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Post By
D. Strange

Member Since: Tue Sep 19, 2017
Posts: 272
In Reply To
zvelf

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 9,570
Subj: Re: But has potential to improve the Watchmen-verse by leaps and bounds...
Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 at 06:03:44 pm EST (Viewed 177 times)
Reply Subj: Re: But has potential to improve the Watchmen-verse by leaps and bounds...
Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 at 01:41:52 pm EST (Viewed 180 times)

Previous Post


    Quote:
    I once heard Moore described as the Orson Welles of comics. He isn't, not by a long shot. I would however say he is the Kubrik. The detail orientation, and all of it serving a larger idea, hat is pour Kubrik.


Stanley's name is spelled Kubrick, and many would argue that Kubrick was a superior director to Welles, who himself was as interested in the formal aspects of filmmaking as much as character.


    Quote:
    However, he also shares many of Kubrik's faults. That includes characters that can seem cold, sterile, and flat. Especially in Watchmen.


This is an overgeneralization with regards to Kubrick. Some Kubrick characters are that way on purpose, but certainly some notable ones are not: Clare Quilty, Buck Turgidson, Jack D. Ripper, all of Peter Sellers roles in Dr. Strangelove, Alex DeLarge, Jack Torrance, Private Joker, even HAL-9000.


    Quote:
    Nite Ow is the only one that really has an arc, but none of them really feel human. Even when they talk about their pasts, it feels more like a fact sheet than a real life. Ozymandias being the worst offender, and Rorschach (who gets an actual dive into memories, mell... he doesn't fair much better.


Disagree. In addition to Daniel, Laurie and Rorschach both feel plenty human in my opinion. Dr. Manhattan isn't supposed to feel human and Ozymandias isn't either to a degree (both are supposed to think of themselves as being amorally above it all).


    Quote:
    It isn't surprising, since the characters don't lead teh story, the point Moore wants to make do.



    Quote:
    This is much like The Shinning, which I assume you heard the conflict over. Stephen King doesn't write horror or fantasy, he writes character studies.



    Quote:
    That is why he was upset over the shinning, the characters in the movie are often sentient props.


You spouting a personal preference as if it were an objective flaw. There's no inherent superiority for a character study over a story more driven by themes. There's no inherent superiority for realistic stories over non-realistic ones. We've seen Kubrick's Shining and Stephen King's television version of The Shining. The public's vast preference is for Kubrick's version. King's version was savaged by critics and viewers alike.


    Quote:
    Moore and Kubrik, I think, share a macro view of things, so the nitty-gritty aspects of writing, the characters, lack certain life.


For two artists who have generated some of the most memorable characters and stories in comics and cinema, this feels like an absurd claim that they are lacking in "life."


    Quote:
    In many ways Watchmen was almost a contrast to most comics, who being a serialized medium, depend on characters, with larger points taking a back seat. Most notably, Claremont's X-men... the biggest comic in the world at the time.


Again, this is just your personal preference. Either style can be done well or poorly but you want to imply one is inherently superior. Just because Moore doesn't follow Claremont's style doesn't mean that Moore can't do his own just as well or better. Claremont has his own flaws like returning to the same story over and over, e.g., empowering women only to see them corrupted by it.


    Quote:
    The larger adoption of that philosophy of Moore and Kubrik, is actually what is angering many people about Marvel over the past few years. Admittedly, it is done less expertly.


I don't think Marvel is copying Moore or Kubrick in any of their comics over the past few years. It would probably help Marvel if they were.


    Quote:
    Well, that is exactly why I am excited. Geoff Johns is from the character school, he loves exploring them. There is potential for a whole new side of the universe to be shown.


Johns isn't a tenth of the artist that Moore or Kubrick are.


    Quote:
    To finish off I will say this, as a character guy, who enjoyed the 70s back issues with deep themes, loves sci-fi (a genre based on parable), and read Watchmen once in high school, and then again afterward (both times years after the shock element wore off), it took me years to get why this is so beloved.


Because Watchmen is great complex storytelling with vivid characters and resonant themes.


    Quote:
    It isn't REALLY any smarter than a lot of other works. It just goes about the story differently. And I do respect it, and I can enjoy it. I just appreciate it much more than I enjoy it, and lack a sort of fog many seem to have about it.


WATCHMEN is far, far smarter than the majority of comics ever published. You really think that much of today's trash is comparable? Among today's comic writers, only Al Ewing comes close in writing intelligent stories.


    Quote:
    Because it isn't about people, or heroes, or events. it is about concepts (not teh people who believe in them)


It's about all of the above.


    Quote:
    I also hope you can see my side and understand it, but given my history with many Watchmen fans, I assume you have picked out an assassin. So, do me a favor, and just don't make it hurt.


I hope that didn't hurt too much.

Why would that hurt? I hear differing views all the time. I am an adult in the real world.

I hope I can show you just were I am coming from.

I would be more than happy to illuminate you on my views, come along. Hopefully it will lead to both of us getting the other's opinion a little more than before.

I always enjoy conversing with people on subjects I enjoy, as long as it is actually conversing.

First, you have it backwards. Rorschach wasn't supposed to human, and Ozymandias was supposed to be a more evolved human.

That was the symbolism of the hints at Rorscach's asexuality and Ozymandias' bisexuality. It is how each embraces life. Most of the sexual issues act as metaphors for the people's lives the best example clearly being Niter Owl's impotence and Comedian's Rape, and mistreatment of sexual partners.

The Comedian unable to get deep human emotion, except through. Another good example being the image of him celebrating after the hostage release, in stark contrast to the reality of what happened.

Point is Ozymandias is supposed to be (to bring it back to KubiCk) a sort of Star Child, more evolved than the rest. Though not as literally.

That goes back to Moore's original intent. Ozymandias is supposed to be the hero NOT Rorschach. That is why Moore is always so surprised that people responded to Rorschach so positively.

Anyway, now that my correction is out of the way...


I would first like to address your Shining v. Shining.

I wasn't talking about King's movie, I was talking about his book.

Part of the reason why the BOOK leaves many of the readers divided on the film is because the film was well made, no doubt about it. Even creating an all but objectively better ending. It also robbed the characters of a lot of depth and pathos.

The fact is King is hard to adapt to film. This is largely because he does not write horror or fantasy, or what have you. He writes character studies that happen to have those genres intersect.

This largely leads to deep explorations of thoughts and backstory that are hard to do on film.

So yes the film was "savaged," but the book was not. The book is still praised.

And KubriCk, who I do like by the way (I actually think Eyes Wide Shut is often regarded too harshly) said his work was more cerebral than emotional.

Now, on to Watchmen...

Rorschach, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, Complex characters? Fervently disagree.

Laurie is only a few steps removed from a stereotype, almost on par with Beverly Marsh in the It book (I am not quite the King fan you may think I am).

She is as complex as any woman with overbearing mother and distant father on any Lifetime movie. It has been a very common trope since the 50s in western fiction.

Mom pushed me too hard, so I go for distant men, then I realize I need a nurturing one. I really CAN'T change a man, and I need to forgive mom while getting out of her shadow.

She is just a ball of parental issues.

But fine, a lot of male writers have trouble writing female characters.

Rorscach is simple. He is supposed to be simple. He is an archetype designed to show what the single-minded tendencies ruin people.

He is supposed to be the most simple example of trauma ruling someone's life. His philosophy is simple, his life is simple. Even his past... tragic as it may be... is simple.

It was a comment on trauma being the leading cause of superhero motivation, and how it oversimplifies.

Nite Owl is certainly the MORE complex. And yes, there is an interesting dichotomy in a superhero standing up to evil, but being a bit of a milksop in his real life.

BUT, isn't that just a common theme in superhero fiction? That the costume allows you to become someone else. Spider-man has been pushing that since the 60s.

He is supposed to be the other side of Rorschach's simplicity. Dan was the simplicity of just being a boy scout type.

Thy are a straight through branch. There is no complexity to their characters at all. You no what each of them will do every turn. Dan's naive nature and nostalgia as ever presence and cranked up way to high.

Constantly preferring old music, implications of virginity, or at least less experience, was like a hammer to the head. As much as I respect Moore's detail work, MY God, there are some time he could really learn a thing or two about subtlety.

Unfortunately, I personally feel, that robs the initial fear of nuclear war of its strength and power.

Admittedly, Comedian was a complex character, so I will give you that. But, is he a main character? Would he have been as complex if Moore had written it straight, and not had it be told from other angles.

Of course, I would argue the only thing that really makes him 3 dimensional is his scene with Laurie. Now a part of me wants to discount it because that is all it is, but it IS there.

As for the other three...look we are all forged by our lies and biases, that is fair. But I'm afraid I will need come actual examples of complexity from you, not just a decree. I am more than willing to admit I'm wrong... when proof is given.

Your theme point however, about how they represent deep themes. THAT WAS MY WHOLE POINT.

I never said Watchmen was a bad piece, simply a flawed one. And all works have flaws, we pick and choose as to what flaws matter more to us.

Watchmen's flaw is that it serves the themes over the character, to the point where they rule the character. They are so busy serving those themes that become trapped in boxes (not literal ones) and the characters suffer for it.

A simple character is not an inherently bad thing. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are both rather simple characters, but classic ones that are studied today.

The problem is when they are prevented from expanding beyond strict confines. It makes them seem unnatural, and this is most commonly found in works that center more around ideas than story like... Watch... I don't know, something.

That is precisely why I say they don't seem human. People are messy, and of the lack full definition. They contradict. They move against type and personal ideals.

When you adhere to strictly to ideas and themes they feel too much like what they are, fake.

This is actually a common practice, an has been since the 1960s, when Baby Boomers increased the number of college degrees, this shrunk emotional content for a larger amount of analytical stories to be discussed over enjoyed.

KubriCk actually being one of the pioneers of that. 2001, being considered by many to be the first true example of it in cinema.

And Yes, everyone knows HAL's quote (it is even built into iphones, there are a lot of programmed response if you say "open the pod bay doors HAL), but remember he isn't the star of the movie. The people are, and they are rather cardboard cutouts themselves.

As for Moore creating "memorable characters" Aside from Watchmen and V for Vendetta, who?

Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Miracleman (which I did enjoy), and Swamp Thing were all created be someone else. Remember... Watchmen was originally Charlton. Yes, he did a great job at redefining them, but the characters already were to move away from.

But even if you don't count that, I'd say Nite Owl may be my favorite in the comic, but Rorschach is the only really memorable one with out being a preference.

His work post-80s was usually less than memorable... or not what you want to remember. That is not to say of poor quality, just not as good at grabbing a reader.

But the most well-known work of his is From Hell, which I bet you couldn't tell me the detective's name without looking it up.

I will say, League of E.G., does do better character work. It also may be amazing at it at some points. I have not read all of it.

I want to make this clear:

I never said Watchmen, Alan Moore, or KubriCk were bad. I NEVER said they either men was untalented, a hack, or in any way are bad. I NEVER said Watchmen wasn't enjoyable, or that I did not enjoy it.

I simply said that flaws existed. Namely, that their characters tend to be less developed. And, so? They prefer dealing with ideas than people?

Do you really have to view them as perfect? All works have flaws. If someone doesn't see them, they are quite honestly probably being disingenuous with themselves.

Yes, I fully admit that I prefer character driven writing. I prefer them to feel natural. I prefer the themes to be less obvious, and forged from character experience.

You don't? Okay. I appreciate a good discussion on ideas in fiction a much as anyone else. Just not usually the thing I first look for in a piece.

Yes Watchmen's WORLD is very deep, and involved, I give Moore credit for forming almost 50 years of alternate history.

That does take intelligence. But as a work of fiction, as a story, I don't see anything but the world building being that smart. Okay that isn't true. Any MORE smart.

I already mentioned that the alternate freed hostages. That was clever. However, it was a detail, not the narrative.

I don't know why you think that means I am propping up the modern garbage Marvel is turning out.

The geo-politics is laughably simplistic. Not the least of which that Nixon was supposed to stand in for Thatcher and Reagan, but both had drastically eased up on Russia after an almost nuclear war in 1983. You should look it up, it is an interesting series of events.

So, okay, maybe that was even the point, to write about 1983. It is an alternate timeline, but Nixon's decisions seem forced and divorced from any reality. Again, to move the ideas along. Interestingly enough, if they just didn't show Nixon, that would be gone entirely.

And of course, that was a poor portrayal of Nixon. When Nixon opened up China, it actually created a lot of good will with communist countries on the U.S.'s behalf.

More than that, Nixon was by no means good person and was a thief who set a chain of reactions off that lowered America's expectations and standards for political office.

HE was Paranoid, he was vicious, he was cruel. He was also a pragmatist. The odds are the clock never would have gotten that close.

Okay, different world, right? Lets just say it is a different President who just happened to elected the name year, and have the same name and look as our Nixon.

Thing is, Nixon is what gives that role its strength. If you look at it as just some president, it is a caricature. He's a Saturday Morning Cartoon of a hawkish President.

I suppose one could look at it as a commentary on how Baby Boomers turned Nixon into a cartoon character, but that isn't what it was. We both know that.

The idea of an arms race with superheroes is intriguing, no doubt about it. I'm just not sure I consider it smarter than the rest.

Part of why it is no smarter is because Roy Thomas covered it in the 60s with the Red Guardian, which as depend in the 70s by Steve Gerber in Defenders. Even Wolfman got into the game during his New Teen Titans run in... I want to say '83

I'm not saying it was handled as well, or equally, or worse. Just that the idea is not inherently smarter just for that idea.

It does open up the question of that very arms race. A superhuman is supposed to offset M.A.D., but why is this what breaks the camel's back in this reality?

If it is so delicate, why is it now that the clock moves so close to Midnight? Why even invade Afghanistan. It would seem all they have to do is keep Dr. Manhattan in the Western Hemisphere, and it is fine.

For that matter, why is there even still a Cold War? The Soviet Union would probably try and form their own "super-man." Lets assume they did that and failed.

Think of just how the U.S. now, with vastly superior military might keeps sane nation states from aggression. Such a shift in power would more likely end hostilities in general?

Why not turn all nuclear arms into sandwiches? They say a few could get in... potentially... but that is only if they are flying. Why not really concentrate and transform them all.

I know this is getting into matters of theology, but what if God WERE and American, as they say. Why is their no fear of retribution from the atomic man in America? Why aren't the Russians afraid of him beyond stopping their weapons?

It COULD have been smarter, but the logic just isn't addressed. And think. just one defected scientist, in one panel, terrified could have cleared it all up.

Why is this piece not digging into it more. It is supposed to be a central plot point. Where is the human element that shows just why this matters?

The Viet Cong surrendered, and they were way more zealous about communism. More willing to die for it. Why not the U.S.S.R.. Did Russia do anything because of it? The clock wasn't mentioned as moving close to Midnight when Manhattan ended a war.

Ozymandias' idea, well... I get flashes to Bond Civilians myself. Using a Reagan quote (I assume) for inspiration was a nice touch.

I think that mass death for peace is an interesting mirror to the A-Bombs dropping... but I don't think Moore planned that.

The themes were nothing new. The problem with unchecked power, being technically powerful but also weak in the face of what is beyond your ken, the greyness of morality vs. black and white, the value of the greater good.

These are themes that have been in mankind's stories since the dawn of time including since the dawn of comics.

There is no shame in common themes. They are common for a reason, and their baseness is what we cling to as a society.

What Moore really did was drastically reduce allegory in comics, not get rid of, but make it less common.

Allegory is used in plenty of smart works, often to greater effect than blatant use.

Is that a bad thing? No, it simply is. Allegory can be used well or poorly. I often wonder, if that may be why so man y people view it as smart, however.

How many stories across mediums have been praised for tackling subjects, that things like science fiction did as well or better earlier but with a less obvious form?

But that is starting to stray off topic.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my personal view that the sexual metaphors I mentioned earlier, can come off as heavyhanded, and quite honestly adolescent in choice.

That is of course just my personal view

An example of something from the time I DO consider smart, I would say Daredevil: Born Again.

The way man is robbed of his superficial identity at all sides, and still manages to hold onto his core. The drop to the depths, the grappling with sanity. All interesting engaging charter work. And a smart execution.

It of course, is not without its own flaws. I'll even list them off if you want

Another one from 10 years or so, is Batman: Dark Detective. The story was okay, but the way Joker and Scarecrow just seemed like old soldiers. And that ending.

The way the story delved into the nature of want and desire, not physical, but emotional and spiritual. How Silver was already to leave her feller but couldn't once he was injured because he was a good man who could do a lot for a lot of people, and he needed her. Silently they except their fate. Their greater responsibility to the world.

I thought that was a very smart look at adolescent desire vs adult maturity. The true heroism not being saving lives, but to people accepting unhappiness for a greater good.

As good as Dark Knight was, I think it dumbed it down. Still, has flaws, more than Born Again, for sure.

If you want to talk about smart sociological discussion, I feel Steve Gerber's Man-Thing did it quite interestingly, if sometimes a bit inelegantly.

Moonshadow is another fine example. Probably the one most people would consider truly "adult." The characters search for identity bounces around almost every part of the average person's personality, both naturally, and often subtlety. 1985 I believe. Epic Comics.

Anyway, if you want to discuss this more, I am more than game. Just please, bring proof not blanket statements and belief. I know, I know work is bleeding in.

So, please do more than just drop statements in, and don't be afraid to expand on things. You should never be afraid to expand on what you think.

You should however try not to make wild assumptions about me, based on God only knows what.

Do me a personal favor, and check the smarmy attitude. I don't think it was necessary.

I am perfectly aware of how important Watchmen is to many people. I simply stated my views, and the genuine flaws I see in it. I was respectful, and the least you could do is return the same favor to me.

Thank you in advance for that correction. I appreciate it.

I know you had other stuff, but I want to stop.

I hope you learned a lesson about sacred cows, holy or not they still crap in the grass.

Ooo, three more things:

1. Watchmen gaining notice quickly about it being at the end of the spectrum compared to Claremont's X-Men, which was the most popular comic in the country at the time, was not an opinion. It was a theory.

2. I never said Welles was a better director. I was only comparing styles. I would say Eisner was the Welles of comics. And I wouldn't say Eisner is better than Moore.

3. I nelieve Hal was created by Arthur C. Clarke, not KubriCk. Jack Torrence again obviously by King.

You seem so aggressive, come down man, It is just a friendly discussion. We're all on the same side here. Pro-comics, Anti-more normal hobby.


Take care.


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