Watchmen Untold Truth That Changed The Superheroes World
HBO is getting ready to say farewell to their biggest series, ‘Game of Thrones’, and they recently released the first look of their superhero show ‘Watchmen’. However, with all the craziness surrounding comic book characters on the big screen, many people might have no idea what this one is about, and how it impacts the rest of the DC Universe and fans. It is actually more important than you imagine. Let’s find out!
CREATOR DAVE GIBBONS
While comic book images are supposed to be the main part, the writing often takes precedence. Gibbons talked to Wired in 2008, explaining,
"People unacquainted with graphic novels, including journalists, tend to think of Watchmen as a book by Alan Moore that happens to have some illustrations. And that does a disservice to the entire form."
The majority of the art in ‘Watchmen’ was created by Gibbons, and even the iconic cover of the first issue was his idea. Along with a bit of input from Alan Moore, Gibbons also came up with the appearances of most characters. Furthermore, the artist also made most of the world, which reflected the impact superheroes had on this universe.
For example, he came up with the notion that fast food restaurants would change to Asian restaurants because many immigrants from Asia would come to the U.S. The cars are electric, and the streets have chargers for them all over because Dr. Manhattan’s powers allowed the creation of materials for this kind of vehicles.
Some people think that Alan Moore’s original plan for ‘Watchmen’ was to use the characters of Charlton Comics, which DC bought in 1983. He pitched his idea to Dick Giordiano, the former Charlton editor, and, in fact, added some characters from the Charlton universe. Giordiano liked the premise but not the use of those superheroes.
He allegedly wanted the newly-bought characters to be free for many projects, and Moore decided to create characters from scratch based on some from Charlton. For example, Blue Beetle became Nite Owl, Captain Atom was Dr. Manhattan, The Question was Rorschach, and more.
Alan Moore tried his hand at making different kinds of superheroes even before ‘Watchmen. In the 80s, he made Marvelman, better known later as Miracleman, which was originally introduced in the 50s. It was much darker than anything done in the past. DC Comics loved the concept, but they also kept Moore away from other works, fearing that he would take sinister routes with other heroes.
Another interesting example is ‘Swamp Thing’, a horror comic who existed in the main DC Universe, and superheroes like Superman and Batman were almost considered gods. Moore said that making ‘Swamp Thing’ helped him to understand the consciousness of Dr. Manhattan, who has godlike powers and lives in multiple parts of time and space.
INFLUENCED BY STEVE DITKO
While Moore and Ditko could not have had more opposite beliefs, Alan was inspired by the late creator for ‘Watchmen'. Rorschach was based on Charlton Comic’s the Question, created by Steve. The late artist also later came up with Mr. A, and Rorschach developed into a mixture of these two characters. His clothes and features were like The Question, and his morals were like Mr. A.
Many comics from the 80s are often labeled as fascist, and ‘Batman: The Dark Knight Returns’ as well as ‘Marvel’s Squadron Supreme’ are great examples. Despite their best intentions, the superheroes end up turning the U.S. into a dictatorship. In ‘Watchmen’, the scenes of the Comedian and Dr. Manhattan killing civilians in Vietnam, and other heroes dispersing protests can be seen as fascist.
However, in 1987, Alan Moore cleared things up. "Rorschach's not a fascist; he's a nutcase," Moore said. "The Comedian's not a fascist; he's a psychopath. Dr. Manhattan's not a fascist; he's a space cadet. They're not fascists. They're not in control of their world."
Their intention was not to show fascist characters, but "to show how superheroes could deform the world just by being there, not that they'd have to take it over, just their presence there would make the difference." He also compared Dr. Manhattan to the creation of the atomic bomb.
"The atom bomb doesn't take over the world, but by being there it changes everything."
According to editor Leslie S. Klinger, Alan Moore was known for his scriptwriting even before he started working on ‘Watchmen’. He claimed that artist Stephen Bissette, from the saga of the ‘Swamp Thing’, said that Moore’s work was like “long, narrative letters”. The 12 issues of ‘Watchmen’ are 340 pages, while the scripts were more than twice as long with 1,042 pages.
His writing is conversational with descriptions like, "I'm psyched up. I've got blood up to my elbows, veins in my teeth and my helmet and kneepads securely fastened. Let's get out there and make some trouble!" He worried about every single detail like a candy wrapper in the panel and described blood running on the street as no one else could.
MOST PEOPLE MISSED THE POINT OF THE COMIC
Moore probably never realized that his 12-issue work would impact fans of comic books in such a deep way. With HBO’s new series, spearheaded by Damon Lindelof from ‘Lost’, coming out this year, the hype from back then is bound to return. It is also impressive how something that was supposed to be anti-violence is embraced by macho, right-leaning, and aggressive people.
Even Ted Cruz once said that Rorschach, a psychopathic anti-hero, was his favorite superhero of all time. Many fans took the horrible detective as a symbol of moral standards and patriotism, and it is not hard to see why. Rorschach was hated by his peers and had a horrible childhood, and he became a vigilante later on.
Those that can look beyond the surface understand that Moore was not glorifying violence or vigilantism. While there are some mistakes like the display of sexual abuse, Moore’s work is a warning about overpowered men. Furthermore, it is kind of scary how these characters are revered by young men, especially those that feel crippled by the current state of the world. Damon Lindelof took to Instagram and stated,
“This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built…but in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original... Those original twelve issues are our Old Testament.”
“When the New Testament came along, it did not erase what came before it. Creation. The Garden of Eden. Abraham and Isaac. The Flood. It all happened. And so it will be with Watchmen.”
That must be a relief for fans, mainly because of the sad 2009 interpretation from Zack Snyder. The movie was hated by viewers and critics equally, although it tried to be adapt the art of the comic book. However, some complained that it was more like a video game sequence than a real film adaptation. Furthermore, Snyder’s violent depictions did not fit well.
People wondered why Lindelof, a progressive guy, would steep to that. He continued telling his fans,
“It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates. It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary. The Old Testament was specific to the Eighties of Reagan and Thatcher and Gorbachev.”
Later, he added,
“Ours needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides around on, shirtless.”
Alan Moore even said,
“Yes, I did Watchmen. Yes, I did Marvelman. These are two big seminal superhero works, I guess. But remember: Both of them are critical of the idea of superheroes. They weren’t meant to be a reinvigoration of the genre.”
Therefore, ‘Watchmen’ is not meant to glorify violence, instead, it is supposed to highlight empathy and the downside of superheroes. Internet trolls even took the heinous acts of several comic book film adaptations to real life. One person committed a mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 inspired by Heath Ledger’s The Joker. Others took the hero from ‘V For Vendetta’, another of Alan Moore’s creations, as inspiration to make some serious felonies in the cyber community.
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‘Watchmen’ has some horrible characters, and even the creator said so. Therefore, it is important that young viewers, especially boys, understand the realities of the show, and the difference between right and wrong. Lindelof has to be very careful, and hopefully, it won’t just be a gore-fest like what Snyder did in 2009. In today’s political climate, no one should worship the ‘Watchmen’.
Only time will tell if the show will take off. Let us know what you would love to see on HBO’s ‘Watchmen’. If you liked this article, share it with your friends who love the comic books. See you next time!