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Alan Moore 
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Post Re: Alan Moore
PeachyPete wrote:
Ken wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
You clearly missed the boat on this conversation. Alan Moore didn't write the script for Watchmen, he wrote the actual graphic novel (which in the illustrated comic sections has about 5 to 6 sentences per page, give or take). He had written the script, it still would have no bearing on what I've been debating. I'm not really sure what this comment was supposed to prove.
Alan Moore did write the script. I'm not quite sure what that particular comment is getting at.

If I'm reading you right, your contention is that the number of words on the page have something to do with the quality and difficulty of producing that page. In fact, you specifically discussed "the amount of writing" that goes into a book. The amount of writing that goes into Moore's books might not be readily apparent in the final product, but there is quite a bit.

Of course, that's academic, because the assertion is false to begin with. Four words or four thousand, it has nothing to do either way with quality.


http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Watchmen.html

That's a link to the script. He didn't write it, man. It was obviously based on Watchmen, which he wrote, but he did not write the movie script. He's stated that he wanted nothing to do with the movie.

Again, though, none of that matters in this debate. I was comparing how difficult it was to write a novel as opposed to a graphic novel. That has nothing to do with the movie script, regardless of who wrote it.

My assertion has more to do with everything that comes along with writing a novel, that isn't present in writing a graphic novel. It has nothing to do with actual word count. Yes, there are more words, but writing a novel entails more than just a word count. Think about everything that is conveyed in a graphic novel through the visuals (setting, character look, symbolism, visual metaphors, atmosphere, etc.). A writer has to convey all of that through words without help of the visual. He has to be skilled enough to help readers visualize exactly what he means without the help of highly detailed pictures. The actual writer (not illustrator or colorer) of a graphic novel does not have to worry about any of this. This is all conveyed through the visuals. As an art form, I'm not saying one is above the other, just that as a writer, it is much more difficult to write hundreds of pages of this stuff than it is to write a graphic novel.

Not to get involved here, but you do realize that Ken was referring to the script for the book?


Wed May 27, 2009 5:23 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
Too bad normies associate scripts with movies and theater, not graphic novels.


Wed May 27, 2009 5:40 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
Patrick wrote:
Too bad normies associate scripts with movies and theater, not graphic novels.

Yep, the association is one sure way to separate the true nerds from those who only pretend.


Wed May 27, 2009 7:32 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
Ken wrote:
Unke wrote:
I completely agree: comic books are not literature.
I'm curious: why do you think so?


Well, literature as I understand it is text (short stories, novels etc.) whereas comic books consist of a combination of text and graphics. Personally, I think both media can't be measured against the same standards - a comic cannot tell a story exclusively in its text and would be pretty bad if the story isn't conveyed through the panels. A novel cannot be judged on the merit of the illustrations.

PeachyPete wrote:
True, but do those excerpts count as part of a graphic novel? I'd argue that they do not. They are considered supplements and it's up to each reader as to whether or not to read them. The story can be understood without them. I actually thought those excerpts were the best part of the book, but I digress. The "effort" argument doesn't work because Moore didn't exclusively draw or color the panels. I'm not sure if he drew or colored a single panel, actually. I may be wrong, but I don't think he's credited for doing either.

I'm not saying word count or length should be used to judge the merits. I'm saying that the comparison isn't an apt one because novels and graphic novels are completely different entities and are unsuitable for comparison (apples to oranges, if you will). My personal opinion is that novels are much more difficult to write (not draw or color, but actually writing prose) than graphic novels. To me, it simply doesn't take as much writing ability to do that.


I'm not sure whether you are familiar with the way comics are made. Usually, the writer writes a story, which is handed over to the artist (or artists) who provides the illustrations. In the case of Alan Moore, he is well known for writing incredibly detailed scripts which describe each single panel. This is probably comparable to the amount of thought and hard work involved in writing a novel. Don't believe me? Check out The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and note the many easter eggs in each panel, which reference Victorian literature. There are actually reference books for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.


Thu May 28, 2009 3:38 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
Unke wrote:
Well, literature as I understand it is text (short stories, novels etc.) whereas comic books consist of a combination of text and graphics. Personally, I think both media can't be measured against the same standards - a comic cannot tell a story exclusively in its text and would be pretty bad if the story isn't conveyed through the panels. A novel cannot be judged on the merit of the illustrations.


That's my point in a nutshell.

Unke wrote:
I'm not sure whether you are familiar with the way comics are made. Usually, the writer writes a story, which is handed over to the artist (or artists) who provides the illustrations. In the case of Alan Moore, he is well known for writing incredibly detailed scripts which describe each single panel. This is probably comparable to the amount of thought and hard work involved in writing a novel. Don't believe me? Check out The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and note the many easter eggs in each panel, which reference Victorian literature. There are actually reference books for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.


I was unaware of how comics are made. I certainly believe you. I thank you for pointing this out to me in a civil manner, something which other posters seem unable to do. That said, I still don't see how that takes away from my overall point. Writing a script for how illustrations should look is a far cry from writing actual prose for a novel. While it may take a similar amount of time, writing a descriptive section (regardless of length) just isn't equivalent to everything that goes into writing a cohesive narrative. Also, wouldn't that sort of descriptive, detailed style ultimately end up compromised since someone else (not the writer) is the one interpreting it and drawing it? Basically, the end product goes through 2 filters (writer, illustrator) instead of one (writer) before it reaches the reader.

Patrick wrote:
Too bad normies associate scripts with movies and theater, not graphic novels.


Really? That's what you have to contribute to this thread? You've added nothing to the discussion and only posted to bash something someone else said. I know you're a moderator and everything, but your trolling posts are one of the few negatives on this site.

Ratel wrote:
Yep, the association is one sure way to separate the true nerds from those who only pretend.


I'm not pretending to be a nerd, in my first post I said I've only read Moore's Watchmen. I've admitted I was unaware of how comics are made. If I'm wrong about something, tell me where I went wrong, but there is no need for personal insults. If you want to debate the merits of what I'm saying, that's fine. To marginalize my opinion because I'm unfamiliar with a specific aspect of comic book making, however, accomplishes nothing aside from your own self validation.

Also, taking specific quotes out of context and extrapolating them out to insinuate that that was my entire point is no way to debate. I'm not directing this at anyone specifically, but it's happened a few times in this thread. It's an easy way to marginalize a poster, but it is ineffective in actual debating.


Thu May 28, 2009 9:39 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
PeachyPete wrote:

Patrick wrote:
Too bad normies associate scripts with movies and theater, not graphic novels.


Really? That's what you have to contribute to this thread? You've added nothing to the discussion and only posted to bash something someone else said. I know you're a moderator and everything, but your trolling posts are one of the few negatives on this site.


I was defending you! When Ken said Alan Moore wrote the script I thought he was talking about the movie as well! And when it was mentioned that Ken meant the graphic novel script I said that cause who associates scripts with graphic novels? Not you, not me and I'm not half of the people here.


Thu May 28, 2009 9:51 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
PeachyPete wrote:
Writing a script for how illustrations should look is a far cry from writing actual prose for a novel. While it may take a similar amount of time, writing a descriptive section (regardless of length) just isn't equivalent to everything that goes into writing a cohesive narrative. Also, wouldn't that sort of descriptive, detailed style ultimately end up compromised since someone else (not the writer) is the one interpreting it and drawing it? Basically, the end product goes through 2 filters (writer, illustrator) instead of one (writer) before it reaches the reader.


You've got a point there, at least as far as most mainstream comics are concerned. Of course, I've been generalising earlier. Some comic creators write as well as draw (Frank Miller's "Sin City" and others, for instance, or Eisner's "Maus"). If more than one person is involved in the creative process - such as a writer, a penciller, an inker, etc. - it certainly is a collaborative effort. Usually, the writer and illustrator will decide on the look of characters, color schemes etc.

Since you've read Watchmen, I might be able to provide some examples. The color scheme in Watchmen consists mostly of secondary colours like purple and green rather than the primary colours yellow, blue and red , for instance. This decision has been made jointly by writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons. A good example of how writing a comic may approach the complexities of writing a novel can be found in the middle chapter: Notice how the panels mirror each other - the first panel is similar to the last one etc. - and what happens in the central panel of this chapter. Constructing this is rather complex, I think.


Thu May 28, 2009 9:55 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
Patrick wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:

Patrick wrote:
Too bad normies associate scripts with movies and theater, not graphic novels.


Really? That's what you have to contribute to this thread? You've added nothing to the discussion and only posted to bash something someone else said. I know you're a moderator and everything, but your trolling posts are one of the few negatives on this site.


I was defending you! When Ken said Alan Moore wrote the script I thought he was talking about the movie as well! And when it was mentioned that Ken meant the graphic novel script I said that cause who associates scripts with graphic novels? Not you, not me and I'm not half of the people here.


Just my opinion, but I think you’re getting too defensive here, Pete. I wasn’t trying to insult you, only half seriously commenting on the fact that you obviously aren’t a comic book nerd. I know that being a nerd is a lot more hip than it used to be, but I never intended the comment to seem like an attack.


Thu May 28, 2009 9:58 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
Patrick wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:

Patrick wrote:
Too bad normies associate scripts with movies and theater, not graphic novels.


Really? That's what you have to contribute to this thread? You've added nothing to the discussion and only posted to bash something someone else said. I know you're a moderator and everything, but your trolling posts are one of the few negatives on this site.


I was defending you! When Ken said Alan Moore wrote the script I thought he was talking about the movie as well! And when it was mentioned that Ken meant the graphic novel script I said that cause who associates scripts with graphic novels? Not you, not me and I'm not half of the people here.


Haha, well apparently I'm retarded. I mistook this for sarcasm. You do tend to troll a bit, however. No matter though, I apologize for misconstruing your comment.


Thu May 28, 2009 10:03 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
Ratel wrote:
Just my opinion, but I think you’re getting too defensive here, Pete. I wasn’t trying to insult you, only half seriously commenting on the fact that you obviously aren’t a comic book nerd. I know that being a nerd is a lot more hip than it used to be, but I never intended the comment to seem like an attack.


No problem. I just wanted to point out that those kinds of personal attacks don't contribute to the ongoing debate. It's a self-serving thing to do and this site is way better than that. While that point remains, since this wasn't your intent, and I took what you were saying the wrong way, it seems superfluous (and ultimately, just as self-serving as those same personal attacks) for me to continue down this path.


Thu May 28, 2009 10:16 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
Unke wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
Writing a script for how illustrations should look is a far cry from writing actual prose for a novel. While it may take a similar amount of time, writing a descriptive section (regardless of length) just isn't equivalent to everything that goes into writing a cohesive narrative. Also, wouldn't that sort of descriptive, detailed style ultimately end up compromised since someone else (not the writer) is the one interpreting it and drawing it? Basically, the end product goes through 2 filters (writer, illustrator) instead of one (writer) before it reaches the reader.


You've got a point there, at least as far as most mainstream comics are concerned. Of course, I've been generalising earlier. Some comic creators write as well as draw (Frank Miller's "Sin City" and others, for instance, or Eisner's "Maus"). If more than one person is involved in the creative process - such as a writer, a penciller, an inker, etc. - it certainly is a collaborative effort. Usually, the writer and illustrator will decide on the look of characters, color schemes etc.

Since you've read Watchmen, I might be able to provide some examples. The color scheme in Watchmen consists mostly of secondary colours like purple and green rather than the primary colours yellow, blue and red , for instance. This decision has been made jointly by writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons. A good example of how writing a comic may approach the complexities of writing a novel can be found in the middle chapter: Notice how the panels mirror each other - the first panel is similar to the last one etc. - and what happens in the central panel of this chapter. Constructing this is rather complex, I think.


Ok, well in regards to Watchmen, I can see the complexity. I remember that central chapter very well. I actually went back and read just that chapter after finishing the book and was somewhat blown away. In a way, this kind of proves what I've been saying, though. I'm not saying comic books aren't complex or have no artistic merit, in fact, I believe Watchmen is a fine work of art. I don't think too many who have read it would dispute that. It's just the techniques used in the comic book art form to create are different than those used in strictly writing to create. Alan Moore had many more techniques at his disposal to use, other than writing. An author has just his/her written word to convey their art. The fact that Moore has extremely detailed illustrations accompanying his words, alone allows me to logically assume that his writing abilities are inferior to the likes of an equivalently respected novelist. After reading Watchmen, I can say, in my opinion, that is true. That doesn't diminish the artistry of Watchmen, it's just a different kind of art than a novel.

I guess I initially misspoke in saying that Moore receives too much credit for Watchmen. He receives too much credit as a "writer", not as an artist. In fact, an argument can be made the comic book creators are more well-rounded artists than novelists. Watchmen uses too many different methods to be praised as solely a writer, which is being done when he's put alongside the likes of Melville, Faulkner, Hemmingway, etc. Again, I'm not saying comics are inferior to novels (that's a personal preference and there is no definitive answer either way), just that to praise a comic book writer for his writing and to equate that with a completely different kind of writing (novel) is not a good comparison. Again, it's apples to oranges and, to me, a comparison that should never be made in the first place. Each can be appreciated on their own, separate from each other.


Thu May 28, 2009 10:38 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
PeachyPete wrote:
Again, I'm not saying comics are inferior to novels (that's a personal preference and there is no definitive answer either way), just that to praise a comic book writer for his writing and to equate that with a completely different kind of writing (novel) is not a good comparison. Again, it's apples to oranges and, to me, a comparison that should never be made in the first place. Each can be appreciated on their own, separate from each other.


The funny thing is that we all seem to think the same thing. The debate was mostly on the semantics!


Thu May 28, 2009 11:46 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
Just to get a few things out of the way:

1. Judging Moore's work entirely on the basis of Watchmen is like judging Spielberg's work entirely on the basis of Jaws.

2. I don't know how a statement like "descriptive prose in novels is more difficult to write than descriptive prose in scripts" can even be justified. Does it have any basis beyond pure assumption? And am I correct in inferring that the subtext is that difficulty is a factor that makes one thing better than another?

3. So, "normies" only think of scripts in terms of movies, while it takes a "true nerd" to think of scripts in other terms, such as comics. Guys... comics have to be written before they're drawn, just like movies have to be written before the cameras roll. This is purely elementary. If you think that the artist just draws a bunch of pictures and all the writer has to do is come in and figure out what goes in the balloons, nobody is nerdy simply for knowing better.


Thu May 28, 2009 12:45 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
Ken wrote:
Just to get a few things out of the way:

1. Judging Moore's work entirely on the basis of Watchmen is like judging Spielberg's work entirely on the basis of Jaws.


Agreed. Never have I said, or inferred, anything about any of Moore's other work, or claimed that Watchmen serves as the definitive example of his work. I have, however, given my opinion of his writing specific to Watchmen, something that is perfectly valid to do, seeing as how I've read that.

Ken wrote:
2. I don't know how a statement like "descriptive prose in novels is more difficult to write than descriptive prose in scripts" can even be justified. Does it have any basis beyond pure assumption? And am I correct in inferring that the subtext is that difficulty is a factor that makes one thing better than another?


Let's try and save the quotations for when you actually quote something I have typed. Since that is clearly not what I was meaning with my post, I urge you to reread and rethink your gross oversimplification. Should you choose not to, that's fine too. Frankly, I've made my overall point and have grown weary of this picking and choosing of points style of debating.

Ken wrote:
3. So, "normies" only think of scripts in terms of movies, while it takes a "true nerd" to think of scripts in other terms, such as comics. Guys... comics have to be written before they're drawn, just like movies have to be written before the cameras roll. This is purely elementary. If you think that the artist just draws a bunch of pictures and all the writer has to do is come in and figure out what goes in the balloons, nobody is nerdy simply for knowing better.


I'm pretty sure everyone understands this relatively simple concept.


As of now, I'm going to disengage from this argument. Your attempts to marginalize my opinion and not respond to any of the criticisms I have tells me you aren't interested in actually debating any real points. I'm open to having my opinions changed, but not to being told they aren't valid. I enjoy debating opposing viewpoints, but when it takes this sort of turn, it is no longer enjoyable. Not to be rude, but the term fanboy is what is coming to mind.


Thu May 28, 2009 1:59 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
PeachyPete wrote:
Let's try and save the quotations for when you actually quote something I have typed. Since that is clearly not what I was meaning with my post, I urge you to reread and rethink your gross oversimplification. Should you choose not to, that's fine too. Frankly, I've made my overall point and have grown weary of this picking and choosing of points style of debating.
Quote:
Think about everything that is conveyed in a graphic novel through the visuals (setting, character look, symbolism, visual metaphors, atmosphere, etc.). A writer has to convey all of that through words without help of the visual. He has to be skilled enough to help readers visualize exactly what he means without the help of highly detailed pictures. The actual writer (not illustrator or colorer) of a graphic novel does not have to worry about any of this. This is all conveyed through the visuals. As an art form, I'm not saying one is above the other, just that as a writer, it is much more difficult to write hundreds of pages of this stuff than it is to write a graphic novel.
I don't buy it. The author of a comic book, at least, one whose scripts are as involved with the artwork as Moore's are, has just as much legwork to accomplish in developing the visuals as any other author. The end product of a comic book might provide a visual more readily than the end product of a novel, but that says nothing about the writing process itself. As for the level of difficulty involved, again, I'm not sure how this can be known or used in the service of any argument.

PeachyPete wrote:
As of now, I'm going to disengage from this argument. Your attempts to marginalize my opinion and not respond to any of the criticisms I have tells me you aren't interested in actually debating any real points. I'm open to having my opinions changed, but not to being told they aren't valid. I enjoy debating opposing viewpoints, but when it takes this sort of turn, it is no longer enjoyable. Not to be rude, but the term fanboy is what is coming to mind.
All I've done is attempt to challenge your assumptions, which, frankly, don't hold a lot of water. And given your defensiveness throughout this thread, you don't seem to enjoy debate as much as you say.


Thu May 28, 2009 2:20 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
Ken wrote:
3. So, "normies" only think of scripts in terms of movies, while it takes a "true nerd" to think of scripts in other terms, such as comics. Guys... comics have to be written before they're drawn, just like movies have to be written before the cameras roll. This is purely elementary. If you think that the artist just draws a bunch of pictures and all the writer has to do is come in and figure out what goes in the balloons, nobody is nerdy simply for knowing better.


Well yeah but who actually thinks that comic books have a script? Ask a man on the street about what goes with a script and I'm sure most of them will say either movies, theater or maybe TV. Very few are going to associate scripts with comics or graphic novels.


Thu May 28, 2009 2:31 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
Patrick wrote:
Well yeah but who actually thinks that comic books have a script? Ask a man on the street about what goes with a script and I'm sure most of them will say either movies, theater or maybe TV. Very few are going to associate scripts with comics or graphic novels.
First off, the more familiar a person is with any one of those media, the more likely that person is to associate a script with that particular medium. Given that this forum is primarily focused on movies, it's not extremely surprising that the screenplay is the first thing that people think of when the word "script" is mentioned. I'm sure there are plenty of men on the street who don't think of film when the word script is mentioned. But that's the problem with using the man on the street as an example: it represents a set of wildly varying factors that can be used in the service of just about any position.


Thu May 28, 2009 3:25 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
In the interest of steering this discussion a little closer to topic: as I've said, I own some of Moore's books, and I'll give my thoughts on a couple of them in case anybody is interested in his work.

1. Watchmen

Probably the one everybody hears the most about. I'll generally side with the majority and say that it is one of the finest works that the comics medium has produced, though I think it does get a little over-praised. It's not that I think people's reactions towards it are unwarranted, but that many of the people who proclaim it the best comic ever are probably doing so out of inexperience.

It's certainly a dense work, and it's also a very sobering parable about the influence of power on the course of history. These are things most readers don't expect out of a superhero comic, which is probably why it provokes the reactions it tends to get. But there are plenty of other comics that are just as good or better, some of which are written by Moore himself.

It's worth mentioning that the superhero genre, for the most part, is used in the service of power fantasies and basic violent action. It is capable of better, which is ably--if cynically--demonstrated by Watchmen. Still, I wonder if Watchmen was a waste of Moore's talent, considering it did not force subsequent superhero comics to adopt the higher standard that he envisioned. While superheroes lend themselves well to discussions of power and influence, they are rarely used so wisely, and that is something that hasn't changed since Watchmen.

2. Swamp Thing

Moore took over this title after it had been in publication for 12 years or so, and stayed on for around four years. His very first move was to ostensibly kill the character off, revive him, and drastically recast his origin story. This not only dealt with certain problematic elements of the character, but also opened up some new avenues for Moore to write about, including both Swamp Thing's lineage and the scope of his power.

Quality-wise, this is a Moore who, while not quite as schooled as in his later work, is firing on all cylinders in terms of cleverness. He turns Swamp Thing from a second-rate horror character to a first-rate sci-fi/fantasy character. I can easily understand how a walking clump of plants can inspire skepticism in prospective readers, but this is fun, smart storytelling in the vein of Heinlein, Dick, et cetera. It's collected into a handful of paperback volumes.

3. Supreme: Story of the Year

This is another instance of Moore taking over somebody else's character and doing some drastic housecleaning. For those who don't know, Supreme is a superheroic character under the banner of Image Comics, initially developed as a gritty, violent alternative to Superman. Predictably, the comic tanked, so Moore was hired to do something about it.

What he ended up writing can be best described as a postmodernist, meta-fictional tribute to classic superhero comics in their various eras, with Superman particularly in mind. It throws in everything from old dialogue styles and story tropes to authentic recreations of various art styles from throughout the 20th century. For example, it proposes a realm, like Valhalla, where all the old versions of classic superheroes go to once their origins are retconned. There are times when the book feels a bit bloated and too smart for its own good, but on the whole, it's lighthearted, nostalgic, and multi-faceted. Fans of Tarantino and Kaufman might look into it.

4. From Hell

This is the big one. In my opinion, this is the best encapsulation of Moore’s style and ability that I’ve yet read. Its subject is one near and dear to Moore’s heart: the city of London. The plot concerns the Jack the Ripper murders that beset the Whitechapel district in the late 1880s, but it’s not a mystery story. It’s an effort to tie every conceivable element of the murders together into a coherent conspiracy theory, complete with a three-dimensional depiction of the culture of the time and place, official public record, speculative investigation, and so on.

Moreover, it ties all the elements of Moore’s style together. It’s clever, careful, methodical, intelligent, and tragic. It’s also very analytical. In developing what is essentially a deliberately fictionalized retelling of historical events, Moore is able to draw conclusions and posit questions on the nature of murder itself, and its effects on society, both immediate and lasting. The ultimate contention of the book is that the killer not only influenced and summed up the forthcoming century, but did so knowingly. His choice of Eddie Campbell as artist on the book is absolutely perfect. The scratchy black and white line work not only enhances the atmosphere and employs a documentary perspective of the events, but also convincingly recreates Victorian-era London. Both the artwork and the writing are meticulously authentic.

The book is completed with two appendices. The first summarizes the levels of reality and fantasy in each chapter, complete with annotations and discussion of the making of the book. The second is a comic art retelling of “Ripperology”--in other words, it follows the development of the various Jack the Ripper theories over the years, critically and satirically. It all adds up to a marvelous piece of graphic fiction.


Thu May 28, 2009 6:20 pm
Post Re: Alan Moore
What a lost opportunity! I should have put money on how long an Alan Moore thread would take to turn into an argument.

Oh well.

I read Watchmen over the past couple of nights as the library got the ultra-mega-reserved copy in after only, what, three months? four?

It's tough to imagine what an animator or writer of graphic novels must do to get his vision across but, suffice it to say, it must be difficult. Moore must effectively act as both director and writer -- this is completely unlike writing a novel. A good author can build a scene, characters, and story but the brunt of the work is done by the reader in creating much of everything else. With a graphic novel you get precisely what Alan Moore's vision of the story is (with Dave Gibbons there to take co-authorship) without so much as having to create a scene. Kind of.

Watchmen, being the only graphic novel I've read and likely one of the last, is a masterpiece of cinematic art... like a film, you get the writer/director deciding every last piece of visual information you get. The unexpected pleasure was that, like in any novel, when characters are temporary pulled away from you still get the 'echo' of them. So, for the 'kind of' I ended the last paragraph with, you get both Alan Moore's story in addition to the story formulated inside the mind. It's the perfect mix of the camera's limited scope and the mind's ability to create the character from scratch. Interesting interesting interesting.

What nobody said, and this may be something that only I've experienced after a lifetime without reading so much as a single panel from a comic, is that reading a graphic novel is a lot of work. Unlike a traditional novel, wherein the pace is determined entirely by the reader, Watchmen moved at a steady, slightly slow clip thanks in no small part to virtually endless visual information required to process as part of putting the story together. A sense of taxing obligation set in around Chapter 8 that left me maybe just a little impatient. This isn't to say Watchmen was boring but, rather, Watchmen was so dense with dialogue, setting, characters, and the circuitous plot that it felt like the kind of work I'd previously put into such things as Lolita or Rabbit At Rest.

It's place in literature, regardless of my finding it to be too much of an incredibly interesting thing, seems fair. I've never read anything quite like it and that's exactly what I want to say when I finish a book. It's got a wonderful noir-ish feel, some Chuck Jones-ian "camera" placement, and much of the character depth I'd expect from a major work. The dialogue is what I'd expect from a comic book. But I'll take it. Aside from the interstitial chapter breaks there's no loss of momentum and, best of all, having read the book I can now try to figure out why James Berardinelli would call it "unfilmable". Haven't seen the movie but it isn't too hard to see a possible adaptation working out. Sure, it'd be 8 hours and cost around a billion dollars... be rated NC-17... confuse a good percentage of the audience... maybe it is unfilmable.


Fri May 29, 2009 7:28 am
Post Re: Alan Moore
When people call Watchmen the Citizen Kane of comics, they don't do so lightly. It's a statement that deserves to be read into. What did Citizen Kane do for movies? Sure, it told a damn good story, but moreover, it was both a commentary and a supreme demonstration of movies as a storytelling medium. It was as much a formal case for the many artistic qualities of film as it was a narrative about a lonely newspaperman.

Watchmen (sometimes described as a "wedding cake" in terms of its structure) does much the same for the medium of comics. It combines, refines, and elevates just about every trick in the book, and applies a subtle layer of commentary within the narrative itself. Compared to the incredible statement on the form of comics that Watchmen is, I'd almost say that its content (a murder mystery involving men in tights, albeit a very well-written one) receives far too much attention by comparison.

That, to me, is why Watchmen is deserving of the credit it gets from the literary fuddy-duddies. Moore and Gibbons really show the horsepower under the hood of comics.


Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:12 pm
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