Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

I finished reading Watchmen today. It doth be cool. Discuss.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Discuss it ? I discussed it 35 minutes ago.

Flit said...

I can't think of a better comic.

I also can't think what it would have been like to read it back in '86. Imagine having to wait a month for each installment to arrive. That would seem like the longest twelve months ever.

Every time I read it it makes me want to go out and do something to make the world better. Sadly in the real world it isn't as simple as just beating the crap out of some bad guys so I'm never quite sure what to do.

King of Ferrets said...

Dammit, I need to learn more Latin it seems. Quis is probably what or how or something to that effect; no idea about ipsos. I'd assume custodian is a derivative of custodieo, custodiere, which probably means that that means something about taking care of something. Both verbs are referring to something singular, and one refers to a he, she, or it (custodiet) and one refers to you (custodes). Can't figure out anything else.

Bronze Dog said...

"Who watches the watchmen?"

King of Ferrets said...

...that kinda flies in the face of what I know of Latin grammar.

Anonymous said...

I love Watchmen. I get more out of it each time I read it. I love the art. Re-read the Fearful Symmetry chapter; the panels are laid out to be symmetrical from the ends to the middle. The last page is symmetrical to the first, and on in. It's visual elements like that which won't translate to a movie.

About the only thing I dislike is how people seem to miss the point of the Watchmaker chapter, and use it to argue for precognition/ predetermination. What almost all of those arguments seem to miss is that the only character who sees the universe as pre-determined happens to be the one character who has spent his entire life being manipulated by others and has almost never exercised free will. The only times Ostoberman shows uncertainty are those rare moments of unexpected action (usually anger). After teleporting rioters all to their homes, he thinks "More would have suffered during a riot, I am certain"... an odd statement for a person who can see only a fixed future. The events Ostoberman is surest of are those where he is either manipulated, or simply chooses to take no action. I like the paradox of the most powerful human being, in fact, utterly powerless against the manipulations of others. I don't think there was any larger point intended beyond illustrating how passive and powerless Ostoberman actually is. The only time we see Dr. Manhattan happy & smiling is at the end of the book, when he make a choice of his own about what to do next.

Lots of repeated imagery, lots of good stuff to work through, definitely

Dunc said...

that kinda flies in the face of what I know of Latin grammar.

"People called Romanes, they go the 'ouse?" ;)

I can't think of a better comic.

I have to admit, I haven't read Watchmen yet... But I have a hard time believing it could be better than Sandman.

Bourgeois_Rage said...

Read it last year. A classic to be sure. From what I've seen of the movie stills, they are going to try and be very faithful to the original.

missingpoints said...

@dunc

Read it and believe. "Watchmen" is brilliant especially if you read a lot of superhero comics.

Flit said...

@dunc

I haven't read Sandman but I have read some of Neil Gaiman's other work. American Gods is excellent.

@Bourgeois_Rage

I'm having trouble deciding if I'll see the movie when it is released. There is always the worry that it will be awful and the memory of it will then taint my enjoyment of the comic. I suppose if it is bad I could get really drunk afterwards and erase my short term memory.

Dunc said...

Sandman is not merely the best "graphic novel" (seems a bit of a limiting term for something in 10 volumes) ever, it's possibly the finest work of literature ever. It's really that good. The first volume is a little iffy in places, I'll admit...

Akusai said...

Once Gaiman realized that setting The Sandman in the regular DCU was a mistake, it got leaps and bounds better.

Wikinite said...

Reading "Wanted" and "Watchman" got me into reading comics (admittedly ~15 years after most people).

Tom Foss said...

I actually wish DC would stop segregating the DC and Vertigo universes so much; the DCU is enriched by having the Endless at the top of it and Swamp Thing and the Elementals at the bottom.

And the bits with Superman and Batman at Dream's funeral are pretty much awesome.

Akusai said...

I feel like the Sandman universe is unenriched by throwing in the DCU; it's so often corny and 50s that trying to take something seriously as literature when it has Superman in it is hard for me.

Dunc said...

But the great thing about the Sandman universe is that it can encompass all stories and mythologies - Superman is as real as any of the other characters (in the Sandman sense of "real"). Still, it's a great little throwaway: "Do you ever have that dream where you're just an actor in a TV version of your life?" "Doesn't everyone?"

The whole point of Sandman is that the stories we tell are real, in a very important (if not exactly literal) sense. I'd call it humanist, but that would be defining it too narrowly... Is there a word like "humanist", but which refers to all conceivable forms of sentience?

Bronze Dog said...

That's something I wonder about in the event aliens beam down or we build sentient AIs. Or, for more practical matters, how characters in fictional worlds with many races describe the general concept.

Flit said...

In Watchmen 6 Rorschach talks about the murder of Kitty Genovese.

I learnt this week, listening to ABC's show All In The Mind, it was an actual event.

It was a repeat of a BBC show, have a listen, I'm sure some of you will find it interesting.

Tom Foss said...

Yeah, I learned about that in "Watchmen" as well. Within a couple of years, I'd heard about it in a philosophy class and probably half a dozen other places besides. It really goes to shake your trust in human altruism.