There’s something inherently funny about the idea of a countdown to Watchmen.
Tonight the book club I convene in the Residential College where I live with my family discussed Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen. I first read it as a 16-year-old, waiting each month for the new issue to arrive. (When Issue 11 showed up I thought the cover was the most beautiful piece of comic art I’d ever seen.) Even then I swore that someday I’d teach it in college — that one and Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, which came out the same year. I’ve been teaching Dark Knight now for a while, but this was my first chance to make that nerdy teenage Watchmen dream come true.
I haven’t been reading around a lot about the movie. I’m wary, of course, but enough of a geeky fanboy that I’m also waiting with bated breath. I’m sure Cyrus and I both will have more to say about it later on.
For now, I’m still loving the last question posed by the book group. We didn’t take the formalist approach modeled over at Edge of the American West by SEK (parts 1 and 2); rather, we took a more cultural tack, talking about history, politics, media, gender, and genre, sex and the bomb. The final question, posed by a female student, was self-admittedly “girlie”: she wanted to know whether people preferred Laurie with Dan or with Jon. I thought it was a great question.
Well — those of you who know what the hell I’m talking about — what would you say?
Laurie and Dan, definitely. Despite his ability to multiply himself and vaporize Vietcong with his little finger, Jon clearly wasn’t giving the lady what she needed!
I actually started a comics analysis blog in the beginning of this semester, and recently wrote an article about why I thought Watchmen, despite being such an incredible comic, would probably serve to be a bad “superhero movie.” Check it out if you have time:
Anyway, Prof. Waterman, I’ve been immensely enjoying our Writing New York class as well as this blog! And I’m bummed I missed your book club talk about Watchmen. Perhaps one day you and Patel can teach a Graphic Novels class?
It’s easy for me to pick Dan, because he gives the schlubs of the world some hope that they can save the world AND get the girl. The more I think about it, it really strikes me that most of the superdudes in Watchmen wear away their humanity as the series rolls along. Even Ozymandias is so busy looking at the big picture (saving the world) that he doesn’t even consider all the individual lives that are lost thanks to the squid thingy. It’s convenient for him to keep his distance chillin’ in Antarctica watching all the action unfolding on a screen; he doesn’t get to know the people who frequent the corner newsstand the way we the readers do.
Dan spends a lot of time tinkering with his toys, but he still shows so much more compassion to others, such as keeping a friendship with Nite Owl Numero Uno (and with Rorschach, as well). He’s the one superdude with whom the readers can still identify at the end of the series.
THAT WAS MY FRIEND’S QUESTION! She’ll feel so famous for being on the blog.
Hey — greetings from Bermuda.
Thanks for the link, Joshua — I liked your post a lot, and I totally agree: the inevitable Watchmen action figures are a little creepy! Didn’t their marketing folks read the book? Are they going to start marketing Ozy’s perfumes next?
Actually, I have no doubt I’ll buy a Rorsch action figure for my office.
The anonymous student (LB) who asked the question about Dan vs Jon had the theory that most men would say Jon and most women would say Dan, though at least one woman at the discussion said afterward that Jon would be a lot more low maintenance, so maybe he would be her pick.
Anyway — thanks for comments!