thing. So they figure it out, and they’re going to go to Antarctica, and Archie … They do one last thing. Rorschach drops his journal off in the mail, which is a fun little thing, because we see the dude pick it out. It goes to the New Frontiersman, and the kid in the smiley face shirt picks it out of the thing and sets it in their crank pile. Justin:                     But I thought it was interesting, the smiley face. We were like, “What does it mean? Is it just … ? What reference is it?” And I think it’s meant to be setting up the final moment of the series, where it’s the final punchline of the joke the Comedian set into motion. And this kid is the final punchline in that his journal is found and all the truth will come out. Alex:                         Interesting. Justin:                     So that was my take from reading it here. Alex:                         Yeah, so then they fly off to Antarctica. We get a bit of an action sequence that happens. Beautifully drawn. Very- Justin:                     So cool. Alex:                         … reminiscent of the Mars sequence as well, because you got the stark white, instead of the stark pinks of Mars. Also, this sequence really brought me back to the first time I read Watchmen, because when Nite Owl puts on his snow suit, which is the most adorable thing. And I remember that jumping out to me the first time too, just how cute … He looks like a cute little snowy owl- Justin:                     It’s very cute. Alex:                         … jetting along. Justin:                     On their little air bikes. Alex:                         Yeah. Yeah, and then we get confirmation, in case there was any wondering, that Veidt was the villain, because … What does he say there at the end? What’s the exact phrase? Justin:                     “It’s all right, girl.” Alex:                         “Everything’s all right.” Justin:                     “Everything’s all right.” Alex:                         Yeah, and then our back matter is all about Ozymandias, all about marketing. I think a large part of this is to show us the precision of Ozymandias, to underline, because we haven’t spent a lot of time with him, that he might not be the smartest man in the world, but he certainly has business acumen and is very precise with things. Justin:                     And I think it sets that he … We know that he’s a villain when we read the back matter, and the back matter is him figuring out his action figure line, him changing the Nostalgia perfume to Millennium, and then a self-help book geared toward healing. And it’s him setting up his businesses to operate in the New World Order after his plan is carried. Justin:                     It’s so interesting. He eliminates the Nite Owl, Rorschach action figures from his toy line, because he’s like, “They’re going to be dead, so we don’t want to manufacture those. We want to have all Veidt with random villains.” Pete:                        And what’s funny is, action figures also sometimes spoil movies, because when action figures come out before the movies and stuff, there’s hints to what the action figures do and have on them that gives us little hints. So- Justin:                     He didn’t want to spoil the plan, yeah. Alex:                         Well, also, though- Justin:                     [inaudible 00:29:33] Make the Rorschach murder-able. Okay, man. I don’t know what you mean by that. Alex:                         But also, at the same time, something that they built up in this alternate reality is like Ozymandias mentions, superheroes aren’t that popular. People don’t buy superhero comics, because superheroes exist. So you’d have to imagine it’s the same thing with the action figure line. So if anything, having Ozymandias versus a bunch of pirates, or something like that, would probably work a lot better for action figures. Justin:                     True, but I do think the point of it is- Alex:                         Sure. Justin:                     … that he’s so ice cold sociopathic that he is profiting off of his choices. Like, changing the perfume from Nostalgia. No one wants to look backwards. There’s this huge tragedy. They’re going to be looking hopeful and forward to Millennium and the self-help book geared toward the unified world, which is what he’s doing with his plan is unifying everyone. That’s what the self-help book is geared toward. So smart, so subtle, so smart. It’s great. Alex:                         To your point about the action figures, Silk Spectre and Doctor Manhattan don’t even enter into the picture. Justin:                     No. Alex:                         They’re not there. He doesn’t know. That may be the one thing that he actually didn’t necessarily plan for is them coming back. Justin:                     Right. Alex:                         If you would like to support this podcast, patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at The People’s Improv Theater loft in New York. Come on by. We’ll chat with you about Watchmen. You can check out the podcast at Watchmen Watch Podcast on Facebook and Instagram. Watchmen Watch One on Twitter, and Comic Book Club Live for this podcast and very many more. You can subscribe and comment on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, or the app of your choice. Alex:                         And remember, we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago. Justin:                     Oh, Alan just texted me, and he said, “I’ll definitely be there next week, hashtag pumpkin spice latte life.” The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #10, “Two Riders Were Approaching” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Oct 2019

32 min 42 sec

Remember this one? Laurie heads to Mars with Dr. Manhattan to debate the future of the human race, and in the process puts together some shocking truths about her past. We’re getting close to the end here as our Watchmen podcast breaks down Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ issue #9, “The Darkness of Mere Being.” SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen: Alex:                         Welcome to Watchman Watch, a podcast about Watchman, where we’re watching you. You’re watching us, but who is watching the steering wheel? I’m Alex. Justin:                     I’m Justin. Pete:                        I’m Pete. Alex:                         And we are going to be talking about chapter nine of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchman, The Darkness of Mere Being, as we get closer and closer to the premiere of Watchman on HBO. Before we get into that though, Justin, where’s our fourth co-host? What’s going on here? Justin:                     I mean, I sort of feel like I’m Alan’s keeper but I’m not okay. I’m just who he texts. But Alan Moore obviously is our fourth host. I’m his keeper. And unfortunately, he’s embroiled. He was on the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. So, he’s been looped in and subpoenaed and testifying before a congressional panel. Alex:                         Got you. Now, we should probably mention that we tape these episodes a little bit in advance. So, whatever we’re talking about right now, this is a week down the road. So, most likely we’re in a different world. Canada has annexed the United States. Mexico is at war with us. Probably a lot of things have changed. So, not completely valid. Alex:                         Another thing that’s actually changed in the world is the first episode of Watchman, by the time you’re listening to this episode, it’s already been out there. It’s premiered at New York Comic Con. People, including potentially some of us, have seen it already. So, we will be talking- Justin:                     Potentially, some of us. Alex:                         Potentially. Pete:                        Are you saying you’ve seen it? Alex:                         No. I’m trying to explain in timeline terms. We tape this a week before but we’d taped it 35 minutes ago. Right. You get that, you understand? Yeah. Justin:                     Alex, I don’t know if you know, but all of time is simultaneous. It’s just small minded humans who can’t look at more than one edge of the crystal. Alex:                         Right. So we’re taping this episode, but also we’ve already seen the first episode of Watchman, but we’re not talking about it yet because it hasn’t happened yet. So there you go. Pete:                        Cool. Way to clear that up. Alex:                         Yeah, no problem bro. Speaking of which, let’s get into a pretty straight forward issue of a pretty straight forward comic. Now the main thing that you need to do at this point is that Doctor Manhattan has taken Laurie to Mars. We saw that happen at the end of the last issue. In order to have a conversation with her about potentially saving the entire world. And when we say saving the entire world, there’s two things going on there. The one that we’re not really concerned about with this issue though we are in the background, is the mystery of what’s going on. Who this mask killer that Rorschach thinks is on the loose is. We’re much more concerned with the nuclear annihilation that is very quickly coming towards earth as tensions ramp up between Russia and the United States as they invade Afghanistan. Alex:                         So that’s the setup here. Jumping right actually into the beginning of this because I thought this was so fascinating this first page we’ve got a flashback, but from Doctor Manhattan’s perspective and I thought that was such an interesting choice to start off the issue. Why do you think that first page shows us information that we’ve seen before? Justin:                     Well, I think it through the rereading this issue for the first time in a long time, it makes me realize that Doctor Manhattan is a unreliable narrator or an unreliable God character in this. He claims to be all powerful. He claims to see things a certain way and he claims to not have human emotions anymore. But really he’s not. I think he actually is feeling emotions intensely and I think it does latch onto certain events that he goes back to and have affected him in a large way. And I think that’s why we’re starting here. Pete:                        Yeah. Also like this is the first time I’ve been a little bit like, “Okay, we get it with the imagery.” I think that at this point they keeps showing things over and over again and it’s at this point it’s a little, I’m like, “All right.” Alex:                         You think they got to calm down a little bit. Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, what’s the big deal? That’s what you’re saying. Pete:                        Well, I’m just saying not, I’m not like that. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that we’re falling into a pattern of a big image kind of starting things. And then it again and it’s important, then it goes away and it comes back and it’s like, “Okay.” I kind of get it as a storytelling the way that we’re kind of going at things. Alex:                         I don’t want to ruin anything for you too much, Pete, but there’s three more issues and I can guarantee you that’s going to happen at least three more times. Justin:                     Wow. Now who’s seeing the future? Alex:                         Right. I mean, listen, at this point, we’re nine issues into this comic, they’re not going to be like, “Eh, forget about a visual [inaudible 00:04:57] that we’ve been going for.” I will say one thing that I do find kind of fascinating, and we talked about this, I believe on the last podcast a little bit, but I am suspicious with some of the repeated imagery, not all of the repeated imagery. But some of the repeated imagery, that it’s more on the level of tone poem, than a specific meaning at any point in time. The Hiroshima lovers definitely show up at very specific instances, but something like the smiley face button, to me, it’s almost, it’s a connective fiber that brings the issues together. Versus a specific meaning every time it shows up. I’m probably wrong about that. I’m sure people are going to yell at it, but I’m curious to get your guys’ take on it. Justin:                     I mean in this issue specifically, we see the smiley face show up on the surface of Mars. And I think that’s not even tone, that’s just a pointed reference to the effect that The Comedian has had on all of these characters, the earth and now the surface of Mars. Because as we learn in this issue, and I think this is told perfectly in this, we find out that The Comedian is most likely Laurie’s father. And the way that information is sort of teased out over the course of the issue was so smartly done. It makes you suspicious of that idea. And then it’s like, “Oh that can’t be.” And it’s like, “Oh wait, there’s another little clue.” Justin:                     And then we realize it at the same time that Laurie does, like we’re having going through the same feeling she is. And it’s just perfectly done. And I think that’s why the smiley face at the end is so important, because that’s like the full Epic stamp on the planet saying, “Yes he is.” Alex:                         And I guess to your point, it’s sort of like The Comedians final joke, right? Even though his jokes aren’t funny, we’ve already established that he doesn’t actually make jokes so much as make true statements. When Laurie finds out this ultimate truth that Eddie Blake is in fact her father, she puts the pieces together, brings all of our memories together. Yeah, to your point, it does make this enormous impact on something that is ancient, as John AKA Doctor Manhattan describes to us over the course of the entire issue. Justin:                     I mean it’s almost The Comedian’s sort of a cosmic jokester where it’s not like, “Ha, ha.” It’s like, “Oh Whoa.” Which is not the usual comedians way of making the audience laugh. Pete:                        No, but it is kind of very DC like Joker’s more twisted than funny. And The Comedian is more fucked up than hilarious. Alex:                         Yeah. It’s sort of like, he’s like the Andrew Dice Clay of the universe. Like not really funny. Justin:                     Yeah. Pete:                        Wow. Wow. Justin:                     Yeah, he’s definitely the dice man. Oh that’s going to bother Pete. No, the greatest punchline of all time is smoking a cigarette over the top of your head rather than the normal way. Justin:                     I will also say one more thing about the smiling face. It also I think shows how much Laurie affects Doctor Manhattan, because we’re made to think that he created that smiley face. As Laurie reacts to all this information, I think he’s affected by it. He makes the choice to come back to earth, presumably based on their time together on Mars. And maybe subconsciously he put that large smiley face right on the surface as a response or a an echo of her feelings. Alex:                         Yeah. To give you those of you listening, the overview of the issue. I think part of the reason we’re bouncing around so much is it’s pretty much just one long conversation between Laurie and Doctor Manhattan. And then the other half of the issue is it’s interspersed with flashbacks throughout Laurie’s life. This is very much the issue focused on her. Even though we are focused on a relationship with Doctor Manhattan at the same time. And we get to see first experiences as a superhero interacting with the older superheroes, if you could even call them superheroes. They’re not really super heroes. Interacting with comedian, confronting him when she’s older and then ultimately, as you mentioned, Justin, getting Doctor Manhattan around to make this choice. Alex:                         But it’s also a conversation between predestination versus choice. What governs our lives? Are we just marching through our fate? Is everything determined in advance or can we actually make choices about things? And I would say this issue falls on the side of choice based on the fact that the most self-professed predetermined character, Doctor Manhattan ultimately does make a choice. Justin:                     Well, he makes it, you don’t see him make the choice. You just see that he’s not… it’s like a flip switch that’s like a light turning on. He’s like, “I’m not going to earth for all these reasons.” And he’s like, “I’m going to earth for these other reasons.” So I don’t know. I to me the freewill thing is more of, once you smashed something, can you put it back together? The snow globe, the nostalgic perfume spills out. The water that’s they’re sharing on the surface of Mars, their relationship and eventually the world. And then Laurie learning that her dad is The Comedian. Justin:                     It’s sort of saying like, “I don’t think you can change things. Once something smashed, it’s smashed.” Alex:                         Well, let’s get off of that first page and go through, because there is a funny sequence I think right at the beginning when they show up on Mars. And Laurie shows up there, she starts tumbling down a hill. Doctor Manhattan initially doesn’t understand what’s wrong with her, but he forgot that she can’t breathe on Mars and she needs to give her atmosphere. Alex:                         There’s also, to your point, Pete, about the recurring motifs and it’s very strong in this issue. We see for the second time in this sequence, the tumbling bottle of nostalgia perfume, the one that’s falling down that eventually smashes by the end of the issue. Which I think has a couple of meanings, right? I mean one thing that we don’t know it is- Pete:                        It’s foreshadowing. Alex:                         Yeah, it’s foreshadowing. It’s nostalgia of course, like it’s memory. It smells memory, it’s slowly coming back to her. But I think there’s also, because nostalgia, we haven’t talked about this on the podcast yet, is one of the products that Adrian Veidt markets. I think this is a sneaky way of keeping him in the mix and keeping us thinking about him, even if he doesn’t show up in the issue himself. Pete:                        Yeah. One thing I would like to talk about is yeah, it is kind of ridiculous that he forgets that, oh Laurie has to breathe. Like he just gets, you know like, “Oh yeah, I’m sorry about that.” He’s kind of absent minded professor. But one of the things, we talk about how great the art and a lot of great things about this comic, how high of a time it is. But the tough part is as far as female characters are concerned, this falls very, very, very short. Laurie doesn’t really have… she meanders it’s a lot about the sexual assault a lot about like that kind of stuff. And then you get the drawing of her and she ends up on her knees in front of him right in front of his blue penis. And then like he touches her mouth to open her up again. And it’s like, come on guys. You know what I mean? Pete:                        So that part is tough. I mean it’s not, I wouldn’t say as far as female characters and being able to pass certain tests and stuff like that. It falls very short and you’d like to think that the dressing and the female cares and that kind of stuff, that all sucks. But it’s just kind of ridiculous how we get these kind of repetitive, sexualized stuff with the female characters. And at this point I’m kind of sick of the repeating of the first and last and then that kind of stuff as well. Alex:                         I hear what you’re saying Pete, and I think you are right. Honestly it did not occur to me with the finger to mouth drawing, but now that I look at it, I think you’re absolutely correct there. But I do think a least I will give this issue credit that it does tackle Laurie’s main issue, Laurie’s main problem head on. Which is that for most of her life she hasn’t made any choices. She’s kind of just gone with the flow. She’s done what her mother wanted her to do. She’s done what other heroes thought she should do. Other people fed her ideas. She just went with Doctor Manhattan, because she thought that would be a good idea and she could help out him. And her entire life for decades was all about Doctor Manhattan. And ultimately as much as Doctor Manhattan needs to realize that the world is important enough to save, she needs to realize that she herself is important. And I think that is what she does realize by the end of the issue. Justin:                     Well, and I think to take the other side of it, like she’s kept in the dark by all of the people close to her about sort of all of the big things in her life. And we see in all these flashbacks that her mother’s keeping her in the dark about so many important things. The Comedian doesn’t talk to her again, just like sort of keeping her on the outside. She’s treated like an object by everyone. So of course it’s hard for her to make decisions. She doesn’t have enough information. And people are always just sort of moving her where they think she needs to go with the information that she has. Justin:                     I also think it’s funny that you’re like, it definitely reads like doctor Manhattan forgot that she couldn’t breathe. But I don’t know, it feels intentional. I think there’s another way to read it that he is a power play. This whole thing bringing her to the planet is a power play. She scorned him and he’s like a cold dick, cold blue dick about it the whole time I think. And if this guy knows everything about everyone, how does he forgetting that she needs oxygen? Pete:                        Yeah. Especially if he knows where they’re going to fight. Oh, he can remember that this is the part where she falls down and needs oxygen. This very much represents kind of like the male, woman, kind of like what’s important, what’s not throughout this comic, which is a little sad. Alex:                         Well, I think to Justin’s point, what he’s doing is basically like, “Oh, I don’t need you. I’ve got a cool clockwork house on Mars now.” Justin:                     It’s such a boyish. It’s like first girlfriend broke up with this dude and he’s like, “Oh, I’m actually cool right now. I have a palace on Mars. And I know what you’re going to say and do. And I don’t care about the earth at all. So why don’t you just go back home because I don’t care about the Earth at all. I’ve moved on.” Alex:                         It’s also to get back to what Pete was saying, it is very gas lighting behavior on his part. Which even if he does have the power to see everything at the same time, him being like, “Yeah, I know what you’re going to say. I know exactly what you’re like, you’re going to do this and then trick her into doing that.” Pete:                        Yeah, it’s very gaslighty. Alex:                         Yeah. It’s very gaslighty. Doctor Manhattan was the original gas lighter and chief. Justin:                     It’s true. And that’s why Allen Moore was on that call, and that’s why he’s appearing in front of Congress. Alex:                         Exactly. As long as that’s still valid, unless it’s not, in which case ignore it. Okay. So I do want to talk about one thing that I believe came up in our [inaudible 00:16:31] on Slack. Somebody brought this up and it really stuck with me. This issue. No, I’m sorry. Actually I think somebody tweeted this at us. What is Laurie smoking? And I don’t mean like, “Yo, what she smoking?” I’d mean literally, what is she smoking throughout his comic book? Pete:                        It caught me when I was a kid. I didn’t think about it, but now I’m like, “I don’t think that that’s a cigarette. The way she’s relying on it.” Justin:                     So what is it he thinks she’s high. Alex:                         I think it’s hash man. Pete:                        Yeah. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     Hash pipe. Alex:                         I don’t know what hash is, but it’s that. Justin:                     I mean, I don’t know. The way they talk about it, it just feels like a future cigarette. Alex:                         Yeah, it’s a future cigarette where you put the tobacco in a big ball in the front and then light it. Yeah. Justin:                     So are you saying maybe they’re not on Mars at all? She’s just too fucked up to realize that they’re in like in Doc Manhattan’s apartment. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         Yeah. That’s probably it. They’re probably just like a bunch of regular bros and she’s getting real high. And I think, I haven’t read this in a while, so maybe this is what happened, but at the end she’ll be like, “Yo, I got so fucking high. You were there and you were blue and you were wearing weird mask.” Alex:                         And Rorschach like, “Whatever man. Party on dudes.” Justin:                     Yeah, there’s a lot of, definitely that’s the way to read this. Real party vibes. Pete:                        I also would like to say that, this is the creepiest way to look at a snow globe. Of all the different angles and shading. That snow globe image it’s repeated and it bothers me because it kind of like freaked me out as a kid, but seeing it now I’m like, “God damn. It’s still so creepy.” Justin:                     It is creepy. Alex:                         Yeah. Well there’s so much going on with that one image. You’re getting of course, the button from The Comedian again, which is part of who Laurie is. As we know by the end of the issue. You’re getting the palace in there, which is reminiscent of Doctor Manhattan’s palace. The fact that she doesn’t have any features other than a smile and eyeballs. That’s very indicative of who Laurie is. She’s looking at people, she’s seeing the world. She’s smiling and looking pretty for them, but she’s not seeing herself as anything else at this point. Alex:                         And the other reason I agree with you in a certain sense, Pete, about the visual motifs. I understand where you’re coming from and I understand what you’re saying. But here what I think is so brilliant about the way Dave Gibbons lays this out, there’s probably an Allen Morris script as well, is this is how memory works. You don’t progress linearly through memory. You flash to things out of order. You have the same images like here, she talks about her earliest images, seeing the snow globe and slowly she works out before that and she works out after that as she grabs more and more of that memory. But it’s really just that flash. And maybe this is just me, but that’s certainly how my memory works. Pete:                        Yeah. I also think it was interesting- Justin:                     Yeah, and just was- Pete:                        Oh, go ahead. I’m sorry. Justin:                     I was going to say, is she getting used a little bit by Doctor Manhattan’s powers to really take her to these different moments? He sort of talks to her like she. Like he’s like guiding her into these intense memories to help get her where he wants. Alex:                         yeah, I mean part of it might be that he knows where the conversation is going, because it’s all happening simultaneously for him. So he is just walking her along that path of, “Well this is the thing that I say now that gets her closer and closer to this revelation.” It might also be her wacky tobacky that’s doing it, really opening up her mind. Pete:                        Now also, the first time around to reading it, I did realize that this floating castle is also kind of like the castle in the snow globe. Alex:                         Yeah, yeah, yes, exactly. He’s always been there. One other thing that we touch on in this issue are the memories, which is important to note. Because I think it was only really established in the back matter, is that Laurie’s mom, Sally married her agent. But as as strongly by this issue carried on an ongoing affair with Eddie Blake that ultimately led to the conception of Laurie. What do we think about that? Alex:                         Because I think that’s the other thing that’s very complicated from a 2019 perspective to say… I don’t know how familiar you are with the musical Carousel. But there’s this phrase of the musical Carousel where they ultimately come around to, there’s this guy Billy Bigelow who hits the lady he’s in love with. And by the end she’s like, “Sometimes a hit can feel like a kiss.” And it’s a very old musical, doesn’t really hold up that way in a modern context, though, my wife and I have had lots of conversations about it, because I love Carousel just based on the emotion in it and the musical. She hates it very specifically because of that. And I’m like, “Yeah, I get it.” But this feels very similar to that- Justin:                     Oo, Alex and his wife, musical fight. Alex:                         I got to take her side on this man. Justin:                     Trouble in paradise? Alex:                         Whatever man. Pete:                        It’s hard to overlook that part and pull that out of the movie and say it’s still cool. Alex:                         Listen man, we have a real first act second act into the woods relationship [inaudible 00:22:02] one of the two, you know what I’m talking about? Justin:                     I know what you’re talking about, dude. Pete you get it right? Pete:                        I hate when you do that. Justin:                     When we do what? Alex:                         But what I do want to talk about is the Eddie Blake of it all, because not only did Sally carry on an affair with him. But I think through the way Alan Moore writes it in through the way Dave Gibbons draws him in particular, it’s hard not to feel some sympathy for Eddie Blake in this issue. Pete, you’re nodding your head no, absolutely not. Under no circumstances? Pete:                        Yeah, man. Come on man. Let’s not sympathize with this dude who sexual assaults. You know what I mean? Justin:                     Well, I will say, I think to your point Alex, I think the scene the first time we see him in the issue where he sort of sees Laurie for the first time and it’s like I think you see him feel like, “Oh wow, this is my daughter and she’s grown up.” So I think you do get that feeling later. I think when he looks more like a monster, he’s meant to be seen as a monster. Alex:                         See I didn’t get that. Let’s jump ahead. So there’s, you mentioned that first scene. The second scene is at a party when Laurie is older, she’s now read, Under The Hood, the Hollis Mason book. So she’s very well aware of the allegations of rape. Which we know are true, because we saw them happen in the comic book. Alex:                         But there’s a series of two paddles where Laurie confronts him and she says, “Damn straight, damn straight. I do. I mean what kind of man are you? You have to take some women, you have to force her into having sex against her will.” Alex:                         And Eddie Blake says, “Only once.” Now, the thing there is such a brilliant turn of phrase because the implication to her is a, I only raped her once. But it’s actually, “No, I only had to force her once. All of the other times were consensual.” But what I take away from Dave Gibbons drawing of Eddie Blake in this panel is there’s a softness. It’s sad this in the eyes. Because he realizes he’s never going to win, Laurie, his daughter over to his side. He’s never going to have that. He’s older now. He’s lost Sally who I think whatever you say about him, he probably had some sort of genuine emotion for. And I do think that doesn’t forgive anything he did, but it’s rather fascinating to layer in those complex emotions for him. Justin:                     Yeah, I mean I take that. That panel is the only once panel is great. And you do feel like there’s something in there that’s still feeling regret and loss for that whole thing. But two pals before that, he’s just such a regular dick and so dismissive that, I don’t know, it’s complicated. That’s what’s so good about this book, is these characters are all super complicated and we only get these tightly compacted bits of their lives. Pete:                        Yeah, I think that is one of the things, I mean all of these characters are kind of like, we see how horrible they are and how tormented and all the things like that. So yeah, it’s just hard. It’s just such a weird thing that he’s like, I almost feel like at this point in the book, someone gave them notes like, “Hey guys, this is pretty dark.” Pete:                        And they tried to like be like, “Oh okay, well yeah he only raped her once.” Because that’s the thing. It’s really weird. Alex:                         I don’t think that anybody was giving them notes like that. I’m sure they developed it- Pete:                        Not back then. Alex:                         Yeah. Not, not back in pre notes times. No, I think what they were dealing with is that people are complicated. It doesn’t forgive their actions, but they can have emotional lives at the same time. And to be clear, I don’t have sympathy for Eddie Blake, but I do think that they do an effective job of eliciting that sympathy. And then making you realize, “Oh God, I just felt sympathy for this monster.” And making you feel bad about yourself while you’re reading it, which is what Laurie feels like. Alex:                         It ramps you up very well. So her realization of, “Oh God, this man, this monster was my father. I am feeling so many things at the same time. I can’t deal with them.” And that’s when at the end of the issue she collapses. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         But I did want to jump back and I want to talk about Mars a little bit, because we get these gorgeous expansive pages from Dave Gibbons with John Higgins coloring throughout. He’s mostly used red for danger and blood and terror and here certainly we get that. But it’s mostly for the wonderful wide expanse of Mars. And it’s so beautifully done. Justin:                     Yeah. It really is. And I think it’s meant to really put us on the side of Doctor Manhattan choosing this planet over Earth, I feel like. And then it all comes tumbling down. Like so many things, they expose too much of all of this and it all falls to pieces. And Doctor Manhattan has to return to earth. Alex:                         Yeah. Pete:                        Yeah, I do like how Laurie kind of messes up his perfect little toy that he makes. And I think that even if he saw that coming or whatever, it’s a very powerful way for her to be like, “Fuck all this.” Justin:                     Well he definitely saw coming because the force, the force field that they need to not get hit by all the junk is already up like before it’s even crumbling. And I also think he doesn’t need this little bachelor pad anymore, because he’s gotten her back. She’s back in his thrall by the end of this issue and so he’s like, “Okay, fine, I’ll leave with you. I knew this is coming and this is what I wanted is to be in control of the situation again.” Alex:                         Now, so let’s talk about this moment- Pete:                        This guy’s a giant blue dick man. Alex:                         You keep saying that you keep your very focused on his dick. He’s more than just a dick. He’s also got a butt. He’s got so hot abs. Justin:                     Nice abs. Alex:                         Yeah, nice abs. Justin:                     Don’t you think he makes those abs, like he didn’t earn them? Alex:                         Yeah. Yeah, come on work for you abs. Pete:                        I don’t see him working out. I don’t see him doing crunches in the morning. Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         Rude. Super rude. Also, he’s bald. Pete:                        Put some hair back on there dude. You’re [inaudible 00:28:48]. Alex:                         Absolutely, I would understand Doctor Manhattan a little better if he had like a flowing mullet to be perfectly honest with you. Justin:                     I like the idea that he’s like, “I can see through time, I control molecular matter but I can’t crack this bald shit. I don’t know what it is.” Pete:                        I do appreciate the fact that you said mullet, because he is business in the front. Alex:                         Yeah. Doctor Manhattan. That was in the original outline that Alan Moore wrote down. He was like, “Doctor Manhattan: party in the back.” That’s all it said. Justin:                     When you say party in the back, what do you mean in this? Like where is the party in the back for Doctor Manhattan? Alex:                         His butt. Justin:                     Ah got you. Is that what mullet means when you say party in the back, you’re meant to. It’s about the butt. Alex:                         Yeah. It’s like a butt party. Ah, let’s talk about the snow globe a little bit and what it means for Doctor Manhattan. Now, it’s pretty clear what the imagery here means for Laurie, where she drops the snow globe, it breaks the castle bursts out. She explains there was nothing inside, there was nothing magical. It was just water. That’s when she kind of realized what the world was like. At the same moments that’s happening, she’s throwing the nostalgia perfume. That bursts open, that leaks the perfume everywhere, and the castle that Doctor Manhattan builds that is similar to the castle that was in the snow globe crumbles into bits. Again, pretty clear what that means for Laurie and everything that’s going on with her. Her world is falling apart, et cetera, et cetera. It’s breaking out of… but it’s also widening out at the same time because it’s breaking out of her snow globe. Alex:                         But my question is, what does it mean for Doctor Manhattan? Because he built this clockwork castle, because he was so connected to the clockworks several issues back. That was his formative experience. So what does it mean that he is willing to give it up at this point? Justin:                     I think it’s time for him to do that. It mean he talks about in this tissue here, there’s a section of time coming up that he can’t see through. So I think- Pete:                        Yeah, he can’t see past it. Justin:                     … the gears are sort of a unspooling and so it’s time for him to also do that. But like I said, it’s also about, he doesn’t need any of this anymore. He’s got her back. That’s what sort of the function of this time was why he left Earth and now he can go back and it’s all, he’s thrown the clock away. Alex:                         Yeah. Pete:                        Also I’d like to point out though that like sometimes breaking shit is very freeing, but sometimes that not so much. It really depends on what your throwing against the wall and destroying. Justin:                     Yeah. It makes me have a lot of questions about what you’re talking about Pete. Pete:                        I do want to mention- Justin:                     What kind of stuff is cool to break? Alex:                         Yeah. What’s cool to break Pete? Pete:                        I would say like things that are glass that really shatter are fun to break against something. Alex:                         Okay. What’s not fun to break? Knives? Pete:                        No, just the things that are like if you throw them, they stay together. It doesn’t give you that big shatter effect. Justin:                     Like a rock. Alex:                         Like a couple that’s really in love? Pete:                        Wow. Wow. Justin:                     Yeah. You’re the rock Pete. Alex:                         Speaking of rocks, I do want to get back to that moment with The Comedian smiley face on Mars, because I love the way this is laid out. Where over the course of two pages, the last two pages of the issue, we see the smiley face filling the entire panel. And this isn’t a nine panel grid, this is three panels per page. So first it’s filling the entire panel, it’s everything, it’s the whole world. Then you cut back and you see Mars and it’s still very much a part of it and you realize, “Okay, it’s as big as a crater.” Which you’ve already been told in the issue is enormous, it’s huge. And then we keep pulling back and we see all of Mars, until finally Mars disappears and it’s nothing. And I think what you’re ultimately left with is the argument that Laurie and Doctor Manhattan are making, that there are things- Justin:                     Smiles fade. Alex:                         Smiles fade, smiles fade, but a frown is forever… is the lesson. No, what I was going to say is I think you’re left with the question still of, is human life actually important or is it nothing in the span of the universe? Justin:                     Whoa. But, I mean big question Alex. Alex:                         Well let’s figure this out on this podcast. Just real quick. Pete:                        Yeah, yeah. Can we just round it out real quick? Justin:                     Listeners, if you’ve been tuning in for while and now we get into the real shit. Is there any meaning in life? And I’ll tell you what, I don’t know. I think in this comic it’s just a bunch of people smashing into each other. And that’s the joke of The Comedian. Is that he died to start this story, he’s not even in this story as a real person, he’s just a looking back thing. And it all just spins and spins and spins and it doesn’t amount to anything for him. Alex:                         That’s really well thought out Justin. Pete what about you? What’s the meaning of life? Pete:                        I think you kind of got to look at the guy reading the comic book about life, while life is happening. He gets to sample life and sample little worlds one comic at a time. And you enjoy it for as long as you can until it’s over. Justin:                     So life is comics. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         Nice. Well I got to say if you asked me what the meaning of life is, it’s getting high on hash and partying in the back. You know what I’m talking about? Pete:                        Wow. Justin:                     Yeah. So just to summarize that Alex, you mean partying in your butt? Alex:                         Yep. Justin:                     Life is partying in your butt? Alex:                         Absolutely. A hashy hash, butt party. And then the back matter. The back matter is all sorts of stuff about Sally Jupiter. And this is all so fascinating, we haven’t spent a ton of time with the characters, Sally Jupiter. And I feel like not only do you really get confirmation of the history with Eddie but you find out more about her, you find out about the time. You find out about how important super heroing was to her, which is to say not as much as the merchandising rights. And in a certain way it ties into what’s going on with Adrian Veidt, where we found out about the action figures a couple of issues back. And in a certain way I would say she started that off right. She was the person that said, “Hey, it’s not all about doing good and punching people. You can make a little money off of it at the same time.” Justin:                     And based on this last little news article, you can make a bad pornography as well. Alex:                         Yes, exactly. Any other thoughts about this issue before we wrap up? Pete, anything else you want to say? Pete:                        Yeah, well, when I first read this through, I kind of stopped reading the interview after the first sentence because it was such a stupid sexist thing to say that I stopped reading. And then for this I read the whole thing and I was like, “Oh my God, there’s so much more reveal.” Pete:                        But it started out as such a stupid typical like, “So it’s all about the sex, right? Yeah, you got to go out there and look hot.” Alex:                         Yeah, but we’re works about that is, that’s what magazines are like. We’ve talked about this before, but Alan Moore is really excellent at [inaudible 00:36:22] the style of a lot of things and here in this back matter we get a news article, we get a handwritten note, we get typed notes from different people, we get a movie review. We get an interview in a magazine that, as you said, is all about like sex and pushing buttons is a very Cosmo style thing, though maybe a little deeper. Let’s say vanity fair. Justin:                     Yeah, nice dude. Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     Way to draw that line. Alex:                         Yes. So it’s stunning. It’s stunning to read that stuff and be like, “Oh, okay. The same guy wrote all of this stuff.” Justin:                     It’s just such a complete package from top to bottom, this whole comic. Alex:                         Yeah, good stuff. Good stuff. Listen, you guys are good stuff as well. And if you would like to support our podcast, patrion.com/comic book club. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the People’s Improv Theater loft in New York. Come on down. We’ll chat with you about Watchman. Alex:                         Couple of places you can check out the podcast, Watchman Watch Podcast on both Instagram and Facebook. Watchmen Watch One on Twitter comicbookclublive.com for this podcast and more. Also, you could subscribe and comment. Please do comment on iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, or the app of your choice. And remember we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago. Justin:                     Allen texted just texted me and he said he’s definitely going to be here next week. The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #9, “The Darkness of Mere Being” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Oct 2019

39 min 3 sec

It’s time to get the band back together as Dan and Laurie enact their plan to break Rorschach out of prison. Meanwhile, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen #8, “Old Ghosts,” serves as an overture to the rest of the series, layering in bits of the mystery and taking one major character off the board, permanently. Plus, are superheroes full of piss? We discuss. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen: Alex:                         Welcome to Watchman Watch Podcast about Watchmen where we watch Watchmen. You watch Watchmen. We all watch Watchmen. I’m Alex. Justin:                     I’m Justin. Alex:                         And we are going to be talking about Chapter 8 of Watchmen: Old Ghosts, as we continue our walk through Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons classic comic book series leading up to the premier of HBO’s Watchmen on October 20th. Speaking of which, I think you were away last week, Justin. You were traveling across country with our co-host, Alan Moore. And, then, this week, Pete’s gone and Alan’s gone. What’s going on? Justin:                     I’m sad to say we … So we drove all the way across country out to LA for a karaoke contest. We got all set. We were both super excited. He was gregarious, just like giggling, super happy. Alex:                         I know Alan. You don’t need to describe that. Justin:                     Yeah, exactly. This real giggle monster. Putting his name on stuff as opposed to the other. And our song is, Paradise by the Dashboard Light, obviously, by Meat Loaf. Alex:                         Sure. Justin:                     And, unfortunately, we both wanted to sing the woman part. Alex:                         Okay. Justin:                     And we had to split up over creative differences. Alex:                         Oh, no. So what’s going on? Where’s Pete? Is Pete off- Justin:                     Pete’s out there doing the male part. Alan flew him in. He’s got all that Watchmen cache. So he flew Pete in to just do the guy part. Alex:                         Yeah. I mean, if there’s one thing I know about Alan, he’s always willing to put out his own money for other people. He’s very into … He’s always dropping … and it’s honestly a little annoying … “You guys know I’m the author of Watchmen. And I’ve got a lot of money because of that.” Justin:                     Yeah. And he’s like, “This round’s on me. Everybody drinks on Watchmen” is what he’s always saying. Alex:                         Mm-hmm (affirmative). The other day we were hanging out and he started stuffing dollar bills in my G-string. And I was like, “I’m not wearing a G-string, Alan. You’re just stuffing dollar bills down my pants. Justin:                     Yes. Though I will say those are very, very short pants, to be mistaken. Alex:                         I’m comfortable. Justin:                     Yeah. No, it’s good. Those are the smallest jorts I’ve seen in quite some time. Alex:                         Thank you. I really appreciate that. Let’s jump in and talk about Old Ghosts. Now, I will mention that Pete did tell me about this issue. He’s very bummed to not be here to talk about this issue. Of course, this is the big prison breakout issue. A lot of Rorschach stuff going on. He’s very into it. This is … I believe he said his favorite issue in the run. Justin:                     Really? Oh, that’s interesting. Alex:                         Yeah. How do you feel about it, Justin? Justin:                     Well, this is the issue where sort of all the gears are coming together. All the disparate stories and characters are … sort of the squad is forming with Doctor Manhattan appearing. Nite Owl and Silk Specter II, their relationship is going strong. They’re fighting crime. They rescue Rorschach. Rorschach’s sort of world view is expanded to almost all of us to including Nite Owl, the New Frontiersman as we learn here. We get a sort of inside look at that. And we’re all starting to sort of believe Rorschach. Alex:                         Yeah. I did want to talk about that a bit. And this is certainly jumping right into the middle of the issue as well as the back matter of the issue. But we’ve talked a lot on the podcast about Rorschach’s worldview, how it was different back in 1986 when this was published versus 2019 when we’re viewing it now. But even through that lens, the New Frontiersman, which Rorschach read religiously, read it every single day as we know, man, that’s an anti-Semitic paper straight up. What do you think it means? This is the thing that I was wrestling, particularly reading the back matter because we get to see the staff of the New Frontiersman putting together their paper. And then we read a snippet of the dummy version of that paper. That they are both anti-Semitic, racist and terrible, but also, closer to the truth than anybody else, what do you think that means? Justin:                     I think it’s confusing. A couple things … I think it’s, like I was saying, it’s meant to be sort of a larger reflection of Rorschach’s conspiracy-minded thinking. I think, if I was thinking as a writer of this, I think it’s saying, “Hey, even these outlandish things are sometimes correct. And even the disgusting wrapper.” I’m assuming Alan Moore is not a racist, anti-Semite. I think he was trying to say, “Even this disgusting package, sometimes gets it right. A stop clock is right twice a day.” I think that fits with a lot of the clock imagery we have here. That’s the way, sort of the charitable way I can say it. Justin:                     The uncharitable thing is back then in the ’80s, there were these zines and small publications that had these bad ideas and put them out in the world and had a small group of followers. And, literally, because of the Internet, that is why our politics are sort of so messed up because you have these far-right news sources that have moved into the mainstream. I feel like that’s a lot of what the Watchmen series is going to be getting into … the websites like Breitbart and Daily Wire, I feel like the modern translation of all this stuff, and they have affected our politics in a huge way. Alex:                         Well, to get even deeper down this well, and we’re certainly going to be probably digging ourselves a grave with a certain section of the audience I think, but there’s a running theme through this entire comic that the outside people, the people who are the deviants, the people that are removed from society, like The Comedian, like Rorschach, like the New Frontiersman, they’re the only ones that really see things for how they truly are. Versus Dan and Laurie for the most part, they’re willing to just cruise in their lives. They’re just sort of doing their thing. They’re going along, they’re ignoring everything. The regular people are barely involved at all. They’re just sort of following along what everybody else is telling them to do. And, ultimately, that’s Adrian Veidt’s plan is … He believes, “Well, if I tell people it’s this thing, they’re going to believe it.” Alex:                         So it’s a very cynical, very nihilistic view of the way the world works. And the reason I said digging a well, is I think one of the very bad influences that’s come out of Watchmen and seeped into comics and pop culture is this idea that if you do stand outside of society, you were the person that is always right. We’ve talked about it at our other podcasts about Joker. And certainly, we haven’t seen the movie. I think by the time this episode comes out, the movie will just be out in theaters. But that seems to be saying the same sort of thing where it’s this cynical darkness, this outsider who truly is the person who sees society for the grimy, bad that it usually is, and the rest of the normies, like us, like you and me, frankly, are just kind of trucking along. But I don’t think society is as simple as that, frankly. Justin:                     No. And even in this book, I think … a lot of people, like we were saying, and Pete even really reads into Rorschach as the hero or as the person that you’re meant to identify with … and I don’t know. I think it’s pretty even-handed. I think the mystery, the fact that it lines up with Rorschach’s conspiracy theories makes it naturally feel like it’s from his point of view. But he suffers through so much of this. And in the end, he doesn’t unravel the mystery. The mystery sort of comes for the heroes. And they get drawn in by Adrian Veidt as we will read eventually. And Rorschach loses. So to me, it feels like … I don’t know … it’s not like we are … That’s is the wrong lesson to take from this, that Rorschach is right the whole time and conspiracy theories are meant to be believed. Alex:                         Well, I think part of that is they’re not offering a solution, right? They’re pointing out the ills of society. They’re pointing out this corruption, this death, this rot that is at the base of everything. But all they’re really saying is, “See, this is bad” versus … Clearly, Adrian Veidt’s solution isn’t good. Just trucking along and ignoring things isn’t good. But not coming up with an out for that is also not necessarily good. Not figuring out a way forward. And, ultimately, what I think they’re pointing out is … Well, one of the things that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons are pointing out is that society is broken. There is this rot under it. There is, through the government, through our art, through our entertainment, through our everyday revelationships, they are broken. Alex:                         But it’s more holding up this mirror to this thing and saying, “Here, see.” Like the New Frontiersman does, though obviously at a very extreme, very broad way. And, then, ultimately it is up to the viewer to talk about this. And to reflect on it and think about what they, themselves, are going to do. Justin:                     So, then, who are we? We’re the pirate on a raft of dead bodies? Alex:                         Well, I think we talked about how Rorschach is the pirate, right? I don’t know who we are in this comic. Justin:                     Well, I would think the way that we see the curse of the Black Freighter through the reader who … We see the comic book page in panel a lot. I feel like that’s meant to be just a device to get us into that story. And we are, then, that person suffering. Our lives are like long and tortuous. We have these goals. And we’re always two steps away from them. And we sacrifice so much to get what we want. And, then, it’s horrifying in the end. Alex:                         Well, if anything … I’ll just throw this out there, and this is a very unformed opinion … but, if anything, maybe we’re Doctor Manhattan in a certain way. We … I mean, you mentioned the kid who’s reading the comic by the newsstand. And we get to see him again this issue. We’re him, and in a way, he’s Doctor Manhattan who is able to experience all these things simultaneously in whatever order he wants. It’s the same thing with us as the comic reader, right? We’re looking at all these different panels. You can visually look at the full page where you see nine panels at the same time. Or you can choose to focus in on one panel. Or you can choose to focus in on multiple panels. Certainly, Gibbons is offering us a way of walking through it and a way of looking through it. But it’s up to us if we decide we want to flip five pages ahead or go back a couple of pages. That’s how we do it. Justin:                     Yeah, that’s cool. I’ve always thought of Doctor Manhattan as the author, though. Alex:                         Mm-hmm (affirmative). Justin:                     Sort of for the same reason, it’s the further outside perspective where the author is deciding. It knows the whole story and it’s deciding the order in which we get to read it. Alex:                         Now, one other thing I’ll throw out at you. And this might be old news by the time we post this episode. We tape these a little while in advance. There was an article that came out about a week ago, our time. In EW, there was an interview with Damon Lindelof where he was talking about the HBO version of Watchmen. And there was a bit of an uproar online because he said that the TV show wouldn’t moralize. And people got very upset. They said, “Oh, what are you talking about?” “Oh, great, this doesn’t seem true to the spirit of Watchmen.” Alex:                         But I would say based on our discussion right now, I think what Watchmen doesn’t do and what it does particularly in this issue is it doesn’t moralize, it presents you with moral situations. And then leaves it up to you, the reader, to decide how to react to them. Justin:                     Yeah. Yeah, I think so. And it’s pretty even-handed like we’re not meant to … that’s why I think so many people are like, “Who’s the hero of Watchmen?” It’s hard to say. If it was more moralized, you’d be like, “Oh, it’s obviously Nite Owl.” Or, “Doctor Manhattan.” Or whoever. Or “Adrian Veidt,” for that matter. So I do think it’s pretty even-handed. When I finished watching it for the first time, I was like, “Man, Ozymandias had that shit figured out.” Alex:                         You liked him? Justin:                     Well, I think the book’s meant to make you think … Who saved the world? He did also. Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     Rorschach was, in his own way, his rigid morality … I mean, we’re going to talk about this in a few issues, obviously … killed him and he lost. So, for the sake of the world, or the fate of the world, he was a bit of the villain that was trying to stop Ozymandias from saving the planet from itself. Alex:                         Yeah. Well, this is something we touched on a little bit in the last episode of the podcast, Pete and I had talked about because the issue was so focused on Dan and Laurie. And the same thing happens here. These two issues are the most superhero comic we’ve gotten so far. And I think that’s because Dan and Laurie are the most middle of the road characters. Both of them are kind of very casual about being heroes. Dan was a billionaire and thought, “Yeah, sure. I could be a superhero. That sounds like fun.” Laurie, as we were revisiting this issue, only did it because she thought, “Well, my mother did it, so I guess I should do it as well.” Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         But at the same time, they’re the ones that get the most superhero action. So when I first read Watchmen, they were the ones that I identified with, that I hooked into the most because to me, they felt like the most recognizable characters. Justin:                     Yeah, I mean, I agree with that. That was definitely … they were the ones here like, “Oh, I get this. And I like that they’re hooking up. And maybe in love, maybe not.” You’re really pulling for Dan, I think, for a lot of this where it’s like, “Work it out, dude.” Alex:                         Yeah, you could do it. I think, also, it’s very clearly painting him as a 40 year-old, overweight men with glasses is really gunning for the comic reading demographic where it’s like, “Hey, that’s you. You’re this guy. You could be Nite Owl. Get in the ship. Come on.” Justin:                     Yeah. He has a plan for everything. Yeah, that’s true. Alex:                         Yeah. You want to jump into the issue? You want to walk through it? Justin:                     Yeah, let’s walk through it a little bit. So we start with a conversation between Hollis, the original Nite Owl and Sally Jupiter, the original Silk Specter. This is just some fun nostalgia. I feel like nostalgia’s a big theme in this issue. It’s Halloween night. There’s a bunch of kids going out for some fun. And, then, to talk about the end of the issue, this bookends the comic, a bunch of people who we see getting all crazed over the course of the issue, go and murder Hollis in his house as these innocent kids then come to trick or treat with him. I feel like this is very much the death of nostalgia, the death of the old, and the world is different now kind of a take. Alex:                         Yeah. I think that’s fair. The other part of it which we actually haven’t talked about at all over the course of the podcast, one of the running things in the background that comes to bear this issue is that gang. And the way that I understand that there’s this band … it’s not called … One of the members of the band is called, Red Death, which is pretty directly from Masque of the Red Death, the Edgar Allan Poe story. Alex:                         But the gang, I believe, is called the Pale Horsemen, which again, is a sign of death. So they’re running in the background and they finally make a move here. They’ve been sort of passing through things. They have occasionally … got beaten up by Dan and Laurie a couple of issues back. And ultimately here, they end up killing Hollis at least partially because they think that he is Dan Dreiberg. They think that he is the Nite Owl that broke into the prison and they want to take revenge on him. There’s a little part of me, and this might be not remembering the last couple of issues well, but does wonder if this is another part of Adrian Veidt’s plan to take people out. But maybe not. Justin:                     Yeah, this feels like, to me, just general society is crumbling because of the pressure of nuclear war, and this is … I think, makes more of the case that Ozymandias’ plan, that we find out later, is right. The society is crumbling. And he needs to rewrite the course of mankind because it’s come to rely on Doctor Manhattan to protect them and solve all their political problems. Alex:                         Yep. But, like you said, it is nice and nicely laid out conversation as well. I love, again, the juxtaposition between … and I know I’ve been saying that word too much … but between the old pictures of Hollis Mason and Nite Owl and Sally as Silk Spectre, and them talking about themselves in costume, in particular. I thought those were just two fun, well-laid out panels. One thing I want to touch on here because this is also part of the bookend, this takes place mostly on Halloween night. We get to see three trick-or-treaters, who later discover the dead body of Hollis Mason. A ghost, a devil and a pirate. I think the pirate is very clear because we know that pirates are super popular in the way that superheros are super popular. In the real world, ghosts certainly seems to come from old ghosts. And, then, there’s the devil which also could tie in death. But what do you take away from these costumes? What do you take away from it being set on Halloween? Justin:                     I think it … Well, I mean costumes, the superheros wearing costumes, I think it all, that all plays pretty directly. Last issue we saw the Nite Owl, he fucks way better when he’s in his costume just like all of us. And I think part of it is innocence wrapped in sort of horrifying things. So much of this issue is the flip of that, horrifying things wrapped up in innocence where you have these people that seem like they’re hanging out and talking to the newsstand people and, all of a sudden, they go and murder Hollis. And that juxtaposition of how we try to put ourselves out there and what is actually lying underneath. Alex:                         Yeah. Well, then we jump over to a sequence set at the newsstand. We get to see the curse of the Black Freighter comic a little bit more. I think we talked about the cops being the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I almost feel like the newsstand people have taken over that job in this issue a little bit. Justin:                     Definitely, because the cops start to play a more threatening role later on in this issue. So yeah, these are definitely the people on the street. They’re dealing with the world at large. These are the people in Spider-Man who are like me. Someone’s got to catch this Green Goblin guy. And then they get buzzed by the sled line pass. Alex:                         I like that you think Green Goblin rides a sled. I appreciate that. Justin:                     Well, he rides a little, the air- Alex:                         It’s a glider. It’s a glider. That’s the word. Justin:                     Air sled. Alex:                         And then we get a scene with Dan and Laurie where they’re talking about their plan to break Rorschach out of prison. Two things that I wanted the call out about this that I thought were so neat. So last issue, the visual motif was all about reflections and circles. We kept seeing everything reflected in Nite Owl’s goggles and Dan’s glasses, in Archie’s windows, or whatever you want to call them, over and over and over again as we come zooming in and out of that. And for the majority of this comic, for the majority of this issue, Dan’s glasses and Nite Owl’s lenses are opaque. Except for when he is confronted by the police officer about half way through where suddenly you can see his eyes. Alex:                         And I thought this was such a neat little thing to show that even now, even when he’s dressed as Dan Dreiberg in the scene with Laurie towards the beginning, he’s still Nite Owl. He’s still in costume the entire time. He’s confident. And Dave Gibbons draws him for the first time really, he’s standing up straight. His body language is more confident. It’s such a subtle little thing, but it’s so smart and so clear and so nice. Justin:                     Confidence is the ultimate costume. Alex:                         Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s true. That’s why nobody recognizes me when I’m standing up straight. I’m usually hunched over like a little old witch. Justin:                     That’s right. And that’s why I go to work completely nude every day. Because confidence is the ultimate costume. Alex:                         Hey, man, dress for the job you want. You know what I’m talking about? Justin:                     Yeah. Naked man in public. Alex:                         Yeah, I’ll tell you what. I walk into work just wearing a T-shirt. So far nobody’s hired me as Winnie the Pooh. And it’s a real bummer. Justin:                     You’ll get that job. Though I guess … What office are you walking into that you think there’s a Winnie the Pooh position? Alex:                         I walk into Duane Reade … Is that where they hire- Justin:                     That’s pretty good. There’s a lot of honey there. Alex:                         There is. I’m always eating that honey and I’m always getting stuck in their doors. Then after the Dan and Laurie stuff, we jump right into the prison stuff with Rorschach. We get to see him very stoically sitting in his prison cell. He’s just waiting for something to happen. Meanwhile, a bunch of criminals, somebody that he seemingly first tussled with back when he was a superhero called, Big Figure, who is a short guy … and that’s the funny part. Justin:                     That’s a killer joke. Dude. Alex:                         Oh, man, yes. I did like that. I love these little details that they throw in with the old-time superheros and supervillains because they feel so consistent with the comic books of the time. Justin:                     Yeah, and goofy, I think is what you … like all these super dark gritty storytelling about all the heroes they were dealing with in this comic. And all of their back life. All of their earlier crime-fighting stuff is just like battling a bunch of goofs. Alex:                         Now, let’s talk about Rorschach a little bit because he does, like I said, sit there very still the entire time while he’s interacting with Big Figure. Big Figure is threatening him. His goons are threatening him. They say, “We have plenty of time. We’re going to kill you in jail. You’re not going to survive this.” Do you think Rorschach knows that he is going to be broken out? Or do you think he knows he has a plan? Or is he just completely disengaged from everything? What’s going on with him? Justin:                     I think he’s sort of a coiled snake. He’s in full fighting position. He’s just fully at peace, fully Rorschach. I think there’s a line here where we hear that his psychologist has left him. And I think that proves that he’s right. That he’s able to influence that psychologist to fully just give up on society, basically. And I think that gives him the confidence to know, “Whatever happens, I’m going to be ready and be able to be at my peak when these people come to try to kill me,” or whatever. And he is. Throughout this sequence, these series of little bits here, he dominates these criminals who have him penned in. Alex:                         Yeah. And to jump back a little bit to the newsstand thing, there’s two things we find out. One, the guy that he hit with hot oil died. We find that out throughout this issue. But also, the psychologist does pass by the newsstand. They remark on it a little bit, but they don’t know who he is. And, initially, I thought that the psychologist was going into the Department of Extraspatial Studies. Looking back on it, I don’t think he’s actually doing that. But one of the big things that happened this issue that really does make it feel either like the beginning of the final act or the end of the second act is everything started to come together. Everything is passing by each other. And these coincidences are really snowballing, so to speak. Justin:                     Yeah, it feels like this issue, especially the section we’re about to get to is sort of like putting everything on the table, letting everyone have a look at it while still the action is plummeting forward. As we get back to the essential mystery that we’ve sort of not really been paying attention to too much … it’s been a lot character stuff … and now we’re about to start hitting that full slope down toward the climax. Alex:                         And I think part of that is just plot-wise, Dan, the realization that he comes to the last issue, that there might be more to what Rorschach is saying than just ravings of a crazy person. He starts to trust that, “Okay, I worked with this guy back in the day. Maybe he’s actually on to something. Maybe somebody is actually taking on masks. Maybe there is some bigger plan that I can’t quite see here.” And we do get to see him Batman out a little bit, putting together all the clues, which I thought was very fun. Justin:                     Yeah. So let’s just skip to that. We have this scene where the cops confront him at home. Dan’s pretty panicked in that actual scene with the cop and it feels like he’s busted. But as soon as the cop leaves, he flips back into Batman Nite Owl mode where he’s like, “We’ve got to do this now. They’re getting close.” And then we get this great progression of scenes that are tipping the hat to all these other things while we’re also seeing Nite Owl and Silk Spectre just get ready for their super heroic moment. Which I think is just a … What a great montage just- Alex:                         Oh, my God. Justin:                     … brings together all the threads. Alex:                         It’s so good. If you’re not looking at the comic right now, if your just listening to this, there’s a series of pages. They all have six panels at the top and one silent panel at the bottom. And the ones at the bottom are playing off of what’s happening at the top, of course, because it’s very consistent with what’s been going in the comic. I believe it’s called- Justin:                     I believe it’s called, juxtaposition, Alex. Alex:                         Oh, I was trying to avoid using that word again, but- Justin:                     Interesting. I felt you feel it, felt you say in your heart, so wanted to say it out loud. Alex:                         Thank you. I appreciate that. We get to see them getting everything ready. And this almost plays to me like an overture in a certain way where we get to see the New Frontiersman. For the first time, we get to see what’s happening on this island that’s been teased before. We get to see the missing nuts, superhero writer, the missing pirate, comic writer who has been working on, he thinks a Hollywood movie. We see the squid monster for the first time being drawn by somebody. We get to see- Justin:                     But we truly have no idea what that means. Alex:                         Yes. Justin:                     Nothing. Alex:                         I definitely remember very vividly, and I had completely forgotten about that page until I got back to it, but I remember the first time reading that, I was like, “What is going on here? What is this page?” Justin:                     Is this a panel from another comic that’s somehow in here? Yeah, totally out of nowhere. What do you think going back one section to the New Frontiersman? Obviously, this guy’s such a dick. And his assistant, though, is wearing a shirt with a smiley face on it. Alex:                         Mm-hmm (affirmative). Justin:                     Is that meant to be some sort of a reference to pre-Comedian type person? Is this a person who just has no vision of the world as in just a smiley face that’s untarnished by blood? Alex:                         I mean, that might be part of it. Certainly, he seems like a very naïve simple [baye 00:28:42] to use modern parlance. But at the same time, I think Comedian wore that pin, right? Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         And he is probably a superhero fanboy. So it might just be a Comedian sweatshirt that he picked up somewhere potentially. Justin:                     Tight. Yeah. Alex:                         But, yeah. I don’t know. And then we get see to Hollis Mason putting together the jack-o’-lantern basically bringing around his own horror, his own doom. Once again, we get dripping pumpkin juice over an eye. It looks exactly like the Comedian’s button with the blood on it. We get that recurring visual motif. And we get to see … they are called, I don’t know if they’re called, Pale Horsemen, but they’re from the gang, Pale Horse … bothering the newsstand person and being very upset about everything that’s going on. They find out that there is a riot in the jail. They’re pretty pissed off about that. It’s, in a certain way, Rorschach being arrested really is the spark that sets this all off almost more than Russia invading Afghanistan, I think. Justin:                     Yeah, though I do think there’s an existential dread for everyone there like, “We’re all going to die.” The newsstand guy is constantly talking about how he thinks everyone’s going to die, playing out that anxiety. And even the way these panels are laid out, it’s such a stressful build, an anxious build of … it’s empty. It’s a pretty empty panel with just the comic book. Then all of a sudden there’s smoke everywhere. There’s all these people. There’s a dude named, Derf. Everyone’s crowding into the panel. Alex:                         That’s stressful. Justin:                     Yes. Alex:                         Dude named Derf, stressful. Justin:                     Exactly. That’s a weird name. And everyone starts shouting. It’s building up, this is a formation of a riot. And they’re trying to get those Katies. Alex:                         Mm-hmm (affirmative). Got to get them Katies. Justin:                     That’s that street drug. Alex:                         Yeah. What’s your favorite thing about Katie. Justin:                     About Katie? Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     Having Katies? Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     Taking Katies? Alex:                         Mm-hmm (affirmative). Justin:                     I like the way they just make you crazy, make you want to cut off the sleeves off your jean jackets. And just run amok in the streets. Alex:                         Yeah. I know it was kind of the look at time, but I immediately thought about Leader from Dark Knight Returns, just because they have the same sort of like, “We’re very extreme. We’re wearing those very angular sunglasses at night.” Justin:                     Yeah. That’s true. That was the most menacing fashion choice you could make back in the day. Alex:                         Yeah. Wear 3-D glasses, terrifying. And then we go back to the prison. We see Rorschach in a sequence that I’m 100% sure Pete absolutely loved where a dude goes after Rorschach. Rorschach turns around, twists his fingers around, ties his pinkies together through the bars of the jail cell, and then Big Figure is forced to cut his throat. Rorschach is splashed with the blood. Now, nothing is wasted in this comic, right? Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         Nothing is unimportant. What do you take away from the way Rorschach is splashed with the blood? Because it’s not the same design as The Comedian’s button. It’s not a Rorschach test because it’s only on one side of him. What do you think Gibbons and John Higgins who did the coloring, what do you they’re trying to do with this? Justin:                     To me, its position makes me think of a toy soldier or just a doll who’s playing out his part and he’s taking all this blood on him. He’s getting splattered. He’s getting tarnished by this shitty situation that he’s in. Alex:                         It might also be, just to throw something out, but it might also be that he’s only half the man right now. He still is Rorschach because as clearly explained a couple of issues back, Walter Kovacs doesn’t exist. He thinks it was just Rorschach. But he’s missing his skin right now. He’s missing the thing that truly makes him, him. So maybe that’s why he only has this Rorschach blot on the left side of his body. Justin:                     Hmm. I see. Yeah. Alex:                         Well, then we get a switch of everything that’s going on. Now that Nite Owl and … I keep wanting to say, Sally Spectre … Silk Spectre, thank you … are in the prison, we switch it and we get this great panel of them flying over the walls as the guards are shooting. So good. And the entire time, to get back to the Dan of it all, Nite Owl is completely in charge. He’s so confident the entire time. And it’s kind of amazing to see. Justin:                     Yeah. And even though he’s dressed like a giant owl in a prison full of people who want to kill him, he’s totally chill about it. Wearing a cape that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Alex:                         This is … I know we’ve lumped on the movie a lot on this podcast, and I’m sure at some point we’ll delve back into the movie and do a full episode about it. But, man, reading over the comic, I think … I read the comic again, watched the movie, and I haven’t read the comic since I watched the movie, so that was stuck in my head … So I was real surprised that they didn’t kick anybody’s asses at any point here. They basically just walk into the prison and the whole riot and everything is going on around them. And they don’t do much. Justin:                     Yeah. I like that. I think it adds to the tension. It sort of has the haunted house aspect to it where they’re just trying to find Rorschach. And then when they confront him, you can’t tell if he’s bad or he’s a menace. He’s all in red. Seems like he may have officially lost it. And you just see him go and kill Big Figure, the one guy who was trying to kill him off panel in the bathroom and then walk out with the heroes. Alex:                         I mean, ever since I read this, I pretty much assume anytime somebody says, “I have to go to the men’s room,” that they’re killing somebody in there. Justin:                     It’s sadly true for me half the time. Alex:                         Yes. Two things I want to point out visually that go on. One, when Rorschach walks out of his cell, he walks through a puddle of blood and leaves footprints of blood exactly like he did back in the very first issue of the comic, although this time, now, we know that Walter Kovacs is in fact Rorschach. And then the other thing that happens that I think is so great with the coloring that John Higgins puts in the book is after Rorschach kills Big Figure, he walks out of the room and like you mentioned, everything is in red. He’s cut out the electricity from the jail, so there’s no lights on there. Only the emergency lights. And we see this puddle coming out. And you would potentially assume out of a bathroom given that the puddle is just all red and reflective, it could be piss. It could be water. But we know, even without seeing it, that it’s Big Figure’s blood that’s coming out there. And it’s such a great choice. Justin:                     Yeah. I like the idea that you look at this and your first thought is, “Hey, that could be piss.” Alex:                         Hey, man, it’s a bathroom. Justin:                     Could be yellow Gatorade. Alex:                         Again, at the Duane Reade, where I’m trying to get my Winnie the Pooh job, lot of piss in there. Justin:                     Yeah. So call Duane Reade … So, especially, this is something they should have done in the movie is Rorschach doesn’t go in and kill that dude. He just goes in there and sprays pee all over the place. He’s been holding it in the entire time he’s been in jail. And finally, he’s like, “Oh, yes!” That’s why he goes in the men’s room. Alex:                         That’s why he’s sitting so straight up. Because he’s full of piss. Piss and vinegar, I got to say. Justin:                     Yeah. You got to say that. Yeah. Alex:                         The other thing that he probably does, frankly, like knowing Rorschach, knowing what’s going on here. He probably goes in, puts all the seats up. And just walks out. Justin:                     Oh, what a man. Alex:                         And you’re like, “Put them down. Come on, man.” Justin:                     Yeah. Come on. People don’t want to touch that right when they’re in there and got to go. Alex:                         Do you think Rorschach washes his hands when he leaves the bathroom? Justin:                     No. I bet he reads articles about how the dirtiest part of the bathroom is the knob on the sink. Alex:                         Mm-hmm (affirmative). Justin:                     So he’s, “I’m not touching that.” Alex:                         Yeah. Speaking of dirty things, we get an interesting interaction when he shows up and sees Silk Spectre and Nite Owl there where he tells Nite Owl, “Good to see you back in the costume, Dan. Laurie, I never liked your costume. It’s gross.” Which, whatever you want to get into with the misogyny inside nature of Rorschach, it’s still a very funny and very clearly Rorschach exchange that he has there. Justin:                     Yeah. That’s an insulting thing to say to your superhero friend. It’s like, “Hey, work on the costume a little bit.” Alex:                         Yeah, it’s gross, but for some reason, it works for me here just because Rorschach is being such a weirdo and we’ve been away from him for so long and learned that he’s such a bad, gross guy. That seeing him compared to Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, it diffuses it a little bit. Justin:                     Well, also I think it matches the idea of Nite Owl’s his buddy. And he has his new girlfriend out with him. He’s like, “Oh, I thought it was just going to be you and I hanging out, and she’s going to be here?” Like, “I thought we were going out to play darts. What’s she doing here? We’re friends. I love you.” Alex:                         “And go see some [Ron.com 00:38:17] or something. Come on, man.” Justin:                     “Come on. It was our night. We were going to go up to the water tower and write our names.” Alex:                         So then they head out in Archie, in the Owlship, another great shot of Rorschach hanging out at the top of the Owlship as they fly away from the prison. Then they get back and there’s kind of a big twist where Laurie, who’s been touching on talking about Doctor Manhattan the entire issue accidentally mentioning his name because she’s just off the relationship with him, and keeps apologizing about it, talks about, “I wish somebody would just take care of this for us.” And Doctor Manhattan, totally dude, just holding a magazine, reading about himself, mind you, shows up in her bedroom to be like, “Oh, we’re actually having a conversation right now on Mars that hasn’t happened yet for you, but is happening simultaneously for me. Just thought I’d come done here to let you know we’re going to Mars now.” Alex:                         What do you think Doctor Manhattan wants out of this conversation? Justin:                     I don’t think he wants anything. I think he really is just fulfilling the gears of the clock that he says he is. Alex:                         Well, what about, on the other end of the spectrum, what about Laurie? And this is something we touched on in a couple of episodes, those podcasts, but particularly we dealt into it a bit in the last episode, what Laurie wants. And here, do you think there is anything to her constantly dropping Doctor Manhattan’s name to her totally being fine to just say, “Oh, I’m going to Mars. See you later, Dan. Bye,” at the end. Is she still not as into the relationship with Dan as Dan is with Laurie? What’s your take on it? Justin:                     Well, I think they’re opposites. I think when she was with John and finally their relationship falls apart because he’s being too much for her, she sort of falls for Dan because he’s the most human, the most like every man of anyone that she hangs out with, yet still has the touches of the superhero side. So she can get a little bit of everything with him. But then when she sort of conjures him out of nowhere and it’s like, “This is my guy. He’s all-powerful. He doesn’t have issues with confidence. He just is what he is.” She gets swept back up into him. I think she’s just in the middle of a tough spot. But I think at the end of it, she loves the Doctor Manhattan that she first met so many years ago. And Nite Owl just isn’t enough to fill that gap. Alex:                         There’s also a possibility that she’s lazy, frankly. That’s something that, not to take her down a notch, but that’s something that Sally mentions right at the beginning of the issue where she tells Hollis Mason on the phone, “Oh, it’s so funny that Laurie is going out and doing this stuff. She never really wanted to put in some work to be a superhero. She was always kind of annoyed and bored by it.” Certainly, that’s Sally’s take and she has her own take. But it could be a relief in a certain way to Laurie to say, “Oh, thank God, okay, we don’t have to figure out a mystery. We don’t have to break anybody else out of prison. Great. John is here. He’s going to solve everything.” Justin:                     Yeah, I think there’s a little truth to that. But also, I think she’s someone who’s really never made her own decisions in her life. She just became a superhero because her mom sort of made her. She was with John because it was convenient, though I do think she actually loves him. She was with Dan because he was chasing after her. And then she doesn’t even have to really make a decision here because Doctor Manhattan is like, “No, you are talking to me in one hour.” And so she’s like, “Okay.” And off she goes. Alex:                         Then we get to see Rorschach and Nite Owl escaping from the police in a parallel to the scene of Nite Owl and Laurie leaving by the tunnel the last issue. And then we get to the saddest scene in the issue, which we talked about earlier. But Hollis Mason, getting killed by this gang, it’s intercut with scenes of him in his prime beating up villains and having a great time doing it. And even though we haven’t spent a lot of time with Hollis Mason, it’s gutting, I think, the sequence. Justin:                     Yeah, because I think, at our core, if you read comic books and you find Watchmen, Hollis represents sort of regular comics. And so to see him die, even though we don’t know too much about him as an individual, it feels like Batman, the comic characters you sort of grew up and have a nostalgia for are just being murdered right in front of you. Alex:                         Yeah. Well, in a certain way, then, would you say the Leader of the Pale Horse is Alan Moore, and he’s like, “Yep. That’s it. Watchmen killed superhero comics.” Justin:                     Yeah, I do. Especially, I think in the last panel of the issue when these kids walk in and see his dead body, I think that’s sort of the comic industry being like, “Oh, shit. Things just got fucked up in here.” Because after this comic, it was like there’s a whole new game out there. Alex:                         Now, one of the last things I wanted to mention is who did Justice, this is a character that we haven’t spent a lot of time with, but will become an important type of lead, if I remember correctly pretty soon, the ghost character who shows up the trick-or-treater who’s dressed like a ghost, who shows up towards the end, looks a lot like Hooded Justice, at least in terms of the profile. Then immediately following that, we got the New Frontiersman article that’s, “Honor Is Like The Hawk: Sometimes It Must Go Hooded.” And there’s also a lower case reference to hooded justice in the text of one of those articles as well. So what I think is most interesting about that, I don’t think we’re going to get to it immediately, but it’s more, essentially, saying, “Hey, don’t forget about this Hooded Justice character. I know we’re saying we killed off the past, but we’re not quite done with it completely.” Justin:                     Yeah. Because it does inform … everything is meaningful. It’s just, this issue especially, puts a real flag in just what a dystopian world is happening around all of this action right now. Alex:                         And just to get back to the HBO show of it all, I think it’s going to be kind of fascinating to see a focus on Hooded Justice just because Sister Night, who is Regina King’s character in the show, seems clearly inspired in the text of the show by Hooded Justice. So I think there’s going to be a lot of rifts on that relatively underserved character when we watch the TV show, but we’ll have to see. Justin:                     It almost feels like the TV series, the more we see of it is like, “Oh, it’s all happening again from the beginning.” So it’s not, it’s using all of the Watchmen stuff that we know and setting it after that. But the cycle is beginning once again. Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     And Hooded Justice and Rorschach is there, but in different thing. Everything is remixed. But it is from the very same beginning. Alex:                         Yeah. Anything else you want to say about this issue before we wrap up here? Justin:                     Comics are good. Alex:                         I agree. If you’d like to support us, patreon.com/comicbookclub. We also do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the People’s Improv Theater Loft in New York. Come on by. We’ll chat with you about Watchmen. A couple of places you can check out this podcast. You can go to Facebook watchmenwatchpodcast. Also, Instagram watchmenwatchpodcast. On Twitter, WatchmenWatch1. Sorry, we couldn’t get WatchmenWatchPodcast. That’s just how twitter works. Also, you can check out the podcast at comicbookclublive.com. Subscribe, rate and leave a comment on iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher. Or the app of your choice. And remember, we tape this podcast 35 minutes ago. Justin:                     Alan just texted me. He said, “I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry. Pete is bad at karaoke. I’ll definitely be there next week.” The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #8, “Old Ghosts” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Oct 2019

47 min 41 sec

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ owl eyes turn to look at Dan and Laurie’s developing relationship in an issue that at least one of our hosts thinks delves deep into superhero sexuality. But Watchmen #7, “A Brother to Dragons,” has a lot more on its mind than a superhero bone sesh, as elements of our mystery start to come together in the background. Hallelujah. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen: Alex:                         Welcome to Watchmen Watch, a podcast about Watchmen, where we watch you watching Watchmen and you watch us watching Watchmen. It’s a watch party all over the place as we watch each other. I’m Alex. Pete:                        I am Pete. Alex:                         We have some bad news for you guys right up front. Unfortunately, two of our hosts are gone this episode. One of our hosts, Justin Tyler, usually here, our other cohost, Alan Moore, always here, but they actually went on a road trip together, cross country. Did you get the text about this, Pete? Pete:                        No, I didn’t. Alex:                         Yeah, they’ve been texting me all day. It’s so cute. They’re trying to get to a karaoke contest in Los Angeles. They got to get there in time to win the prize so that they can pay the rent money. Fingers crossed. I know they’ve gone on a lot of- Pete:                        Wow. That seems like the plot for like a B movie. Alex:                         Yeah, no, no, no. It is a plot for Bee movie, the Bee movie with Jerry Seinfeld, as far as I know. But yeah, they’re having a lot of cute adventures. They keep getting into scrapes and I think somebody might be falling in love. Pete:                        Oh man. I hope they Instagram it. Alex:                         Yeah. Well anyway, they should hopefully be back here next week, but we are going to be talking about issue number seven of Watchman by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, A Brother To Dragons. Brother To, two brothers, two dragons as I like to call it. Pete:                        It’s not a brother and then the number two dragons. Alex:                         No, it’s not unfortunately. Pete:                        It’s T-O. Alex:                         Yeah, real bummer. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         I got to say. Pete:                        I think they really missed an opportunity with that. Alex:                         Huge missed opportunity. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         Now, as the past couple of issues have been focusing on specific members… I was about to say the team, of course they’re not actually in a team at all. But specific members of the cast, here we focus almost solely in on Dan and Laurie. Now, Laurie has moved in with Dan. She was kicked out of her home after John Osterman, AKA Doctor Manhattan, headed to Mars. They were worried that she was irradiated. And Dan, who clearly has a little of a crush on Laurie, that comes to fruition of course this issue. Moved in with her. Alex:                         The other thing that’s been going on in the background, the two other things that you probably need to know in case you are suddenly, for whatever reason, picking up this issue, Rorschach Nite Owl, AKA Dan’s former teammate, has been locked up and also, Adrian Veidt, AKA Ozymandias, there’s been tease in the background for a really long time, but he is doing a benefit to help Indian famine, is I believe what it is. Pete:                        Cool. Alex:                         Yes, Pete? You’re just agreeing? Just cool with you? Pete:                        Yeah, that’s cool. Alex:                         Oh great. Thanks for agreeing but not offering up any additional information. Let’s talk about this issue. We talked a little bit about Dan and Laurie’s relationship. How do you feel about it, Pete? Pete:                        Well, first off, I don’t like it. Second off, I think that this is my least favorite issue- Alex:                         Really? Pete:                        … of Watchmen. Yeah, just spends a lot of time on my two least favorite characters. Also- Alex:                         Wait, no, no, no. I want to stay on that for a second. Why is it that Dan and Laurie are your least favorite characters? Pete:                        Because they’re boring. Alex:                         Okay, great. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         But use your words Pete. Pete:                        Well, I just feel that Dan’s too scared to stick up for himself, and Laurie is kind of stuck. But together, they kind of re-find themselves in a way. And that’s great, and I think they become interesting after that, when they get some confidence to start living life again. Where they’re both kind of hiding out from themselves and who they are, and they find strength together. Alex:                         It’s interesting to me that you do not like them because I definitely remember back in the day when I first read Watchmen, Dan and Laurie were my favorite characters. They were my in characters in the book, and I think part of that is because they are the two characters that are most clearly superheroes. The Comedian totally fucked up. Pete:                        Right. Alex:                         Rorschach, totally fucked up. Doctor Manhattan, not an easy guy to relate to, I’d say, necessarily. Ozymandias has his whole thing going on. But Dan and Laurie, they’re pretty normal, right? Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         Laurie is picking up… They’re both Legacy Heroes, so that’s part of their connection there. Pete:                        Sure. Alex:                         But Laurie is picking up on her mom, Sally. She essentially just wanted to be a superhero because yeah, she thought it would be fun. As we find out bit more about this issue, Dan was a board millionaire, much like Bruce Wayne. Pete:                        Hey, how dare you compare Bruce Wayne to this guy? Alex:                         I mean, it’s pretty directly analogous. Pete:                        No way, man. This guy is an owl. All right, that’s dumb. Alex:                         That’s true. Pete:                        Not as cool as a bat. Alex:                         Hey, real quick. In Earth Two, which is the opposite Earth of Earth One in the DC universe, who’s the batman character on Earth Two? Pete:                        Hey, fuck you for bringing that up. Alex:                         Who is it, Pete? Pete:                        Fuck you. Alex:                         Who is it, Pete? Pete:                        Fuck you. Alex:                         It’s Owl Man, Pete. Pete:                        Woo, woo is it, Pete? Alex:                         Woo, woo, woo. Pete:                        Woo, woo is it? Eat a fucking tootsie pop you asshole. Alex:                         I honestly have no idea how many licks it takes to get to the center of that thing. Pete:                        The problem is it’s not the same number every time that’s what gets you. Alex:                         Ah, okay. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         All right. You’d figure a cartoon owl could make it consistent but, I guess not. Pete:                        Well, I’m just saying I took that as a challenge, that commercial. Alex:                         Really? Pete:                        I bought a shit ton and I tried to figure out how many number- Alex:                         You cracked your fucking teeth, didn’t you? Pete:                        Oh yeah. Alex:                         Oh jeez, you’re not an owl. This is a funny story actually, you guys will like this. When I first met Pete, Pete said, “Hey, check this out. I’m an owl.” And he turned his head 360 degrees, and it just popped right off. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         That’s why he’s a ghost now. Pete:                        Yep, fun fact. That is a fun fact. So, I would like to say the kind of star of this issue is their ship, their owl ship. You know, that’s the only good thing I can kind of- Alex:                         Archie is the star of the issue? Pete:                        Yep. Alex:                         The owl ship? Pete:                        Yep. Alex:                         What’s your favorite thing that the ship does in the issue, Pete? Pete:                        I like the two big eyes. Alex:                         Oh, the two big eyes is cute? Pete:                        Yeah. It’s kind of great. Alex:                         Well, so the visual theme in this particular issue does take its notes off of the owl ship. We get to see a lot of circles, a lot of reflections, both off of the owl ship. We get to see them off of Nite Owl’s goggles. We get to see them off of Dan’s glasses. Constantly zooming in and out of them. And always, well almost always, those circles are being wiped or splattered in some way with a very similar splatter to the one that was seen on The Comedian’s button in the first issue. Why do you think that is? What do you take away from that? Pete:                        Because they’re like, “Hey, we know this issue blows. But hang in with us because it’s still connected to a bigger story that’s amazing.” Alex:                         Again, one of the things that I liked about this issue is how human it is, and how grounded it is. Pete:                        Yeah, and that’s why it’s slower [crosstalk 00:07:00] because it takes its time with the human aspect. Alex:                         I think, if anything, it’s taking a break from the darkness of the past couple of issues. There’s still dark things that I [crosstalk 00:07:11]. But the Rorschach issue sucks you down into Rorschach’s psyche. Pete:                        Yeah, it does. Alex:                         This is a palate cleanser. This gets you away from it. It gets you back into Dan and Laurie’s life, but it also deals with a darkness in the history of superhero comics, which is the underlying sexuality of every single superhero, I think. Pete:                        What? Alex:                         Yes. Pete:                        Every single superhero has an underlying sexuality? Alex:                         So, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this but superheroes tend to run around basically naked or in their underwear. Have you noticed that before? Pete:                        Yeah, yeah. But what’s that got to do with sex? Alex:                         Well, when, Pete, when a man and a woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, love each other very much- Pete:                        Or, you know, we got to keep it open- Alex:                         Yeah, or whatever you want to do. Pete:                        Yeah, yeah. Alex:                         Whatever your- Pete:                        Trans, there’s other beautiful people in the world. Alex:                         Totally. If you want to fuck a person, you take off your clothes. That’s what I was saying. That’s what I was getting towards, Pete. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         Since the beginning of superheros, there’s always been this very mixed up and messed up history of sexuality. I mean, it’s clear with Wonder Woman, that’s been talked about a lot lately. That the dude who created Wonder Woman was very into bondage, hence why Wonder Woman has her lasso- Pete:                        Whoa, whoa, take it easy there guy. Alex:                         What? Pete:                        The guy who invented Wonder Woman is the guy who invented the lie detector test, and that’s what the lasso is about. It’s the lasso of truth. Alex:                         Yeah, but he also- Pete:                        It’s not about bondage. Alex:                         He also… Marston? He also liked to draw bondage art. Pete:                        Oh okay. Alex:                         Constantly. Pete:                        I didn’t know that. Alex:                         Yeah, you should watch… Oh gosh, I’m blanking on the exact name of the movie but it’s Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman, I think. Pete:                        As long as nobody is getting hurt in the bondage, it’s fine. Alex:                         Totally. But it’s something that’s always been sublimated in superhero comics, and as much as this is about the mystery, as much as it’s about the characters. This is also about Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons reckoning with the history of superhero comics. Right? And here, we get to see that pretty plainly throughout the issue. It starts with, we see Dan is taking Laurie on this tour of his owl cave, I guess he calls it. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         Of the owl cave. She goes into a safe and she finds a signed picture for one of Nite Owl’s villains, and she’s dressed in bondage gear, like straight up. He is hiding it in a safe in his cave. He has it repressed. This is all about repressed feelings. This is all about repressed sexuality. It isn’t until the end, jump on to the end, where they put on their superhero costumes that they’re actually able to have sex. Superheros equal sex here in this issue. That’s what this issue is about. Alex:                         But, the other thing that’s been running through this comic series, which they don’t let you forget, and was underlined very clearly with the Rorschach issue, is that sex and death are very mixed up. Pete:                        I kind of looked at it as they needed to become the superheroes so they could have the confidence to be who they are and be what they want. Alex:                         Well, I think we’re saying the same thing. I mean, you’re saying it through the lens of that’s what the characters do. That’s what they’re thinking. I’m saying through the themes that’s why that happens. Pete:                        Well, let’s get to the part where we disagreed. Alex:                         Which part was that? All of the parts? Pete:                        All of the parts. Alex:                         All of the parts. Pete:                        Well, I thought specifically when you see the- Alex:                         I like the fact that you’re at the page where they’re naked and you’re just tapping them. Pete:                        I’m not tapping them. I’m tapping the page. Alex:                         You’re tapping the boob. Pete:                        No, I’m not. Alex:                         You’re tapping the peen? What are you tapping? Pete:                        I’m not. I’m tapping the corner of the goddamn, the corner of the panel. Alex:                         No, I can see it right now. You’re tapping the boob. Pete:                        I’m not tapping the boob. Alex:                         Yeah. Pete:                        In your mind, you’re like, “Well, the boob would be down here.” But that’s a different panel, so it doesn’t count. Alex:                         Okay, Scott McCloud. Pete:                        My point is that, this, to me, looked like a real call back to Blue Man Group’s Mars world that he built, and it seemed like they were on Mars together, kind of making out. And then, they kind of explode and die. Alex:                         Oh okay. So you’re looking specifically at the dream sequence page, right? Pete:                        Right. Alex:                         All right, well just to very quickly walk through the book. Pete:                        Okay. Alex:                         Dan and Laurie take a tour of the cave. They seem to be flirting a little bit. Dan is definitely making the booze. He’s doing the classic touch the center of the back thing, to let the girl know he likes him. When she calls him on it, he does a very smooth move through his hair. There’s still flirting a little bit, but she doesn’t seem to be picking up on it as much as he’s necessarily laying down. Ultimately, they go upstairs, they watch TV. There’s some horrific reports on the TV. She calls him on not taking any risks, and they start making out. Alex:                         They try to sleep together, but it turns out that Dan is impotent for hours throughout the whole entire affair, they try several times. I believe it’s from 7:00 to 2:00 AM, or something like that. But ultimately, it doesn’t work. Frustrated, he wonders down to the owl cave naked. He puts on his goggles and they decide to get in their superhero costumes and take a cruise around. At which point, once they put on the superhero costumes, we get such blatant sexual imagery throughout the thing. You see the owl ship going through a tunnel, which Freud was like, “I get it.” Then, they fly outwards. There’s a bunch of splooshy clouds coming off of the roof. They end up saving some people from- Pete:                        Apologies to the people listening to this one because Alex said, splooshy clouds coming. Alex:                         Splooshy clouds coming from the roof. Listen, that’s what it is man. I didn’t draw this. I’m not Dave Gibbons man. Alex:                         And so, they find a fire. There’s a bunch of people trapped in a tenement. Silk Spectre, Laurie puts on her Silk Spectre costume, or rather she pulls off her overcoat revealing her costume. At which point we get, again, a ridiculous image of Dan is like, “Oh, this seems to be working.” And his drawbridge pops out of the owl ship. Goes across, they save the people, he’s feeling it completely. They drop the people off on another roof, and then, he takes charge. Kisses her and they make love inside of the owl ship, at which point it explodes fire. Pete:                        Fire. Yeah. Alex:                         Out of the back. Pete:                        Which was the kind of worst part of the movie when they did that. Alex:                         It’s so funny that that completely, 100%, did not work in the movie. That is- Pete:                        Well, it also lasted way too long. Alex:                         Yeah. Pete:                        That shot, like should have done it quick. Okay, kind of try to make it funny, not… You know? Alex:                         Well yeah, exactly. It’s supposed to be funny. They treated it seriously. They had the hallelujah, which we took the theme from the show from playing under it. They stayed on it, versus the way Dave Gibbons lays this out. It’s flashes as they are getting undressed. As they are making love, and ultimately, when they’re naked and they’re chatting, it’s all in shadow. It’s, not to sound like I’m from the 1950s or anything, but it’s very tastefully done. It’s very tasteful. Pete:                        Yeah, the shadowing is tasteful. Alex:                         But it is. It’s not about the sex. It’s about what the sex means to the characters, versus what happened in the movie, which is about the sex. Pete:                        Right. Alex:                         But then we get… And we end with a very funny joke of now that Dan, who’s been very suspect of this whole conspiracy that’s been going on, that Rorschach told him about, tells Laurie as we pull out from the owl ship, “We got to break Rorschach out of prison.” There’s a pause and then she says, “What?” Because she thought he was going to suggest that they should sleep together again, and instead, he’s suggesting this other thing. Such a great way to end the issue. Very funny way to end the issue. Alex:                         But in the middle of the issue, the thing that we skipped over there that you were talking about. Dan has a nightmare after he cannot consummate the deed with Laurie. He pictures a number of things. Do you want to talk through that page a little bit? Pete:                        Yeah, I mean, so we kind of have, again with the lens, we see his lens of his glasses zoomed in and it kind of zooms out. And you see him looking kind of horrified at Laurie. And then, they start to kiss and she kind of pulls off his skin to reveal his owl costume. He pulls of her skin to reveal her costume, and then they kiss and explode. And they lose all of their skin. They’re just bones and a big explosion. And they have, in the background, it’s all black and the ground their standing on, it looks like a red surface, like a Mars, like they’re on a different planet. Alex:                         Yeah, I don’t think it’s necessarily… I didn’t take it necessarily as a vision. It might be the coloring from John Higgins. Pete:                        Right. Alex:                         That implies that. But first of all, we should mention that when he first sees her, it’s not actually Laurie. It’s the villain from the picture. So, again, he’s mixing up all of these sexual things in his head. He’s seeing Laurie as a sexual object, the same way that he sees this villain. And ultimately, that’s tied into explosion, which certainly you could take sexually at the end there. But it’s also tied into what they’ve been watching on TV, which is that the Russians are invading Afghanistan. There’s all this nuclear fear that’s going on. They’ve been blown up. The skeletons looked very clearly like two things to me. One, they look almost exactly like Doctor Manhattan’s skeleton when he’s blown up, or John Osterman’s. And then, they’re also in the same position as the Hiroshima Lovers that we’ve seen throughout the issues of this comic book. Pete:                        And, they also kind of look like a little bit of a Rorschach test. Alex:                         Yeah, I think that’s fair as well, absolutely. Because it’s white and black panel, right? Pete:                        Mm-hmm (affirmative). Alex:                         So, I’m sure there’s a lot more to be delved in here, and I’m sure people who have more time to do analysis can have certainly looked into this. But it is interesting to me how many repeated visual themes there are. And sometimes I wonder if it’s just to give it this sense of rhythm, versus necessarily meaning all the things that we are ascribing to it, you know? Pete:                        Yeah. I mean, they really think about pacing and paneling in this book, which I really appreciate. And there are definitely stories within stories. The layers of this book is really impressive. Alex:                         Well, the Hiroshima Lovers, at the very least, I think, pretty clearly whenever we see a shadow of say Dan and Laurie in this issue, it’s always about the fallout of actions, specifically sexual actions or violent actions. As we saw last issue with Rorschach, where there were both things with this mom and her client, I guess. Then, also his mom hitting him, that they’re all mixed up in the same thing. And here we’re seeing the same thing with the exploding nuclear bomb, as well as when Dan and Laurie make love, ultimately. Alex:                         One thing I wanted to talk about that’s such a great sequence is the first time that they try to sleep together. And I know there was somebody who was making fun of me about first discovering the word juxtaposition on a previous podcast, a couple of episodes back. Pete:                        Right. Alex:                         But we do get this great juxtaposition between what’s going on with Adrian Veidt as he’s doing this athletic routine, and what’s actually happening with Dan and Laurie. You have the copy of the book. Can I grab it from you for a second? Pete:                        Sure. Sure. Alex:                         Thanks. I’ll bring my copy next time. I left it- Pete:                        It’s right there. I opened it right up for you. Alex:                         Oh man, you’re amazing dude. So yeah, we get to see Ozymandias as he’s doing this pitch perfect routine. And they’re, in fact, doing this this terrible job of sleeping with each other on a couch. And I don’t know if you ever hooked up on a couch, not particularly comfortable, right Pete? Pete:                        Well, it’s tough. I mean, it depends on the size of the couch. But yes. Alex:                         Yeah, you got to get a pull out couch. That’s the important thing. Pete:                        Oh my God. Alex:                         What? Pete:                        So much going on there. Alex:                         What do you mean? Pete:                        Pulling out, pull out couch. Come on man. Alex:                         Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Don’t use a pull out couch kids. Pete:                        Oh my God. But yeah, tight places are tough to maneuver- Alex:                         Abstain from couches. Pete:                        Oh my God. Alex:                         But actually, one thing that I’ve heard about couches is if you use a proper bed to cook you can… Nevermind. Anyway, so as he’s saying Adrian Veidt on the TV says, “Thank you. I hope you’ll forgive me while I warm up. I haven’t done this in a while.” And everybody laughs. And Dan and Laurie, Laurie says, “that better?” And Dan says, “Uh huh.” And then, he says, “Just look at the confidence as he leaps up and grabs the bar, beginning the maneuver.” While they say, “Oh, I’m sorry. Am I crushing you?” “No, it’s okay, don’t worry. Everything is okay.” Mm, and you think she’s saying that in pleasure but it turns out that he’s actually jabbing his elbow into her. Alex:                         So, it’s just throughout that entire sequence we see, I think there’s two things going on, right? We get this very funny exchange between what’s happening with Adrian physically, and what is happening with them physically, but also the fact that right now Dan is overweight, right? He hasn’t been a hero in years. Laurie, also, hasn’t been a hero in years. Certainly she’s been hanging out with John Osterman but they haven’t had the practice. We saw a couple of issues back that they were both out of breath when they fought in the alleyway and Adrian Veidt is at the tip top shape. Now, we know, this is a big spoiler and I think you guys probably know if you’re reading the book, that Veidt is the ultimate mastermind. He’s ahead of them on every move is what I think we’re being told here, once again without being told. And that’s what I think is great about every issue here, is that Alan Moore never forgets about the mystery. He’s layering it in every issue. Alex:                         Even in this issue, which seems to be about Dan and Laurie and their relationship, there’s still little clues like that. Pete:                        There’s clues, yeah. Where you’ve got to… You were like, “Oh, how did I not put this together? It seems so obvious here.” Alex:                         Well, there’s even more stuff. It’s funny that they rely… Oh, what were you going to say? Pete:                        I was just even more stuff. Do you see what… Alex:                         Wait, even more stuff? Pete:                        Alan Moore. Even more stuff. Alex:                         Oh. Yeah. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         No, no, no, I know. He owns that store, that knickknack store called More Stuff. It’s very cute. Very homey. Again, it’s funny to me that they use the TV as a device. It must have felt relatively new then, because I think now you see that on TV, where somebody clicks on the TV and immediately it’s like, “And in other news, here’s the specific clue you needed to know.” Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         But here, we get a bunch of different things. We find out about the Institute of Extra Spatial Abnormalities. I’m forgetting the exact name of it, but we pass by it a couple of times with the comic. And they’re very excited because they have figured out a way to maybe access alternate dimensions that, as we’ll find out later, is a big part of what’s going on with Adrian Veidt’s plan. Alex:                         There’s also a seemingly random mention, which seems to just be killing time where they talk about a artist, sorry a writer, who has gone missing. Now, this is the same writer who worked on Tales of the Black Freighter, who in The Back Matter, a couple of issues back, we found out had also gotten missing, and then ultimately was replaced on Tales of the Black Freighter. This is, again, as we’re going to find out later, these are all people that are working for Adrian that he is getting rid of as they create this story, as they create this narrative for him. Alex:                         So, everything there is not wasted. They use every part of the Buffalo, as they say. Right, Pete? Pete:                        Yeah, and then we get an amazing story about owls. Alex:                         Did you read this, Pete? Be honest. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         You did? Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         Oh, I’m so proud of you. What’d you think? Pete:                        I liked it. I mean, this was one of the only ones that I read the first time around because it has pictures. So, I was like, “Oh cool.” Alex:                         Oh birds. Pete:                        Yep. Alex:                         What did you think of this? What did you take away from this story? Pete:                        Well, I mean, it talks about the owl in comparison to kind of… Well, we can kind of talk with our character, the owl character, like what the owl is like. The specific, how he hunts prey, all this kind of stuff. And I think there’s a lot of great kind of parallels here. Alex:                         Yeah. We find out about that. We also find out about his relationship with his father, which is something that I think potentially drove him on to become Nite Owl here. It’s also funny to throw this in, given that Dan talks about, “Oh, I write articles about birds, but nobody reads them.” Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         And then, that’s what several pages at the end of the comic is. They’re like, “Here you go. Here’s a boring owl story for you.” Expect, obviously, it’s not. Another little detail that it I thought was fun in there is a couple of issues back we found out that one of the team members from, I don’t think it was the crime busters, I think it was from the minute man, Moth Man was committed to an insane asylum upstate. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         And I think we’ll meet him again in a couple of issues’ time, but Dan mentions in the story that he was visiting a friend upstate, which is probably Moth Man, even though he doesn’t talk about it. Pete:                        No, interesting. Alex:                         Yeah, so I thought that was neat. Yeah, this is… It also, what was the other thing? There was one other detail. Oh, what’s the name of the story? It’s something of Pelham? Pete:                        Yeah, it’s Blood from the Shoulders of Pollis. Alex:                         Pollis, yeah, sorry about that. So, Pollis is Athena, the God of the hunt. And I do think, this a very vague idea, but I think that telling the story about Athena, telling the story about the owl, and the way that Dan acts throughout the rest of the issue is that he only comes alive when he truly is Nite Owl and when he’s on the hunt. Otherwise, he’s kind of meandering, he’s wandering through life. He doesn’t have a strong personality, but here we get to see him as soon as he puts on the Nite Owl costume. He’s in charge. He’s riding on top of the owl ship. Alex:                         He takes Laurie in his arms and kisses her, which is what he’s been unable to do the rest of the series. It’s cool. Good comic. Pete:                        I also like how with the owl story, it’s from his perspective, you know? Alex:                         Yeah. Pete:                        And it’s like this thing of things he should or should not be paying attention to, which is something we, the reader, should be paying more attention to what we’re seeing here, as far as who don’t it, you know? So, it’s kind of a big clue that, “Hey, I’ve given you everything you need to know up until this point.” Alex:                         Yeah, I think that’s a fair point. I mean, particularly because there have been so many character driven issues up to this point, it would almost feel like, “Okay, we are learning more about this team that isn’t really a team. We’re finding out more about these characters.” But the entire time Moore is saying no, there’s a mystery here. There’s a mystery here. There’s a mystery here. Don’t forget about that. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         Anything else you pulled out from the issue, Pete? Pete:                        No. I just, I mean, even if this is not my favorite of all the chapters, or my favorite of all the issues, it’s still pretty amazing. And yeah, just going back, it’s just I’m constantly blown away by how good this is. It really doesn’t dip in over the years. I mean, it’s just still very, very fresh, and there’s new things that you can find in it, you know? Alex:                         I will say, as we talked about last episode, I do have a problem hooking into Laurie as a character, a bit. Dan’s very well fleshed out. Dan’s very well thought out. But Laurie in this issue, I’m not 100% sure what she wants or needs, or what she’s getting out of the relationship with Dan. There’s a little blip where as she’s sleeping she murmurs something to Doctor Manhattan. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         So, it feels like maybe this a rebound, maybe she just needs to feel something physically. But it feels a little more surfacey to me with Laurie, than it does with the rest of the characters- Pete:                        Well, it’s probably one of the downfalls of maybe it being a male writer, you know? Alex:                         Yeah. Pete:                        That he’s not giving enough attention to the female characters. Alex:                         Yeah, I think there’s a tension there. That’s the thing is there’s still… Laurie is still good, and I like Laurie and it’s a well thought out character, but there’s an emotional depth there that drives her more to be a driving force to get Dan out of his funk, versus anything particularly for Laurie. Pete:                        Yeah. Well, I mean, I think that she does… I mean, we get to see the way she’s fighting in the next chapter. It feels like she’s definitely coming alive more, and being more her superhero self, which feels like she’s kind of more in her element. Alex:                         It might also be a problem just with, A, the character of Silk Spectre that Sally Jupiter, Sally Juspeczyk. I don’t know how to pronounce it. She became a superhero to become famous. Laurie did it because she had nothing better to do. And when you have a character who’s just kind of bored and not quite sure what they want to do, it comes off wishy, washy in the text. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         She doesn’t really have a place in the world, as of yet. And as we read this story, to be honest, I don’t remember if she does by the end of the book or not. I know what happens to her plot wise, but I’m not sure what… I don’t remember what happens to her emotionally. So, I’m curious to see if she does find that drive, that purpose by the end. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         We’ll see what happens. Alex:                         If you would like to support this podcast, patrion.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the People’s Improve Theater in New York. Come on by. We’ll chat with you about Watchmen. There’s a couple of places you can check us out online. You can check out, Watchmen Watch Podcast on Facebook. You can check out Watchmen Watch Podcast on Instagram. WatchmenWatch1 on Twitter. Also, @comicbooklive on Twitter. ComicBookClubLive.com for this podcast and more. You can subscribe and comment on iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, or the app of your choice. And remember, we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago. Alex:                         Oh, sorry. I’m getting a text actually from Justin and Alan. They just crashed the car, but they went on another adventure. A bunch of raccoons are helping them out. Pete:                        Oh! Alex:                         So, they should be back in time for next week. The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #7, “A Brother To Dragons” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Sep 2019

31 min 37 sec

Rorschach is in prison, but he’s not trapped in here with us, etc., etc. We delve deep into the mind of Watchmen’s most divisive character as the podcast breaks down issue #6 of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ comic book series, “The Abyss Gazes Also.” Additionally, Justin gets scared of a bug. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen: Alex:                         Welcome to Watchmen Watch, a podcast about Watchmen where we smell Watchmen, scent of a Watchman. I’m Alex. Justin:                     I’m Justin. Pete:                        I’m Pete. Alex:                         And on this episode, we’re going to be talking about issue six of the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons comic book The Abyss Also Gazes, The Abyss Gazes Also, excuse me. Sorry Friedrich Neitzsche or however … Justin:                     How dare you? Alex:                         Sorry about that. We do have a little bit of news Justin:                     Yes, so obviously you guys all know that Alan Moore’s the fourth host of this podcast. He did just text me, and obviously he is sitting here in the room, but he texted me, and he’s very shy today, so he doesn’t want to talk, but he is here. So just so you know, everyone listening, he’s here. Very shy. Alex:                         I do see that he’s doing his hidie beard and for those of you who don’t know, it’s very cute. He takes his beard, and he folds it up over his face so he can hide behind it. Justin:                     He’s doing it right now, Alex, because you’re calling them out pretty hard. Let’s just talk about this comic book that he wrote in front of him for the next 20 to 40 minutes. Pete:                        I’m feeling like he’s not really committed to our team here. Alex:                         Don’t say this in front of him. Justin:                     Don’t say it in front of him. Alan, thank you for coming. You’re doing a great job. Excuse me, Mr. Moore. Alex:                         In a second, I’m going to slip a little ice cream in your beard because you’re such a good boy. Justin:                     That’s really nice. That’s the best way to treat a person is to slip ice cream into their beard. Alex:                         Right Pete? You have a beard. You love that? Justin:                     Through the beard into his mouth, or are you just making a mess? Alex:                         No, up and over the beard. Justin:                     Up and over? Pete:                        How do you slip ice cream? Alex:                         He has his beard. We’ve already established this, and we can see exactly what’s going on. Justin:                     Yes, we can all see that his is in front of his face. Alex:                         He’s folded up. So I’m going to take it, and I’m going to slip it over the top so it’ll like slide down his face into his mouth. Justin:                     And let me just say, Alex, don’t Dodge Pete’s question of how do you slip ice cream? How do you slip an ice cream, on your little fingers, your dirty little mitts. Alex:                         Yeah, you just like, you take a pinch. It’s like in recipes where they say a pinch of ice cream. Justin:                     Yeah, that’s true. Pete:                        That’s what they say in recipes. Justin:                     You have a children’s cookbook. Alex:                         Not so much a cookbook, but it is for children. Justin:                     That opened up a lot of doors. Alex:                         Here’s something that definitely isn’t for children, issue six of Watchman. As we mentioned is called the abyss gazes also. Now previously the character Rorschach AKA Walter Kovacs, but don’t call him that. Justin:                     Doesn’t like it. Alex:                         Doesn’t like it. Justin:                     Doesn’t like his name. Alex:                         He got arrested, thrown in prison for all his multitude of vigilante crimes over the years and this issue almost exclusively continues to focus on Rorschach. Last issue was mostly Rorschach. This is all Rorschach. This is definitely his issue as he is interrogated in prison. Now, I’ll just throw out the thematic thing that I noticed right up front, and I think this is a pretty obvious one, but I think it’s great. Really great comic book you guys. It’s great how well Moore hits this over the course of the issue is that it is the Rorschach test. That’s what we’re dealing with. That’s what we start with, that’s what we end with, and Rorschach clearly sees the entire world in black and white, right? Alex:                         He doesn’t even see the blots. He sees men are all violent beasts who need to be put down and women are all slut whores who he is too uncomfortable to even touch or look at or think about it in any particular way. That’s how he separates the world. But on the other hand, you have every other character looking at him and doing one of two things. We either see characters reading things into him that aren’t there or trying to read things into him that aren’t necessarily there, or what happens to the interview over the course of them, is they become him the more that they reflect off of him. Justin:                     Yeah, and I think that’s a hundred percent accurate. He is the ultimate Rorschach test. The way that his interviewer here, his psychologist, changes over the course of the issue makes you feel like Rorschach is right, which I think is an interesting turn. We’re meant to at the beginning of this issue, he is the other, he has this fucked up life, and he sees the world in a crazy dark way that we don’t think is how it’s meant to be seen. As it goes on, our audience surrogate character, the psychologist comes around to Rorschach’s understanding of the world, leaving us in a pretty dark place. Alex:                         Well, to the point that his speech starts to ape Rorschach’s rhythms. We get a lot of writing in the psychologist’s journal throughout it. At the beginning, he’s a very chipper, very happy guys. He’s in a loving relationship with his wife, but as he interviews Walter Kovacs over the course of a couple of days, it’s not that long, and coincidentally, and I think Moore did this on purpose, it’s leading right into my birthday, which is very exciting. My birthday’s in October 29 so this takes place right before it. Justin:                     Great choice Alan. Thank you for doing that. Alex:                         Yes. And this feels like how I feel going into my birthday. Pete:                        Wow. This is how you feel going into your birthday. Alex:                         Every year. No, but over the course of a couple of days, he very quickly turns, things get darker. He starts to see the amount that his wife needs sex as gross and disgusting. He is abusive towards men. Rorschach starts being honest with him about things and telling him things that truly happened. Justin:                     Opening up, bringing him more into his world. Alex:                         And by the end, the man is writing in his journal exactly how Rorschach writes in his journal. Justin:                     What I love about this is the perspective is totally flipped. Like up until this point, we’ve been in Rorschach’s head. We’ve been along for the ride with his action adventure. We’ve been reading his journal, and now it’s fully flipped. We’re outside of his head for the first time and in the head of the psychologist analyzing him. Alex:                         Yeah. Well I’ve got to ask, we’ve talked about this on a couple of podcasts, but Pete, you love Rorschach, how’d you feel about him in this issue. Pete:                        It was great. Obviously, I don’t like his negative views towards women or any of that stuff, but I do love his conviction. I do love the fact that he tries to do what is right and that he is very messed up but tries to stop evil when he sees it. Also, what’s interesting is DC is like famously almost ant… Like has therapists and stuff like really effect each other where you have like Harley Quinn and the Joker. That’s therapist and therapy very much affect each other. So it’s very interesting this whole thing about being in a room trapped with somebody for a couple hours a day can really affect you. Alex:                         Do you think this psychologist is falling in love with Rorschach? Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         He’s his Harley Quinn. Pete:                        Yeah, exactly. Justin:                     What do you think, Mr. R? Alex:                         Something like that. I will say on the trapped in here with you thing, I mentioned this to you I think before we even started the podcast, the very first episode of this podcast, but I was so surprised when I looked back at this because I think if there’s one thing you think of from the movie, it is Jackie Earle Haley saying “I’m not trapped in here with you. You’re trapped in here with me.” That doesn’t happen in the book. Justin:                     He says it or it’s repeated back. Alex:                         But it’s third hand information. Justin:                     Yeah. It’s such a small moment in here, so it’s definitely something they pulled out because it is a great line. Pete:                        It’s also one of the nice things about the movie is that Rorschach’s in prison stuff is just fantastic. Like he takes out a bunch of people in very creative ways. Justin:                     What do you think? This has always bothered me in this comic that there’s so much weight given to like, wow, look at this guy, he’s so ugly, and he’s pretty normal. Yeah. He’s normal looking I think. Alex:                         Is he? Justin:                     Isn’t he? Alex:                         I don’t think he’s a disgusting guy or anything like that. Justin:                     But when the cops arrest him, they’re like, Oh God, he’s so ugly, and in this, it’s referenced again. He’s so ugly and to me it always bumps for me. It pulls me out because he’s not drawn as horrendously ugly. Pete:                        Yeah. He just looks like Jimmy Olsen on a bad day. Alex:                         That’s probably the thing is he has red hair, which instantly makes him much more disgusting than the regular person. Justin:                     That’s true. That’s a very hot take. Pete:                        Come on, Alex. Alex:                         No, I think you’re right. I mean I think like he has his scowl. Part of it might be how people are seeing him. Like they see his ugliness is on the surface, so that might be part of it as well. But yeah, I don’t know. I never… I just assumed, okay, in this world, we are supposed to assume that he is ugly and disgusting. Justin:                     Yes. I think that’s true. It’s just weird to me because the visual, it’s the one thing in this book that I’m like, the visual doesn’t back it up and it doesn’t seem purposeful. It feels like a miscommunication between the text and the art. Pete:                        Let me ask you guys, either of you ever taken a Rorschach test? Alex:                         No. Have you? Pete:                        No, I’m scared of them. Alex:                         Really? Why are you scared of them? Because of Rorschach? Pete:                        No, I just, I feel like I would fail miserably. Justin:                     Well, how do you fail? Pete:                        I don’t know. Alex:                         Well, let me ask you this. Justin:                     We should do this. Alex:                         The Rorschach blot on the cover. What do you see? Pete:                        It looks like a beetle crossed with some kind of a butterfly slash I don’t know. It’s… Alex:                         Oh Jesus. Justin:                     Holy shit. He’s a sociopath. Alex:                         He’s a sociopath schizophrenic . Justin:                     Yeah. Wow. I can’t believe we were able to finally diagnose you from that one moment. You were right to not take the test, Pete. Your life’s about to change for the worst. Alex:                         I have a bunch of pills, but we are going to have to euthanize you. Pete:                        Oh my God. Justin:                     If you fail a Rorschach test hard enough, you have to be euthanized. Alex:                         Do we want to walk through this book? What do we want to talk about in particular? Justin:                     Yeah, I guess that’s what we came here for. Alex:                         Yeah, I guess so. Well, it’s a tough one to do because it is… We get a lot of flashbacks to Rorschach. We get to see his past. We get to see his development, or at least when we’re told is his development because a lot of it might be lies. Justin:                     Interesting. You’re saying he’s pulling a Joker, a dark night Joker. Alex:                         I think there’s shades of that potentially. I think you could read it as very straightforward, and we have the backup material at the end where there are stories, but there are so many things that are like that. We don’t know who his father is. His mother was a whore and slept with a bunch of different people. So yes, she’s probably his mother, but we don’t know a lot about his past or what happened to him. Justin:                     I do think to me, I’ve always read this as you are supposed to believe that this is his life and this gave him this worldview that he has, and it makes you feel sorry for him in a way that I think you never did. And it really gives ground underneath why he’s so violent because he’s had a violent life from literally the jump. So we see him meeting with a psychologist like we talked about before. The psychologist is super fun. Pete:                        I like how we get to see like what he sees and then what he says. I think that’s very cool. Justin:                     Yeah, it’s very stark and scary in ways. Alex:                         One thing we should probably talk about is a recurring visual motif in this book that we’ve seen throughout the issues is the Hiroshima lovers, the shadows of these ashin people left on walls in Hiroshima, which are being painted throughout New York city in the book. We’ve also seen shadow of actual lovers that I believe Rorschach sees in the first issue through a window, but here they hit it again and again and again with the Rorschach blots. Justin:                     And the flashback to him walking in on his mother having sex with a dude. Alex:                         Right. And then later on when the psychologist starts to feel like him, when he starts to feel like Rorschach, his wife is seen that way too. So there’s these shadows throughout. Even from the very first panel, I believe you see the two of them sitting at the table. They’re shadows are behind them and you can read into it what you want. What do you think it is about this motif? Justin:                     I feel like it’s Rorschach. He’s a loner. He can’t create any relationships. And in this, when he’s a kid and he sees this sex and just horrible scene where he breaks up his mother sleeping with a man for money, and the mother’s mad at him and is like I should have aborted you. It’s a horrifying experience for a kid to go through. And so sex has always been attached to that horrible emotion that he feels here. And so I think that makes it something that he can’t understand or has no interest in because it’s associated with pain. And I think we see the psychologist start to have that, and he’s like, I don’t feel sexual here. It’s associated with this pain because I felt the pain that Rorschach has gone through. And it points us again, like we’ve talked about more a current topical look at this book with like incels or people who like… Sex is the other, and it leads to all these like negative emotions. Alex:                         Yeah. I mean we could certainly talk about it. Do you think Walter Kovacs is a virgin? Justin:                     I think we’re meant to think that. We never see in any of the other books like he’s like, I love this girlfriend I have. Alex:                         Except for this nice time I had with this lady. Justin:                     Yeah. There’s no cutaway to just a sweet sock hop. So yeah, I do think so. I think he’s always been just absolutely alone. I think we’re meant to think. Alex:                         Well, and I think you’re right on the incel then like we’re looking at it through this modern lens. Yeah. I guess I was just agreeing with you. The only thing that I did want to expand on though is from the Hiroshima lovers that I think it’s even more than sex is uncomfortable, sex is upsetting. The lovers in Hiroshima are left after a nuclear blast. Justin:                     Yeah. Sex is death. Alex:                         Yeah. Sex is death. Sex is this fallout. This is what it leaves behind. This is the thing that’s always present, always here, and it can all be traced back to this one formative experience where he walked in on his mom having sex with a man. They come back to that again in the back matter where he draws it, where he was like, I had this horrible nightmare and my mommy was naked, and this man was naked, and they were joined together by their genitals. Clearly this affected him in a very big way, but it expanded outwards. You even see it. We’re looking at this page now. We’re looking at how the “ah, ah, ah” of the dialogue, the way that they have it in there, the way that Moore writes it is paralleled with the same thing when the mother is holding Rorschach and making him feel pain where he goes, “ah, ah, ah” Justin:                     And we see them in shadows. Alex:                         It’s all two sides of the same thing. Pretty blatantly. Justin:                     This scene also reminded me of Mad Men. This is the same origin that Don Draper has. He grew up in a whorehouse, and his mother was obviously being with men or like there’s all these… He was with these women and in that show, Don Draper has the opposite take where he becomes obsessed with sex, but is still unable to connect with anybody in his life. Alex:                         So do you think, we talked about this on the last podcast as well, do you think Watchman ripped off Mad Men? Justin:                     Yes. I think that we’re getting that closer and closer. Think, mad men, watch men. Alex:                         There you go. Pete:                        Yeah, I know the first time reading this I was very stricken by the fact that like Rorschach fakes the test, but his mask is very much representative. Like it’s interesting to me that he’s a lie just like the Rorschach test of like you’re telling a therapist what you think they want to hear, and it’s like he’s hiding behind this mask, and he doesn’t like who he is under this mask. Justin:                     On the other side, you could see he’s also protecting. He’s protecting people from the horrible truth of the world by trying to get rid of these villains or save people’s lives no matter how… because he’s already in the darkness. He can be as violent as everyone else is, but he is trying to protect people who aren’t yet in his worldview, and in this issue, we see him usher the psychologist in and shows him how dark the world really is. Alex:                         Well, I’m going to talk about the mask. This is jumping ahead in the issue, but we find out the origin of the mask, and I think there’s two really fascinating things about it. The first one is it is a parra type of, I think they say it’s a viscous fabric or something like that where it’s always shifting, which obviously is very hard to tell exactly what’s happening when you’re reading a still comic book. Even though we have seen the blots shift around and that was created by Dr. Manhattan. So Dr. Manhattan, beyond whatever is going on with John Osterman has touched all these different lives in very different ways. We get to see a lot of intersections here, and here, Dr. Manhattan’s origin is very directly connected to Rorschach’s origin as well, but the second thing is that Rorschach’s mask is made from the fabric that he cuts up, that he destroys from a woman’s dress, which again is very clearly this line between violence and women and sex that he can’t differentiate between. Justin:                     Yeah, and it later is this… Kitty Genovese is the woman who had the dress, and she’s later killed and that’s his first… Alex:                         no, no, no. Kitty Genovese is a real person. Justin:                     Oh. Alex:                         Yeah. This was a real thing that happened in New York. Justin:                     Oh, right, right, right. Alex:                         Yeah. A different woman who had the dress. Kitty Genovese is a real person in real life who I believe was raped and assaulted, and everybody just looked out the window at her and didn’t know what to say. There’s been numerous psychological studies about what went on that night. Just this tacit agreement we all make to not rock the boat, to not say anything about anything and because nobody else’s yelling, “Hey, stop that.” Nobody else yells, “Hey, stop that.” Justin:                     So, in the book, Rorschach says woman who ordered the special dress, Kitty Genovese, I’m sure that was the woman’s name, so he believes it’s the woman, but it’s him finding the story and giving into his desire to like start committing these revenge acts. It’s on page 10, the right middle panel where he sees this news story, and it’s starting to… The Rorschach personality starting to come forward as he’s giving himself an excuse to go out and get his revenge. Alex:                         Well, we’ve talked about that quite a bit with his character as well, that he makes these logical leaps that may be correct sometimes. Like when it comes to the Eddie Blake murder, he is actually tracking it down, but sometimes he just does not. Sometimes, he is just making these crazy conspiracy theory connections where they don’t exist. Justin:                     You could read this either way. It could be that it was actually this woman who dropped this dress off, and then years later she’s killed. Or it could be that he is just drawing the connection. The story doesn’t really point you in that direction. Alex:                         Let’s talk about the dead dog thing a little bit. You want to talk about that? Justin:                     Yeah, so just to button up everything else, we have this scene where he describes, he’s getting hassled by these kids and he has this horrible violence. He like puts a cigarette out in their eye as a kid, and then that’s mirrored by the scene in the prison where he is being attacked by other prisoners because they know he’s Rorschach, and he like destroys this guy with hot oil and man, even when I was young, like this is just so violent and so destructive. Alex:                         Well that’s the thing about it, which is why I understand why you like it Pete, but it’s surprising to me is in my mind Rorschach always goes over the top that it’s like you poke him and then he’s like, great, now I’m going to slice your fucking head off. That’s the sort of… He escalates far too quickly about everything because he doesn’t understand moderation. Again, getting to that black and white, everything is super clear to him. He even talks about that a little bit when he was still Walter Kovacs when he teamed up with Nite Owl, when he thought, okay, I’m a vigilante hero, and I’m going to tie people up before he really understood the world. He didn’t escalate in the same way, and now he does. Now he goes from somebody insulting him to burning them with hot oil, which is crazy. Pete:                        In my defense, I feel like violence in comic books is a nice, safe outlet for me where I like to like, “Oh, okay. I can be like this is fun in here. But you know…” Justin:                     Well, we’re not saying you are like Rorschach. Pete:                        The way he worded that a little bit was like, Pete, one of the things that surprised me is how much you enjoy this. So I was just trying to defend. Alex:                         No, no, no, no. I think it’s just particularly in this case that like it is so over the top, and it is so clearly the way that Dave Higgins, Dave Gibbons, excuse me, I mixed up Dave Gibbons and John Higgins, Dave Gibbons draws it is he lays all the violence out so suddenly where it’s just Rorschach standing there, and then suddenly he’s splashing enormous amounts of hot oil on the person where it’s just over the top violence, but I get what you’re saying. Pete:                        It’s also in a prison scenario where if like you get pushed around in prison, you’re going to keep… so you got to really just kind of let people know you can’t mess with me. Alex:                         Dude. I know. You go into a prison first day, you punched the biggest guard there. Justin:                     It’s the same with the podcast. You got to go in and you’ve got to take out that big fish, which is why I took out Alan earlier. Alex:                         Oh, he started to pull down his beard a little bit, but then he put it right back up. Justin:                     Alex, slip him some more ice cream into his beard, which is something that you said is a normal thing. Alex:                         Now, the other thing that visually happens throughout this issue that I thought was neat, we have that great panel from the last issue where when Rorschach is finally unasked, where he’s screaming, people are holding him back. He’s bleeding from the nose. That’s paralleled multiple times with the issue. I would argue, first of all, with the dead dog, which is also in itself a Rorschach test, but that’s framed the same way. The blood is very similar and then later on, I believe it’s the kids who are holding him back in the story that he’s telling where the blood is streaming down his nose, where you get to see it the same way. It’s just these neat little parallels, these things that give it a rhythm that Gibbons throws throughout that I think are just so impressive. Justin:                     Yeah, and so what we were talking about before where we get to the last scene where we hear how he went from being Walter Kovacs to becoming Rorschach. He sits down with the psychologist again, and the psychologist, now that he entered the darkness, I think you see Rorschach make the choice, I’m going to tell him the truth now because he wants it, and I think that’s a big flip here. And I think also we the reader are going through the same thing where it’s like, we’ve read this comic for six issues. Give us the end. Give us the dark side of this story. Tell us what it is. We’re entering the darkness. We’ve gotten in this character’s head. Now let’s move forward and see how this plays out. Alex:                         Do you think there’s part of it though that Rorschach is punishing this guy because he thinks he’s just a fame seeker, which he might as well be. Justin:                     You could say that, but the guys still make… That’s an insult he hits the guy with, but I do think he’s ready to deal with him as this monster. He’s become this monster that he is talking about. Alex:                         Sorry. Sorry everybody. Justin got distracted. There was a bug on the floor. Justin:                     Like a weird bug. Alex:                         A weird bug. Justin:                     Yeah, a bug that’s like, what if that’s a bad… it could be a bedbug. Alex:                         Oh my God. We’re going to have to finish up this podcast real quick because we’re covered in bed bugs right now. Pete, are you okay? Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         I mean some people see it as a bed bug and some people see it as a weird spider. Justin:                     I don’t think bed bugs are that big. Alex:                         I think it’s a weird spider. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Justin:                     Okay, cool. Yeah, nothing to worry about. Just a weird spider, but let’s keep talking about this. So we see Rorschach goes in. Alex:                         Oh, it just went in Alan’s beard. It’s fine. Justin:                     Okay, good. That’s fine. I guess that’s where it probably came from. He finds that this child has been killed and the action slips out of any sort of narrative or dialogue into just silently watching Rorschach. Pete:                        Why do you think that is? Why do you think we get completely silent panels at this point? Justin:                     It’s been a wordy issue so far, and I think this lets us turn off the analytical part of our brain and the visuals just sneak underneath, and we get to watch the horror unfold directly. He set the trap of this whole thing and made us feel like, Oh God, who’s the hero? What’s right here? And then he lets these images go right through. Pete:                        Plus, I mean the artwork is so amazing in this book. It’s nice to just turn off the words for a little bit and let the art tell the story and just the paneling and the layouts really take it from here. Alex:                         It also builds the tension, right? Because it’s suddenly everything that you’ve had to suck in, anything that you have there is completely sucked away. You don’t have the words to rely on like you were saying, Justin, and instead, you get this tension of Oh God, what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen? And ultimately the most horrible thing that can happen happens, which is that they burned a little kid and fed her to the dogs. Terrifying. Pete:                        And when we get the dog crushing through… The bloody dog crashing through the window type of situation. Alex:                         Classic situation. Pete:                        Classic situation. Part of me wonders if like the reason the shading and the stuff is the way it is, if it was like originally turned in too gruesome and then the editors of the comic were like, Hey, we’ve got to kill bill this a little bit and do different shadings so it’s not as grotesque and as… Alex:                         No, I think that’s all because that’s John Higgins being like, no, this is blood. Justin:                     You mean Gibbons? Alex:                         John Higgins. Justin:                     Get Dave Gibbons. Alex:                         Yeah. John Higgins is the colorist. Justin:                     Oh I see. I see. Alex:                         John Higgins coloring it, and I got it right. Justin:                     No, good. You win this round. Alex:                         Is red is blood is death is murder. That’s what we’ve seen throughout. When somebody realizes something, when their blood gets up throughout this book, not just this issue, but in total. Pete:                        Yeah. Comedian we see it. Alex:                         It just turns red, and I think it’s the same thing here. I don’t think it’s a toning down thing. I think it’s an emotional thing is what I took from it. Pete:                        We don’t know what the original pages look like, you know? Alex:                         Yeah. You think they were bloodier? Pete:                        Yeah. I think maybe it was way more gross, and they were like, guys, we can’t print this. Alex:                         I don’t think that happened with… Justin:                     Adding some drama into the DC office. He ends up killing the guy, putting him through the same torture he put the little girl through, and then we move right into the psychologist at a dinner party where everyone’s like joking around about this case, and he again exposes that he is into the blackness of this. He’s in the void. The void is the abyss. The abyss is looking back at him. Alex:                         You’re looking at the final quote now, what is that? Justin:                     Battle not with monsters, lest he become a monster. And if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. Alex:                         Now, how do you think that connects to this issue? Because it’s really… I’m kidding. Justin:                     Yeah. I was going to say like, Whoa. Alex:                         No, it’s very obvious what was happening there. But I did want to ask about the dinner party a little bit, and we touched on this with everything that’s going on with the psychologist’s wife, do you think that’s actually what’s happening? Because we don’t get their dialogue most of the time. We get his description of things that are going on, and it seems very reductive that over the course of three days, his wife turns into a sex star jealous shrew who is totally done with him in every single way. Justin:                     No, I think that’s his POV. I think he’s being affected by his work, by the abyss, and he is reading that onto his relationship. And I think in this moment at the dinner, I think she’s just like, dude, don’t talk about that. And she’s mad. They’re having, if we were to pull out and not have his point of view, they’re having normal disagreements that a couple might have, but he’s reading into it like it’s a much larger problem because he is so pulled into Rorschach’s head. Alex:                         Any final thoughts about this issue? We do have all the back matter where we get to see drawings from Walter Kovacs. We get to see psychological reports. These all flesh out what has been going on, and I think back up a lot of what has been going on in the book, which is very nice to see, to get confirmation of these things. I really liked, I mentioned earlier the drawing that they have Walter Kovacs do and the writing that he had to do as well because that takes us very much inside of his head, and I thought that was interesting. Any other final thoughts? Justin:                     No. I guess let’s just see if Alan’s ready to have his take. Alex:                         Oh, he’s crawling in bugs. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         He’s covered. Justin:                     Maybe this isn’t Alan at all. It’s just like a bunch of bugs with a beard. Pete:                        Just a pile of bugs that you brought in here that pretended to be Alan Moore. Alex:                         The famous pirate bug beard. Justin:                     While, I was reading this issue, I was reminded of the Black Freighter stuff from the last issue, like it feels like Rorschach is the closest analog to that in this series that we’re getting. Like the Black Freighter is directly related to how he views the world, and it’s just spinning out from him into everybody else. Alex:                         Yeah. Raw shark, raw shark. I just got that. Justin:                     It makes total sense. Alex:                         I just got that. If you’d like to support our podcast, patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the people’s improv theater loft in New York. Come on by. We’ll chat with you about Watchman. Pete, you’re a member of the Facebook page. Justin:                     Ah, Nope. Alex:                         Watchman Watch Podcast. You can check us out there. Also, Justin. Justin:                     Follow us on Twitter at Watchman Watch One and at comic book live. Alex:                         You can also check us out on Instagram, Watchman Watch Podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, Spotify, or the app of your choice, and remember, we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago. Justin:                     Alan just said he’s going to be here next week. Alex:                         He was here this… Oh no, that was the pile of bugs. I’m sorry. Justin:                     Definitely next time. No more bugs. He just texted me that. The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #6, “The Abyss Gazes Also” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Sep 2019

32 min 10 sec

What do you see in the fifth issue of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, “Fearful Symmetry”? The focus turns to Rorschach, as he gets closer to discovering the truth about Eddie Blake’s murder — and the police get closer to him. Plus, we explore Alan Moore’s greatest Dad jokes. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen: Alex:                         Welcome to Watchmen Watch, a podcast about Watchmen, where we talk about Watchmen the comic, we talk about Watchmen the TV show, we talk about Watchmen the movie, we talk about Watchmen the bread, we talk about Watchmen the breakfast cereal, Watchmen the shoes, Watchmen the building, Watchmen my cousin, who is named Watchmen Zalben. We talk about all of this and so much more on this podcast. I am Alex. Justin:                     I’m Justin. Pete:                        I am Pete. And it’s too much Alex, it’s too much. Alex:                         It’s never enough. Pete:                        Too much watching. Alex:                         It’s never enough. You watch things with your eyes, it’s an unlimited amount of things you can watch. So that’s what’s exciting about it. Justin- Pete:                        I watch things with my heart. Justin:                     Nice. Me too, buddy. Alex:                         I couldn’t help but notice, our fourth co-host, he’s not here. What’s going on? You got any news on that? Justin:                     Ah yes, I was hoping it wouldn’t come up, but it does, because he’s one of four. He just texted me, Alan Moore, our fourth co-host, the writer of Watchmen, very famous. He really has planned on being here, but he’s finished taking his name off stuff and now he’s taking my name off stuff. Alex:                         What? Pete:                        Oh man. Justin:                     He’s erasing, I won’t have an identity. He took my name off my birth certificate. Alex:                         Oh that’s crazy. I was going to say, you just released that erotic novella. Justin:                     Yeah. Thank you for pronouncing it correctly. As I said, lightly Italian. It is a novella. Alex:                         You had a really beautiful reception the other day. Alan Moore was there. We got a little tipsy on some pink sparkling champagne bubbles, some pink bubbles as he likes to call them. Justin:                     Yes. My drink of choice, yep. Alex:                         Yeah. But I’m sad he’s not here. I was very excited to talk about this issue. We’re going to be talking about issue five of Watchmen, Fearful Symmetry. Pete, I know you’re clapping because you love fear, right? Pete:                        No. This was one of my favorite issues. Justin:                     He loves symmetry. Pete’s a symmetry dude. Real chasing butterflies type guy. Alex:                         Well this is interesting. This is something that’s come up that we’ve talked about a little bit when we first launched the podcast on our Patreon Slack. People were saying, “Eww, I wonder what’s going to happen when Pete gets the issue about Rorschach because the discussion which I thought was very well-said with the Patreon members, a bunch of people were talking about how Rorschach as a teenager or potentially when you first read Watchmen when you’re sort of coming of age, you potentially identify with Rorschach. You’re like, “Oh, I’m this other. I’m this nerd who’s reading comic books.” Alex:                         But as you get older and particularly now, you understand that Rorschach is a bit of a conspiracy nut and that’s saying it very lightly. And that’s something that they’re playing off of. We talked about this in the preview episode on the HBO show. They’re blowing it out there, having seemingly a bunch of people called the Seventh Cavalry who completely misunderstood the writings of Rorschach and are using him to spur on an alt-right-esque movement. Alex:                         Now this is the issue, last issue, focused almost completely on Doctor Manhattan, his origin, what was going on in his head. Justin:                     Yeah. It was a real thinking man’s issue. Alex:                         It was. This issue, it’s not completely Rorschach, but it’s certainly the Rorschach issue. Is that why you were excited, Pete? And in total, given that you do love Rorschach that much, but we’ve been having these discussions in the podcast, did you view this issue any differently? Pete:                        No. I still very much love Rorschach, think he’s a solid dude. I … It’s funny because … Justin:                     Solid dude. He’s [crosstalk 00:03:43] my bachelor party. Alex:                         Do you know what? I would expect the most Rorschach if he saw you, give you a sweet fist bump. Pete:                        Yeah. Yeah. I tell you what, though, it’s funny because now I relate the dude reading the comic next to the newsstand. Justin:                     Why is that, because you read comics? Pete:                        Because I read comics and I swear the same way he does. So yeah, I still think Rorschach is great. I don’t know, I love how grimy he is, how real and raw he is, his problem with authority. I think he’s a solid character and I think he’s a lot of fun. I definitely don’t agree with a lot of his [crosstalk 00:04:29]. Justin:                     I would argue that he is not. He’s not fun. Pete:                        What’s that? Justin:                     He’s not fun. I would argue he’s not fun. Pete:                        Oh weird. Justin:                     He’s super negative. He has a horrible world view. Pete:                        But what about that whole thing about look behind you? That was fun. What about shoving that dude in the fridge? That was fun. Justin:                     Well, he’s throwing around this poor, broken-down man who’s dying anyway and he’s one of the few people that Rorschach encounters who is truly below him and I think he takes pleasure in inflicting pain on him which is something not super heroic. Pete:                        Right. Justin:                     And I just think Rorschach is conspiracy theorist sort of head space and the fact that he doubts everything happens to be right in this case and he’s the only one that sniffs out the mystery here. But think of any other day in his life before this when he was like, “Oh, look at this diner flyer,” from the … Pete:                        Yeah. But it’s all leading up to this day, though. This is when he’s the hero. Justin:                     But there’s so many days that he was just shaking down some random strangers and them for something that wasn’t there. Pete:                        That’s just him sacrificing himself for the moment. Justin:                     And also, all the people he beats up because he thinks they ate at the same diner where there was a crime. Pete:                        Right. Right. That makes sense. Well I just want to say, though, I’m not saying that I agree with how he’s doing things, just someone who’s reading a comic, I think he’s a fun character and I’m super glad that he’s a part of this world. I love how he fits into all of this. Alex:                         Wait. Sorry. Are you talking about the kid sitting next to the newsstand or Rorschach? Justin:                     Rorschach. Pete:                        Well I mean it’s a great character in the story. Justin:                     Right. Pete:                        Alex’s point, it’s just so interesting the way you read it when you’re a kid and it’s cool to be … and this was also when we were reading this was probably in the mid-to-late ’90s/early 2000s, where badass comics were all about who is this mysterious badass who dwells in darkness? All that shit. And he seemed just cool and now you see all the stuff that sticks out. It’s whoa! His world view is actually the bad. Alex:                         Well on a thematic bent, just to take a step back from this a bit and we were talking about this quite a bit during the Doctor Manhattan podcast, but I think it’s also very much applicable here. Among the other themes that they’re dealing with very heavily in this comic, on the character bent, it’s a lot about can you change? Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         And more than can you change, it’s can you change from whatever your formative point was? That’s something that Doctor Manhattan is dealing with. He was remade when he was blasted apart. Is he Jon Osterman? Is he Doctor Manhattan? What is he now? Is he something that exists simultaneously in that moment when he was destroyed, as well as the past and present and future? And Rorschach … Pete:                        Or is he the pirate and you know, on that raft? Justin:                     That’s the one thing I don’t think he is. Alex:                         No. No. He’s not. Again, I was talking about Doctor Manhattan. But Rorschach is … very good, jumping all over the place, Pete. Rorschach in a parallel, he is the character that cannot move on from the heyday of being a vigilante. The very rare glimpses we get of him during his partnership with Nite Owl, that’s when it seems like he was probably at his best, right? Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         He was at his cleanest. He was probably not happy, but he was certainly at his happiest. And he is the person that is holding onto that. He’s the person that’s resisted the Keene Act, resisted the future and ultimately to jump ahead to the end of the story, that’s his undoing. He can’t change. He can’t move forward with the times, even though Adrian Veidt is the person who is adapting to the times and not only adapting to them, but trying to force them forward in a certain way. So I think that something that plays really heavily here is … Justin:                     I mean it checks out. I think that’s why Rorschach is such a perfect name and identity for him. The world around him is changing. He does not and so the interpretation of his actions is different. Just like the Rorschach Test, depending on who’s looking at it … Alex:                         Yeah, exactly. Justin:                     They’re going to see whatever they see in it. And I also think that plays into how we read this when we were younger and we’re reading it now and we have a totally different interpretation because we’ve changed. This character has not changed. The Rorschach blot is exactly what it was when Alan Moore wrote this and Dave Gibbons drew it and now we have a totally different understanding of him. And that’s amazing to have that level of synergy. So cool. Pete:                        It also says something about the writing, how it’s the same. You change around it. You get different things from it, you know? It’s pretty awesome. Alex:                         The other thing that I’d say, though, is that Watchmen was so influential, the comics, that as you were pointing out, Justin, we … I know I didn’t read Watchmen when it came out in 1986. I probably read it 10 years later after there had been a full decade of Watchmen influencing comics and then there was a reaction to that reaction and a reaction to that reaction and so on and so forth. Alex:                         So whereas Watchmen was coming out and redefining things as it was happening, this also, we’ve seen, we’ve grown up reading comics for the past couple of decades that have influenced our thinking about comics. We’ve seen comics … You know, just to get into the specific structure of this issue, I thought it was funny because we were reading this one because there’s another comic book that we read recently that we reviewed that was very similar structurally. Alex:                         So this is structured like a Rorschach blot. It’s essentially a palindrome. It starts at the beginning, meets in the middle and then parallels towards the end. There’s a book called Ice Cream Man that came out recently that did that, as well. It was more specifically a palindrome where you could read it backwards and forwards and change the story, depending on how you looked at it, which clearly is based on this issue. So even now, even decades later, there are still comic books that are adapting and using the influence of Watchmen, which makes a lot of sense. Alex:                         Should we jump into the issue? Should we walk through it? Justin:                     Yeah. Let’s walk through it. Do you wish that there were more characters named after psychological evaluation tests? Alex:                         Absolutely. Justin:                     Like role play would be a fun … Okay you, I’m the hero, but now I’m going to be the villain, you be the hero and let’s see how this goes. Alex:                         Yeah. There was that comic book that came out that was called Sometimes Just A Cigar Man. Justin:                     Oh yes, yes. Alex:                         That was kind of interesting. Of course, Oedipus, the original superhero. Justin:                     Oh yeah, yeah. Cool. Alex:                         So here, I’ll start walking us through the issue. So we have this first page, which again is paralleled in the final page, as well, where we see some footsteps. One of the great things about this issue in particular, we’ve talked certainly about Alan Moore and we’ve talked about Dave Gibbons, we’ve only touched on John Higgins’ coloring a little bit in various issues. It’s so prominent here because almost every panel changes the coloring. There’s almost a light flashing back and forth, sort of rolling back and forth here. Alex:                         And we get that in particular, it sets that up right in the first page as somebody, it turns out it’s Rorschach, walks up this dirty stairway on his way to find Moloch, who he knows, knows more about whatever conspiracy is going on. Alex:                         And then to Pete’s point, I sort of get what Pete’s saying because you do have a sense of the extreme vigilante, the punisher and whatnot, him doing things where he … Moloch slowly walks through his house and then eventually finds a note in the refrigerator with a Rorschach blot that says behind you. And then he turns around and Rorschach is there and Rorschach pushes him into the fridge. What do you think, Justin? You seem a little conflicted about this. Moves like this, are they cool to you or do they feel dangerous? Justin:                     It was cool. It’s a cool move. It’s a cool storytelling thing, but putting myself in the head of Rorschach, why do this to this poor … He’s just scaring. Maybe I just have more sympathy for Moloch now. He didn’t need to … This is like playing a prank on this poor man who he knows he’s dying, he knows he’s terrified. It’s just unnecessary. And then you’re just going to hassle him anyway. Pete:                        Yeah. But just to back up the truck a little bit, the coloring … Just it’s one of these things where it’s art and stuff like this that makes it so easy to go back to this book, because the paneling, because the coloring is so awesome. It doesn’t get tired to look at it and to kind of go back and re-read it again. There is so much cool stuff going on in this book that it’s just, you know, you kind of, as we mentioned, get different stuff. Pete:                        But yeah. Sure. But he doesn’t know what’s going on with Moloch. He thinks that Moloch is maybe holding back information. So regardless of his health, regardless of that stuff, he wants information and he feels he’s in the right and getting it this kind of gruff, you know, overly masculine way. Justin:                     I mean I take that point. I guess Moloch could be involved somehow. Pete:                        Right. Justin:                     But do you think Rorschach thinks that he is here? Pete:                        Well he definitely does because he goes to his place to get info from him and in his mind, it’s he knows what’s going on, he’s on the list, he’s got to be in the loop. Alex:                         I do think Moloch, not Moloch, excuse me, Rorschach is very much grasping at straws. This is one of the flaws with him, right, is that he is eventually right. He does manage to stumble on the right answers, but he’s going for everything. There was an issue back where he looked at Laurie and Dan being together and he was like, “Well, well, well. They’re probably cheating on Doctor Manhattan. Maybe they planned the whole thing. Maybe it’s Laurie. I’m going to go after her.” Which is just as crazy as any other possibility. It just turns out he stuffs Moloch in a fridge and eventually discovers the right answer and gets on the right track with things. Alex:                         To your point, Justin, I think part of it is that we’ve already … Now we’re five issues in, right? These superheroes are not good people. They haven’t had a good relationship with the world. They haven’t done a good thing. So if it was another comic book or like, “Fuck yeah, Rorschach. Yeah. Go for it Rorschach. Get him. Get that fucker Moloch the Mystic.” I get it, but we know he’s a sick dude with cancer who maybe did some not so nice things in the past, but ultimately, he’s going to die very soon. So it’s not deserved what’s happening to him from Rorschach. Justin:                     And at the end of this issue, he goes back to hassle Moloch again and that’s where he gets caught. So he does pay a price for his cruelty. Pete:                        Well, no, no, no. Justin:                     And at the end of his panel … Pete:                        Hold on. Hold on a second. Hold on a second. First off, when he’s got the fridge closed, there’s that whole panel where Rorschach is thinking and then he realizes oh, I’m wrong. I’m going to let him out of the fridge. And the only reason he goes back to his place is not to beat information out of him, it’s because he got a note in the trashcan that says, “Meet me at 11:30. I have news.” So he doesn’t go back to harass him. He gets set up. Alex:                         I think you’re wrong about that and I think you’re wrong on both counts. First of all, with the refrigerator thing, he’s stuffing Moloch in the refrigerator and Moloch says, “Oh no, no, no. Oh God, don’t. Rorschach please, it wasn’t me. I don’t know. I don’t know who it was.” He closed him in the refrigerator and he doesn’t think better of it. He realizes okay, I think Moloch is kind of telling me the truth now, so I’ll go let him out of this refrigerator. Pete:                        Yeah, he doesn’t know. Alex:                         He doesn’t feel bad about it. Pete:                        No. He realizes, oh, he doesn’t know anything and he lets him out. Alex:                         I guess. But I don’t know. Rorschach’s not a good guy here. I’m sorry. Justin:                     And he hasn’t slept in many days, so he’s not thinking straight. Pete:                        Right. Alex:                         Right. Have you ever been stuffed in a fridge Pete? Pete:                        Huh. I’m thinking. Alex:                         What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever been stuffed Pete? Pete:                        In a locker. I had my head shoved in the toilet for a swirley. Alex:                         Oh jeez. Yikes. Wait, were you really stuffed in a locker? Pete:                        Yeah dude. Alex:                         By a bully. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         Oh man. Pete:                        Football players. Alex:                         Oh wow. I had to do that to myself. Justin:                     Oh, you didn’t even have a bully? Alex:                         No. That’s not a joke. Justin:                     Back in my day, we didn’t have bullies. Last week of school [crosstalk 00:17:26]. Alex:                         I was a nerd. I had never been stuffed in a locker, so I stuffed myself in a locker just to get the experience. Justin:                     Wow, nice. Got your cred. Alex:                         Yeah, I did. Pete:                        Did you close it all the way and did someone have to let you out? Alex:                         Yeah. I closed it all the way and my friend was waiting out there and I said, “Okay, you can let me out now.” And then he did. Pete:                        Okay. Justin:                     Did you give yourself a wedgie? Were you playing out your own father issues on yourself? Alex:                         Listen. I don’t want to get into it, but yes. Justin:                     Did you comb your hair back? Alex:                         Wait. Hold on Justin. I see what you’re doing. Where’s the weirdest place you’ve been stuffed? Justin:                     Oh, interesting. I guess I haven’t really been stuffed in a lot of places. I was in a cave once for a long time. Alex:                         For a long time? Justin:                     Well I was in there. I was like, “I don’t want to leave.” Alex:                         Oh okay. You went on a cave tour? Justin:                     Oh. I was in a culvert underneath a railroad tracks and there was a beaver in there with us and that was a place I didn’t want to be. Alex:                         Were you in a cartoon at the time or what was going on? Justin:                     This was just out … My countrified cred which clashes my nerd cred. There was a beaver dam we had to break up because the water in the lake was getting too high, so we had to go down and break up the beaver dam. And part of doing that, we crawled into this culvert because it was dammed up and the beaver happened to be there and he was in the water like the monster in Star Wars in A New Hope that’s after them in the trash compacter. Pete:                        Yeah. In the trash compacter, right? Justin:                     Yeah. Pete:                        That’s called Dianoga. Anyway, go on. Alex:                         Did you try shooting the beaver with your laser gun? Justin:                     Alex, get back in your locker for saying that. Alex:                         All right. Yeah. Sorry about that guys. Justin:                     You didn’t need to say that. Get in your locker. And that’s where my third brother was killed by that beaver that day. Alex:                         Oh Jesus. Pete:                        Oh man. Justin:                     Wow, the third Tyler brother. Alex:                         They rumored that for so long in the comics and then finally they revealed the third Tyler brother. That was huge. Justin:                     Yeah. We called him Jason X. Pete:                        Oh dude. You’re way to casual. Alex:                         Let’s get to Rorschach just for a second. So as he’s walking out of Moloch’s place, we get a glimpse again of the sign that’s outside there which is a skull and crossbones made out of an R. To the point that Pete made earlier, do you think, at least in this issue or is it all of the issues, that Rorschach is the pirate in Tales of the Black Freighter? Could be? Justin:                     Interesting. Yes. I mean, this issue has the most Black Freighter stuff up to this point, as well. And he is the one who’s life is at the ultimate low point, where he’s lashing together pieces of information like the dead bodies of the people around him. I would argue that’s what his world view is, that nothing is worthwhile. He’s just trying to get by and he’s willing to do anything no matter how horrifying to keep moving. Alex:                         Well and he’s also the person who is … He’s the only one that realizes there’s some sort of doom coming, unlike the pirate in Tales of the Black Freighter who knows specifically it’s the Black Freighter that’s coming for everybody, that’s coming for his family. Rorschach doesn’t know what it is yet. He just knows something bad is going to happen and he’s trying to go as fast as he can to stop it while everybody else, Dan, Laurie, even Doctor Manhattan are kind of just going about their lives and doing their own things. So I think that point is well-made, Pete. Then we … Pete:                        Ah-hah. Alex:                         Yeah. Then we get a scene with the two cops who are such interesting characters to me. Pete:                        Really? Alex:                         Well they’re interesting because there’s all these other bigger than life, lifelike characters which are the superheroes, the Minute Men and the Crime Busters and everybody else. And then you just have these two cops on the beat who keep coming in every once in a while sort of like a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern figure. And it’s fun to see them. I don’t remember how many more times they turn up, but it was surprising to me to see them again in this issue. Pete:                        What? Alex:                         What? Pete:                        All right. Well before I unpack that, I just want to talk about I love how, you know, we kind of have Rorschach’s journal talking about a flash of enlightenment and then you kind of, the next panel is Buddha on the back of a door, you know, with blood. I think that’s pretty awesome. Justin:                     You love a little Buddha? Alex:                         You love a little Buddha? Pete:                        Well I love the enlightenment cut-to. I think that’s a fun thing. Alex:                         Well a couple of things about it. I mean first of all, it has the same blood splash as what’s going on on Eddie Blake’s smiley button, so it’s definitely a bit defaced in that way. It’s exactly the same way. And then also, it’s something that’s perfectly even and parallel like the Rorschach blot, like the sign outside Moloch the Mystic. So there’s that … Pete:                        Also like Doctor Manhattan’s world he’s building on Mars. Alex:                         No, I don’t think so. I mean, that’s a little uneven in terms of his watch cogs and stuff, right? He’s just trying to create order, but Rorschach has the same thing backwards and forwards and I think that’s what’s going on. Pete:                        I don’t know why you’re fighting me on this. Alex:                         Well, we also get … we also get in the first half of the issue, we get this triangle with the Buddha and in the second half of the issue, we get the triangle with the, oh gosh what do you call them? Gay … not gay/lesbians. Whatever they’re called in this world. It’s something slightly different than what it actually should be. We’ll find it when we get to it. Pete:                        Yeah. I’m just saying, though, when Doctor Manhattan is floating on Mars, all these triangles start appearing in the ground and then keep growing up. Alex:                         Yeah. Those are the watch cogs. Pete:                        Right. But I’m saying they look like triangles, which is what Buddha is in [crosstalk 00:23:23]. Alex:                         They’re wheels. They’re circles Pete. Justin:                     We see a lot of triangles just in [inaudible 00:23:27]. Pete:                        Dude. You’re killing me man. The page here, there’s just literally triangles on it where Doctor Manhattan is … I don’t know why you’re fighting that [crosstalk 00:23:36]. Justin:                     If you go to the next page, there’s a triangle. Think about that. Alex:                         Yeah. If you fold over the corner of the page, there’s a triangle. Pete:                        Okay. Cool. Justin:                     Pete’s is a triangle. Alex:                         All I’m saying is some people see triangles, some people see circles. Let’s just call them shapes, you know? Pete:                        All right. Let’s talk about the cops that you love so much. Alex:                         I do like those cops. But I think we could actually move on. We talked about the Black Freighter a little bit. There’s a scene … Pete:                        Wait. Why do you like the cops? They don’t seem very good at their job or aware of anything. Alex:                         I like them because I am curious to see more of them and how they play into the narrative. Pete:                        Okay. Alex:                         That’s all. I’m [crosstalk 00:24:20]. Justin:                     You may feel like they’re just another example of sort of the bleakness of the everyday world. We get these two scenes back-to-back with the cops who sort of don’t know what they’re doing and just talking about how the world is all fucked. And then the next scene is the kid reading the comic book or I guess the man reading the comic book and the newspaper dealer. And they’re talking about the same thing, but they’re sort of a little more scared, as opposed to being resigned to their fate. Pete:                        Yeah. Now I just want to also say we talked about reading it younger and then reading it now. When I was a kid, I definitely didn’t pick up on how meta this was, having a kid read the comic while I’m reading the comic, you know? Alex:                         Do you think, it would have been kind of interesting if they had the pirate in the Black Freighter tale also reading a comic, maybe a comic about Pete LePage? Justin:                     Oh, that’s good. Pete:                        I think I would have picked up on that when I was younger. Justin:                     Maybe they’ll do that in the show. Alex:                         Personalized shows. That’s the next iteration. After that, we get a quick scene with Dan and Laurie as their relationship starts to build a little bit in this issue. Laurie has been kicked out of the place she was living. She’s lost all of her money. She doesn’t necessarily want to look for a handout, but Dan offers, says, “Hey, you can stay at my place. That’s absolutely fine.” And there’s this great panel. We’ve talked a lot about the juxtaposition in this comic book. But this great panel at the end where they’ve finished their meal, they’re walking away and it says, “We’re both leftovers.” Justin:                     Yeah. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         Now the other thing … Justin:                     HBO’s The Leftovers. Alex:                         HBO’s The Leftovers. It’s a huge hint going on there. Justin:                     Synergy. Alex:                         He also says we’re lost. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         And #DamonLindelof. Justin:                     It’s crazy they said hashtag back then because that was sort of not very popular. Maybe they … Pete:                        Now Justin … Justin:                     Yes. Pete:                        When you were … it was just you and the beaver in that, you know, little tunnel thing … Justin:                     Culvert. Pete:                        Did you see … Oh, sorry. We see a, you know, a guy stranded in a raft and kind of pulls a pigeon out of the air and eats it and then it cuts to, you know, Nite Owl there eating, kind of holding it the same way. Were you worried it would come down to you and the beaver and you would have to eat the beaver? Justin:                     Yeah. I’d eat the beaver and I’d make a little hat out of it. No, it was just, I didn’t like when the beaver was bumping into my leg with it’s sharp teeth. Pete:                        Ouch. That’s terrifying. Justin:                     I’m not … You know, a beaver is not a scary animal, but put yourself in a tube where you can’t really see the exit, it’s very far away, it gets scary. Alex:                         I want to say something else about … Justin:                     One quick thing. Alex:                         Yeah, please. Justin:                     Before we move on, I love this panel where you have Dan looking out, it’s straight out of a romance comic, except he’s in what traditionally would be the woman’s role of looking fraught right at the camera as someone walks away. And I feel like that’s a purposeful reference here and it’s great. Alex:                         Yeah. Pete:                        Also, it’s nice to see that the guy is looking that way, you know? Alex:                         That’s what Justin just said. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         There’s also the other two things that I’m going to point out about the scene and then we’ll move on. You mentioned, Pete, the cut from the pirate on the Black Freighter desperately eating a seagull to Dan Dreiberg desperately eating a chicken leg. And I think the implication there is pretty clear, is that he’s been starving for companionship for a woman to be in his life for a very long time and he’s being fed for the first time. So that’s what we’re getting there. The other thing, with the Rorschach of it all, there’s reflections throughout the issue and pretty much every scene with Dan and Laurie has a mirror in it to the point where there is one of the panels is completely them having a conversation in the mirror and you don’t see them at all, which I think is kind of just graphically fascinating. Pete:                        Yeah. Yeah. Alex:                         So there you go. Then we get the big centerpiece right in the middle of the issue which is Adrian Veidt’s big fight. He is walking with his new assistant. He walks downstairs and a man attacks him. Pete:                        Wait. Alex:                         Yes Pete. What do you want to talk about that happened right before that? Pete:                        I want to talk about the … we skipped over the Rorschach kind of starting his day and being at the diner. I think that’s kind of we kind of get to see how Rorschach kind of wakes up, starts his day and it’s not a normal kind of thing. But it is interesting how there is parallels, you know? Some people say oh, I have to put on my face in the morning, I have to apply makeup or something like that. Or you know, in Rorschach’s case, this mask is his face. And I thought that was kind of an interesting … Pete:                        You know, we all kind of put on masks or whatever when we’re going out in public and I think that’s kind of interesting. Alex:                         Well and that also ties into what happens at the end of the issue where the cops do finally unmask Rorschach. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         And they realize they have no idea who he is because he’s just some guy. But that’s also how Rorschach feels. He is some guy under the mask, but that doesn’t matter. He is Rorschach through-and-through. Pete:                        Yeah. He says, “You’re taking my skin off,” I think. Justin:                     Yeah. Gross. Gross. Alex:                         Did that ever happen to you? Did a bully ever do that to you? Pete:                        Take my skin off? Yeah. Alex:                         Take your skin off. Yeah. Pete:                        I’ve been unskinned before, taking the face skin off. Alex:                         All right. I want to get back to the Adrian Veidt thing because he does have this big fight with this dude in the lobby of his building. We get a layout that I don’t think is like anything else that happens in the comic book. We get almost a two-page spread of the fight with a double vertical panel in the middle where you see Adrian Veidt whipping back this trophy I want to say and then whipping it forward. Justin:                     It’s an ashtray. Alex:                         Ashtray. Yes. Thank you. And the guy eats a poison pill and dies. Now this is getting into big spoilers if for whatever reason you haven’t read it before. But again, it’s very fascinating reading all of the Adrian Veidt stuff, knowing what we know and knowing what he’s going to head towards because clearly, he’s setting this up to make it feel like oh, the conspiracy is coming after me, too, when in fact, he is the one that is setting it up the entire time. Justin:                     Yeah. He orchestrated this … Pete:                        Spoiler, dude. Justin:                     We find out later. Yeah. But that’s why I think this panel construction is so unique for this comic. We don’t see anywhere else this number of splash pages, like you said, Alex, and these are really hero … every one’s a hero shot. It’s him dodging a bullet, grabbing a weapon, wrecking the dude and then pulling him out. It’s straight out of any other superhero comic and I just love that in the end, we find out that these hero shots are really setting up the villain. It’s the one person that gets the hero shot. Pete:                        Yeah and it’s really cool that you get the V in the background with the two big panels back-to-back like that, you know? It’s really very powerful and reminds me of the kind of X-Men stuff I would see later. Alex:                         We’ve talked about this a bit, as well, in the podcast just how well-constructed a mystery this book is, this whole series is because they give you all the clues, just like Mr. Snowman, you know? And there’s a panel in here which I love where it’s Adrian Veidt looking directly at the camera towards the end and he’s talking to the guy, but he’s looking directly at us and says, “I want to know who’s behind this.” But it’s him who’s behind it, so he knows. “Don’t bite down you scum. I want to know who sent you.” It’s great. The whole thing. He’s telling you the entire time exactly that he did it and they’re telling you. Justin:                     But it’s crazy. If this were a Law and Order episode or something, it would be how did he know he had a poison pill in his tooth? He just knew? That’s crazy. Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     It’s something … that’s a big, stupid thing to say because he wouldn’t have known that. Alex:                         Right. But in this case, he’s a superhero, right? So they all trust him. They know him. And right on the next page, the newspaper man is talking about oh who would dare attack that lovely Adrian Veidt? Everybody thinks he’s absolutely wonderful. So of course, him being the superhero, to your point, Justin, this incredible hero, he would know about it absolutely. And then the one last thing, just again in terms of him straight up telling us what’s going on, there’s this whole thing where the assistant wants to make some action figures. In his action figure line, they want to make enemies. And he’s like, “Well who would you make them of?” And the last thing he says in the scene is, “If they ask why, just tell them I don’t have any enemies.” And that’s true. He is the enemy himself. He doesn’t have any enemies other than him. Justin:                     Yeah. And I think the fact that he’s making action figures is a clear indication that he is meant to be Todd McFarlane. Alex:                         Again, looking very far ahead, but interesting and correct. Justin:                     [inaudible 00:33:33] forward looking. Pete:                        Yeah, just the part where he is reaching into this dude’s mouth and his hand is all bloody and the cop is looking on in horror in the background. That really just screams this guy is the villain. Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         It’s great. So then we get another page of the Black Freighter and people reacting to what went down with Adrian Veidt. We get another page of Rorschach and then we go back to Dan and Laurie, again with the mirrors. We get a scene where he walks her into her bedroom, stares at her longingly in the mirror for a moment. Now we touched on this the last episode with the Doctor Manhattan-Laurie relationship. How do you feel about the Dan Dreiberg-Laurie relationship because he’s also crazy older than her? Justin:                     Yeah. Is he? I guess I don’t know that. He is, though, I guess. He must be, at least to some degree. Alex:                         Yeah. I think he’s mid-to-late 40s and she’s 20-30 years younger than that, something like that. Justin:                     Wow. I think it must be … it’s probably a 20-year age gap or something. Alex:                         Yeah. Something like that. Justin:                     I mean, the way they are in the issue, they feel like contemporaries, so I don’t think we’re meant to … I guess in the same way, why is she so young? Because that’s a weird thing and it keeps coming up. But the comic doesn’t emphasize that in any way. Pete:                        Yeah. I didn’t … It’s not something that I was … I mean when you talk about it, yeah. But it’s not something that they play with at all it doesn’t seem like [crosstalk 00:35:10]. Alex:                         Well, I mean I think they do, but she says, “You’re like a big brother. You know that?” Which I guess doesn’t necessarily imply a 20-year age difference, but certainly she’s not thinking about him, it seems at this point as a potential lover so much as somebody who is older, somebody who does take care of her. The more that I read this book, again, at this point it feels like in a 2019 vein, the women certainly get a short shrift in this book. The focus is much more on the men and if there is one modern quibble that I think you can have with it, it’s definitely that. Justin:                     Yeah. It’s written from a crazy male perspective. The women don’t really exist but in relationship to the men. There’s no real … Her whole function here is to be Doctor Manhattan’s wife who leaves him for this other guy. And that’s not good. Pete:                        No. Alex:                         No. It’s not good. Also not good is what happens to the pirate of the Black Freighter is he gets attacked by a shark. This is, I’ve got to tell you, the first time I read Watchmen, I sort of skimmed the Black Freighter segments because it was well what’s with all the pirates? I don’t get this at all. This is ridiculous. But I definitely remember the shark part. There is specifically the coloring that John Higgins does here with all the reds and the pink of the shark and everything. Terrifying, absolutely terrifying. Justin:                     Yeah. Terrifying. Super intense. It really plays well. I agree with you. When you’re younger, I feel like you’re not able to draw the literary juxtaposition that is there quite as much, but it’s so cool reading it now. Pete:                        Yeah. And it’s also very interesting to kind of get across how crazy the pirate is or whatever. We can see the coloring of the shark, but he also describes it in a different color, which also just hammering down what he’s been through and how not really … He’s aware of everything that’s happening, but also has a skewed vision. Alex:                         Do you think, though, that this scene with the shark is all to set up the raw shark joke that happens in two pages? Justin:                     Yes. No, but I think … I also think it’s about … I mean this is the parallel to the story and it’s just another sort of advanced clue to what is actually happening in this whole story. Alex:                         Right because then we get the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern style cops. Again, they’re trying to figure out what’s going on with Eddie Blake. And in the middle of that, they get a phone call telling them that somebody has seen raw shark and they realize what it actually is. Did you realize when they said raw shark and they realized what it is what they were talking about or did it take you a minute [crosstalk 00:38:10]? Justin:                     It took me a minute. It’s one of those things that sort of makes you think. It draws you out of the story. It sort of makes you look at the matrix of it for a second because it’s wait, what are they talking about? And then it … And I think that’s an interesting technique to do here. It sort of resets your brain in a weird way. Because look, it’s one of the only panels, especially with these cops, where there’s just the punchline of the joke and a huge reaction from the cop in the foreground. It’s such an emphasized moment and I think it’s meant to sort of get you keyed back into the mystery. Pete:                        Yeah. I don’t know, it just seems like this weird dad joke in the middle of a comic. I don’t know. Alex:                         It made me laugh when I realized I also felt super dumb that I didn’t pick up on it as it happened until I saw Rorschach on the next page. And I was like, “Oh yeah. Okay. I get it. I get what we’re going for.” But then we get into the next scene with Moloch that we talked about before which does visually parallel almost exactly what happens towards the beginning of the issue, except this time, as we come around Moloch, we find that he’s been shot in the head, Rorschach has been set up and then we get this action sequence which to the point you were making earlier Justin, Rorschach goes beyond vigilante justice here to the point where I think he is cruel to these cops who are trying to track him down. What’s your guys take on it? Pete:                        Well I would just like to say the coloring of Moloch being shot in the head is really powerful and amazing. Justin:                     Yeah. Pete:                        And it’s kind of spooky. The first time I read it, I was really grossed out. Justin:                     I wouldn’t say he’s cruel, it ends up being cruelty to these cops, but he’s just desperate. He’s not trying to hurt them more than he needs to for pleasure. I think he’s just like, “Oh fuck. I have to do everything I can to get away.” Because he’s never been boxed in like this. Pete:                        Yeah. Backed against a wall. Justin:                     And his whole life is at stake. Yeah. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         So yeah. He does, though. He gets out. He jumps through a window. He sets people on fire. Pete:                        Yeah, he does. Alex:                         Ultimately they catch him. They unmask him. And there’s one, again, I read this personally as a joke similar to the raw shark thing. But the second-to-last panel after he’s screaming, “No! My face! Give it back! Who the hell is he?” They drag him off. He’s lost one shoe. His hat is hanging on the other side and the dialogue is everything balances. When clearly, this panel in particular does not at all. You have one shoe on, one shoe off. You have the hat in the upper left corner. Alex:                         Certainly it parallels stuff that’s gone on in the beginning because we had the newspaper, we had one shoe hitting the puddle at the beginning. We end with the reflection of the pirate S sign. I don’t know, I just thought this was a funny thing where you’ve had this whole mirror image issue and the second-to-last panel is something that throws off that pattern in a certain way. Justin:                     But I think on the theme of the story, at the beginning of this issue, Rorschach is walking in, super confident, cocky when he’s confronting Moloch. He plays a weird trick on him as part of the mystery. And he steps in this puddle with intention to go do that and in the second-to-last panel, he’s being dragged back out of the house at his absolute lowest. So I think it balances out emotionally for Rorschach, where he goes from the top, he’s in his element, he’s solving a mystery, he’s making moves forward to absolutely back to the lowest point he could possibly imagine. Alex:                         I think that’s fair. That makes sense. Let’s talk about the back matter, as well, because there’s a whole history of pirate comics that goes on here, which I thought was so neat. And it actually includes a lot of real writers and artists and contemporaries of Alan Moore who were working at D.C. Comics. And for those of you who didn’t read this or didn’t maybe listen to a previous episode of the podcast, one of the things that’s going on in this world is because superheroes existed. Alex:                         Very specifically, Marvel Comics totally failed and Marvel Comics totally failed because their big hit was Fantastic Four #1. They made all of their money off of superhero comics, so they never became a thing in this world versus D.C. Comics which has historically, actually always been very adaptable in terms of the times or at least more adaptable seemingly than Marvel. And here, what they did was they had some hit pirate comics when their superhero line was starting to fail and they followed that path down and pirate comics became the biggest thing in the world. I thought that was great. Even more than the under-the-hood stuff, I really loved this one. I thought it was fantastic. Justin:                     Yeah. That’s such a funny detail and I know we’ve talked about it before that pirate comics are so successful in this world. It’s so weird and so it reminds me of, what is it? The comic about eating, where … Alex:                         Chew? Justin:                     Chew, where the chickens are revered. Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     Yeah. That’s such a funny random detail of that world that doesn’t really play into the action, at least at the beginning and so funny. Alex:                         Yeah. Another thing that I really like about these sections and again, I’ll cop to the fact that I pretty much skipped over them the first time that I read Watchmen is how good Alan Moore is at writing in different styles, which I think is an incredibly different thing to do. Specifically, I find a lot of times when people try to do the Watchmen thing of having back matter, it feels like a comic book writer tried to do it. You know, my day job is writing news, so certainly I focus on that and I get very picky about that. But when somebody who is not a news writer writes a news article in a comic book, it always feels super off. It does not feel like something anybody would actually write. Alex:                         But the under-the-hood sections feel like a dishy tell-all autobiography. This section writing about the pirate comics really does feel like a super scholarly look into the history of comics. Again, not that it’s a huge revelation that Alan Moore is a good writer, but I’ve been very impressed to read those just in terms of the different voices that he puts throughout them. Justin:                     Yeah, the specificities. Cool. Pete:                        It also reminds me since we also talk about other comics, it reminds me of Hickman’s X-Men run where it’s you’re getting a lot more layers to what’s happening and there’s actual just writing in between the art and real comic. Alex:                         Do you think he ripped off Hickman’s X-Men run? Pete:                        Yeah. I definitely think Alan Moore ripped off Hickman. Yeah. Yeah. Justin:                     Alan Moore just texted me and he said he did. Alex:                         Oh wow. I love how he always does exactly what we’re talking about even though we’re not here. That’s why he’s my pink champagne buddy. Justin:                     That’s the weirdest thing is since we’re recording this separately over Skype, he is Skyped into this call, he’s just not saying anything. Alex:                         I can see your face buddy. Justin:                     That’s just [crosstalk 00:45:32] busy. Alex:                         I can see your face. Justin:                     He’s taking … Yeah. Alex:                         Oh, I love that guy. If you would like to support our podcast patreon.com/comicbookclub, also we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. at the People’s Improv Theater Loft in New York, and I will chat with you about Watchmen. A couple of different places socially you can check out this podcast. Pete you remember what the Facebook page is? Pete:                        Nope. Slam. Alex:                         Great. It’s watchmanwatchpodcast on Facebook and Instagram. Justin, you want to plug that Twitter? Justin:                     Yes. It is … our Twitter is comicbooklive and the Watchmen one is watchmenwatch1, is that right? Pete:                        Yeah. I know there’s a 1 in there. Alex:                         There is a 1 in there. Also, we didn’t do this on the first couple episodes, did want to give a shout out to Jeff Solomon who wrote the theme music for the show. Justin:                     Yeah. So good. Alex:                         You can check him out on Instagram at megajerf. That’s his Instagram address. It’s mostly pictures of beautiful food and cocktails he made, but he writes good music, as well. So thank you, Jeff, for doing that. Pete:                        Thanks Jeff. Alex:                         Check us out at comicbooklive.com for this podcast and more. Our podcast is now live everywhere so please be sure to subscribe to the specific podcast feed, iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, app of your choice. Particularly on iTunes, if you wouldn’t mind going over and rating it and leaving us a comment, that would be much appreciated. And remember, we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago. Justin:                     Bye Alan. Oh you’ll be here next … He just texted me. He’ll definitely be here next week and he means it. The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #5, “Fearful Symmetry” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Sep 2019

48 min 16 sec

In what could be Watchmen’s first standalone issue, “Watchmaker” jumps through time to show us the past, present, and potentially future of Dr. Manhattan. Does Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ most powerful character have emotions? Is he amoral, immoral, or neither? We explore that, and much more in this episode. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen: Alex:                         Welcome to Watchmen Watch a podcast all about Watchmen, where we watch Watchmen. You watch Watchmen, we watch you watching Watchmen. You’ll listen to Watchmen, you think about Watchmen and sometimes you smell Watchmen. I’m Alex. Justin:                     I’m Justin. Pete:                        I’m Pete. Alex:                         We actually have sum dues before we get into the show. Justin, what’s going on? Justin:                     Yeah, sorry. The fourth host of our show is Alan Moore obviously, and he is committed to this podcast and he actually just texted me. We communicate via text. Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     He just texted me. Alex:                         Sorry, iMessage does he have an iPhone or what’s going on? Justin:                     No. You know how like on an iPhone, the texts come up blue or green? Alex:                         Yes. Justin:                     His come up like hot pink. I don’t know what he’s, I think he may be texting from somewhere else- Pete:                        The future? Justin:                     The future, the past or in this case he texted me from the surface of Mars where he’s retracing the Doc Manhattan. He’s doing like a tour of all the Doc Manhattan. He said [crosstalk 00:00:59] – Alex:                         Is he running the tour, or is he taking the tour? Pete:                        [crosstalk 00:01:03] Juicy Couture? Justin:                     No I’m not doing [crosstalk 00:01:07]. That’s a good guess though, because I’m often talking about that. Pete:                        Yeah, yeah. Justin:                     No he said- Alex:                         He does, we should mention, he’s often, when he is here for the podcast, he’s usually wearing those short shorts that say Juicy on the back. Justin:                     Yes, but he has taken his name off the back of his short shorts. He is setting up a like in New York, there’s a Sex in the City tour for all of the locations where Sex in the City took place. Alex:                         Sure, yeah. Justin:                     He’s doing that for Watchmen, so he’s on all smart scouting on the surface of Mars. Pete:                        Oh smart. That’s fun, you could see a newsstand, you could see a wall. Justin:                     A pirate ship made of dead bodies. It’s going to be fun. Alex:                         Yeah. Good time. Good time. Well hopefully he will be back for next week’s podcast. Justin:                     He definitely will, he said. Alex:                         Oh he did. Justin:                     100%, he’s definitely here next week. Alex:                         Well this week we are continuing our tour through Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons classic comic book series. We’re going to be talking about the fourth issue, Watchmaker of the book as we ramp up to HBO’s premier of Watchmen on October 20th, so that’s pretty exciting. Justin:                     Very exciting. Alex:                         Now before we get into this book though, I did want to ask you, Justin, you’ve worked at bars before, right? Justin:                     Yes. Alex:                         Do you know- Justin:                     As a bartender. Alex:                         As a bartender- Justin:                     Dancer. Alex:                         Yeah. Pete:                        Oh boy. Alex:                         Exotic. Pete:                        Don’t. Justin:                     Well, both exotic and regular dance. Alex:                         Regular yeah. Justin:                     I’m the stripper that does the macarena. Alex:                         Yeah. I loved that when they have that outside where they’re like exotic ed, regular dancers. Justin:                     Exactly. Alex:                         Regular style. Justin:                     It’s a full buffet, regular style dancing. Alex:                         Yes, how do you make a Manhattan? What’s in a Manhattan? Justin:                     Manhattan. I mean there’s some variations, but it’s you want to mix your bourbon, your brown, whatever it is whiskey, bourbon is sort of the popular one now, your sweet vermouth, a little bit of bitters and a cherry. Alex:                         How would you make a Doctor Manhattan do you think? Pete:                        Add Dr. Pepper on top. Justin:                     That’s [crosstalk 00:02:55] – Alex:                         Cool. Justin:                     He said that with such urgency. Yeah. I’ve never seen you speak so quickly. Yeah. No, you just make it regular and then stir it with your penis. Alex:                         You’ve got to make your penis blue before you stir it? Justin:                     What color is your penis? My bad. Alex:                         Oh, bye. All right, let’s get into the book. Now this issue as we implied is all about Doctor Manhattan, go back and tell his origin. The things that have happened very briefly in the book so far, Edward Blake, the comedian has been murdered Rorschach, a vigilante, one of the few remaining vigilantes has been investigating his murder. Through a series of circumstances that we don’t know exactly how they come together unless you’ve read the book already like we have, like most of our listeners probably have, have led to Doctor Manhattan fleeing earth after he was accused of giving multiple people, including his old love, Janey Slater, cancer that he is headed to Mars. He’s hanging out on Mars with an old photo of him in his human guise of Jon Osterman before he was changed into Doctor Manhattan and Janey Slater. That’s kind of where we left him a little- Pete:                        Janey. Alex:                         Janey Slater, excuse me, alone on Mars. Now, here’s the thing that I thought structurally was pretty fascinating about this issue in particular. We were talking a lot about the juxtaposition that Moore and Gibbons’s have been working throughout. This is the first issue that had a certain sense, doesn’t have that juxtaposition, doesn’t have panels that are describing different things that are dialogue, that is describing different things that’s happening in the panels because it’s all juxtaposition. It’s all happening at the same time for Doctor Manhattan and it almost in that way takes a step back and pauses in terms of the pacing. Justin:                     Just tailors the story to the character- Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     I mean this standalone issue, this comic series is amazing obviously. We talk about that a lot. The first three issues are very good, lot of setup, great mystery juxtaposition, but this issue as a standalone issue is I think a masterpiece. This is like the masterpiece of the series. Alex:                         Yeah. Pete:                        Really a masterpiece? Justin:                     Truly, like the way this story is told is so smart and other comics have used this type of storytelling, but this was like the first issue that used all these big physical ideas, physics ideas and- Pete:                        Is it because we finally get the black g-string in this issue that you were not having to see just the junk. It’s covered up a little bit. Is that why you- Justin:                     Yes, that’s what I mean. Pete:                        Okay. Justin:                     It’s the, again Juicy Couture and g-strings is what we’re all about on this podcast. Pete:                        Yep. Justin:                     No, it just such a unique way of telling the story that fits in with the character and also just keeps us guessing while also getting out a ton of exposition and having this anxiety that just runs through the whole issue. That plays into the larger series, which is all about tension and the stress of impending disaster. Alex:                         Right. Well the other thing that we’re dealing with a lot here that we’ve talked about again earlier on the podcast is what is Doctor Manhattan and can he feel emotion? That’s something that we’re wrestling with a lot in this issue because there were moments where it feels like even in his Doctor Manhattan guise, that he is doing things emotionally, he is spurred on by humanity, but the way that he describes it, because almost this entire thing is through his own internal monologue. He is saying, “No, this is all just inevitable, this is all just happening at the same time for me. I don’t feel anything about any of these things.” I take it pretty clearly as that’s not true. I think there is, one of the things that this issue emphasizes that Doctor Manhattan, despite everybody being terrified about him, and about him being God- Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         He is at best a God and not even that he has limitations. Justin:                     Well I think he just has Godlike powers. He has the power to sort of see everything at once and manipulate the world around him. It’s all science-based it’s not like he has a mythical mystical God powers. I also think it’s just a function of the way his life is now where because he’s aware of everything, only the big impact moments sort of reach him. Everything evens out because he sees it all like reading a book. When we’re reading a book, reading a comic, like rarely do we cry, only like a huge moment gets us to really feel that emotion. Otherwise we’re just sort of watching these characters. Alex:                         Now, that’s an interesting point to think about it as a comic book because what Moore and Gibbons are doing is dealing with the structure of a comic book and the impact of comic books and superhero comic books in particular through the 12 issues of Watchmen. Here, you could probably argue that Doctor Manhattan sees the world as a comic book, but he sees it as- Justin:                     Yeah, but he’s authoring in a way. Alex:                         Right. He’s seeing it as these various still panels, that depending on how you read it, you read one panel at a time, or you’re looking at the entire page and seeing nine things at the same time. Justin:                     Right and I think that’s what it is because he’s not omnipotent. He is just aware of much more at once. Because that’s why I do think he does still have, like when he is confronted with the idea that he killed all these people that are close to him, he’s affected by it and it caused him to run away. I think those emotions are real. He’s suffering, he’s feeling this horrible guilt, but it’s only these emotions like guilt that are powerful and get him in that way. Alex:                         Well, the omnipotence thing is underlying pretty well. One of the scenes that we get in the comic book is we go back to that meeting, the one meeting of the crime busters that happened. In it, wait, actually, I don’t know if it’s in the meeting of the counter busters or it’s somewhere else on the issue. He sees Moloch but he doesn’t know who Moloch is like he doesn’t recognize it. Justin:                     Right. Alex:                         It’s not that he’s omniscient, he doesn’t know everything about everything all the time. He can’t identify everything all the time. It’s just that he understands things in his own lifetime. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         I’ll throw something else out at you that just occurred to me but there’s that big scene towards the middle where they’re trying to give them a symbol and they’re giving him the atomic bomb signal. He’s like, “No, that’s ridiculous. That doesn’t exist. Instead, I’ll use this thing.” Instead he draws, I believe it’s a hydrogen molecule. Right? Justin:                     Hydrogen atom. Alex:                         Yeah, hydrogen atom, which was just a singular thing. What’s being emphasized here is that all he sees is his own life through himself. That’s it. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         He can’t see through Janey Slater’s life. He can’t see through Laurie’s life. He can’t see through Eddie Blake’s life or anything like that. He’s not reading people’s minds. He’s just experiencing all these things that happened to him at the same time. A corollary note that I’ll throw out there is on the throwing against him being a God front, is he’s only jumping through his own lifetime. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         He’s not being like, “Now, I’ll go back to medieval times or going into the far future.” Pete:                        Yeah [crosstalk 00:09:52] go kill Hitler or something. Alex:                         Right, exactly. He’s just existing in the span of his own lifetime, which granted is potentially forever at this point from the point that he’s created on. He’s not going backwards or forwards any farther than that. Pete:                        No. Justin:                     He also, the way it’s written, it almost feels like he’s just going backwards. He talks a little bit about, because the narration he’s doing is looking back and he’s talking about how in that time, he was aware of the future but you don’t see him, he never is aware of the future in the present of the comic we’re reading, if that makes sense. It’s almost like he’s just remembering shit. Pete:                        Right. Justin:                     It definitely is not, he’s not as strong or as powerful as he’s positioned in the book. Alex:                         Right. I think you could argue that that’s all of us, right? I mean I don’t know if you guys experience this, but certainly I’ll spend a lot of time, like certainly when at my most restful where my brain will immediately like flash on something that happened 30 years ago, that potentially I was embarrassed about or I felt bad about or maybe sometimes a good experience as well. Justin:                     Get into it. Get into it Alex. [crosstalk 00:10:57] Flash. Alex:                         Real quick. Here’s my top five most embarrassing experiences. Justin:                     Yeah. Pete:                        Yeah. Justin:                     There’s also, oh go ahead. Pete:                        I was also just going to talk a little bit about the paneling a little bit and like how, when it does break from the panel it doesn’t in such a dramatic fashion. The stuff where you see him as this giant during war time is such a powerful huge thing that really kind of showcases, well the damage that he can do. I think one of the reasons that like he retreats and kind of starts his own little world that he creates on Mars is like this is his kind of like safe place and it kind of shows how vulnerable and how child like he is and how you know, affected he is by all the things that he maybe did wrong in his life. Justin:                     He just needs to go to his little special secret place and build a crystal and castle and let it go. Pete:                        Right. Because he has really clearly let go of the fact that his dad threw a watch over the balcony back when he was younger. He builds an entire watch castle on Mars- Justin:                     That cool. Pete:                        As one does. Justin:                     As one does. Alex:                         Speaking of children, let’s talk about Laurie a little bit. Let’s talk about Silk Spectre. Jon Osterman, AKA Doctor Manhattan, he’s kind of an older man, right? Justin:                     Yes. Alex:                         Kind of an older gentleman. Justin:                     He says how old he is. He is very old. Alex:                         Yes. He’s very old. He starts dating Laurie seemingly when she is 16 according to his story. Justin:                     Yes. Well, that’s what Janey says, “What is she, 16, 17? It’s not 100% clear how old she is, but young is the watch word. Alex:                         Right, well she says, “What is she, 16, 17?” Then they give the year and they jumped forward a certain number, I think four years to her 20th birthday. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         You can kind of figure out that she’s 16 when they first make out on the roof. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         That’s pretty fucked up. Justin:                     Yeah. Especially, he’s like 50. Alex:                         [crosstalk 00:12:53] Yeah, I just wanted to point out that it’s fucked up. Pete:                        Yep. Justin:                     Yes, I agree and he straight up just bails on his wife because she’s too old for him. Alex:                         Right. Justin:                     They go so far to say that he is so powerful and so aware of everything, yet he does this like total scumbag move. Alex:                         Well, why do you think that is? Why do you think that is character wise? Because I get the way the day Gibbons draws it and the way that he draws their expressions forgetting about Laurie for a second. It does feel like there’s honest emotion happening on Doctor Manhattan’s face. Whether he’s faking it or not, whether he’s saying this is a simulacrum of a human being that I’m impersonating right now or not, I don’t know. To me it feels like he truly is reaching out for that companionship that Laurie is providing on the roof, not just giving her what he thinks she wants, like he does later on when he gives her the threesome that ultimately breaks them up. Justin:                     Right? I mean, I guess if you’re taking his powers for what it is, it makes sense that he would want to keep consistency because he remains constant. He’s trying to have the same thing he had with Janey is with this now. He’s having the younger version so it’s all constantly the same like young wife that he’s had and that’s where the time … He is stuck in that time. Alex:                         Is that your take on it Pete? Pete:                        Well, I mean it’s interesting. I don’t know. I mean Doctor Manhattan is a tough read. He is so stoic and so powerful. It’s kind of tough to know what’s going on. I kind of just, it’s a little too creepy to think about for me, but I think that like- Alex:                         I think a good thing to do on our podcast is not confront the problematic parts of the comics. Pete:                        Oh cool. Alex:                         Yeah. Just avoid them as much as possible. Pete:                        Yeah, definitely, definitely. Alex:                         No, I mean like if you really … It’s not necessarily about the creepiness. I’m wondering now what is Doctor Manhattan thinking when he hooks up with Laurie? Forgetting about her age a moment, which is a whole other can of worms. Pete:                        Yeah. It’s hard to separate it. Alex:                         Okay. Justin:                     I also think it could be if you want to, if he is fully aware of everything that’s happening in this story, then it is important that he be with her to set up the narrative structure that saves the world. Alex:                         I think that’s possible. I think he’s just honestly looking for emotion. He’s looking for that purity of emotion that comes with youth, of being 16 or 17 when you feel things so much stronger. Something that really hit me very hard is his repeated flashes back to that first moment when he touches fingers with Janey. Pete:                        Yeah [crosstalk 00:15:30] the mug of beer. Yeah. What’s crazy when rereading this comic for the, you know, second or third, fourth, fifth time. It’s like- Alex:                         All right, no need to brag. Pete:                        Well, I’m just saying that like- Alex:                         Lot of time on his hands over here. Pete:                        Sometimes when you’re repeating things like in movies or television or other comic books, I get mad when the repeating things, when it’s like undercutting. It feels like they’re undercutting my ability to retain what’s happening in the story. Here it’s done in such an artistic way that it’s like when you see it again, it’s kind of an aha moment and really kind of makes it a little bit more powerful. Justin:                     In a lot of ways he’s trapped in the life he had before he became Doctor Manhattan. He’s always trying to replicate the cogs of a clock. The firsthand, the first relationship, when he first fell in love, he’s continually replicating that despite the fact that he’s the most powerful person in the world. Pete:                        I definitely think that’s it, but I also think it gets back to that thing I was mentioning earlier with those still moment bringing back those memories. I will definitely get you my most traumatic memories by the end of this podcast. Justin:                     Got to get there, got to get there. I have some photos. Pete:                        I have a whole countdown. Oh you’ve got a bunch of photos? Justin:                     I have a bunch of photos, I want to have you just drop them onto the surface of this room we’re in. Alex:                         Oh, which is Mars. Justin:                     Which is Mars as we said. Alex:                         I think at the same time you have those positive feelings like, do you, I don’t know if you ever think about this, but when you are with a person you love, you don’t necessarily sit down and be like, let me review our entire relationship as it has happened thus far. Justin:                     Every conversation with my wife begins and ends with how we met up until that exact moment. Alex:                         Oh okay, you just recap it. Justin:                     Yeah, it’s like a recap. [crosstalk 00:17:09] Everybody loves this. Pete:                        Boring. Justin:                     No, no. Alex:                         You think about those moments. You think about those moments when your hands first touched. That’s where that spark that the throb of emotion came out of you, and I think that’s what, all right, buddy … That’s what [crosstalk 00:17:22] yeah, it’s true. Justin:                     Rob of emotion. Alex:                         It’s rob of emotion. Justin:                     Okay. Pete:                        Yeah. That big vein of emotion. Justin:                     Oh wow. Porno Shakespeare over here. Alex:                         Guys, I’m trying to say something real here. Pete:                        Oh okay my bad. Justin:                     Sorry. Alex:                         I’m trying to have a moment with you guys. Justin:                     Yeah. Cool. Alex:                         I think that’s what Doctor Manhattan is trying to get back in a certain way. He remembers that. He remembers those strongest moments. Those are the things that get him back to his humanity. I think it’s the same thing with Laurie on that roof. I think it’s the same thing through various points of this issue, not necessarily when he’s acting as Doctor Manhattan, but when he is trying to get back to Jon Osterman and it’s just not working. Ultimately he goes to Mars to completely escape his humanity. That’s the least human thing you could do is teleport yourself to Mars and build a castle there. What does he build a castle of? He builds a castle out of cogs of a watch going back to his formative moment when his father threw it off the balcony. Justin:                     I think he’s just a huge fan of Frozen. Alex:                         Oh yeah. Justin:                     Yeah. He’s Elsa-ing a castle. Alex:                         Are you saying this right now, that Watchman ripped off Frozen? Do you think? Justin:                     Doctor Manhattan can see the future so he back loaded that rather- Pete:                        I think it’s reversed? I think Frozen ripped off Watchman. Justin:                     You think so? Why? Because just that’s how time works. Pete:                        Yep. Justin:                     Interesting. Alex:                         Interesting. I will say that there is that panel right at the end where he’s on Mars and he sings the entirety of Let It Go. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         It feels like- Justin:                     It feels like a direct reference. Alex:                         It does. Justin:                     It does feel a little, it feels purposeful. Alex:                         It does feel like a connection there. Yeah and the fact that his sister is named Anna. Justin:                     Yeah, and the tiny snowman that’s stupid the whole time. Alex:                         Hey. Pete:                        Aw, come on. Justin:                     Sorry, I’ve seen that movie- Alex:                         His name is Rorschach. Justin:                     Yeah. Great. I’ve seen the movie too many times. Alex:                         Yes. Same here. Should we, what else should we talk about in this book? I mean, true to form, we’ve been jumping around in time here as we’ve been talking through it, rather than walking through it page by page. We could probably talk about his origin moments as well. Justin:                     Yeah. Just from a pure superhero origin standpoint, I thought this was great. Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     The origin itself of the character, he gets [inaudible 00:19:28], he’s going back into this radiation chamber to get the watch that he repaired for his true love. He gets trapped in there and everyone has to watch him be destroyed and they slowly come, but this is a just a great character origin, outside of all of the secondary commentary about the world and everything around it. Alex:                         Now there’s been a lot of arguments about what the characters in Watchmen are references to what Alan Moore was working for here. Because the way that I heard it was originally this pitch happened with the Charlton characters, which includes Blue Beetle and Captain Atom and other characters like that. Ultimately DC said, “No, you can’t use those.” He created these other characters that were semi-[analogs 00:00:20:11] to them, which is why Rorschach is like the question and a Nite Owl is like Blue Beetle and of course Doctor Manhattan is like captain Atom in terms of that. I also think like there’s, even with the darkness here, there’s kind of a sense of Superman going on a little bit that he’s riffing on. Justin:                     Yeah, I mean they call him Superman. Alex:                         Right? Justin:                     That American has its own Superman. Alex:                         Right and as we know from reading Under the Hood, they did have Superman as a comic book that existed. That reference does exist in the world of Watchman for them to pull on. Justin:                     Yeah. Pete:                        Plus, I think it’s a good point here is if you have somebody you care about and then you have some object that you care about, you’ve got to give up on the objects and stick with the people. Because otherwise you’ll just die in a horrible scientific accident. Justin:                     I’ve never thought that. People over objects? Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         I just love objects. Pete:                        Nah man. Alex:                         Well, I’m just saying if it was a choice [crosstalk 00:21:05] you someday. If it was a choice to throw my phone in a ravine or you guys, I would pick you guys every time. Pete:                        Wow. Justin:                     Wow. Alex:                         I love my phone. Justin:                     You know you can get a new phone. Alex:                         I’ve got to play my Candy Crush. Can’t go a day without hitting my levels. Justin:                     All right, we’re skipping our trip to the ravine this weekend. I have a feeling Alex is saying no, nope. We’re not going to the ravine. We’re not go to the ravine this year again Pete? Pete:                        All right. Justin:                     Alex is going to kill us. Pete:                        It’s smart. Alex:                         Well, to your point though, it is him returning to these moments to hold onto his humanity, right? Pete:                        Yeah. Justin:                     Yes. Which is tenured, like getting away from him. Alex:                         Yes. Justin:                     Why? Why is he losing? Is he losing more humanity as he goes on because his powers work that way or is it what? What’s making him lose his humanity? Pete:                        The powers yeah. Alex:                         I think it’s growing up honestly, like it’s getting older, like as you get older you get further and further away from the person you once were. If you feel like your formative time was in your 20s, you do constantly want to get back to that. You want to grasp at that again. Justin:                     College. Pete:                        Really 20s? Alex:                         No, I’m saying if you feel that way, like he does- Pete:                        Oh okay. [crosstalk 00:22:16] Like eight, 10 was my sweet spot. Justin:                     That shows. Alex:                         Eight to 10 years old, that was your peak? Justin:                     That’s a 100% true. Pete:                        Yeah, that’s where I’m constantly trying to get back to. Alex:                         Oh my God. Justin:                     You’re rooted in the eight to 10. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         Well I’m not there yet. I haven’t reached my peak. It’s just been an uphill the entire time. Pete:                        Oh my God. Justin:                     Yeah, no exactly. Pete:                        I’ve got some bad news for you- Alex:                         What? I’m sitting in a back room in a theater, taping a Watchmen podcast. Pete:                        Wow. Justin:                     That’s not news. Couple of things I want to talk about. I feel like this … I’m a big fan of Kurt Vonnegut, the writer. Alex:                         Oh here we go. Justin:                     This feels very much like [crosstalk 00:22:51]- Alex:                         I went to college with it. Justin:                     Yeah, no. With him? Alex:                         Well at him? Justin:                     Okay. Alex:                         I went to Cornell, he went to Cornell. It’s no big deal. Go on with your [crosstalk 00:22:59] – Justin:                     Actually went to Cornell to see him speak. Alex:                         Oh great. Justin:                     Which was very cool. Alex:                         You should’ve said hi. Pete:                        Yeah. Why didn’t you say hi? Justin:                     Because Alex didn’t know that we knew each other then but I did because I’m Doctor Manhattan. Pete:                        Oh snap. Justin:                     I’m Doctor Manhattan for upstate New York so I’m like Doctor Syracuse, it’s much worse. It’s much worse. I can only see SU basketball scores for the future. Great. Everyone was [crosstalk 00:23:25]- Pete:                        A lot of money that way. Justin:                     In Slaughterhouse-Five there’s a similar device used in that story, where the character is slipping through time. I liked, I don’t know if that’s a specific reference that Alan Moore was making, but I love that book. I love the connection here. I think the point of it in the book is that in times of like World War II and these times where the world is sort of being shattered, it shatters time itself and the narrative and I think that’s what we’re seeing here a little bit as well. The stakes are high for all the characters. The world’s may be coming to an end, both the World War and pending World War III or Doctor Manhattan or whatever’s happening that we don’t know yet, causes this loosening of time. Alex:                         Yeah. Pete:                        I just want to get back to something we’ve talked about. You know, if you dropped something on the tracks, just leave it. You know your phone, it’s not really worth your life. Okay? Just if you are standing on the subway platform and you dropped something, don’t try to go down to get it. Alex:                         We should mention Pete works for the MTA. That’s important to establish here. Let’s talk about another aspect that’s just fascinating in terms of the world building of this whole series. There’s certain points that deviate not just from DC comics, superhero history, but also from our history and everything else that’s going on. One of the first points where it deviates is when Hooded Justice shows up, this real vigilante superhero shows up in the quote unquote real world that starts to deviate things on a path away from superheroes and comic books, brings in these masked heroes that Doctor Manhattan of course is another big leap forward here. Something that he adds in and that Adrian Veidt AKA Ozymandias pivots off of, is that he is able to completely technologically change the world. He’s able to bring back dirigibles, he’s able to add different power and technology- Pete:                        Electric cars. Alex:                         Yeah, but part of what we’re seeing, and we’ve talked about this, we’ve touched on this throughout the podcast, is just like superheroes didn’t necessarily make the world better, I don’t think Doctor Manhattan’s technology made the world better either because what we see is a world very close to anarchy. We see a world on the brink of destruction on the brink of World War III. Also we’ve seen a lot of grimy downtown New York, places that are very out of the seventies and eighties in real New York, but it’s not a great place to live. It’s not a good place to be. Justin:                     Yeah. Yeah. I think, I mean, I think that’s some somewhat the point. Alex:                         Right. Justin:                     This is in an anti-superhero book in a lot of ways. Pete:                        I think anti-New York book. Alex:                         No, I don’t think it’s that. Justin:                     He wouldn’t. Alex:                         All right, MTA official. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         Yeah. Yes, absolutely. It’s pointing to the fact that all this technology is working for the wealthy and it’s making that part better because in any scenes with rich people, we see they’re living the high life. While downtown, even somebody like Dan Dreiberg is living in a really bad part of town. His lock keeps getting busted, mind you mostly as by Rorschach. Justin:                     Yeah, who hates locks. Alex:                         There’s gangs everywhere. There’s graffiti everywhere. Doctor Manhattan hasn’t made the world better at all. Justin:                     Yeah and I think that’s because of his lack of, he’s just solving problems. He’s not thinking about the larger issues. He’s not helping people. He’s like just working on equations. Alex:                         Well that’s something that gets emphasized. His first superhero encounter is with Moloch, the mystic, who is this fun character, very out of the 60s very Adam West Batman. Every other masked hero talks about how much fun he was to fight. These clearly are very nostalgic about it, but Doctor Manhattan goes in and immediately just blows up one of his goons heads. Justin:                     This panel I think is like, so it’s like a perfect panel. Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     It’s so good. Also, so I want to talk about this, he has a line here where he says, “The morality of my activities escapes me.” Meaning like I blew that dude up, whatever. Alex:                         Right. Justin:                     That’s they wanted me to fight crime so I did. Then like five, seven pages later, he’s flashing to when he’s in Vietnam meeting comedian and there’s another line, “Blake is interesting. I had never met anyone so deliberately amoral.” I thought that was an interesting choice of amoral as opposed to immoral because Doctor Manhattan is amoral. He loses his ability to understand morals or like humans in general. I think he’s scared of the comedian because he’s worried he’s sort of, he could become that. Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     I think it’s weird that he calls him amoral because I think the comedian is immoral. He’s someone who knows morals and he’s like, I do the opposite. Alex:                         Yeah, I think you’re right about that. Justin:                     I think that’s such a weird moment there. I just noticed that on this reading, like he’s calling the comedian amoral when he himself is amoral, and the comedian is actually immoral. Alex:                         Right. Justin:                     I think it’s like- Alex:                         Do you think that has something to do with the fact that he understands the realization that the comedian eventually came to potentially? Justin:                     I think- Alex:                         That the comedian met the end of his life, did understand good and bad and that there was none of that? Like there’s no gradation there that it’s all fucked because ultimately the world is going to get blown up no matter what they do. I guess to the point we were making earlier Doctor Manhattan might not know that, like you might not know that because he wasn’t there. Justin:                     Yeah, right. Alex:                         Yeah. I don’t know. I’m not sure. Another thing that I think I want to touch on a little bit, is his relationship with Adrian Veidt here. We know where the comic book is going to end up. We know where the series is going to end up. He meets Adrian Veidt and if he’s really living every single bit of his life all at the same time, when he meets Adrian Veidt, he knows exactly what’s going to happen. There’s an interesting panel in here of them shaking hands for the first time. Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         That makes me wonder in that moment, how much does Doctor Manhattan know? The answer is probably all of it, right? Justin:                     I mean it’s hard. That’s the thing is we don’t really know, I would think, no, no, he doesn’t know that. That’s why I like, it’s hard to tell what his powers are. Alex:                         Right. Justin:                     How much he sort of talking up his Godlike powers when it really is sort of retroactive, as opposed to him actually, in this moment when he’s sitting with him and his Antarctic fortress. He’s like, “This dude is going to eventually try to destroy the world.” Alex:                         Right? Justin:                     Because the way it’s played, I feel like maybe he sort of in the last panel, he started touching his chin like, “Huh, what’s up with this guy?” Alex:                         Yeah. Justin:                     It feels like he’s questioning as opposed to being like- Alex:                         Right so maybe he isn’t able to actually see the end of all things. Maybe he doesn’t necessarily know. Pete:                        Which kind of undercuts his intelligence a little bit. Because if you go to a giant Antarctic layer, that should be a very big sign that says this guy is evil. Alex:                         Except Adrian Veidt, even if he’s not super naturally smart, he really is the smartest man in the world or he’s a very smart man. Right? Justin:                     Yeah. Alex:                         If he knows that Doctor Manhattan knows everything that happens around him, he has been very careful to make sure that Doctor Manhattan sees nothing other than what he wants to see. The other thing that’s interesting about that is in a certain sense, Doctor Manhattan is complicit in what Adrian Veidt is doing because as we find out, Adrian Veidt’s technology is based on what Doctor Manhattan was able to do. Justin:                     Right? Alex:                         Perhaps there’s a sense of Doctor Manhattan pushing that down, using his humanity, being embarrassed by the fact that he is going to help bring about this apocalyptic scenario. Justin:                     Also, isn’t Doctor Manhattan sort of, he is, all the imagery and all the clock talking here, he’s a big cog in the clock of the universe or of earth or whatever you want to say. Alex:                         Right. Justin:                     I mean a cog doesn’t know what time it is. A cog is doing its job in the clock to make sure it ticks. I think maybe that’s a better sort of way of understanding his power. It’s like he may be aware of the passage of time and that it’s going to be noon later, but the cog is incapable of changing its actions. It’s only continuing to tick. Alex:                         What you’re saying is in a certain sense they ripped off Beauty and the Beast because he’s the Cogsworth of this particular comic. Justin:                     Yeah. Pete:                        Oh wow. Justin:                     Think about it, it’s a tale as old as time. Alex:                         Pete, anything additional you want to say about this book? About this issue? Pete:                        I just think it’s interesting that there’s like notes of Doctor Manhattan should be more aware of what’s happening. It’s kind of his humanity that is dumbing him down a little bit. Alex:                         I do think part of that, I was thinking about this while I was reading the issue and I do think part of that is the artifice of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons releasing a monthly comic book that’s based on a mystery. They can’t be like Doctor Manhattan flashes to the end and be like, and here’s what Adrian Veidt was doing. Because that’s approximately eight issues to earlier so- Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         They can’t show you that. He may know, but we’re only seeing what they want us to see at this particular time. I understand what you’re saying, but I think like it’s a structural thing as well. Justin:                     You’re saying he’s bullshit though. Alex:                         Yeah. Pete:                        Yeah. Justin:                     Well you just can’t throw, you just threw a doctor in front of his name. He’s not- Alex:                         No, he’s not a doctor. Justin:                     If we called you doctor Pete, it would make you good at surgery. Pete:                        That’s true. Alex:                         We did, by the way. That’s why I don’t have this arm. Pete:                        Yeah. Justin:                     Needed an armectomy. Pete:                        Sorry about that. Alex:                         Hey, it’s all good, bro. I only need one arm to read comic books. Pete:                        Yeah, that’s cool. Alex:                         Pages. Pete:                        Yeah. Alex:                         If you want to support this podcast, patrion.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the People’s Improv Theater Loft in New York. Come on down. We’ll chat with you about Watchmen. A couple of things we can plug, you can check us out socially at Watchmen Watch One on Twitter. Also Watchmen Watch podcast on Facebook and Watchmen Watch podcast on Instagram. You can subscribe a bunch of places. iTunes, Android, Stitcher, Spotify, or the app of your choice. Remember, we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago. Justin:                     Oh, sorry to interrupt. Alan just texted me- Alex:                         Oh great. Justin:                     A video of him on Mars singing, Let It Go. Alex:                         Oh. Pete:                        Oh. Justin:                     He said, he’ll definitely be here next week. The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #4, “Watchmaker” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Sep 2019

35 min 12 sec

Who likes pirates? Everybody, as issue #3 of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, “The Judge of All the Earth,” introduces the incredible juxtaposition of “Tales of the Black Freighter.” Meanwhile, Dr. Manhattan deals with several surprising setbacks, Dan and Laurie draw closer, and the Doomsday Clock ticks ever closer to midnight. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen: Alex:                 Welcome to Watchmen Watch, a podcast about HBO’s Watchmen, who watches the Watchmen? We watch the Watchmen, also watch you watching the Watchmen. I’m Alex. Justin:              I’m Justin. Pete:                I am Pete. That’s a lot of watching. Alex:                 It is a lot of watching. Unfortunately, there’s one person who isn’t going to be watching this week. Justin, what’s going on here? Justin:              Obviously, our fourth host, Alan Moore, he is usually here for this. I think he’s been at all of them up until this one, but he just texted me. He can’t make it, he’s trapped in the mid ’80s. Alex:                 Oh. Justin:              And so his Skype settings aren’t working quite correctly. Alex:                 This is the problem with having a guy who has the power of time travel on our podcast. It’s very disappointing, but you know what? He’s been a good friend. The other day I was feeling a little down and he just appeared. He apparated, if you will, and said, “Hey, how you doing buddy? You want to hang out? You want to get some PSLs?” And I was like, “Yeah, I want to get some PSLs.” And he bought us the PSLs, venti eve, venti PSLs. That’s the kind of guy, Alan Moore is. Justin:              Wow, that’s good. He’s a good friend, a great enemy and a magnificent bastard. Alex:                 Well, I’m very disappointed that he won’t be here this week, but we will be talking about the third issue of the Watchmen comic book, The Judge of All the Earth, as we continue to ramp up to debut of the HBO series on October 20th. Before we get into the issue though, I want to confess something to you guys- Pete:                Oh shit. Alex:                 … now that we’re a couple of episodes into this podcast. Justin:              All right, about time. Alex:                 This podcast makes me very nervous. Pete:                Why? Justin:              Ooh. Alex:                 The reason it makes me very nervous is because Watchmen is so revered throughout our entire history as comic book reviewers, throughout the history of comic books that were released the past couple of decades of comic book history. I feel, and I was curious to get your guys’ vent on it, your guys’ take on it, but I feel a responsibility to get everything right. And I’m terrified that people are going to point out things that we got hideously wrong. And normally I don’t feel that on our podcast, but this one I definitely do. How are you guys feeling about it? Are you pretty chill about it, or you’re feeling like I am, Justin:              Well now I’m stressed. No, I feel like this is sort of getting into … it’s like were archeologists digging up like a pretty sick dinosaur. Alex:                 Yeah. Like what’s the sweetest dinosaur? I’m going to say stegosaurus. Justin:              Yeah. And obviously we have our forth hosts, the king of the dinosaurs here normally with us. So that’s cool to dig up a dinosaur with the king of the dinosaurs. Alex:                 Oh, that’s rude to the man who bought me a venti PSL with a nutmeg spritz on it, which was very nice. Pete, what about you? How are you feeling about this? How are you feel about talking about Watchmen so far, now that we’re- Pete:                Well, I feel like Watchmen has been talked about so much. There’s such a huge … some people call it the grail of comic books, of graphic novels, that I feel like we’re just giving a, how we feel about it, our take on it, and that doesn’t stress me out. But there is a weight to this though that is something to be revered. Alex:                 Yeah. It also, I mean it helps, but it doesn’t help that as we’ve been kind of joking about the past couple of episodes, it’s a really good book. Like, we’ve talked about this at a couple of episodes, but you sort of abstract how good Watchmen is over the years when you’re talking about it. But getting back into it and this issue again, I was struck because we’ve been talking about juxtaposition quite a bit on the podcast, but this issue hits it real hard, like crazy hard. And the amount of effort and time and thought that goes into that, not that modern comic book writers and generally comic writers aren’t putting the thought, but the extra … several extra levels that are going on there make it super impressive. And it, I feel an onus to deliver on that in our podcast. Justin:              Yeah, I think … well that’s … if we want to talk about the things that really stand out on rereading this, the pacing of this comic is so … it’s just so stunning how … the way it just moves through the story in really complex ideas, and a series of different complex ideas. Alex:                 Yeah. Well let’s talk about this issue, because I thought this was a fascinating one. The first few ones … the first two issues of the book very squarely focused on the mystery of who killed Edward Blake as we continue to flesh out the characters, as we continue to flesh out the themes of this book. To my mind, at least on first read, on a very surface read, it feels like it almost takes a step back from that. You know, we get a lot of character movement in this one. This is the one that introduces the Tales of the Black Freighter. We get a lot of thematic resonance in terms of what’s going on in the world. There’s this literal doomsday clock counting down to the potential destruction of the world, the way that the people in the world think it’s going to happen with the war between Russia and the United States, but they don’t know they going to get squinted. What did you guys think about this issue in general? What was your feeling on it? Pete:                Also this one, this to me is … we saw New York a lot in the first two issues, but this is to me is like classic New York, especially the way it starts, like the guy in the street thinking he kind of knows everything because he lives in New York City, and because of the things that he’s seen. Alex:                 True. Pete:                But I also love the detail. Like, if you look at the stand and all the little things in the stand, it … that says so much about this comic that there is no just background fill-in stuff, everything is thought about it. You can look at the titles of the magazines. You know, they take a shot at Richard Nixon in this. Plus, you have the thermos and the lunchbox, which just kind of brought me back, and I was like, “Oh man, I miss my thermos.” I used to just like eat Ramen out of my thermos, and it was a good time. Justin:              Ramen you say? Ramen? Pete:                Yeah. Justin:              You eat a noodle soup out of a thermos? Pete:                Yeah, man. Alex:                 Did you, sorry to a hook into this too much, but Pete, did you just slurp a bunch of doodles out there, or what was going on? Pete:                Yeah, man. Take off the cap, slurp some noodles. Justin:              Wow. Pete:                You don’t need no utensils, man. Alex:                 All right. I mean that’s one of the- Justin:              What year was this? Pete:                Last year. Justin:              Was this in a post apocalyptic world? Pete:                Dude, I hate to break it to you, Ramen has been around for a minute, bro, especially instant Ramen. Alex:                 Do you know that bowls exist? Are you aware of that? Pete:                Yes. Yes I am. Alex:                 Oh, all right, interesting. Justin:              That’d be a crazy reveal. Pete’s never even seen a bowl. Alex:                 A what? Justin:              Let me describe it. It’s like a plate with walls, just if you don’t know it, that’s what a bowl is. Alex:                 Yeah. Well one of the major themes of the issue is that thermoses exist, and what do you think about that? And they really do a good job of the juxtaposition there. Well let’s talk through the major themes of the issue before we walk through any of the- Pete:                All right, but I- Alex:                 Yes, Pete, what? Pete:                Just real quick though, I just wanted to say, because it’s like, it starts … we talked about, and especially in the last issue, how they think about the panel is kind of like a camera, a little bit. And you’re fully zoomed in on this fallout shelter sign, and it zooms out as the newsstand guy is talking. And it’s just about perspective, and that’s a lot about what this comic is about, is perspective. And it’s very interesting. Alex:                 Well specifically the fallout shelter sign, and this plays out throughout this issue in particular, because we’re dealing with radioactivity in a bunch of different ways. First of all there’s the fallout shelter, as you mentioned, which I believe it doesn’t show up on the first page, but it’s revealed later on that the newsstand is across from the Institute of, I think it’s Extra Spatial Studies- Justin:              Yes. Alex:                 … which is, as we find out later on, where a certain squid appears towards the end of the series. So that’s the actual danger. That’s the actual fallout that’s going to happen by the end of the series. You have the second radioactive fallout, and the second instance of the radioactive fallout sign, when it’s put on Doctor Manhattan’s door late in the issue, when he is accused of irradiating people, giving them cancer. Whether that’s true or not is certainly up for debate, I think. I would argue it’s pretty clear that he’s not, but that’s certainly another bit that we’re dealing that with the radioactivity of potential danger, a thing that might be bubbling under the surface. Alex:                 And the last one is the war between Russia and the United States, we mentioned earlier, as they invade Afghanistan. And there’s this very satirical scene I think, where Richard Nixon is in the war room and they’re showing, yeah, this is what the nuclear fallout would be like if the Russians try to blow up the United States. Nixon, I don’t remember exactly what he says, but he’s kind of like, Yeah, you know? Oh, that seems pretty bad.” Justin:              Yeah. Well, he’s, “Hmm,” and, “Would our losses be acceptable, or what’s the deal?” He’s pretty chill about it. Alex:                 Yeah, and this gets back to something we’ve mentioned on an earlier episode, which Watchmen doesn’t get enough credit for. It’s pretty funny at times, and I think in a very dark humor way, but that scene is amusing. Justin:              Whoa, weird. Pete:                Whoa, that was creepy dude. Alex:                 Amusing. Justin:              And it’s fun. Covering these topics, America, Russia, Afghanistan, at least we’re past that stuff, you know? We don’t ever have to go back and deal with these issues, these scary issues. We can look at this as a time capsule, and something will never return to. Alex:                 Yes, that’s very nice and I agree. Now, the last issue was very focused on The Comedian, Eddie Blake. Given the grim humor it occurs to me, do you think Alan Moore in any way identifies with The Comedian, that he looks at this as like, this is a bleak wasteland, and all you can do is kind of laugh at the truth? Justin:              I think so, yeah. He’s definitely meant to be … he’s the catalyst of this story, but he’s also sort of the one who has almost the right take. He knows more than anyone else at the beginning of the story from what we learned last issue when he talks to Moloch, and that’s why he’s eliminated first, I think you could say. And it does feel like he’s the one who’s laughing at the world, because the world doesn’t make sense, which is I’m … we’re meant to think Doctor Manhattan is the hero, but he actually is the most vulnerable by the end of the story. And The Comedian sort of is the most powerful, despite the fact that he died, because he knew everything. Alex:                 Yeah. Now there’s a couple of different trains that are running in this particular issue. We get a lot more focus on Doctor Manhattan and we don’t get his origin yet, I believe that’s coming up next issue, but we find out more about him. Laurie ends up breaking up with him, because he tries to please her with the threesome. But he is both parts of the threesome, and he’s also working at the same time, again, showing his misunderstanding of humanity. Eventually, as we say, he gets confronted with the irradiation. Then it ultimately ends up with even leaving Mars. Alex:                 But the second part of the issue, the seemingly smaller part of the issue is what’s going on at the newsstand. Now, we’ve been talking quite a bit about how we reacted to Watchmen back in the day versus reading it now. I remember very clearly reading this issue and subsequent issues when they brought up the Tales of the Black Freighter thing, and at the time when I first read it, I was like, “Oh, this is so boring. Oh my God, shut up about these pirates. Who cares?” Justin:              They have nothing to do with anything! Alex:                 Yeah, but reading again, and reading it closely, I feel very dumb about my past me, because it’s so clear that exactly what is going out in the Tales of the Black Freighter narration is the interior monologue, or the interior feelings of the newsstand worker. Even if that’s not when he realizes. Justin:              Yeah, and just a world in general that it’s already … we’re all already dead and we’re just sort of realizing that, is what our lives are. That sort of is the grim take. Alex:                 Yeah. It turns out, it’s a pretty good, a pretty good idea that that dude had, those dudes. Justin:              Yeah, great dudes. Pete:                And speaking of being dumber when you first read it, I mean, as a kid when I read this, women were kind of a little bit more alien to me, and I didn’t understand why Laurie was so upset at him, because it just seemed like, well he’s just trying to please her in a way that I didn’t quite understand. Like a threesome is a big deal, and so is multitasking. I didn’t get it, you know? But now reading this , it’s like- Justin:              You were like, “This is what sex is.” Pete:                Yeah, yeah. Justin:              It’s twins having sex with a person, while their triplet works in the other room. Pete:                Exactly, yup. Justin:              Twins. Alex:                 Yeah. By the way, how did that go, Pete? Didn’t you do that last week? You had sex with those two blue dudes? Pete:                Oh, it went great. Thanks for asking, yeah. Alex:                 The Blue Man Group, right? Pete:                Yeah, yeah. Alex:                 One of them was doing the show in the other room, and you had sex with two of them. Was that nice? Did you have a nice time? Pete:                Yeah, we’re still doing this bit. Okay, yeah, it was great. Alex:                 Yeah, this is going to go the whole episode, Pete. We’re not actually talking about the issue. We’re just going to talk about you having sex with The Blue Man Group. Justin:              That’s what the show is now, mostly. They did away with all the tubes and stuff. It’s mostly live sex. Pete:                I tell you, the stomp was so much better. Justin:              Wow. Pete:                Unrelated, unrelated. Alex:                 Yeah, you’ve got to have sex with Cirque du Soleil, now that fucked up shit. Pete:                Oh yeah, that’s where the real sex is. Justin:              I’m more of a, have sex with a regular circus guy. Pete:                Oh, wow, old school. Justin:              Yeah, I’m sort of a classic. Alex:                 I feel like I can’t comment on that, because of real life reasons. We won’t get into that though. Anyway, so back to the issue, so it does kick off with the fallout shelter. It kicks off with the newsstand. What did you think of total … I know we just touched on this a little bit, but what did you think total of the Black Freighter section, the newsstand section, the I guess, kid? I don’t know if it’s a kid, or a young adult who’s reading The Black Freighter- Pete:                I mean, he’s smoking, so you would think he’s a young adult. Alex:                 Yeah. I don’t know. He’s seemingly having a doob. Is that how you pronounce it, Pete? Pete:                No, that’s not a doob, that’s a cigarette. Alex:                 A doob? A blunt? He smoking a blunt? Pete:                No, he’s not. Alex:                 Some ganja? Justin:              I think he’s just smoking a cigarette. Alex:                 Some of that sweet green? Justin:              I feel like these are the first characters that we can just like. Pete:                Sweet green. Justin:              We can just like these people, and watch them without having to figure out how they fit into the larger story. They feel very much like audience surrogates just sort of hanging around in this world and we … some bad things are going to happen to them. Alex:                 On the superhero comic vent of it then, I do wonder if this is an effort to really spend some time with literal people on the street, which is something that barely ever happened up until this point in superhero comics. Most of the time you would have somebody getting their purse snatched, Batman comes in and saves them, and they’re like, “Thanks Batman,” and that’s the last you ever see the person. But here you really get to know these people, what they’re thinking about the world, how they’re feeling about it. Alex:                 One of them to the point that you were making earlier, Justin, the dude who’s reading The Black Freighter, he seems very interested in entertainment to the point of not really actually caring about what’s going on in the world. The newsstand owner, on the other hand, is pretending to be very jaded about the world, but ultimately it’s actually very scared about it. So we do get to see what it’s like in a superhero world from the ground level, which is something that later on, in a lot of different ways will be followed up, but the first one that comes to mind is Alex Ross’s Marvels, that dealt with that in the Marvel universe. So yeah, I don’t know. Pete:                I also … just the fact … I know we talked a lot about the shading, but when the guy with the sign kind of rolls up on those two at the newsstand, it’s such an interesting perspective on the whole next page, that it’s very unique. It’s from the point of view of the kid on the ground, you know? Justin:              Yeah. Pete:                It’s kind of from the knees up, which is just such an interesting choice. Alex:                 By dude who rolls up with the sign? You’re talking about Rorschach, right? Pete:                Yeah. The End Is Nigh. Alex:                 Right. Justin:              Yeah, The End Is Nigh guy. Pete:                Nigh. Justin:              Bill. Pete:                The End Is Nigh guy. Alex:                 We still don’t know in the comic book if you’re reading it in order that that is Rorschach. Right now, we don’t even know that his name is Walter Kovacs, or anything like that, but that is him. I love the bit, it’s just a couple of pages in, where the newsstand owner is like, “Hey I have your a new frontiersman for you.” And he’s like, “You know the world is going to end tomorrow?” And he’s like “Yup. See you tomorrow?” And he’s like, “Sure will.” And then he comes back a couple of panels later, and I taps him on the shoulder. He’s like, “You won’t forget,” and the newspaper owner spits out his coffee. I just think that’s just a fun page in the middle of all this bleakness. Justin:              A little slapstick. I also think it’s fun, and you sort of touched on it where the newsstand guy is being … he has such bravado about like, “Let’s nuke Russia,” and then that’s literally what happens at the end, bringing all of his fears to reality, which is also what’s happening in The Black Freighter comic. So it sets this tension with what the kid is reading, and then that becomes their actual reality, like 15 pages later. Pete:                Yeah. And also the newsstand guy is like, “Yeah, most people just want to entertain, and want to zone out,” which is exactly what the kid is doing. Alex:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative), now let’s talk about Doctor Manhattan and Laurie a little bit. One thing that I think you touched on earlier, Justin, that I think is really fascinating about this issue, because we get to see Doctor Manhattan is trying to do the threesome to her with … really to her actually. He is working at the same time. Later on, Janey Slater, who was maybe not as first girlfriend, but his pre-Doctor Manhattan girlfriend, as we find out later in the series, is dying of cancer and accuses him of it, and that causes him to leave Mars. Alex:                 What I think is fantastic about the way that A, Alan Moore writes it, but also more so how Dave Gibbons draws it is, Doctor Manhattan is always very flat in his face the entire time, and his delivery is very flat. So you would think, like everybody accuses him of, oh, he’s disconnected from humanity. But as you brought up earlier, Justin, both Laurie rejecting him forces him to go on the interview show, and then Janey rejecting him forces him to go to Mars. So really beneath that veneer of, “I am above it all, I’m not human anymore,” is a beating heart and a real sadness going on with him, I think. Justin:              Oh yeah, and also just someone who is … his big vulnerability is guilt. Like, he feels guilt about what he’s being accused of, assumes it to be true without doing any sort of research, which you’d think he would as a scientist, because he had … the guilt just overtakes him. And I think there’s this great moment here in this panel, in the background, Laurie is sort of walking out on Doctor Manhattan. In the foreground, she’s thrown us a cylinder of liquid at him, and he reforms it to perfection as she’s walking out. And just a nice thing that he can’t fix humans, but he can always fix the cold hard scientific things around him. Pete:                Yeah, exactly. And it kind of just talks about how he’s so smart and so amazing in all of these different ways. But also, it’s such a loss when it comes to relationships and interacting with humans. Alex:                 Now the next thing that happens plot-wise here is that Laurie is kind of wandering along. She’s not quite sure to go, but she immediately goes to Dan Dreiberg, Nite Owl II, to talk to him because they had a nice time the other night and he … they commiserate together. Their relationship builds pretty quickly over the course of the issue. They end up walking together and getting attacked by a mob, a gang that I believe shows up later and throughout the comic book, and throughout the series. But they clearly get a little hepped up by it and have a moment together. Before that though, one of the most on the nose juxtaposition things happens pretty early on in their conversation where there’s a panel of Laurie saying, “Just shadows of the fog,” as the teapot spews steam and covers her face, she’s blocked because Doctor Manhattan can’t see her anymore. I just thought that was a fun little moment graphically. Pete:                Wow. Alex:                 That’s it. That’s all I wanted to say. Pete:                That’s pretty cool. Alex:                 But what do you think about the Dan and Laurie relationship at this point? How are you feeling about it? Pete:                I mean, it’s hard because she bounces back pretty quick, but it seems like he needs it pretty bad, he needs a a win, so it kind of gets him back in his groove. Alex:                 Yeah, that’s definitely what’s going on with Dan. What do you think is going on with Laurie though? Is she legitimately into Dan at this point, or does she just want somebody who is not Doctor Manhattan? Justin:              I think it’s more of a subconscious thing, where like we saw in the last couple issues, she’s … he has been her escape to a more human human, like the most regular guy guy she knows. Pete:                More human than human. Justin:              More human than human. He’s giving her exactly what she’s missing, so she seeks that out, and I don’t think it’s a conscious, like I’m going here to try to cheat on my husband … my space husband, I’m just going to … I’m seeking out, like a moth to a flame, what I’m desperate for in my relationship. Alex:                 There’s another thing that gets into … very heavily into Doctor Manhattan’s character, when he goes to the interview where they say, “Oh, it’s going to be tough to pick up your color blue on camera, we’ll have to figure that out.” And he immediately makes himself darker. I think that is very much parallel with him trying to start the threesome with Laurie, where he’s trying to please everybody all the time. He’s trying to be this thing. And ultimately what he discovers is, he can’t be anything to anybody, and so he leaves, is what I take away from it. Pete:                Yeah. Justin:              Yeah, I think that’s true, and he can give … he can solve these basic small problems, but the larger complexities of human emotions are the one thing that he just can’t take in. He just can’t see it. He can’t fix it. He doesn’t have it himself anymore. Alex:                 Yeah. Pete:                Now and it’s- Alex:                 Oh, go ahead, Pete. Pete:                And it’s also kind of interesting to see somebody so powerful, so vulnerable, and try so hard to do the right thing, and have it completely blow up in his face. Alex:                 Yeah, there’s this fantastic sequence. We’ve talked around it a little bit, but as Doctor Manhattan is accused of giving multiple people cancer, Dan and Laurie are fighting this gang in the alleyway, and all of the narration is so on the nose with what’s going on. You get to see panels of a crowd getting closer, and closer, and closer around Doctor Manhattan, squeezing him in as they change up the panel structure. As Dan and Laurie are just breathing hard, they’re just going, “Uh huh, Uh huh, Uh huh,” and that’s it. That’s their whole dialogue, as if they just had sex. As if even though in fact they’re potentially about to. But people are … there’s the guard who is saying, “Come on, let’s get out of this mob. The mob is getting aroused,” and then it cuts to Dan and Laurie. And then the same man says, “Let him through. He’s not here to answer questions on intimate moments,” as Dan and Laurie look at each other, realizing there’s something between them. And then he says, “Gentleman, I think it’s safest not to pursue this line of thinking,” as they move away from each other … as Dan and Laurie move way from each other, and Laurie lights a cigarette. Such a great sequence, so good on both halves. There’s so many things going on in that. I thought it was fantastic. Justin:              Yeah, it’s great. And I mean, there’s a way to read this where maybe he’s aware of that happening at the same time. He says, alone in that panel, right before they … right after they’ve sort of had their not sex, but sex moment. He’s like … away and alone are emphasized, like maybe he’s aware of this all happening. Alex:                 Yeah, that’s a good question. Pete:                Yeah, and that could be a reason he’s freaking out, too. Alex:                 Yeah, but then he gets back from the interview after he makes everybody disappear from it, and the whole world sees him essentially freak out, where he gets back and as we mentioned, we see the, danger quarantine, is on his room, and he’s like, “Hey, you know what? We out, I’m out of here. I’m going to just real quick stop by Gila Flats, check out my picture of my old girlfriend, and then I’m heading to Mars,” and he goes to Mars. This, after so much dialogue in the issue that we get two solid pages of Doctor Manhattan silently looking through Gila flats, and exploring the place that … where he was born before he leaves extensively forever, is fascinating just in terms of pacing. Pete:                Yeah. Justin:              Yeah, it’s so nice. It’s such a great way to hyper focus. We’ve just been given a ton of information about this character, and to be able to let it wash over us at the same time we’re watching him go through these same things, and you do see that he does have these emotions. He has the nostalgia, the full billboard we see, as Laurie’s running through the city. He goes back to the place where he was born as this new God hero, and he plucks the picture off the wall. So he’s not completely dehumanized. Pete:                Yeah. Alex:                 Yeah, and then the last couple of things that happen, other than The Black Freighter stuff is we get to see Laurie come back to her room. Everything is being quarantined there, even her bra, which I think is again very pointed to the Dan/Laurie of it all, that that’s being put in a canister for the time being, it’s being put away. And meanwhile, Dan gets approached by Rorschach who reveals to him that Doctor Manhattan leaves earth. And I know this is something that I keep focusing on, but it feels very much to me like Rorschach is focusing on the wrong things, because he brings up that there are two of us gone all within a week, talking about The Comedian murdered and Doctor Manhattan exiled. And there’s sort of a connection there, but there’s not exactly a connection there, right? Justin:              Well, but he’s right. In the end we learn that it was correct that this was connected, and this was all the plan of Ozymandias. Pete:                And yeah, it’s also like partly a Nite Owl II’s fault that you know Doctor Manhattan left, as well. So I think Rorschach yeah, maybe not aware of how spot on he is about that stuff. Justin:              I think that just speaks to his paranoia. He doesn’t … he’s not a logical thinker. He thinks the paranoid thought, and then moves backward from there to try to figure out the clues, like many conspiracy theorists. So I think, I think that’s what … it just happens that this time he’s right, which I think we were talking about a little bit in the … maybe the first or second episode of this, how the sort of modern analog of Rorschach connects to some like QAnon theorists, and like all right stuff. Alex:                 Yeah, it’s going to be interesting to see how they play that out in the show, and I know we’ve talked about this on the podcast as well, because they did come out and say that it is a very All Is Right Conspiracy Theory thing. In the book, it’s not that Rorschach is the hero. He certainly goes too far, and he does the wrong thing and ultimately he’s not the right hero for the time, as we find out at the end, but it does seem like they’re going to go even farther with that on the TV show. So that should be kind of fascinating. Pete:                Yeah, it should be very interesting. Alex:                 Last couple of things that happened, we get to see the newspaper man, as we mentioned, kind of realize how horrible things have gotten. He gives his hat and the comic to the guy who’s been reading at the entire time. He essentially gives everything up that is his in a final analysis. And then there’s another fantastic … I just love these secrets across the board, so much. But this Doctor Manhattan’s sequence, as he’s walking across Mars, we get to see Richard Nixon talking to his advisors, and they’re realizing, “Oh, well Doctor Manhattan is off earth, so we’re going to kind of have to deal with this. How bad or the losses going to be?” Alex:                 But we get to see … my favorite panel is they’re talking about the nuclear cloud, and we see Doctor Manhattan walking across Mars leaving a cloud of dust behind him, and it says, “I’m talking total devastation.” And there’s so many things going on in that one panel where it’s Richard Nixon and company talking about the total devastation of America. It’s talking about the fact that Doctor Manhattan isn’t there, so really America seemingly has lost everything. But it’s also the total devastation of Doctor Manhattan’s heart at the same time. And that’s again, so neat that there’s so many things going on in those few simple words. Pete:                Also, his name is tricky Dick, and you’re seeing a blue dick there, as well, so there’s that. Alex:                 [crosstalk 00:30:54]. Justin:              Yeah, that’s great a connection, because blue is a tricky dick. It’s a trickier dick than a regular one. Alex:                 And also you used to say that you could totally devastate a thermos of Ramen, right? Pete:                Right. Alex:                 So that’s going on as well. Justin:              To one other panel, like art thing, the panel layouts here. During this sequence and back with Janey Slater and Laurie, it’s … rather than the nine panel grid, it goes from one larger panel, one smaller panel, so that it really feels like voiceover is running across these images. And it switches back and forth between the two different sort of sides at the same time. And it really makes that filmic quality just hammer home here. It’s so well done. You really hear it over the action, just like you would in a movie. Pete:                Also with the switching, when you have all the people wearing their suits going through all of her stuff for radioactive things, the fact that they kind of give you that whole thing, so you see everybody in the apartment, like how crazy it really is. Because if you tried to break that up, I don’t think it would be as powerful. Alex:                 Yeah. Pete:                Yeah. Alex:                 Again, very good comic, people really should check it out. I hope they pick it up. Last couple of things, so we do end with this classic panel of Doctor Manhattan sitting on Mars all alone, which we get to see a couple of other times throughout the series. And then we also get another chapter or two. Is it two chapters? I think it’s just one chapter of under the hood, talking about the end of superheroes. I love again, how well these parallel this, what’s going on in the story. But this is the most also on the nose one. I don’t know why it is this third issue that the juxtaposition hit me so hard that it felt like it was slammed even harder than the previous two issues. But here, we’re seeing the end of superheroes, the birth of Doctor Manhattan, as we’re seeing again the end of superheros and not the death of Doctor Manhattan, but the end of Doctor Manhattan, at least for now, where he’s leaving the planet. And I thought this was so nice to see the two things back to back, particularly because the under the hood sections are written so fun, they’re fun to read. Justin:              Yeah, because it’s a narrator that your … that character doesn’t really match with the rest of the story, so reading and hearing his voice just, he’s a goofy narrator. Pete:                I would also just like to quickly kind of point out, we went through a lot in this chapter, and just to kind of have him sitting there looking sad at us, as we are kind of sitting here reading the comic, it’s … I kind of felt like it was a little bit of a mirror, because it was like I was sad by like, “Oh man, you left everybody, and you’re just sitting on Mars by yourself.” Justin:              With the picture? Pete:                Yeah. When he’s holding the picture, blocking his junk, and then kind of looking sadly at the [crosstalk 00:34:02]. Justin:              Do you think that’s what he’s doing? He’s looking, and he sees you seeing him, and he’s just like, “Oh, don’t look at my junk?” Pete:                Well, he was politely blocking it, so the reader wouldn’t be. But I don’t know if it’s like a fourth wall break, or if it’s just kind of like this, I’m feeling sad, he’s feeling sad thing, you know? Alex:                 It’s funny that you say that. I interpreted it a little bit differently, because he definitely is looking at the camera. He’s looking at the viewer then, but I saw it as, he’s looking out through the comic book panel and saying, “Hey, are you going to drink those noodles?” You know? Justin:              It’s really up for interpretation. Alex:                 Yeah. Justin:              I think he’s looking me in the eyes and is like, “Hey, what if two of me showed up at your apartment later?” Pete:                I think he’s looking at Zalben being like, “Hey, are you going to smoke the rest of that doob?” Justin:              That sweet green? Alex:                 Oh man. Pete:                Sweet green? Alex:                 Oh, I can’t wait. We really got to wrap up this podcast, because I love getting high, and I can’t wait to get high on marijuana after this. Guys, if you want to support this podcast, patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 pm at the People’s Improv Theater in New York. Come on by, we’ll chat with you about Watchmen. Pete, what do you want to plug? Pete:                Friend us on Facebook, so you get to know about the amazing guests we have on our live show. Justin:              Follow us on Twitter @comicbooklive. Alex:                 And also @watchmenwatchone. You can also follow us @watchmenwatchpodcast on Instagram, or on Facebook. You can subscribe. Find out where to subscribe at comicbookclublive.Com, and remember we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago. Justin:              Oh, I didn’t notice, but Alan just texted me. Alex:                 Oh, man. Justin:              It was more of a letter from 1985. He said he’ll definitely be there next week. The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #3, “The Judge Of All The Earth” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Sep 2019

36 min 59 sec

It’s time for Eddie Blake’s funeral, and everyone is having fond memories about the departed Comedian. Just kidding, he was a monster, as we discover through flashbacks and stories. But how much does the extremely non-comedic Comedian represent America? And comic book characters of the time? Find out, as we break down Watchmen #2, “Absent Friends.” SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen: Alex:                 Welcome to Watchmen Watch, a podcast about HBO’s Watchmen where we watch Watchmen, talk about Watchmen and watch you watching the Watchmen. I’m Alex. Justin:              I’m Justin. Pete:                I’m Pete. Alex:                 And we are going to be talking about the second issue of the Watchmen comic book series as we ramp up to the HBO series here. Very exciting. It’s coming out October 20th. We know that now. Justin:              We know that now. Alex:                 It has been known. We’re very excited. Pete:                10/20. Alex:                 But to bone up, we’re reading through the book. So, issue two, this is not called Almost Friends as I wanted to call it. Justin:              No. And it’s not called Friends, the pilot of the TV show Friends. Alex:                 Right, because Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were on a break. Justin:              That’s true. We should mention Alan Moore can’t be here today. Alex:                 Right. Justin:              Our fourth host for this podcast. He texted me. I accidentally told him we were meeting at a campsite outside of Stonehenge. We had a mix-up. Alex:                 Oh, okay. Pete:                How can you accidentally mix up this address with that address? Justin:              Just a classic mix-up. Alex:                 Auto-text, right? Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 I hate that. Justin:              I meant to write the pit loft where we tape our show. Instead I wrote a campsite just outside of Stonehenge. So, he’s there. It’s my bad because he was definitely showing up this week, but I texted him back. He’s totally fine with the mix-up. Alex:                 Oh, he’s going to be back next week? Justin:              He’ll be back next week. Pete:                It kind of works out because the title of this is Absent Friend, and he’s our absent friend. Justin:              That’s true. He said the same thing. Alex:                 Oh, that’s very true. Absent Friend, not Almost Friends because me and Alan Moore almost hooked up that one time. Justin:              That’s true. Pete:                Really? Yeah. Justin:              And he’s not weird about it. That’s not the real reason he’s not showing up. Pete:                Was that at that San Diego Comic Con when you were wasted, and you almost hooked up with him? Justin:              Careful. Don’t start- Alex:                 I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to kiss and tell. Justin:              Don’t start talking about San Diego Comic Cons and being wasted, Pete. Pete:                Yeah. What? Justin:              You know what you did. Pete:                I was the one who told Jim Lee he was the king of San Diego. Justin:              No, that’s true. You tried to smoke a joint with … Pete:                I didn’t try. Alex:                 This is very far off field. Pete:                Yeah, I didn’t try nothing. Alex:                 Let’s talk about Watchmen, you guys. So, chapter two of the book, issue number two, Absent Friends. Definitely going to remember that by the end of the episode. So, to get you guys caught up, there has been a murder of Eddie Blake. Rorschach is investigating it, and that’s pretty much kind of where we pick up this issue. But I got to say as we’re going back through this, I know I said this the last time as well, good comic. Pete:                Man, great comic. Alex:                 This is a good comic. Justin:              Great comic. Pete:                Also, it was nice to see Blue Man Group put on a suit for the funeral. I thought that was very classy of him. Alex:                 That is rude to Doctor Manhattan. I do want to seriously say, though, I know we mentioned this last episode. It continues to be surprising to me, and it shouldn’t be, how good Watchmen is. Justin:              100% agree. It’s crazy how good this is, how much Alan Moore is mixing up here. It’s important to remember when you’re re-reading this or reading it for the first time, this shit had never been done before. The idea of mixing up a comic this dark where the characters have sort of nothing going for them or they’re all failing super hard. To see that and to see all the references to comic book history, topical politics when he was writing this, and just science, science fiction, everything, world events. It’s amazing. Alex:                 And to give it even more context, the comic book industry was going through this massive change at this point when this is being published. Who knows, necessarily, when it was written, but 1985 you had Crisis of Infinite Earths that condensed the entire DC Universe, had huge events. Killed off The Flash, killed off Supergirl. So, those were traumatic in their own ways for superhero fans, and then on the other side of the fence in Marvel, you had Secret Wars, which is this big marketing grab that changed characters in a very different way and brought all of these superheroes together. This always gets lumped in with The Dark Knight. Was that ’84, I want to say? Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Something like that. So, this was in ’86, so they get lumped together as they’re these other takes while DC was going darker and darker and Marvel was going light but more complicated in a very different way. Justin:              Going big, I guess you could say. Alex:                 Going big in a very different way. This was huge. This was promoted very heavily, but this almost eschews superheroics. That’s one the things I was really struck by with this issues, is we got the murder mystery thing going on, but whenever there’s a fight, they cut away from it. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 That’s not the point of what’s going on. The point is the characters. Pete:                I got a little confused, but thank you for explaining it when you said shoes superheroics. I didn’t know what- Alex:                 Eschew. Eschew. Pete:                Oh. Alex:                 Which is different than his shoe. Justin:              Yeah. Pete:                I thought you meant it shooes it like, “Shoo, get away heroics.” Justin:              Oh, I see. Alex:                 I’ll tell you what, you should listen to our spelling podcast, which is very different. We read through- Pete:                You joke about me slurring words, but … Justin:              E-S-C-H-E-W-S. Alex:                 Yes. Eschews. Justin:              Not cashews, which was another thing he says a lot. Pete:                I’m just saying. Glass house, motherfucker. Alex:                 The interesting thing about this though is The Comedian eschews shoes and cashews for this issue. Pete:                Wow. Justin:              That’s true. Wow. Pete:                I would also like to point out not only … We got into this a little bit in talking about the last issue, but the panels are amazingly put together, but the transitions … Instead of just showing a flashback, it’s the light off a picture frame that reminds her of flash photography that brings her this flashback. Just really smart things. Alex:                 The structure of this issue, to get to it a little bit, is Eddie Blake’s funeral. We get to see flashbacks from everybody, whether they’re there or not, to the past. We find out a lot more about the event that was hinted at the last issue, which was Eddie Blake’s assault of, not Laurie Jupiter, Sally Jupiter. The first Silk Spectre. So, we find out a lot more about that as well as other aspects of all of the character’s lives and their relationships to Eddie Blake. We find out more about him as The Comedian. But the interesting thing about this issue, I think structurally, to your point Justin, the first issue tracks very heavily in very specific juxtaposition where you get the text and the images are not fighting against each other, but complement each other in a different way. You get that here, but it’s much more about the actions where you see Dr. Manhattan at the funeral, but he’s also potentially in another time at the same time, flashing back to his relationship with Eddie. It’s much more about a temporal juxtaposition than a spatial juxtaposition like it is in the first issue. Justin:              The first issue moves so quickly through a lot of sort of superhero tropes. It just takes them as accepted that they were a superteam, and the past was a lighter, more fun period just like the way comic history went. So, the juxtaposition now of actually seeing that backstory and the temporal shifts that all the characters go through, I think it really sets up what’s coming forward and gives context to what we read in the last issue. Alex:                 The other thing that’s interesting with the whole superteam of it all is we get to meet two “superteams” in this issue. The first on is the Minutemen, which is like an analog of the Justice Society of America but without super powers. They’re all masked vigilantes. It seems a little bit more like a social club. That’s really only how we get to see them together. We never get to see them fight crime together. The second one is the Crimebusters, which as far as we can tell, meets once, and that’s it. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Nothing else happens with them, so again, it’s Moore and Gibbons and company really eschewing the superhero-ness, the structure of it, where we would expect, okay, there’s a team get together and then some big event breaks them apart, but in this case, it’s just not the right time. Justin:              Yeah. And they’re not the right people, and it doesn’t make sense. That’s what’s also so good about this is being a superhero never makes sense for any of these characters in this comic, and it’s great. They’re either way off, they’re not good people, or they’re just way beyond it like Doctor Manhattan. Alex:                 We talked about this a little bit in the first two episodes of the podcast with Rorschach, and I think this very heavily comes up here in terms of how people misinterpret Watchmen that being a superhero is bad. It is clearly a bad thing to do, it’s not a good lifestyle choice. There’s nothing to hope for, and in fact, there’s a pretty good argument to be made, particularly after this issue, that the rise of superheroes leads to a worse world than we are currently in. They do not make it better the way that they do in the DC Comics Universe or the Marvel Comics Universe. Their addition cuts down on crime maybe, but it makes things ultimately worse. Justin:              Yeah. Should we walk through the issue a little bit? Alex:                 Yeah, sure. Well, actually before we do though, there was one thing, an overall thing that I wanted to talk about which is The Comedian. He’s the focus of this issue. His character is the focus of this issue. He’s not that funny, it seems. Justin:              No, he’s a dick. Alex:                 That’s surprising with his name the way it is. Justin:              Yeah. What a weird accident. Alex:                 Yeah. Pete:                You want to stop and explore that some more? Justin:              He should have been The Tragedian. Alex:                 Well, I mean, this gets back to the juxtaposition as well, right? The Comedian, do you think … He certainly makes this argument, but do you think The Comedian is the one who actually sees the world the way it is? Is he actually seeing some joke there, or is it the juxtaposition of, well, he is The Comedian, but he’s not funny at all? Justin:              I think, yeah, it’s the juxtaposition. In the original Minutemen, he’s the goofiest, yet he’s the one who assaults Sally Jupiter. In this issue, he’s wearing an old-timey, Italian clown uniform. Then later in Crimebusters, he’s just being a regular dick, and he’s sort of dressed like a ’90s superhero. He actually dresses like NFL SuperPro a little bit. Alex:                 Yeah, he does a little bit. Justin:              Which is a funny connection. I doubt that was purposeful. And then, you see him doing more horrible things. He shoots a woman who is carrying his baby in Vietnam, and we get to see that happen, and then The Comedian moving forward. I think he’s meant to be a reflection of the time, the different time periods. Back in the ’50s, ’60s, everything is bright and sunny, but all the horrifying things are happening behind closed doors. In Vietnam, it’s like Americans are being horrible overseas. It is that sort of satirical take and juxtaposing this thing called The Comedian. The bright veneer we paint over everything overlays horrifying actions. Alex:                 He is definitely a representation of America. I think that’s very clear. It’s possible he might also be Alan Moore commentating on comedy in comic books because Alan Moore, maybe not so much at this time, but famously hates comic books. We know that when we hang out with him off of this podcast. Justin:              Yeah, let me text him that question and see what he says. Alex:                 Yeah, well, maybe he can bring it up on the next episode, but comic book superheroes aren’t actually usually very funny, and so it’s possible he might be amping that up because he is one of the only ones that actually acts like a comic book superhero. It might be that he’s hitting this very old-timey kind of humor, which is like, “Hey toots, why don’t you take off your dress?” And everybody is like, “Haha,” but it’s not actually funny in a particular way. Justin:              It’s saying the horrifying thing or saying the thing that this person actually wants to happen. Alex:                 Exactly. So, that all said, I was curious because I think that’s an overall character thing that we delve into pretty deeply in this issue. But, yeah, let’s walk through it. Justin:              The first couple scenes we have here are Laurie talking to her mom. They don’t get along very well. Sally sort of wishes she was young again, basically, and is sort of bitter about the world, saying she would rather go back to the life she had back then even though it’s horrible. They set up the sexual assault from The Comedian. Alex:                 This also ties into something that we find out later, which is … Not Laurie. Sally. Justin:              Sally. Alex:                 I keep mixing them up. Sally does not like herself very much. They pull out that Tijuana Bible or whatever it is that has her in a cartoon form. Somebody is having sex with her. Laurie hates it. Sally kind of likes it, and is flattered by it. It’s, again, not to keep using the word juxtaposition, but it’s a very interesting juxtaposition of as terrible as things were for her, she has this sadness and vanity about the olden times. Again, if you get into the comic book of it all because really, if nothing else, Watchmen is a comic book that is commenting on comic books, you can look at that as that nostalgia for the “golden age of comic books” that, “Bad things happened, but overall, wasn’t it so wonderful, and everything was so beautiful. Wasn’t that great?” Justin:              Yeah. Someone who would dress up in a costume … None of these people have powers. They’re just regular people, and be like, “I’m going to go do this,” is goofy and vain. Alex:                 Right. Justin:              To take that for real, I thought, is interesting. Alex:                 And we find out more about that, I believe, in the under the hood section at the end where Hollis Mason talks about she was the first one to be like, “Hey, I’ll have a PR agent. What do you think about that?” She did it for the PR more than anything, more than the crime fighting. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 So, that’s sad. It’s a sad character. Justin:              Indeed. So, we flash from that, as Pete said, from the picture frame in the reflection to a flashbulb where we get to see Sally and the rest of the Minutemen. Their costumes are all sort of goofy, I mean, very much like the actual golden age comics where it’s ridiculous. Dave Gibbons does such a good job of showing them as goofy people, and then you see this horrifying sexual assault scene where they’re all in their costumes, but they’re talking like regular people doing horrifying things. Alex:                 There’s an interesting thing that happened in the first issue as well. I mean, it’s a pretty typically camera angle thing which is, again, one of the things that I don’t think was unique necessarily to this comic book but that Dave Gibbons did so well is using [filmic 00:14:30] framing angles for things. There’s a shot, I believe, of The Comedian on the floor between Hooded Justice’s legs, which is very similar to a shot of The Comedian from the first issue where it’s showing that Hooded Justice is dominant over him. Even if The Comedian pushes himself as this uber mal, he’s really not. The other thing that happens, I believe … I don’t remember which panel it is, but one of the panels in there, there’s a splash of blood on The Comedian that he’s wiping off that is the same as the splash of blood that’s on the button from the first issue. Justin:              Yeah. Pete:                Wow. Justin:              Showing that when he dies, he’s still marred by all these horrifying things he’s done. He’s not a hero at all, and he goes out as not a hero. Alex:                 Yeah. Again, I know we keep going back to, “Hey, great comic.” Big surprise, but it’s also the layers of preparation that they clearly did to put this together. This is very different from a modern comic book where it doesn’t get the chance to plan it in advance, right? Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 You got to meet that monthly schedule, so at most, they have three to four issues ready before they go. Here, I don’t know this for a fact, but I have to assume they had everything planned out before they were ready to go. Justin:              It’s so meticulous. Every frame, every panel means something. The last panel of this scene, you see Hooded Justice who stops the assault is still such a jerk to Sally. He doesn’t help her really. He says, “Get up, and for God’s sake, cover yourself.” He’s the hero of that scene, and he’s still a monster. She is surrounded by monsters. And then, it cuts right back to this Tijuana Bible thing, and it just shows that, yes, she’s unhappy, but she’s dealt with all these horrifying things all the time. Alex:                 Right. Well, let’s talk about Hooded Justice for a second. He’s just a fascinating character who isn’t dealt with, as far as I remember, a ton in the comic book series. But he’s the first hero that comes out. He’s the one that sparks all of it, but he’s also the only one that really fully hides his face. Justin:              Yeah, you never see it. Alex:                 Right. Part of that, if I remember correctly, he’s gay, right? Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 I think that’s what- Pete:                Because that’s the joke The Comedian makes when he’s being beaten up by him. He’s like, “You’re liking this, aren’t you?” That makes the Hooded Justice stop. Alex:                 Right. That makes him stop, and that’s why he takes that pain and that shame of being homosexual and throws it right back on her. Again, this is painting the times that they live in, the fact that it isn’t necessarily accepted at all. He’s scared of it coming out and people finding him out, so he takes it out on Sally. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 But yeah, then we get this memory from Adrian Veidt. This was another interesting thing that I was reading some notes on this. I didn’t necessarily every pick up on this before, but Ozymandias’s costume is the same colors, I believe, as The Comedian’s original costume. So, if anything, there’s something there in terms of him picking up from where The Comedian left off. Justin:              Purple and yellow, being the villain. Alex:                 Right. It’s almost a reverse. Looking at this panel right now, we’re looking at the big panel of the first meeting of the Crimebusters, and Ozymandias has this purple swoop versus the part that left over … The part that is yellow on his neck is the part that was purple on The Comedian, so in a way, he’s almost the opposite of The Comedian. Justin:              Right. That’s cool. They’re not facing each other. This, we get Captain Metropolis who is forming the Crimebusters. He’s still in the golden age dressed like a goof. Then, it’s this random mix of people. Ozymandias, we talked about his costume, but he’s also dressed like a god as opposed to everyone else that’s sort of in various stages of superhero dress. The fact that he ends up sort of coming out of here squeaky clean based on his confidence, basically, is interesting I think. Alex:                 The other thing that’s fascinating about this scene, particularly when you’re going through the book a second time, which wouldn’t have been ultimately clear the first time through, is this is Adrian Veidt’s memory of this meeting of the Crimebusters where Captain Metropolis is proposing this plan. He says, “Look at all these things going on in the world.” It’s fascinating that he mentions, I think, it’s promiscuity and other things like that. The Comedian is like, “This sucks. This is a stupid plan. You’re never going to do this. You just got to burn it all down and figure out what to do next,” and Adrian Veidt is looking at the map. Through the lens of this just being the second issue and us thinking Ozymandias is a hero and the smartest man alive, you would think he’s lamenting it. He’s going, “Oh, no, we can save the world. We can figure out another way to do this. This is so sad.” But in actuality, The Comedian is giving Adrian his plan. Justin:              Yeah. And you see it right in the second to last panel of the scene where Ozymandias is looking at the burn page with the words, “Somebody has to save the world.” It’s all right there. Alex:                 Yes. That’s something that I think is very undervalued about this series in particular is what a good mystery it is. It’s very well-constructed as a mystery, not just as a superhero series. Not just in terms of the characters and the commentary on it, but the fact that it is a very good mystery that you really cannot figure out until the end, but all the clues are there the entire time. Justin:              Yeah, and that’s why on a second and third read, you really get to see so much more as it’s going. We get this next scene with Doctor Manhattan’s memory of his time in Vietnam with The Comedian. It’s just horrifying. The Comedian is being reckless. He shoots this woman after she cuts his face, revealing that she’s pregnant, and Doc Manhattan doesn’t stop him, even though he definitely could. Alex:                 Yeah. The other thing, one thing that I’ll mention that’s also great about these memories, these stories that we get throughout, is we are learning more about Eddie Blake as we go, plot-wise, but really we’re learning about the characters who are remembering the stories. The big thing with Doctor Manhattan here is he doesn’t stop Eddie Blake from shooting a pregnant woman. He’s also standing in the middle of a table at the time and doesn’t notice it. So, what we find out about Doctor Manhattan is, even at this early point in his career, he’s already retreated from humanity. He can’t relate to human beings. Justin:              Yeah. He doesn’t feel. He’s almost sociopathic in his understanding of the situation. He’s just like a scientist viewing it from afar without any empathy for the situation. Pete:                Yeah, and that kind of really shows in the way he’s standing in the table, and it’s the same stance as … In both places, he’s looking over a dead body. Alex:                 Yeah. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 And then, we get the Owlship flashback, right? Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Now this is where we get to see the new mask that The Comedian is wearing. It’s a full face mask. Looks like a gimp mask, which he likes to torture people, so I think that’s at least part of the inspiration that’s going on there. But to set it in time, I believe, this is when the Vietnam War either kicked off, or they dropped the bomb or something like that. It’s one of those moments. It’s not particularly clear in the book, but we get to see them going to the streets, trying to act like superheroes, and I believe this is what ultimately leads to the Keen Act, which is the act they pass where they shut down vigilantes except for government-sponsored ones, clearly leading into the Ironman-Captain America civil war that happens later in the series. Justin:              100%, yeah. That’s, I think, issue nine. Alex:                 It’s weird that they brought them in at that point, but it worked really well. Justin:              This is where we fully get a look at the phrase, “Who watches the Watchmen,” being painted in the wall, which has been sort of alluded- Alex:                 But still not completely. Justin:              Not completed. Alex:                 It’s still blocked. Justin:              But it’s the first time it’s featured. Alex:                 Right. Justin:              So, really starting to get … I think that’s sort of the completion of the first act almost, or the table is set for the rest of the story. This is sort of just a dark … Everything sucks with these characters. Owl Man is just like, “Don’t do that.” Alex:                 Nite Owl. Justin:              Sorry, Nite Owl. I keep saying that wrong. Alex:                 You keep calling him Owl Man. Justin:              Yeah, I don’t know why. Alex:                 There is a character called Owl Man. Justin:              It’s true. Nite Owl, I just never have liked his name. Alex:                 Really? Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Why not? Justin:              Because it’s a phrase as opposed to a name. Alex:                 Yeah. Well, that’s where it comes from. Hollis Mason talks about that in Under the Hood. He says that he was looking for name. He wasn’t sure what to do, and he would never go out to a drink with this co-worker of his. Instead he wanted to go workout because he was trying to figure out how to be a superhero. He was like, “Oh, you’re always such a night owl,” and he was like, “Yeah, Nite Owl. That’s me.” Justin:              Yeah. Again, stupid. Not a great origin story. Alex:                 The existence of Nite Owl implies the existence of a day owl. Justin:              That’s true. Find the day owl. We get a moment where the new Nite Owl has Comedian’s pin, a clean one, no blood on it, and throws it onto the grave. I feel like what is this? What is this supposed to mean? Why is he the one that throws the pin? Alex:                 Dan? Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 I don’t know. These parallel, the way the button falls down is very similar to the way the button falls down in the first issue. So, it’s some sort of parallel on him dying again, right? Or putting the final nail in the coffin or something like that? Justin:              Yeah. Maybe setting him up as more of the hero here or keying him as the main character. Not sure. Alex:                 Yeah. I mean, there’s also some stuff in here with him approaching Doctor Manhattan when already Dan, whether Doctor Manhattan knows it or not, has become his romantic rival for Laurie’s affections. Justin:              Yes. Nobody knows it really here. Alex:                 Right. But it’s pretty clear when you’re reading it that it’s setting them up. There’s that shot of them having the handshake where it’s like, “Oh, here we go.” Justin:              Yeah. Doc Manhattan is just looking around. “Who’s going to try to fuck my wife,” is what he’s thinking. Alex:                 Which one of you fuckers … Justin:              Rorschach leaves silently. And then, we get this great, awesomely drawn sequence of Rorschach going after Moloch, the former villain for Doc Manhattan. Pete:                This is when the shading and lighting of the panels really takes off. From this point on, it’s really just unbelievably beautiful. Alex:                 Yeah. The Moloch thing is interesting because it introduces supervillains who were teased, I was about to say weirdly enough, but appropriately enough during the rape/assault sequence. That’s the time where you get to see their trophy room. You get to see a lens that Moloch set up before which paints him as sort of this goofy, ’60s-style villain. Sort of very Adam West, Batman-y-style villain, which obviously he’s not here at the end. We also see, it’s called Killer Ape or Gorilla Man or something like that. There’s some sort of mask in the trophy room as well, which I think emphasizes the animalistic nature of what Eddie Blake is doing to Sally at that moment. But we never really see any supervillain action. To the point of the superheroics, we haven’t really had them established other than that glimpse. Here, we finally get to see Moloch, and he is a cancer-ridden husk of himself. Justin:              Yeah. Sad. You wonder how this man could have ever threatened Doctor Manhattan who is all-powerful, basically. He tells this story of The Comedian coming to visit him and basically saying, “The world is fucked,” after he’s realized sort of the plot that we ourselves, the reader, find out later. Alex:                 He talks about the island a little bit. He talks about some writers and other things, I believe, throughout the scene, which teases again. If you’re reading it through the second time, you know that Veidt is setting up this big story and teasing and building this thing, but it’s very unclear exactly what The Comedian is talking about at this point to anybody who hasn’t read Watchmen. Justin:              Yeah. And he sets up Janie Slater who is Doctor Manhattan’s first wife, I believe, which we learn about later on in the series. It’s just such a haunting scene because you are seeing it through the eyes of this ruined villain, and it just sets up all this tension that we have no idea, this conspiracy that really put The Comedian to his death. It really feeds in to Rorschach’s panic and his actual believing. He’s a conspiracy theorist, and this is proving to be true. Alex:                 Well, to the point, I may have the time period a little bit wrong, but if The Comedian is a reflection of America in a very similar way to Captain America is over in Marvel Comics, this is the point, the late ’70s, early ’80s or so when America started to realize, “Oh, wait. We’ve fucked everything up.” Justin:              Yeah. American disillusionment. Alex:                 Exactly. It certainly came earlier than that, but whether it’s hitting The Comedian late or not, that’s what’s going on there. He’s realizing there’s all of these things going on behind the scenes that he’s not the big man about. He’s not the guy in charge. He’s not the most important thing in the story. Everything else is happening around him. I think ultimately that’s why he dies, right? Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Because he has reached the end of his usefulness. His time is literally over. Justin:              Yeah. He’s done too many horrible things to continue on. Alex:                 Yeah, he should have died earlier. Justin:              He’s being replaced by this new world order that we come to find out later is Ozymandias’s sort of stake. Alex:                 Yeah. Who among us has not been replaced by a squid? Justin:              Yeah, indeed. I also think the death of The Comedian is sort of where the fiction starts. I think The Comedian is meant to represent what America actually did, and this is sort of the flight of fancy out of it where we realize the consequences or a take on what could happen to bring the world back together. We get the famous Pagliacci joke at the end which is great. Alex:                 Great joke. Actually very funny. Justin:              Super funny. Alex:                 After The Comedian not being funny for an issue, funny joke at the end, huh? Justin:              Hilarious. And the last image we see here is Rorschach grabbing a flower off of Eddie’s grave and taking it with him. Pete:                Which is cool because we see earlier in this issue, everybody is putting things into the grave, right? They’re putting the body down, they’re throwing the pins in. Rorschach comes and takes something. Justin:              That’s great, yeah. Because everyone is putting away their memories. They’re like, “This guy who did bad things, I don’t want to think about this anymore.” He’s like, “I’m going to take this clue with me on into the rest of the mystery.” Alex:                 Yeah, and to what we were talking about with the first issue as well though, that’s Rorschach kind of going off in the wrong direction, right? He is holding on to this Comedian mystery that is part of it, but he doesn’t know what it is quite yet. Pete:                And again, the shading and the paneling. From panel to panel, completely different time periods flow so nicely. But also, there was a panel where it was the same part of the newspaper, and then the next panel is just a bigger part. So cool. Justin:              Very cool. Alex:                 Now, one thing that I did want to point out actually because I was looking at both of your guys’ copies. You have a paperback print copy, Pete, and you’re looking at it on your computer. The coloring is different on both of them. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 So, in Pete’s I think it’s a little bit closer because the roses, I believe, are the same red as the blood on The Comedian in the first issue. So, when Rorschach is walking through the blood at the beginning, at the end of the second issue, he’s pulling it back out again. So, I don’t know. It’s interesting. I assume there’s an absolute edition out there somewhere with the correct colors, but it certainly affects the experience quite a bit. Guys, thank you so much for listening to Watchmen Watch. We will be back with the third issue pretty soon. Justin:              Very soon. Alex:                 Check out all the ways to subscribe at comicbookclublive.com. You can support this podcast and more. Patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also mention, you can follow us a bunch of places, @watchmenwatch1 on Twitter. Also on Facebook and Instagram, Watchmen Watch Podcast, you can check them out there. We got some shirts. We got shirts, guys. Justin:              Get those shirts on. Alex:                 Comicbookclub.threadless.com, check it out there. And remember, we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago. Justin:              Alan just texted me, and he said he’ll definitely be here for the next episode. Alex:                 Oh, that’s great. Pete:                Great. Justin:              Again, my bad. Stonehenge. Alex:                 I hope he had fun camping. Justin:              Yeah, he loves camping, and he loves mysterious stones. The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #2, “Absent Friends” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Sep 2019

32 min 14 sec

Our Watchmen podcast kicks off in earnest as we break down the first issue of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal comic book series, “At Midnight, All the Agents…” Spoilers abound, but find out more about the structure behind the issue, Easter eggs, and how it all might tie into the upcoming HBO series of the same name. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen: Alex:                 Welcome to Watchmen Watch. A podcast about HBO’s Watchmen where we watch Watchmen, and then watch you watching Watchmen, while you watch us watch Watchmen. I’m Alex. Justin:              I’m Justin. Pete:                I’m Pete. That’s too much, dude. That’s too much. Alex:                 No, no. It’s just the right amount, it’s just the right amount. Pete:                No. That’s a little too much. Alex:                 I got it. I nailed it. I nailed it. Crushed it, you guys. Episode over. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Okay. Justin:              It’s very short. We’re doing short podcasts. Alex:                 Now, we do need to apologize before we get into the bulk of our podcast. We do have a fourth cohost. Justin:              Alan Moore is our fourth host for this. He… We should say the writer of Watchmen, the comic book. Alex:                 Yeah, so we’re very excited to have him on board. Justin:              And eventually, obviously he took his name off of the movie and the other comic book versions of it, and he was going to be here today but he actually isn’t here. He’s actually at DC comics physically taking his name off the comics. Alex:                 Oh wow. Pete:                Oh wow. Alex:                 That’s going to take him a while. They have a lot of copies. Pete:                Yeah, it’s a long [crosstalk 00:00:52]. Justin:              But he’s going to be here, he said he’s definitely going to be here next week to talk about- Alex:                 Well he better hurry up because Watchmen is I think the highest selling graphic novel of all time. Justin:              It’s got a lot of- Alex:                 A lot of copies. Justin:              A lot of white out. A lot of white out coming in. Alex:                 This guy is going to have to invest in it. Justin:              Yes, no, and he likes to smell it a little bit as well. Pete:                It’s going to take more time. Alex:                 You probably know this, but Watchmen the TV series, is not going to be on until October on HBO. So in the intervening time, what we’re going to be doing on the next 12 episodes of Watchmen Watch is we’re going to be looking back at the comic issue by issue. And this week we’re going to be talking about the first issue of Watchmen At Midnight, All the Agents. That’s based on a Bob Dylan quote, I believe you dudes. Justin:              Yep. Alex:                 Let’s talk about this issue. I don’t know. I want to be honest about something upfront here. Pete:                Oh, here we go. Alex:                 I want to be honest with you guys. Justin:              Ooh. Confessions. Pete:                Oh. Confessions. Alex:                 I read Watchmen, all in a chunk, probably decades ago at this point. Justin:              Wow. Alex:                 I think I read it maybe, or skimmed it again, before the movie came out just so I could kind of familiarize myself with it. But it’s been years since I actually read this book. Pete:                Are you talking about the 80s? It’s been since the 80s? Alex:                 The Zack Snyder Watchmen movie did not come out in the 80s. What is your joke? Pete:                I don’t know. Justin:              The 80s is when it came out. Pete:                Yeah. Justin:              That’s when you were there. Alex:                 The book. Yes. He was there when Alan Moore was like, “The end.” Justin:              That’s why we got the connect. Pete:                Yeah. That’s how we got the phone number. Alex:                 Anyway, I haven’t actually deeply read it in decades at this point. So doing that for this podcast, actually taking the time to make sure that I synthesized as much of the words, of the panels, and everything as possible, was first of all fascinating. Because I don’t know if you guys know this, this is a very good comic. Justin:              This is a very good comic. Alex:                 Yes. It’s very well done. Alan Moore, good on writing. Dave Gibbons, very good on art. Justin:              He’s good on writing. Alex:                 Yes. Justin:              He’s good on writing. Pete:                Very good on writing. Justin:              He’s as good on writing as you are on saying that. Alex:                 Yes, John Higgins on color. And it was edited by Len Wein and Barbara Kesel. This is… I really honestly was kind of blown away by how good this is. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Because we do a regular live comic book talk show. Pete:                We do. Alex:                 Watchmen comes up a lot when we’re talking about it. Justin:              Yep. Pete:                Certainly. Alex:                 So it’s almost become abstract to me in terms of like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s the best comic book of all time. I get it. That’s fine.” Justin:              Yeah, no exactly. You don’t think about it as much anymore. Alex:                 Right, but this is legitimately an excellent comic book. Justin:              Breaking news. Breaking news. Pete:                [crosstalk 00:03:28] blown away you are by this comic. Justin:              I felt the same way because… Like Alex was saying, actually rereading it, the pacing of this comic book is unbelievable. Pete:                Yeah. It really is. Justin:              It’s so shocking. Pete:                It starts out so well, grabs your attention, never lets go. It’s really impressive. Justin:              Just how much control Alan Moore has of the story from the jump and the art on top of that is just so good. Dave Gibbons’ art, it’s so… It’s of the era but it also feels timeless. It has a lot of the sort of dark shadowing to it, which gives it this sort of tense, bleak tone, but it still feels just as relevant as modern art. Alex:                 Well, I think just real quick, the thing that I was going to say about the timeless thing, the thing that struck me is so many things you go back and read and you’re like, “Oh that, I can see how that worked at the time, why it was important.” Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 This is still a very good comic book. Pete:                And it’s also one of those things where the imagery and the stuff that they use in comics, everything that I see kind of informs them. It’s like one of those things that sticks with you. When I picture someone getting thrown out of a window, it’s always The Comedian. Justin:              Yeah. What you picture often, right? Pete:                Yeah. Alex:                 Usually as you’re being thrown out a window. Pete:                But it’s done so iconically and so well- Justin:              First story windows. Pete:                Everything after that blows. Justin:              Yeah. The 9-panel grid that, it’s used in this is sort of a, and it’s not all… There’s not nine panels on every page, but using that grid as a basis, I feel like that’s something that a lot of comic book artists are coming back to now. Pete:                Yeah. Especially recently. Justin:              I also want to say in the 80s, this was in sort of the Cold War, like nuclear threat that definitely weighs heavily on this series. And now we’re sort of back in international politics being terrifying. Our American politics being expressed- Pete:                Keanu Reeves is popular again. It’s like the 80s all over again. Justin:              He really weighs in here, the Keanu Reeves of it all. So I do think rereading it now just in 2019 with our politics and culture definitely feels more relevant now than it did even when I read it in the 90s. Pete:                Oh wow. Alex:                 Right. Well, you do have the whole weight of the Doomsday Clock playing throughout it and that’s something we regularly hear about right now. Justin:              It’s close. Alex:                 Yes. Justin:              To Midnight in our time, now. Alex:                 It is. Justin:              I think we’re going to get [squidded 00:05:45] right here in New York City. Pete:                Oh man. Justin:              That would be- Alex:                 Squidded right here in New York City. Justin:              That would be a fun surprise. Pete:                We should move, guys. We should move. Justin:              But do you think… It wouldn’t have the same impact because if we got squidded, we’d be like, “Oh, squid.” Pete:                Oh, cool. This is a promo for Watchmen on HBO. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Nice. Thanks guys. Justin:              Cool promo. Pete:                We’ve got to stay away from Times Square, they’re throwing squids. Justin:              Should we walk through the issue a little bit? Alex:                 Yeah, absolutely. Justin:              So we start with, as Pete mentioned, a recap. Two cops are talking about the death of The Comedian. Alex:                 Well, so let’s… This is one other… I mean I was struck by a lot in the issue. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 But one of the things I definitely did not pick up on the first couple of times that I read it, is you have this first page, it starts on The Comedian’s, now iconic, button in a pool of blood. It pulls up, up, up, up, up as it goes up to this cop saying… What does he say? “It’s a long drop?” Justin:              “Hmm. That’s quite a drop.” Alex:                 “That’s quite a drop.” You have Rorschach’s [crosstalk 00:06:36] narration over the entire thing, but you also have the guy that we don’t know yet is Rorschach walking through the blood, trailing the blood as he goes. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Pulling it with him. He’s pulling this death with him, which I think is very cool. Pete:                Yeah, he’s a creepy dude. Justin:              Yeah, as the cops are leaving that’s when you really see Rorschach for the first time. Pete:                Right. Alex:                 And we still don’t… In this issue- Justin:              We do not. Alex:                 We don’t know that he’s Rorschach. Justin:              No. Alex:                 But he is. This red-haired man is Rorschach as we find out later in the series. But the thing that I thought was so neat, when you look at it, is there’s three things in the issue, right? There’s this first page where the cops are looking down at the pool of [blotted death 00:00:07:12]. You have the final page where you have Dan Dreiberg and Laurie Blake? Wait, Laurie- Justin:              Laurie Jupiter or Juspeczyk. Alex:                 Jupiter. Yeah, exactly. Not Laurie Blake. She’s Laurie Blake in the TV series. Laurie standing on that rooftop and you have the same zoom-out at the same pace looking down above them, which could imply that that’s another murder. That we’ve watched another death happening at the same time. Alex:                 But then you also have Rorschach’s narration saying, “And I would look down at them and I would say no.” Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 There’s so many different layered things going on here at the same time. Justin:              And to add another layer, at that last panel to me, it’s Doctor Manhattan spying on them- Alex:                 Yes. Justin:              As Nite Owl’s out with his wife. Alex:                 Right. And it’s his heart dying, potentially. Well, if Doctor Manhattan potentially has a heart. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 I mean that’s really up for- Pete:                A heart breaking. Alex:                 Exactly. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 The other thing that I was really struck by in this issue as we walk through it, is it’s funny. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 That’s something that I think people forget about Watchmen is there’s some funny moments. There’s some weird moments in here. It’s not… The wrong lesson that so many people have taken from Watchmen is, “You’ve got to make things dark and serious.” Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 And that’s not what this book is about at all. Justin:              In fact, it is dark and serious, but it’s the feeling, the way that lands is by having comedy, which creates a greater distance between the laughs to the really dark stuff. So you’re really on a roller coaster ride. Pete:                So you’re asking yourself, “Why so serious?” Justin:              Right. That’s exactly what my point is. Pete:                Yeah. Alex:                 Yeah. Watchmen walked so the Dark Knight could run. Justin:              Watchmen watched so the Dark Knight could watch harder. Pete:                Harder. Alex:                 So we got that first page, you want to move to- Justin:              Yeah. So we have… And these cops, they seem sort of [scumbaggy 00:08:59] cops. And they’re sort of the heroes here. Pete:                Classic. Justin:              And we’re seeing, interspersed with their investigation of the crime scene, you see flashback the murder happening of The Comedian, which was… Just hadn’t seen that before when I first read this. And, reading here, it’s really well-paced and it really creates this essential mystery. And at the same time, we don’t know who The Comedian is. Alex:                 Right? Justin:              We don’t know this is a take on a Justice League-type team until much later. Not even in this issue. Alex:                 Yeah. There’s something this issue does. Another thing this issue does very well, is introduce all the characters in a very fluid way through both these detectives initially, and then through Rorschach’s investigation where he approaches each of the characters. But it never feels like, “And now meet this character. And now meet this character.” And part of the reason is that Moore and Gibbons, Gibbons through the body language of the characters, but Moore through the writing, has set up all of these backstories and all this history. So people are not coming into it as, “We are fresh friends who have met each other for the first time.” Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 It’s when Nite Owl and Rorschach see each other for the first time. It’s for the first time in years. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 And they broke apart and at least one of them doesn’t know why. Justin:              And you feel the weight of their relationship on all of these characters. Alex:                 Yes. Pete:                I really do think that because we read so many comic books, we can kind of tell at this point when people are just moving characters around to get them to a certain thing for something they have planned. And this is done in such a creative way. You don’t feel like they’re just moving characters. Alex:                 It’s very fluid in terms of introducing the characters, in terms of the plot. Alan Moore, again, huge shocker here, a very good writer. But he knows how to get us across both plot and character at the same time because of all of the dialogue. Justin:              It would have been great if he was here to answer some of these questions I’m asking [crosstalk 00:00:10:51]. Alex:                 It’s a real disappointment to me. Justin:              He is going to be here next week, as we keep saying. Alex:                 Yes. I’m excited. We’ll save some of the questions while we talk about episode two. Justin:              Definitely. Definitely. Definitely. Definitely. Yeah, so the spine of the issue is Rorschach sort of going around to the different heroes and warning them like, “Hey, The Comedian is dead and you might be next.” Pete:                Right. Justin:              And it’s telling them- Pete:                And what a good friend. Justin:              Yes, he’s a good friend but he also is… He feels like he’s the one character after their super team broke up. And you feel the sadness for everyone in different ways. Like Nite Owl, he’s sad because he doesn’t have anything else going on in his life. He’s visiting the original Nite Owl who also has a sad life and wrote a book about superheroes. As he visits everyone, it’s clear it was a bad relationship. Their relationships have not maintained throughout. But he’s the only one who’s sort of still in his mode, on the case trying to figure this out. Pete:                Yeah. Justin:              So you definitely identify with him as the character, the hero driving through. Pete:                Oh yeah. Justin:              But some of the things we were talking about before, he is saying some stuff that now, I’m in our modern politics and culture. He’s saying some pretty out-right shit here. Alex:                 Yes. I do not think you’re supposed to identify with Rorschach at all. Justin:              Really? Alex:                 No, I really don’t think so. Pete:                He’s the only guy I identify with. Alex:                 Really? What do you identify with in him? And I’m scared to ask. Pete:                The way that he doesn’t trust people, the way that he feels like he is creepier or dirtier than people. The way he lives is different. Justin:              He’s an outsider? Pete:                He’s an outsider. Yeah, thank you. Justin:              Yeah. Pete:                And also the fact that he covers his face and doesn’t show people kind of who he is and what he’s about. Justin:              And his dedication to the sort of the case and being- Pete:                Yeah, exactly. He’s above all else. We’re above getting proper meals or [crosstalk 00:12:46]. Justin:              I think that’s the trap. That’s the trap of what you were saying before about the lesson a lot of comic book writers and companies took from this was like, “Oh, we gotta do this.” I think now after we’ve read hundreds of issues of The Punisher and all these other darker heroes that came out after Watchmen, it’s tricked us into thinking we should identify with Rorschach when really he has just as many- Pete:                Plus, he’s fucked up. Alex:                 He’s violent. Justin:              He’s super violent. Pete:                Which is great. Justin:              He’s a loner. He considers the rest of the world filth and just like an [abattoir 00:13:13]. Alex:                 Let’s talk about that a little bit because his… It’s interesting. I’m sure there’s much better ways of saying this in a much… There’s been so much research and writing about Watchmen in the intervening years, but he’s Rorschach, right? Like his mask is a fluid Rorschach test that people can ostensibly see whatever they want. Justin:              Mm-hmm (affirmative). Alex:                 They look at him and they see whatever they want in him, but everybody sees the same thing in Rorschach. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Everybody sees exactly who he is and he is pretty straight up exactly who he is at the same time. Versus everybody else who is currently, they’re not wearing masks. They’re all supposedly being who they are, including say, and this is a huge spoiler if you’ve never watched Watchmen, but Adrian Veidt, Ozymandias, who is the real villain of the series, he’s not wearing a mask right now. He’s not wearing a costume. He’s like, “This is who I am. I’m a businessman. I’m smart, but I’m not really the smartest man in the world. This is me upfront.” But everybody else is hiding something. Justin:              Yeah, except Rorschach. Alex:                 Rorschach’s the only one- Pete:                Rorschach’s [crosstalk 00:14:21] honest one. Justin:              Rorschach is calling them out. He’s going out and calling each of them out in these missions. Alex:                 Right. So I guess what I was getting around to is the point that I think he wants you to see whatever you see in the world on him, but all he sees in the world is that filth. Is that disgustingness, is everybody is airing on the side of bad. That’s why he makes this, frankly crazy assumption off of one murder, that somebody is killing capes. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 You know, there’s really no evidence there and he’s not necessarily wrong, but he’s not necessarily right either. It’s because he goes to, The Comedian is dead, what is the worst case scenario? Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 And the worst case scenario is they’re coming for all of us. Pete:                Right. Alex:                 He lives walking through that puddle of blood all the time. Justin:              And he comments so much on the culture. Pete:                Yeah. Justin:              But at the same time he’s a reflection of all of the comments he’s making. He is the Rorschach test for the culture. Alex:                 Right. Justin:              But like some of the [outrights 00:15:18] tell you. Pete:                Are you okay, are you dying there? Justin:              Sorry. Yeah, I’m choking. The truth… Betraying even his own shallow liberal affectations. There’s just some stuff in here that really hit me in this rereading of it in our modern world where the… In all this kind of language and mentality really like proliferates on Reddit and different spots on the internet where a lot of bad shit comes out of it. Alex:                 Yeah. Now, one other visual thing that I really loved throughout the issue, just in terms of the body language, there’s so many little subtle things that happen. There is a… There’s a bunch of graffiti like, “Who watches the Watchmen?” But it’s kind of cut off each time. I don’t think we see it fully each time it pops up. Justin:              No. Alex:                 There’s also pirate comics throughout, which I think we should talk about the whole comic book, in a second when we get to the Under the Hood, because there’s some fascinating stuff there. But there’s this little moment where Rorschach takes a pocket full of sugar cubes, they never talk about it, and then five pages later he’s eating a sugar cube and it’s so gross. He’s like a fly who’s feasting on garbage the entire time. Pete:                Yeah. Justin:              He eats a can of cold beans. Alex:                 I don’t know why you’re still into this after we talked about it. Pete:                I love it. I love how gross he is. Alex:                 Let’s talk about the Doctor Manhattan stuff. Justin:              Yeah, so after Rorschach goes to Nite Owl, who’s living a sad life, he goes and beats up a bunch of people in a bar. Pete:                Yeah! Justin:              To try, what Pete obviously likes, to try to figure out… And they’re like- Alex:                 I really think you’re taking the wrong lessons from this comic book. Justin:              Yeah. Pete:                Cool. Justin:              It’s crazy though. He calls it his exercise and it’s just… Because there’s no real, it was a one-person job killing The Comedian. The fact that there would be henchmen there. It seems like he’s doing this fully just to beat people up for [crosstalk 00:17:02]. Alex:                 Yeah. Absolutely. Pete:                Well, it’s his exercise. Some people like to walk in the park. Other people have gym memberships. He goes to a bar- Justin:              All equally reasonable things. Pete:                Yep. Justin:              He goes and talks to Ozymandias. Veidt, who’s a corporate sellout basically, shits on him a little bit. Then he goes to talk to Doctor Manhattan who lives in the… Works for the government, is still ostensibly a mask. He’s distant from the world. We see this great panel where he’s three stories tall to first meet him. Alex:                 Yeah. Justin:              Such a great visual. Alex:                 And everything else throughout the book, for the most part, is very, very tight. It holds that 9-panel grid until we see Doctor Manhattan where it completely opens up. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 And this gets to something that I think… Also in particular, not to lump on it too much, but the Zack Snyder movie got completely wrong about Watchmen, is these aren’t superheroes. Justin:              No. Alex:                 These are regular people. Even Adrian Veidt is, certainly he’s pushing down his intelligence a little bit. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 He’s trying to be modest about it, but he’s not actually the smartest man in the world. He just has a lot of resources at this point. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Same with Rorschach. Rorschach isn’t super strong. The Comedian isn’t super strong. Superheroes have developed in a way, but they’re really just humans. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 The one exception is Doctor Manhattan. But the other thing that I think even everybody gets wrong about Doctor Manhattan, that’s very clear in this issue, is he’s not all powerful. Justin:              No. Alex:                 He doesn’t know everything and he can’t do everything. Justin:              No, and he’s even learning about his powers. The whole series is about him figuring out what it means to be this sort of godlike person, but he doesn’t have command of it. And he’s so obsessed with research that he’s not able… It’s not about power for him. Alex:                 Right. Justin:              It’s about, “Oh, I can look into this now.” Alex:                 Right. Justin:              It’s like someone who would have the internet for the first time. Like a scientist having the internet is what Doctor Manhattan feels like in this. Alex:                 Yeah. So we do get this great character scene and we get to see a lot of what’s going on with Doctor Manhattan. We get to see what’s going on with Laurie and also Rorschach, who she doesn’t like at all. And then we get the other big plot that’s gonna play out throughout the series, which they dance around for the first half of the issue very purposely until Laurie comes out and says it, which is that The Comedian raped her mom. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 He raped her mom, he assaulted her mom. That came out during the Hollis Mason, who’s the original Nite Owl in his book Under the Hood, and she believes the story. Rorschach is not 100% sure, if I remember correctly. Justin:              Yeah. And she actually says almost. She doesn’t say it. Alex:                 Right. Justin:              So everyone, it’s like a suspicious, you don’t know what the deal is in this moment. Alex:                 Right. And we’re still learning a lot about these characters. We don’t even really… We haven’t heard The Comedian say a word. Justin:              We don’t know anything about anything in this. Alex:                 Right. Justin:              And it’s crazy how much they just give us right out of the gate and we’re just like, “Okay, we’ll keep up with this.” It’s dense in a great way. Alex:                 And then at the end, we see Nite Owl and Laurie end up going on a pseudo-date together. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 It’s not supposed to be a date. It’s mostly catching up. But they both like it because they’re friends. One thing that I do want to point out that I thought was kind of fascinating, there’s little things here. This is an alternate history. It’s split off from some point, both from our world, from the DC Universe, from anything else. There are little things. I believe there’s a turkey there with four legs that they’re serving at the restaurant. And there are other things like that that give you little indicators, not just through the fashion but literally the things that people are eating. The world is a little different. Justin:              Oh yeah. Alex:                 Yeah. Justin:              That feels like… The turkey with four legs feels like a mistake, but maybe not. Alex:                 No, I don’t think it is. Justin:              Really? It’s so small in this panel. Alex:                 If you have a world, again jumping to the end here, where Ozymandias is able to build genetically a cat creature. He’s able to build a squid. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 What’s to say he hasn’t also done that where, “Great, we’ve created a Turkey with a little more meat on it.” Justin:              That’s true. That’s fair. Pete:                Yeah. Justin:              We do get a mention of Action Comics in the back matter, an excerpt from Under the Hood, which is the book that the first Nite Owl read. Was sort of a superhero tell-all, which I reread for this as well and man, it’s so good. Alex:                 I want to say I reread it, but this is another… This is the second thing I wanted to be honest with you guys about, I don’t think I ever read it. Justin:              Oh really? Alex:                 I don’t. I think I completely was like, “Eh, word book. No thanks.” Pete:                Yeah, that’s exactly [crosstalk 00:21:12]. Alex:                 And I was so wrong because reading it for this, I was blown away. Justin:              The first story, it’s sort of the intro to the book and it’s just a story about him and his dad at this auto-mechanic shop that he worked at. It’s such a great, short story. Alex:                 It’s a great short story. It parallels what went on in the first issue. But from a continuity standpoint, when you’re talking about that alternative evolution, as you mentioned, he talks about, Hollis Mason talks about, “Oh, I remember reading Action Comics and seeing the introduction of Superman, but the alternate history of Watchmen, what actually happened was they released Action Comics.” It was big, people loved it, but then a couple of years later, the first vigilante hooded justice showed up and then people didn’t need superhero comics anymore because superheroes existed in real life and that’s why pirate comics became the biggest thing. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 So when we link up in the current continuity in Watchmen, everybody reads pirate comics and we’re going to get into that pretty soon with the Black Freighter- Pete:                Curse of the Black Freighter. Alex:                 Curse of the Black Freighter, and everything else, which again provides a lot of parallels for what’s going on. But yeah, I felt super dumb for having not read it that first time through. Justin:              Yeah, no, it’s so good. Just rereading it I was like, “Oh right, I forgot how good this was.” Alex:                 Yeah, definitely check out Watchmen #1 from DC comics. Justin:              Well, you can’t recommend it. Alex:                 Oh man. Justin:              Find it if you’re- Pete:                [Hard take 00:22:37]. Hard take. Alex:                 All right. Next week we are going to be talking about the second issue of Watchmen, so be sure to read it before then if you want to check it out with us. And of course as the series gets closer we’ll talk more and more about that. You could support this podcast at patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the Peoples Improv Theater Loft in New York. Come on by. We’ll chat with you about Watchmen. Pete, what do you want to plug? Pete:                Find us on Facebook so you get to know about the amazing guests we have on our live show. Justin:              Follow us on Twitter @comicbooklive. Alex:                 Also, follow us on Twitter [@atwatchWatchmen1 00:23:20] for Watchmen stuff. Pete:                Yeah. Number one. Alex:                 Number one. Watch Watchmen number one podcast. Comicbookclublive.com for this podcast and more. You can subscribe all sorts of places. Our RSS feed is on the website and remember we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago. Justin:              Oh, Alan just texted me again. He’s definitely going to be here next week. The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #1, “At Midnight, All the Agents…” appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Sep 2019

24 min 46 sec

Who watches HBO’s Watchmen? We do! In the preview episode of our Watchmen podcast, Alex, Justin and Pete discuss their experience with Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic graphic novel, their thoughts on the movie version and predictions for the TV show, as well as general thoughts on Damon Lindelof’s shows, from LOST to The Leftovers. SUBSCRIBE TO WATCHMEN WATCH ON ITUNES, ANDROID, SPOTIFY, STITCHER, OR RSS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK. SUPPORT OUR SHOWS ON PATREON. The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon. Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen: Alex:                 Welcome to Watchmen Watch, a podcast about HBO’s Watchmen. Who watches Watchmen Watch? We watch Watchmen Watch, as we watch the Watchmen on HBO. I’m Alex. Justin:              I’m Justin. Pete:                I’m Pete. That’s a lot of watching. Justin:              That’ll be easy for you to say next time. Alex:                 Yeah, no problem. I have it all scripted down and definitely remember all of it. Pete:                No problem at all. Justin:              That’s true. For those of you listening at home, he doesn’t have it scripted. He was just staring at us with crazy bugged out eyes because it was a lot to say at once. Alex:                 Now we do have an apology to make unfortunately, our fourth cohost is not here today. Justin:              Yeah. Alan Moore is doing this podcast with us. Unfortunately, he couldn’t be here today and today only. He’s officiating a wedding between two hamsters in Northern Ireland. So, he has to be there for that. Pete:                Love’s love. Justin:              He does a lot of those animal weddings. Alex:                 Yeah, he got ordained online. Did you know that? Justin:              That’s really cool. It’s a great way to do it. Alex:                 Yes. Justin:              Are you an online minister? Pete:                No. No. Justin:              I am. Pete:                Are you? Justin:              I am. Pete:                Oh, really? Justin:              I can marry anything. Alex:                 Great. Pete:                Wow. Anything? Justin:              You guys? Alex:                 So this is going to be a podcast about Watchmen, the HBO show, which is a show run by Damon Lindelof. That’s going to be viewing some point in October. As of this recording, we don’t know the exact date, so here’s how we’re going to run the show. We are going to recap every episode of Watchmen as it happens on the podcast. But leading up to it, we’re going to do a recap. We’re going to do a review both for ourselves and for you guys of the Watchmen comic book of all 12 issues. Justin:              It’s a crash course in Watchmen for everybody who wants to know what’s up with Watchmen before we get into the series. Because the series, unlike the movie, the Zack Snyder movie was a very faithful presentation of the comic. Alex:                 What? Justin:              So we’re going to get into that as well, but the HBO series is sort of a re-interpretation. Alex:                 Right. We don’t know a lot about it at this current time. David Lindelof and company have been very cagey about it. They’ve called it, as you said, a re-interpretation. Maybe it’s a sequel, maybe it’s a sidequel. Pete:                Maybe it takes place in between the panels of the movie. Alex:                 Right, exactly. That’d be classic Scott McCloud, understanding comic style. Justin:              Very exciting. Alex:                 So we’ll see what happens with that. But it is worth reviewing because clearly based on the footage that they released of Watchmen, it’s going to have a lot of visual touchstones, character names, other things going on there. It’s certainly been awhile since I read Watchmen, so I’m excited to get back into it. Justin:              Yeah, me too. Pete:                I would like to say though that the teaser they released looks really amazing. I’m excited. Alex:                 It does look that fantastic. Here’s what I think we could do on this first episode here. Let’s talk about our experiences with Watchmen and then also thoughts on Damon Lindelof as a showrunner because he’s definitely the driving force behind it. So let’s start off with Watchmen. Pete, what is your experience with Watchmen? Obviously you love the Zack Snyder movie. Pete:                No. Alex:                 You watched that on a loop. Pete:                I did love the choice for Rorschach in the movie. I thought everything else was kind of slightly garbage. I like most people, the first time I read Watchmen, my mind was blown and I was really impressed by the writing and the art of that, and I thought it was really phenomenal. Justin:              I remember picking up a Watchmen number, like seven, whatever the one with the perfume bottle on it is, in the comic shop when I was just like … I pulled it out of a bin. I was like, oh, what’s this? And I think I bought it and read it and it just didn’t know what was going on. And then years later, I read the whole series in a trade paperback and being like, oh wow, this feels, it just feels so much … There’s so much more going on in this comic than in so many other comics I’ve read. Alex:                 Yeah, I think I read it pretty late actually. I definitely remember reading it as a trade collection, not in individual issues or anything like that. I think it was well into my second life as a comic book reader. I read- Justin:              Second life? Alex:                 Well I read- Justin:              Because he died all- Alex:                 Very briefly. Very briefly. I drowned for a couple of days. Justin:              Yeah. Yeah. Cause you’re from the islands in Game of Thrones. What is dead may never die? Alex:                 The iron islander. Justin:              You’re an iron Islander, Right? Alex:                 Yeah, exactly. Justin:              What is dead may never die. Alex:                 Yup. That’s me. You know me. Add my salt wives. Anyway, so I read comics as a kid, took a break for some of high school and college. Justin:              To play football. Alex:                 Yeah. Justin:              Quarterback hero. Alex:                 And then I had that injury. Justin:              Yeah I know. Alex:                 And then I picked up comic books again and when that happened, I started reading a lot more trade collections, getting caught up on things that I should have read anyway. And watching it was one of those that I thought, wow, this is great. Very good book. And from there, ended up reading a bunch of other Alan Moore books kind of in a row, including Miracle Man and other things [crosstalk 00:04:42] Justin:              So you went on a tear. Yeah. Pete:                You went to on an Alan Moore tear. Justin:              I think what’s important is- Pete:                It’s too bad that he’s not here, you could tell that to them. Alex:                 No, I know, I know. I was really looking forward to it. Justin:              We had so many great questions for him, he was- Alex:                 He’ll be here to hear next week. Pete:                Yeah. Justin:              Yeah, he made A real promise to us. Watchmen, if you haven’t read the comic and you’re listening to this, read some other comics first. Alex:                 Yes. Pete:                This is one thing that a lot of people talk about with Watchmen. They’re like, oh, Watchmen was my first comic book. I don’t understand it. And it’s like, of course you don’t. Watchmen is really a postmodern … It sort of breaks down the comic book sort of mythos or the Justice League or the Avenger’s type characters and really reframes and has you look at it in a more realistic context. The Boys that’s just come out on Amazon- Pete:                Great show. Justin:              Great show. Sort of has that as a more modern version of that, beyond Watchmen. Watchmen was the first to really sort of take a critical or postmodern look at comics. Alex:                 And that’s one of the things that I’m really hoping for from the TV show that in the same way that Watchmen the comic was looking at comics that came before it and the history of comics and reframing it in such a smart careful way. I hope they do that with the TV or film the media. But you know, I hope they extend that in some way. Because frankly, and I’m curious to see if we’ll have time to get to this accident or film before we get into the TV show. Justin:              We will. Alex:                 One of the big faults for that is it straight adapted the comic book and that just didn’t work for me when I saw it. Justin:              Yeah, no it was cool to see the visuals- Alex:                 Yes. Justin:              … there. And it was shot well visually. But it didn’t have any of the sort … I was just talking about sort of the density of ideas or like the actual take on what we were seeing. It was just sort of like a puppet show of the characters from Watchmen. Pete:                One thing I’m curious about is what’s your guys favorite part of Watchmen? Because there’s so much different stuff. There’s stuff in between chapters, different characters, different takes on things. What was your- Justin:              Black Freighter. Pete:                Yeah. What was your favorite kind of part about it or of your favorite character? Justin:              Tough, tough question. I mean it’s such a quilt of these characters. It’s hard to pick out, I guess. I mean, I guess I like the Owlman, Silk Spectre romance- Pete:                Nite Owl? Justin:              Nite Owl, yeah. Yes. Right. The Nite Owl, Silk Spectre romance. The way- Alex:                 Yeah. That’s the thing that feels the most human probably, I mean purposefully so. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 I think I like that as well. Justin:              They’re sort of the heroes. Alex:                 Can I make a guess, Pete? Pete:                Yeah. Alex:                 Was it Rorschach? Pete:                Yeah. Alex:                 Yeah. Okay. Justin:              What about you? Alex:                 That’s going to be a problem. I would also say Night Owl. Justin:              Yeah. Yeah. Alex:                 I think that was the one that I related to the most. Certainly because I was like, hey, this is kind of a nerd. Pete:                I also really liked the pirates stuff. That was really cool. Justin:              Yeah, all the additional back matters. Also, the first time in a comic I’d encountered that when I was like, oh look at all this text. It’s really deepening the story. Alex:                 Yeah. You read the Black Freighter stuff, Pete? Pete:                Some of it. Alex:                 Okay. Okay. We’ll get into that. We’ll see what happens. Justin:              It could get interesting. that’s everyone’s favorite part. Alex:                 Let’s talk about Damon Lindelof. He has worked on a bunch of shows, most notably Lost and The Leftovers, as you guys know very well, Justin and Pete, Lost is my favorite TV show of all time. Pete:                Yup. Justin:              Even the end? Alex:                 Even the end- Justin:              Oddly. Alex:                 … which I love. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Leftovers is great. Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Did not love the first season of that, but it eventually figured itself out in season two. Justin:              See, I even like the first season of Leftovers. Alex:                 Really? Justin:              Yeah. Alex:                 Do you know what held me back about that is I read the book and I loved the book and it’s so different than the book. It tweaked it in weird ways that I wasn’t crazy about where I felt like- Justin:              See, I didn’t read the book. Alex:                 Yeah. It felt like it was missing the point that was made in the book. The book is very satirical. It was very funny. The first season of Leftovers was extremely serious to a fault. Justin:              Yes it was. Alex:                 And then it figured itself out. Like it figured out a more humanity in those last two seasons of Leftovers. Glorious. What do you guys think about Damon Lindelof shows? Pete? Pete:                Super cool guy. Alex:                 Have you seen either of them? Pete:                No. Alex:                 What? [crosstalk 00:08:48] You didn’t even get to see Lost? Pete:                Nope. Alex:                 What? Justin:              I was obsessed with Lost. I feel like, and this is a good thing, I think. Pete:                Brian K. Vaughan, right? Also worked- Justin:              He worked on that. Alex:                 Yes he did. Justin:              I feel like the Lost was sort of like, I think he’s a great teller of stories, maker of television. Lost felt like sort of a teenage. Alex:                 It’s called a tele-maker. Justin:              Yeah, that’s what it is, telemarketer. Lost felt like a sort of a teenager. The teenage show where he was like- Pete:                Lot of angst? Justin:              Well it’s like, it’s a little bit herky-jerky. It’s those scripts they would write the in the the action lines it would be like, and then he pulls out a mother fucking diamond and they like all the in the … Oh the motherfucking hatch finally fucking opened and- Pete:                Lot of swearing. Justin:              … that’s not how most people write scripts. Pete:                That’s how I write scripts. Justin:              I know, which is- Alex:                 You’re talking about the actual scripts? Justin:              The actual real script. Alex:                 Okay. Justin:              Yeah. Had all this crazy language in the action lines and stuff. Alex:                 Nice. Justin:              So it felt like a little bit all over the place, not really knowing what it was the whole time. And that’s why I think the ending- Alex:                 Was so perfect. Justin:              Didn’t stick the landing for most people. Alex:                 Oh, okay. Justin:              And got a little wonky where it sorta like, oh, I’m ready, I’m an adult. And it’s like, no, you’re not. You’re a weirdly ended teenager. While Leftovers definitely felt like, oh, this is mature, it’s grown up. This feels like maybe it’s an even more experienced-wise understanding of television and how to tell these stories and with this great material of Watchmen to use as fodder. Alex:                 Interesting. Yeah. Justin:              That’s my theory. Alex:                 Okay. All right. Pete:                So you’re saying though that they didn’t keep all that cool stuff in the script and put it in the show? Justin:              No, that was literally describing what visually you’re seeing when you’re reading the script. Alex:                 So I will say to your point- Pete:                To you motherfucking point. Alex:                 To your mother fucking point, Damon Lindelof put out this bonkers note on Instagram back when they announced Watchmen, where he was explaining himself and he was talking about how it was so formative for him as a read. It was something that connected to him, to his father. Justin:              Oh, wow. Alex:                 He felt like it never should be adapted. They should never do that. That’s not something they should make into a TV show. But then the more he started to think about it, the more he was like, I’m so scared of this. I just got to try it, even if I’m going to completely fuck it up. Justin:              Right. Alex:                 And everything that I’ve heard about it from the casting to what they’ve done behind the scenes with the writing and directing staff, they’ve been so careful and cognizant of what Watchmen means while still knowing … It is 2019 we’re doing this TV show in 2019, what does it mean that we are doing it now? And that comes down to one of the things that I think is frankly excellent. Alex:                 And this is why I think it’s interesting and it’s going to be interesting for you to watch, given that Pete, your Rorschach is your favorite character is Damon Lindelof at the Television Critics Association tour, which is something that happens twice a year out in California. I gave an interview and he talked about … there is a gang of Rorschachs in here and he was like, oh yeah- Justin:              Nice. Alex:                 … they’re the alt-right. Like straight up. Justin:              What? Rorschach wasn’t- Alex:                 He didn’t bounce around it and he was like, they’re a metaphor for the alt-right. It was like, no, no, they’re an alt-right. Justin:              Well, I mean we’re going to get into this in our next couple of podcasts, but rereading the first issue, I was like, oh yeah. Alex:                 Yeah. Justin:              Rorschach’s dialogue, his monologuing is alt-right shit. Pete:                What? Alex:                 You know when I think about it, this is my guess about it, is it’s a lot of people taking his writings and using it the wrong way. Justin:              Right. Pete:                Cause he wasn’t … He’s never- Justin:              We’ll talk about that- Alex:                 We’ll talk about that more when we get into the issues and everything. Cool. Any other things that you guys want to say about Watchmen before we wrap up? Pete:                Well then now then I’m Fucking pissed. I don’t want to see my favorite character turned to some fucking racist asshole. Alex:                 Turned? Pete:                Yeah, turned. Alex:                 Interesting. Justin:              Let’s definitely talk about that in the future. I’m excited. I’m excited to reread Watchmen and re-get into that whole thing. Even excited to watch the movie. Alex:                 Yeah, absolutely. So we’re going to do all of that on individual episodes as they roll out and then of course once the show starts, we’re really going to get into that as well. So very excited to see what that’s all about. Alex:                 Right now we are getting all the feeds live for this, but you can subscribe to the RSS at comicbookclublive.com and we’ll have the feed right there. You’re certainly probably listening to it right now after listening to this episode and it should be live on iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, etc, very, very soon. Couple of other things before we go, you can check us out patreon.com/comicbookclub if you want to support this podcast and more. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the People’s Improv Theater Loft in New York. Come on by and we’ll watch you watch the Watchmen. Alex:                 Pete, what do you want to plug? Pete:                Friend us on Facebook so you get to know about the amazing guests in our live show. Justin:              Follow us at Twitter @comicbooklive. Alex:                 Check us out comicbookclublive.com for this podcast and more, and remember we recorded this podcast 35 minutes ago. Justin:              Alan just texted me. He’s definitely going to be here next time. The post Watchmen Watch: Preview appeared first on Comic Book Club. Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/comicbookclub See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Sep 2019

15 min 28 sec