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  1. #1
    They LAUGHED at my theory SteveGus's Avatar
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    Default American Conservative: "Speaking Truth to (Comic-Book) Power" (Watchmen)

    Speaking Truth to (Comic-Book) Power - Alan Jacobs

    Can I just say, apropos of nothing in particular, that Alan Moore’s wildly-acclaimed comic Watchmen is … well, it’s really not very good?

    Now, I need to say that Watchmen has an interesting core narrative idea, a striking visual style, and an ambitious way of moving back and forth in time and among characters. It is not without virtues. But its flaws far outweigh them.
    Much more at link. Unreliable source, I know.
    Superhero comic books only become art to the extent that their banal, unrealistic fantasy and garish styles go too far and become interesting. Attempts to ground them in reality can only ruin them.

  2. #2
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    Watchmen's unrelentless tone was kind of the point. Not liking it is fine, but that hardly outweighs the narrative strengths of the book.

    This is coming from someone who's not that big of a Watchmen fan.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveGus View Post
    Speaking Truth to (Comic-Book) Power - Alan Jacobs



    Much more at link. Unreliable source, I know.
    Disdain for the source aside, that has to be some of the poorest, least thorough critique I've seen on Watchmen outside of a message board.

    It is not only almost fully wrong - the simplicity of the characters, and the sentences he uses to describe them, is incorrect; that they don't change through their lives is, likewise, incorrect; and that they don't change in the modern timeframe is the point - it also neglects to mention the incredible STRENGTHS of Watchmen, even in the backhanded compliment it gives in the first paragraph.

    I'm willing to discuss Watchmen's flaws, such as they are, but the only elements of his 'analysis' that can't be outright refuted are those that are opinion, even if he arrogantly phrases them as universal fact, and even THOSE contradict some of his earlier critiques ("These characters are too simplistic!" in one paragraph, "He gives us too much insight into these characters!" the next).

    Really shoddy stuff. The state of discourse these days is appalling.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Coal Tiger's Avatar
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    Aren't these "here's a link, now discuss!" threads generally frowned upon around here?

  5. #5
    Lazer Faced Goggindowner's Avatar
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    That guy I think may have just skimmed the book, or maybe read a deep summary on line somewhere. At best, he appears to have completely missed the point on most of the characters and their motivations and depth.
    Writers before artists.
    Artists before concepts.
    Concepts before characters.

  6. #6
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    Aren't we 20 years too late to discuss this? If we have a thread for every negative comment on a critically acclaimed title, the forum would be just overflowed with it.

  7. #7

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    I'm curious how old the writer of this book is. If you aren't old enough to remember the Cold War very well then Watchmen loses something.

    Even the ones we might call “characters” are inflexible and incapable of significant change.
    Has this guy met human beings? Any of them? Has he ever tried watching Intervention on tv? He's being critical of the book because the characters don't change but people tend not to change. If you actually go out in the world and interact with people you'll see that the vast majority of people are "inflexible and incapable of significant change."

  8. #8
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    Steve Gus, what do you want us to talk about here? I mean we know you don't like Watchmen lol

  9. #9
    Hey, Larry! Darrell D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveGus View Post
    Speaking Truth to (Comic-Book) Power - Alan Jacobs



    Much more at link. Unreliable source, I know.
    Well, what did YOU think of the link you posted?
    You must have some opinion of the article, no?

  10. #10
    They LAUGHED at my theory SteveGus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell D. View Post
    Well, what did YOU think of the link you posted?
    You must have some opinion of the article, no?
    I don't agree with all of his conclusions. I would say that at least Rorschach changes, somewhat, over the course of the plot. (And the Comedian has change forced on him.) I'm also not sure that leaving Rorschach's psyche unexamined wouldn't make him a more interesting character, even if the reveal seems less than original.

    I do tend to agree that the grim monotony of mood is a flaw in the original, and a noxious influence on superhero comics generally. I read Watchmen; I can't say that I liked it, enjoyed the experience, or really was impressed by it. And yes, the characters are rather uninteresting; it's a puppet show where you can see the strings too closely and they become a distraction.
    Last edited by SteveGus; 02-17-2013 at 10:36 AM.
    Superhero comic books only become art to the extent that their banal, unrealistic fantasy and garish styles go too far and become interesting. Attempts to ground them in reality can only ruin them.

  11. #11
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    But you mainly hate Watchmen because it's a deconstructive critique of the superhero, a concept you hold dear to, right? That's the part that gets you uncomfortable. It challenges your nostalgia.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveGus View Post
    I would say that at least Rorschach changes, somewhat, over the course of the plot. (And the Comedian has change forced on him.)
    It's been a while since I read the print novel, but I would argue almost the opposite, that Rorschach doesn't evolve over the course of the narrative. We the readers learn more about him and begin to empathize, but he's exactly the same by the end of the story. Dan, Laurie, and Dr Manhattan however do have moments of self awareness and are at completely different stages of their lives at the end of the novel.

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