The Seldom Seen Squid

I am conflicted about this whole Watchmen movie thing.

A lot of adaptations of comics seem to miss the best elements of the originals. One of the most notable things (if you were going to be unkind, the only notable thing) about Frank Miller’s Sin City was the histrionic chiaroscuro of the artwork, which is of course the one thing you don’t get carried over into the film version. It just ends up as a bunch of actors shot in grey tones. The characters and stories weren’t much cop to begin with, which is why I never bothered watching it. Similarly The Spirit was all about Will Eisner’s quirky and inventive approach to storytelling, page layouts and generally mucking about with the form, whereas the film version just redoes Sin City.

The best thing about Watchmen is its structure, and the canny tricks Moore and Gibbons used in their storytelling. Luckily enough it has good characters, some fairly complex themes and a good story (even though one of the main plot threads is half inched from an old Outer Limits episode, which Moore directly alludes to in one chapter), so a film version should at least be watchable and might even be great.

That pirate comic will never work as a cartoon though. The point is?the kid is reading the comic and then you’re reading the comic in the comic, and then you’re reading them both at the same time. That’s metatextual… or something.?Should have just left it out. It’s like Tom Bombadil!

Some of the appeal of Watchmen for comics fans are the explicit references it makes to superhero comics (and American adventure comics in general).?Of course, to a mainstream audience who don’t know their Charltons from their Gold Keys, that stuff is meaningless, and the superhero genre is a fairly recent cinematic thing. However, it looks like director Zack Snyder is creating associations with past superhero movies. The redesign of the Nite Owl costume makes its links with Batman even more apparent (who cares about The Blue Beetle, right?), and Ozymandias seems to have been reborn in the mould of Joel Schumacher’s rubber nippled greek god fantasies.

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