Esther’s Space- journey through my life

February 11, 2007

Watchmen-the beginning

Filed under: THEORY 330 — estherspace @ 4:47 pm

I think I need help.  I don’t think I have the skills to read this ‘book’ as we are supposed to be reading it.  To me, it is rather dark and disgusting.  It is creating its own alternate reality, which confuses me, since I know little about history.  I feel like I should compare reading it to being in the twilight zone, except that I’ve never seen that either.  So, reading Watchmen is like being in Pleasantville, pleasantville.jpg things aren’t quite as black and white, and I’m not sure if there’s going to be any social realization in the end, but there’s a great deal of pastiche and mentonymity.  I feel the Jameson.  And the signs are there.  But was everyone really that paranoid about nuclear war in 1985?


More specifically, I have a problem with Dr. Manhattan.  To begin with, he finds himself to be too good for clothing.  Perhaps he represents the new ‘new,’ and what I may be parodying now will later be pastiche, but, nonetheless, it’s a problem.  Furthermore, he is the only character with any actual super-human powers.  His cohorts all seem to be on their own personal power trips (ahem, the bastard comedian), but Dr. Manhattan seems to think that he’s better than the world and sees no need to help humanity, despite the fact that he may be the only one capable of doing so.  Jerk.   Oh, and to go along with my problem of the alternate reality thing, wikipedia has a biography of Dr. Manhattan here.

Back to the theory thing, the excerpts from the biography interspersed with the cartoons (hate me for saying it, it’s okay) is an obvious and serious case of metonymically substituting something for the past.  As explained to me, this is a common ploy of graphic novelists; to create universes within which they exist.  I don’t like it.  I guess that doesn’t matter, though.   However, it does depend upon collective agreement to successfully do so.   If there were more people who did not ‘buy into’ the world that any series or individual novel (graphic or otherwise) created, the genre would not survive. 

So, in conclusion, this is a screamingly postmodern text, I hate the Comedian, the Nite Owl is pathetic, Dr. Manhattan is full of himself, Laurie Jupiter makes me sick, and I think that “The Watchmen” is missing the element of realism that is necessary for any novel to be classified as such.  So, who is watching the watchmen?  I hope my next posting is a bit more focussed, but I think that I needed to vent. 



  1. I hear ya. I was wondering about Doc Manhattan myself. No clothes (how many times can Gibbons strategically place things?), the bullseye on his forehead, the blue skin, his insensitivity…yeesh. I suppose we’ll figure it all out as we keep reading. I just wonder why he’s there–why the author wrote him in. I want to know what he represents, if he even represents anything.

    What I’m still deciding is whether The Watchmen is a pastiche or a parody. It’s not really all that funny, but I sense a little satirical analysis of comics from the past. I’m not so sure about pastiche, because I think the writer and illustrator had to have considered the “norms” that guided comics and graphic novels that came before.

    Comment by kelliem — February 11, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more regarding Dr. Manhattan. As you can see from my blog I too for some reason discussed him to great lengths. He both caught me attention and annoyed me to no end! How is it that one ‘super-hero’ so to say is so self absorbed, along with the long list of other factors. And as for Laurie, this woman is extremely frustrating to continue reading with. Hopefully, these characters will shape up to something a little bit better!

    Comment by carawhalen — February 11, 2007 @ 8:55 pm

  3. You really didn’t like this, did you? I like your comparison to Pleasantville. The book does create its own distinct society, however without that leave it to beaver attitude. I also noticed you wrote that you hate the Comedian. I will admit that his actions and attitudes are very reprehensible, I think that so far he is the most interesting character in the book.

    Comment by ryancallander — February 11, 2007 @ 9:28 pm

  4. “Furthermore, he is the only character with any actual super-human powers.” Yes Esther, I believe that you have hit the nail on the head. Dr. Manhattan is the only person-ish, who has real super powers. Everyone else has a serious costume fetish. Laurie, the only thing she is a leagal prostitute whose job is to make sure Dr. Manhattan is happy, which is creepy and disgusting. All in all, I’m a big fan of the pictures, I think if the Norton Anthology had more pictures I would get a lot more out of it. I think that Watchmen is a novel to someone like Bakhtin, because of its heteroglossia. Different components of language are displayed from the text within a text and the slang some characters use. It’s not too bad. Only; Rorschach is a huge prick, the Comedian is a racist dead waste of life, Laurie is worthless, and Dr. Manhattan is giving everyone cancer with his big blue radioactive penis. Good post Esther!

    Comment by Keva Roberts — February 12, 2007 @ 12:10 pm

  5. Hey Ester!I really like how you added in the viedos here with Watchmen. Tonight I actually watched the second viedo, I found it on Utube. The viedo I found was like 10 minutes long. Its strange, but I really believe that visuals are helping more with our visual comic books. Dr. Manhattan can be an odd ball at times, and I am still not use to the fact that he runs around naked…maybe the end of the book will tell us more.

    Comment by annieeinna — February 20, 2007 @ 8:15 pm

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