Posts Tagged ‘Alan Moore’
So, this is it then, the film of the famously unfilmable, greatest graphic novel evah; the dark, complex, deep and, above all, adult comic book, Watchmen.
So do we have an equally dark, complex, deep and, above all, adult comic-book movie, then? In some ways, possibly – complex, yes; certainly adult enough to get an ‘18′ rating… but overall, no, not really. But then again I don’t think it was ever really possible.
I’ve written about Watchmen in the past, but for the uninitiated: the comic-book (and film) takes place in an alternate reality where, for several decades, costumed vigilantes have battled costumed criminals. It’s the 1980s and Nixon is sat in the White House, able to extend his presidency past two terms on the back of the single truly super-powered individual in the world, Dr Manhattan – a nude, bright blue, post-human demi-god, the result of a scientific experiment gone wrong, who can control all matter and see past, present and future simultaneously – enabling the US to win Vietnam. But the Cold War has not gone away and the world stands of the brink of nuclear armageddon, and the costumed vigilantes – now officially banned – have either retired or gone underground. Then the Comedian, a super-soldier, is murdered; thrown through the window of his high-rise New York apartment by an unknown assailant. Is a ‘cape-killer’ gunning for the ‘Watchmen’ or is a more subtle and sinister plot in effect? Read the rest of this entry »
(Originally published in Vector, Nov 2001)
“The War And Piece of comic books” — Terry Gilliam
Close-up of a red splattered yellow smiley badge. Zoom out. The badge lies in a red river — blood flowing in the gutter (1) of a New York street. Caption: “Rorschach’s Journal October 12th 1985: Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.”
And so begins Watchmen.
For a brief period of time, during the middle of the eighties, it was not only perfectly acceptable to be seen reading a graphic novel on public transport but actually quite trendy. Works such as Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Bryan Talbot’s The Adventures Of Luther Arkwright were at the forefront of this boom in comics targeted at a more adult audience. But leading them all was Watchmen, the first graphic novel to win a Hugo (in the ‘Other Forms’ category). So influential, that its version of the classic smiley became the badge of choice on many a lapel. Why? Because it told a gripping story using brilliant characters, was packed full of social commentary revolving around power and control, plus, and most crucially, it also examined and deconstructed its own genre. Read the rest of this entry »
Some time ago Alan Moore wrote the series Top Ten. It’s about a city where everyone, down to the cats and mice, is a superhero, alien, deity, robot or some other entity inspired from mainly comics, but also literature, film and television. That’s an idea which has done before and, no doubt will be done again, but I doubt if it will ever be done better. From the basis of this one idea Moore let his imagination fire off in all directions as he told the stories of some of those that policed the city. A number of the scenes and sub-plots were completely bizarre and yet Moore grounded them with real human emotions so that a quick aside about a teleport crash or the love affair between a woman and an intelligent dog could be completely affecting. The backgrounds of each panel were also studded with in-jokes so you could also play a ‘Where’s Wally’ game in spotting the famous and not so famous characters from other stories cleverly included by the artist Gene Ha. And probably most amazingly Moore through all the madness kept a multi-level, multi-strand plot going until its natural conclusion. Not for nothing was it called ‘Hill Street Blues with superheroes’.
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