Saturday, March 18, 2006

Forget V, Who Watches the Watchmen?

This weekend the movie
V for Vendetta is at the top of the box office. My brother and I collected comic books as kids (no smirking, or we'll kick your ass!), and Alan Moore, who wrote V, has shown true genius in elevating the graphic novel to a higher form.

Everyone here in Wilsonizer's house is sick, or I would have definitely checked out V this evening (posting on this blog be damned!)

But in all honesty, as good as V for Vendetta was, Moore's greatest creation has to be Watchmen, a 12 issue limited series that many would argue is the single greatest comic book/graphic novel of all time. The plot, storytelling, and subject material are incredible, and the art binds all of it together in an unforgettable medium that had never been pushed to the limits that Moore
brought it to.

Set in 1980s New York, in a world where the U.S. had won the Vietnam war, Nixon served three terms in office, and masked vigilantes had roamed the streets (until outlawed by Congress in 1977), the complex story travels from the 30's to the present day, as some retired (and active outlaw) heroes attempt to determine who killed Edward Blake, aka the Comedian. As they investigate, they come to terms with things they saw and did in the past, and it sheds light on their flawed humanity.

There are compelling characters, like the violent but emotionally damaged Rorchach, the near Omnipotent yet aloof Dr Manhattan, and even the sadistic Edward Blake, who calls himself the comedian because he has figured out that life is the biggest joke of them all. The mood is dark and the storytelling is intense, but once read, you can never forget

My comic book cllection has long since disappeared, but a copy of Watchmen sits proudly on my bookshelf.

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