Watchmen Review

LEGSHAVE Challenge update: I feel I owe an update to those who donated. Since the first leg shave on February 15th, I shaved again on the 20th for the trip to Arizona. It was kind of nice to ride with smooth legs, but I didn't notice it that much. It was a bit easier to clean the rash on my knee after the crash with shaved legs - but cleaning wounds with hair isn't that bad so I still don't count this as a good reason to shave. The stubble on my legs is long enough now it isn't prickly or itchy, but they still look clean. This weekend is the Rampage race so I'll be shaving soon as promised.

I first started hearing about Watchmen about a year ago when the movie was in production and some teasers came out. I foundlearned that Watchmen is critically acclaimed as one of the best graphic novels (aka comics) so I bought it and started reading.

This is essentially my first graphic novel. It was an interesting experience. Like half way between a book and a movie. I mostly focused on the words but noted the illustrations as I went along and noticed the details and nuances that served the story.

I must say the artwork is fascinating. Expressive and bold. And there is a LOT of it - I'm amazed one person could draw so many frames. And it's not just quantity - every frame is loaded with detail and expression.

The writing and story has that pulp feel (there is sex and graphic violence), but not so strong as to repel the casual reader like myself. Plenty of depth with multiple intermingled plots, some fun twists and strong ties to the cold war era. It's weird that I've forgotten so much about how the cold war felt and Watchmen brought a lot of that back for me.

The characters are fascinating (if superheros aren't interesting, something's wrong). They have depth and humanity - they weren't just larger-than-life, one-dimensional do-gooders.

Ironically I'm less interested in the movie having read the book. It would be fun to see these characters and scenes "made real", but Watchmen will be difficult to adapt to film and frankly I doubt it can be done in a satisfying way. And Hollywood doesn't have a great track record with intricate fiction like this.

P.S. I took the book with me to Arizona and read it for 2 hours at the airport and on the plane. I admit I was self-conscious about reading a "comic book" in public.


Watcher said...

Re: reading a "comic book" in public, when I was in Japan several years ago, in the subways there are always lots of middle-aged businessmen reading comic books/graphic novels. I was sort of taken aback, as the subject matter (yes I peaked over a shoulder or two) includes some very adult topics- graphic violence, nudity, sex, etc. But none of the men ever seemed the least bit shy about reading them in full view of children, grandmothers, tourists, whomever. Different standards, I guess.

KanyonKris said...

Watcher: That's an interesting cultural observation. I know manga is big in Japan, but it takes a sighting like yours to get a better feel for it.