Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
SDG

Watchmen

Recommended Posts

Oh, I think WATCHMEN deserves a little more due than that, Thom. It has a kind of formal ambition that is exceedingly rare in comic books and still impresses today (though Moore's FROM HELL surpasses WATCHMEN on that score).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anders   

Oh, I think WATCHMEN deserves a little more due than that, Thom. It has a kind of formal ambition that is exceedingly rare in comic books and still impresses today (though Moore's FROM HELL surpasses WATCHMEN on that score).

Agreed. I'm still prepared to defend WATCHMEN as a formative and landmark piece of comic art. But you're right FROM HELL is astoundingly ambitious, and just might achieve its ambitions (I just read it for the first time this past Nov.- Dec.).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I think as an overall work it stands, I am not criticizing Watchmen for what other creators took from it...but many creators ignored the stylistic ambition for the more shocking elements. And I think in this day an age a person visiting it for the first time is going to have a less impressed reaction, because it stands out less in a sea of imitators. It is kind of like Citizen Kane. I watched it for the first time a few years ago...and while I can see why it was considered revolutionary, it did not feel...unique.

The stylistic ambitions are still, I feel very impressive...Gibbon's rigid nine panel format, the use of faux newspaper articles, psychiatric evaluations and text sections. along with the bleak ending is well done. It is certainly one of Moore's great moments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NBooth   

 

I loved how that just swerved into crazy upon the Alan Moore reacts moment...

Yep.

Oh, Alan Moore. He's so crazy.

 

 

Good a place as any to drop this, I guess.

 

There are perhaps a dozen or so people in the industry that I respect immensely and with whom I am delighted to both work and remain in contact, but the rest of it is a comic world that I don’t wish to take any part in; a world of fleeting minor celebrities who have managed to make this magnificent medium into a source of lucrative commercial product that is socially acceptable to the point of being neutered, or else into style accessories by which otherwise socially cautious and conventional people and publishers perhaps hope to foster an air of edgy modernity. During the Before Watchmen debacle, although I was touched and surprised by the response from a number of the readers and retailers, I received only two letters expressing support from anywhere within an industry that evidently has as little concern for me as I have for it. It’s hard to see how my withdrawal is going to greatly inconvenience anyone, and Grant Morrison will have finally vindicated all those long years of effort by at last getting my full attention for a few hours. I myself will be able to get on with my work without interruption, which I think is something that I’m entitled to do after all these years, and indeed part of the length of this response might be likened to someone taking their time about unwrapping a long-postponed and very special birthday present to themselves. The truth may or may not set us free, but I’m hoping that blanket excommunication and utter indifference will go some considerable way to doing the trick.

 

 

The whole thing is Moore responding to accusations of racism, sexism, and who-knows-what-all--the sorts of thing brought up by the Tumblr crowd, a group of users that I tend to think of as "like academia, but without the rigor." He responds at length, and it's brutal:

 

 I can’t help but wonder, of course, if someone who has made their continuing interest in Batman such a central part of their adult life might not have been offended or felt personally slighted by my suggestion that the mass devotion of middle-aged people to superhero figures might be a cultural indicator of intellectual and/or emotional arrest. Just speaking hypothetically, if such offence had been taken, what might such a person’s outlets of response amount to? It surely wouldn’t be sufficient to Tweet something to the effect that “Alan Moore thinks adult superhero fans are possibly emotionally stunted, and as a Batman scholar I strongly disagree with him”, even though that may in fact be the sum total of the actual truth. Is it unthinkable that such a person might attempt to assuage his hurt feelings by pretending that he is in fact angry about other issues, issues such as sexual violence or misogyny, which are genuinely important matters and might be expected to arouse more condemnation than an affront to one’s favourite imaginary costumed vigilante?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is brutal, but not really in Moore's favor.  It makes him look hateful, petty and vindictive.  Not to mention a cultural snob.  Coming from a guy who wrote Super-hero books for those emotionally stunted fanboys (and was writing grown up super hero stuff long before Watchmen), it seems to be biting the hand that made him one of those fleeting minor celebrities.  He is raging something he almost single handedly inspired, but seems to act like he is above it.

 

Listen, I get he got treated badly by DC-repeately.  And I am on his side in that.  I disagreed with the idea of "Before Watchmen" and did not support it.  But at the same time, Moore tends to attack the very same people who support him.  Being mis-treated by publishers is not an excuse to be a jerk.

 

And really, instead of providing an actual defense of his work, he goes on the attack to declare that (just maybe, of course) anyone who finds areas of his work problematic as emotionally stunted fanboys pretending to be angry about sexual violence and misogyny.  Gee, Alan, is it possible that deep down, you know you are a raging racist, mysoginist jerk?  And that it shows in your writing?  Is that so unthinkable?

 

(Not stating that last part as fact, merely that if we are gonna throw out possibilities, the above is entirely valid)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless I missed something, Moore failed to make the point that he has shown *male* characters being raped in his comics, too. So the prevalence of rape motifs in his work isn't necessarily *misogynistic*.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SDG   

Unless I missed something, Moore failed to make the point that he has shown *male* characters being raped in his comics, too. So the prevalence of rape motifs in his work isn't necessarily *misogynistic*.

 

I am now contemplating a possible argument I can imagine someone making, to the effect that any violent penetrative act involves a distortion of masculinity that is in some way inherently misogynistic, even if the victim is male.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless I missed something, Moore failed to make the point that he has shown *male* characters being raped in his comics, too. So the prevalence of rape motifs in his work isn't necessarily *misogynistic*.

Of course, that does nothing to damage the theory that Moorre really liks to use rape in his fiction.  And it does not undercut the idea that his work has some possible misogynist undertones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NBooth   

 

Unless I missed something, Moore failed to make the point that he has shown *male* characters being raped in his comics, too. So the prevalence of rape motifs in his work isn't necessarily *misogynistic*.

Of course, that does nothing to damage the theory that Moorre really liks to use rape in his fiction.  And it does not undercut the idea that his work has some possible misogynist undertones.

 

 

Indeed. "Rape culture" and misogyny, though intertwined, aren't exactly the same thing.

 

That said, I think Moore comes off better here than you do [Yikes, I mean "better than you think he does"], primarily because he's being forced to respond to bullet-point complaints rather than actual dialogue--and I think that rankles, a bit. It's like posting "I was disappointed that Alan Moore didn't explain when he stopped beating his wife"--the burden of proof is entirely, and not really justifiably, on Moore to prove that he's not guilty of a number of one-sentence accusations. Any asperity on his part is understandable.

 

 

(Of course, part of my sympathetic response is that I've grown tired of one-sentence twitter/tumblr "critiques" that seldom venture outside blanket accusations/condemnations, more than any deep familiarity with Moore or his work, so grain of salt and all that).

Edited by NBooth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But really, the guy behind Watchmen and Miracle Man and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen might want to temper his "Grownups should not be reading super-hero comics" snobbery, as I think it is safe to say, he has written little fare for the kiddies.

 

And I guess I tend to find (both on Twitter and Tumblr) most of the race/gender in comics themed people I follow post pretty nuanced and well thought out commentary.  And Moore is dismissing them in his comments as well.  Yeah, there are the random anger charged "You (bleeping) Sexist!  I am never reading anything you write again!" reactionary types.  But there are plenty of people who are explaining, quite thoughtfully, what they find problematic in an author's work.  Moore chooses to limp those people in with the crowd.  I will take him more seriously when he can offer the same nuance and thought in his reactions.  Moore can write/say a lot, and it feels so dense it comes off less as a dialog and more as an attempt at distraction.

Edited by Thom Wade

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NBooth   

And I guess I tend to find (both on Twitter and Tumblr) most of the race/gender in comics themed people I follow post pretty nuanced and well thought out commentary.  And Moore is dismissing them in his comments as well.  Yeah, there are the random anger charged "You (bleeping) Sexist!  I am never reading anything you write again!" reactionary types.  But there are plenty of people who are explaining, quite thoughtfully, what they find problematic in an author's work.  Moore chooses to limp those people in with the crowd.  I will take him more seriously when he can offer the same nuance and thought in his reactions.  Moore can write/say a lot, and it feels so dense it comes off less as a dialog and more as an attempt at distraction.

 

I need to find the folks you follow (I'm serious in this; I'm really growing disenchanted with Tumblr lately, and it would be good to have my faith in it restored. It's not just the race/gender stuff, though--Tumblr itself seems to foster a certain cliquishness far more than Facebook or even Twitter does. But that's for another thread).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anders   

 

 

That said, I think Moore comes off better here than you do [Yikes, I mean "better than you think he does"] [...]

 

 

I agree. I was pretty sympathetic to much of what he was saying, particularly with regards to Grant Morrison. Though I have really enjoyed some of Morrison's work. In particular ALL STAR SUPERMAN, which I liked to a great degree because Morrison wasn't operating in "Alan Moore imitation"-mode.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NBooth   

So, it turns out Moore was not "taking down Twitter/Tumblr fake scholars"... He was actually referencing a specific guy...who has a phd.

http://bit.ly/1f4sJvm

That certainly does change matters a bit. Specifically, it's not just that he has a Ph.D. but that he has a body of work with which he could presume his Twitter followers to be conversant--which means that the tweets weren't anonymous gripes launched into the void but took place in the context of his broader work.

 

EDIT: This is Will Brooker's twitter.

 

EDIT EDIT: Mo[o]re context [from WB's twitter]

Edited by NBooth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah...it is troubling that the article's author and Moore made it so vague as to sound like they were addressing "whiners" on the internet, when truth was, Moore was reacting to a specific person who is bit more educated than Moore or the journalist made it seem.  It makes other stories seem a bit suspect, as well.  Was the woman who approached his artist really yelling, or were they simply expressing a theory that Moore and the artist did not want to consider.

 

One of my problems with Moore is for all his criticisms against everyone else, including the Watchmen related stuff, he is very guilty of himself.  He has plenty of works where he is building off of the creative work of others.  Lost Girls?  League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?  Even Watchmen started with the Charlton heroes.  Moore has cannibalized others' works to create his own franchises, yet he pisses on anyone who agrees to work on stuff he initially created.  I had no interest in Before Watchmen...but his complaining about how barely any creative types wrote/contacted him to express sympathy or support over it?  As if they were obligated to do so.  As much as he wants to blast Morrison and others, he clearly wants to be a deity in comics, held in unique and high esteem.  And so I am not particularly impressed by him these days.  Truth is, it is kind of like finding out a beloved relative was actually kind of a jerk.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kinch   

 

Unless I missed something, Moore failed to make the point that he has shown *male* characters being raped in his comics, too. So the prevalence of rape motifs in his work isn't necessarily *misogynistic*.

 

I am now contemplating a possible argument I can imagine someone making, to the effect that any violent penetrative act involves a distortion of masculinity that is in some way inherently misogynistic, even if the victim is male.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unless I missed something, Moore failed to make the point that he has shown *male* characters being raped in his comics, too. So the prevalence of rape motifs in his work isn't necessarily *misogynistic*.

Of course, that does nothing to damage the theory that Moorre really liks to use rape in his fiction.  And it does not undercut the idea that his work has some possible misogynist undertones.

 

 

Indeed. "Rape culture" and misogyny, though intertwined, aren't exactly the same thing.

 

This should be a thread in and of itself.

 

 

But really, the guy behind Watchmen and Miracle Man and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen might want to temper his "Grownups should not be reading super-hero comics" snobbery, as I think it is safe to say, he has written little fare for the kiddies.

 

I agree. My regard for Watchmen is built on the foundation on how its implications totally destroy the notion of superhero fiction as the realm of daydreamers. In fact, I remember feeling guilty for daydreaming about having superpowers after I read it. It's sort of like when Kierkegaard said that fairy tales are for adults. 

 

(Note: While it's far different, my pet project is on one level a piece of 'superhero' fiction that philosophically suggests a sort of post-Watchmen perspective. I really hope I'm not just tooting my horn there, though.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×