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March 4, 2009

Watching The Watchmen Watchers 07: Fact-Checking, Comics Industry Reviews

* Jeet Heer blasts Anthony Lane wearing his ignorance of the graphic novel like a badge of honor in his Watchmen review. It's probably time for editors to nudge their writers away from these kinds of bizarre summary statements, but I was a bit more worried by the math that put Nixon in 1985 as serving a third term rather than a fifth. Maybe I don't remember the book all that well and the movie reflects the book on that count. The best thing about Lane's review is that you get to see Istvan Banyai draw a couple of the characters.

* one thing that Lane's review notes that I found interesting is how absurd Rorschach's dialogue sounds spoken out loud. Lane portrays that as a failing of Moore's, but isn't the ridiculousness of the character's prose part of the point of that material in the book? It's been a while for me. Rorschach's not exactly a skilled writer: he's a distressing lunatic with the worldview of someone who beats people up a lot. That seems to me sort of like complaining the character is small and ugly and stoop-shouldered. Part of the dismay I felt while reading the book comes from the arrested adolescence of Rorschach's mind; he's like an angry teenager sitting in the back of study hall drawing liquor bottles, converting the purple prose of yesterday's love letter into a violent, scary rant.

image* Tom Mason is interviewing various comics professionals to find out what they were doing in the summer of 1986 when Watchmen #1 came out. Frankly, these bored the holy shit out of me, and I was going to skip them, but Tom asked nice. Here's the first; here's the second. For what it's worth, in June 1986 I was getting drunk, lifting weights and looking forward to the Howard the Duck movie. I was also apparently quite burly.

* people seem to like this parody.

* not comics: the movie review count still comes in pretty high if you included everyone, and a pretty miserable 14 percent of Rotten Tomatoes' top critics group. I think I remember 300 doing slightly worse overall and a lot better (40 percent or so) with that same list of top critics. The one "positive" top critic review is some pretty weak sauce, too.

* all this wang talk depresses Paul Pope.

* a couple of well-known comics reviewers have begun that avalanche of people weighing in: Brian Hibbs, Sean T. Collins. Hibbs disliked it, Collins liked it. If like me you're used to interpreting the tastes of comics reviewers more than movie reviewers, those reviews might be a welcome development.

* not comics: AV Club uses the fact that Watchmen was once considered unfilmable to suggest a whole bunch of comics-related works that they'd like to see adapted into film. Some of these are no-brainers, and either have or had movie deals, but a few are interesting. I always thought Reid Fleming was a natural comedy vehicle, and Hollywood certainly doesn't lack for slightly heavy comedic actors right now. There was a script at one point which Jon Lovitz wanted to do; I remember it being pretty funny, but not funny enough to make with Lovitz as lead. I'd settle for a non-dumbassed Superman movie. Watching stuff like Persepolis made me realize I almost always prefer the comics anyway.
posted 7:10 am PST | Permalink

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