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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Dorm-room bong-session insight"

James Lileks is less than bowled over by the movie version of The Watchmen:
Look. I love graphic novels, and this one gets props for upending the Superhero Mythos when it did, but great writing it isn’t, and brilliant insight it lacks. (I much preferred “Marvels,” which came along later, and had better art - the illustration in “Watchmen” never bowled me over, and the coloring was often horrible.) From here in 09 I could smell its 80s roots - dated, sorry, tired politics that lack anything other than sullen adolescent angst and dorm-room bong-session insight.

Reminded me of the Dark Knight comics: Reagan was President, which somehow explained why the cities were such horrid dystopias. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it? Some how? Same here: the reign of Nixon (Jeezum crow, Nixon) ties in with urban decay, filth, moral calumny, and all those incidents of debauched decline Rorschack decried as he walked the mean streets. If there’s one thing we know for sure about hated iconic Republican presidents, they prefer a society full of prostitutes, child killers, drug addiction, and other sundry pleasures of modern life.

Uh huh. Imagine someone setting a comic like this in the 90s, with Dr. Bronx and the Jokester heading off to Bosnia to kill Serbs at the request of President Clinton - who’s in his third term, because he suspended the Constitution to prepare for Y2K - and later the Jokester, fresh from killing Vince Foster and Ron Brown, argues with InkBlot over who killed the American Dream, with InkBlot insisting it was supply-side economics.

1 comment:

Cool Blue said...

While he's right that a lot of comics are overt in their anti-conservativism, I think he's nit-picking an ill-informed on some points.

For example, he complains about the colouring but the fact is that the colouring in Watchmen was actually very good for the mid-80s. When it originally was published it was labeled a "prestige" series which had higher quality printing and paper. These features didn't become standard in comics until the late 90s.

Secondly, the colouring was intentionally meant to be off-putting. The creators intentionally avoided primary colours because they wanted to make readers feel like "something was off".

I'd suggest that people who slag Watchmen read the website "Annotated Watchmen".