The superhuman crew

There’s a really terrific (but hugely spoiler-filled) critique of Watchmen — more graphic novel than movie — over at Comic Book Resources with Damon Lindelof, Carr D’Angelo and Atom! Freeman. I think my favorite part — which, again, is a huge spoiler — is the following exchange:

DAMON: I want to talk about Rorschach. Question…

CARR: He is the Question.

DAMON: Rorshach’s face is his everything. In fact, he’s literally holding it on as he’s fighting Adrian in the previous issue. And yet… once he realizes Jon is going to vaporize him, what does he do? He takes off his mask. And so, the question is this: does Jon kill Rorschach? Or does Jon kill Walter?

ATOM!: Wow. Who knew there were still surprises? Walter kills Rorschach. Jon kills Walter.

CARR: Removing the mask is a symbolic suicide. But it’s also saying that you can kill the person who is Rorschach, but not the idea of Rorschach.

DAMON: Well, Rorshach makes such a big deal out of that mask and what it means in regards to his identity.

CARR: Rorschach lives on in the journal too. “Nothing ever ends.”

DAMON: I’ve always felt that Moore’s decision to kill Rorschach was the only way to guarantee no one would ever write a sequel.

CARR: There was talk of a Nite Owl/Rorschach prequel and a Minutemen series.

DAMON: Thank God it was just talk.

CARR: Moore, ironically, thought the book would go out of print

ATOM!: Strange to think that this wasn’t designed to be read and re-read.

DAMON: I’ve always wondered about Rorschach’s decision.

CARR: Well, he wasn’t going to get very far on foot was he?

DAMON: Clearly, the difference between right and wrong seems very clear to him. But I’ve always wondered what he thought it would accomplish if he did expose the truth. I think Rorschach doesn’t want there to be peace, because he doesn’t understand it. And there’s no place for him in a world where there aren’t animals to put down.

ATOM!: I think the mistake is to think Rorschach thought through longterm. Veidt thought longterm and decided to grow a giant squid. Rorschach knocked heads together until he got an answer to his question.

CARR: But is a world without nuclear war necessarily a peaceful one?

DAMON: Well, that’s the $64,000 question. Did it work?

ATOM!: Wait for the sequel.

“Masked musclemen and their melon-breasted mamas”?

I can usually accept Lucius T. Shepard’s opinions, because I think they’re often considered and well thought out, but I don’t think there’s any possibility that I could ever agree with him on anything. From his pretty negative take on Watchmen:

Despite the insistence made by some that pop culture be taken seriously as high art, =Watchmen= remains a superhero comic (if it were something else, it would not serve its author’s purpose), and as such its vision of history and its take on human relationships are adolescent and simplistic, and its profundities are merely quasi-profound; its themes, variously interpreted as everything from political satire to the death of the hero, are essentially a juvenile nihilism embroidered with masked musclemen and their melon-breasted mamas. It seems the work of an precocious sophomore whose reading of philosophy ended with Nietzsche and whose literary obsessions (Jack Kirby, Raymond Chandler, and so on) have produced an absurdly pretentious style of noir, a style that has since proliferated and that I’ve come to call the It’s-Always-Raining-Where-I’m-Drinking (high) school of creativity, usually defined by rundown urban settings rife with graffiti and rainy streets awash with obsessed loners and women in tight and/or revealing clothing. Labeling it one of the great novels of our era doesn’t change the fact that you could probably make a list of a hundred better novels written by authors whose surnames start with the letter Z. It’s a seminal work in the comic book field, a genre-expanding work, but the genre it expands, superhero comics, targets a demographic composed mainly of adolescents and adults clinging to their adolescence (I make no implicit judgment here—I’m clinging like all get-out to mine), a vast percentage of whom are prevented by an R rating from seeing the movie.

Which is just so arrogantly dismissive that it pisses me off. It doesn’t matter if you think Watchmen was a great or terrible movie; Shepard is saying that it can’t be great, because it’s based on a comic, and those things — as anybody with two brain cells to rub together could tell you — are by their nature shallow and immature.

It’s not that Shepard levels these charges against Zach Snyder’s movie, or against Alan Moore’s book. Nobody says that he, or anybody else, has to like either of them, or that they should escape all criticism. It’s that he comes in with all sorts of assumptions and prejudices and applies them across the board.

I’m reminded again why, although I can accept Shepard’s opinions, I tend to avoid reading them. And why, although I don’t always agree with her opinions, I think Abigail Nussbaum was completely right about the man.

Saturday various

  • Who Pacs the Pacmen?” I’m not sure, but I think I want one of these t-shirts.
  • Superusless Superpowers [via]
  • John Sclazi offers some perfectly plausible reasons why George Lucas plans to re-release the Star Wars films in 3D. I still wish Lucas wouldn’t, though.
  • Typelizer seems to think I’m an ESTP personality type, at least based on my weblog, suggesting that I am “[t]he active and playful type….especially attuned to people and things around [me] and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.” [via]

    Several years ago, however, when I took the Meyers-Briggs test, I was pegged as INFJ, which is the direct opposite. So either I’ve radically changed in the seven years since, Typealyzer doesn’t really work, or one is not one’s weblog.

  • YourFonts. While on the one hand, a free personalized font creator sounds really cool, the idea of turning your signature into a font opens up all kinds of fears of forgery and identity theft. [via]
  • Tumbarumba is an add-on for Firefox web browsers. It quietly sits in the background, occasionally inserts a fragment of a story into a webpage that is being viewed. The result is an absurd sentence that is reminiscent of the surrealist exquisite corpse game.” [via]

    Which, I’ll admit, sounds and looks really interesting. There’s a pretty decent list of authors. But I wonder about plugins like this… What would happen if you installed this on someone else’s computer and didn’t tell them?