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"Remember when Rorschach killed that one guy horribly?" "Ha ha, good times."
November 21, 2008 3:40 PM   Subscribe

You guys! Psyched about that whole Watchmen movie thing (previously, we've touched on Watchmen briefly, like, once or twice?), kinda wanna read the book, but you just can't see fitting a 400-page comic into your busy, busy schedule? Fortunately for you, there's The Condensed Version. (Via the often NSFW Journalista.)
posted by kittens for breakfast (59 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
(Asked to look at an inkblot test and tell what he sees, he pictures an MS Paint/stick-figures cartoon)
"A pretty butterfly."
posted by lekvar at 3:49 PM on November 21, 2008


So, kfb, now that I've read that I can skip the full version, right? ;)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:51 PM on November 21, 2008


Does not conform to 9 panel grid: FAIL

(Just kidding)

(but really, it should)
posted by Artw at 3:52 PM on November 21, 2008


Yeah, that's pretty much how I remember it going. I think the stick figure alien squid got short shrift.
posted by Sparx at 3:54 PM on November 21, 2008


I actually ordered the comic off amazon and read it. It was pretty good and didn't take that much time.
posted by delmoi at 3:57 PM on November 21, 2008


I should be exactly nine panels. If I was less drunk I'd do it right now.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:58 PM on November 21, 2008


funny stuff..

I just sent the link to Snyder and the producer kid...
posted by HuronBob at 3:58 PM on November 21, 2008


This comic is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:59 PM on November 21, 2008


I read the mint-in-bag first-printing copy I bought as a kid.

Oh yeah. That's how cool I am.
posted by GuyZero at 4:01 PM on November 21, 2008


Please dear god don't read that before you read the full comic.


but once you've read the full comic please dear got read that.

posted by Lacking Subtlety at 4:05 PM on November 21, 2008


So good. Man. I loved that.

I just sent the link to Snyder and the producer kid...

I swear to god, if he tries to photoshop out the monster vagina...
posted by cortex at 4:09 PM on November 21, 2008


Not great, but almost worth it for "I'm the goddamned Nite-Owl."
posted by rokusan at 4:16 PM on November 21, 2008


I'm suffering from Watchmen fatigue.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:30 PM on November 21, 2008


This reminds me of when I was a smart ass and decided to illustrate every episode of "Ghost In The Shell: Standalone Complex" (!warning! I made this, so it's not very good.)
posted by hellojed at 4:34 PM on November 21, 2008


So, kfb, now that I've read that I can skip the full version, right? ;)

I SEE YOUR FUTURE

Your reading future

It appears in nine-panel grids
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:35 PM on November 21, 2008


I've tried, kfb, I've tried. It just doesn't do it for me the way, say, From Hell did. I'll give it another go -- maybe this Cliff Notesey version will help me keep track of what the hell is going on.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:37 PM on November 21, 2008


Can I see this done with bunnies?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:43 PM on November 21, 2008


The Watchmen? They're going to make a book out of that movie?
Good luck!
posted by Smedleyman at 4:51 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm suffering from Watchmen fatigue.

Man. Me too. Since like 1995.
posted by tkchrist at 4:55 PM on November 21, 2008


The Watchmen book is the biggest bargain in bound graphic novels, ever. If you're remotely interested in it you should pick it up. It's $12 on amazon!

Compare and contrast with Absolute Sandman. Yikes! I'm dropping heavy Christmas hints with family about that one.
posted by CaseyB at 4:59 PM on November 21, 2008


> Can I see this done with bunnies?

After the film's out, you'll probably be able to see it done with bunnies here.
posted by WCityMike at 5:04 PM on November 21, 2008


I've tried, kfb, I've tried. It just doesn't do it for me the way, say, From Hell did.

From Hell, to be fair, really IS the better book, although that's a somewhat heretical opinion, I believe.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:10 PM on November 21, 2008


The Watchmen book is the biggest bargain in bound graphic novels, ever. If you're remotely interested in it you should pick it up. It's $12 on amazon!

That's the paperback. More comparable to Absolute Sandman is Absolute Watchmen, currently $58.

</Watchmen pedant>

I enjoyed the condensed version, thanks. Sometimes I think Paint might be the best piece of software Microsoft ever made.
posted by [user was fined for this post] at 5:20 PM on November 21, 2008


From Hell is an awfully good book. Then again, I also liked Promethea, so there you go. I like long, pedantic things by Alan Moore -- so why can't I manage Watchmen?

(Repeated, for emphasis, from a post in a thread some time ago about it: the best way to annoy the crap out of your Watchmen-loving boyfriend is to refer to Doctor Manhattan as "you know, the blue guy.")
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:39 PM on November 21, 2008


Oh dear God that was good.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:43 PM on November 21, 2008


After the film's out, you'll probably be able to see it done with bunnies here.

That's what I had in mind, WCM.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:55 PM on November 21, 2008


From Hell is Moore's most novelistic, most mature and powerful work. It haunted me.

I can't imagine a condensed version.

And a condensed Watchmen? Seriously? It's a graphic novel. By their own nature they move fast. It rewarded re-reading and slow sighting of how the themes and motifs collect and separate. Why would you do that? Everyone skips over the prose and Black Freighter bits. Going back to them makes the story richer. It wasn't until the 3rd reading that I realized why Hooded Justice vanished and why Captain Metropolis excused him. And it's so much sadder for that.
posted by The Whelk at 5:58 PM on November 21, 2008


See the sample at the end? Does it always just SEEM like movies come out with a political reflection on current times? The Truman/Good men vs the Socialists/Intellectuals? Well, maybe it will all translate over to a movie full of extreme sexual tension.
posted by jwakawaka at 6:03 PM on November 21, 2008


Please dear god don't read that before you read the full comic.

They already did it... five minutes ago.
posted by Artw at 6:18 PM on November 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


From Hell is Moore's most novelistic, most mature and powerful work. It haunted me.

I can't imagine a condensed version.


I wrote a condensed version once. It wasn't very good
posted by dng at 6:23 PM on November 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dng:

Ahahaha!
posted by The Whelk at 6:30 PM on November 21, 2008


That is brilliant, dng.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:53 PM on November 21, 2008


dng - Needs more carriage rides around magicaly portenteous london landmarks.
posted by Artw at 7:03 PM on November 21, 2008


+ Bilbo Baggins references.
posted by Artw at 7:03 PM on November 21, 2008


That really emphasizes to me how talented one must truly be to write and/or draw great comic books.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:50 PM on November 21, 2008


"The content that you are about to view could contain adult concepts which may not be suitable for minors. To continue, you must confirm that you are at least 14 years of age."

Adult test FAIL as well.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:53 PM on November 21, 2008


Y'know, some of the funnier comics I've seen online have been godawful Paint abortions.

This was great!
posted by graventy at 7:59 PM on November 21, 2008


so why can't I manage Watchmen?

Im the demographic who should be completely in love with it and everytime Ive read it (three times now) I close the book with a "meh." For me, comic heroes done real feels far too fake. I dont believe the world they are in. Its still a comic book world. Its not gritty or realistic, its slightly more mature. The ending is also terrible. An alien invasion doesnt bring peace, it brings out of control arms spending, militarization of space, random violence, accusations of helping the enemy, etc. War is never a peaceful solution.

I think my problem is I read it when I was too old. I was in my 20s the first time. I think a lot of the people who sing its praises were teens or pre-teens when they read it and it must have been pretty mindblowing if all you ever read was Captain America and the X-Men. I guess you can never go back. At least I can still watch Star Wars and enjoy it.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:18 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


As in the real one, you can skip the grimdark pirate comics.

Grimdark Pirate Comics.

GRIMDARK PIRATE COMICS.
posted by yhbc at 8:56 PM on November 21, 2008


Rule 34 and Alan Moore (slightly NSFW)
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:09 PM on November 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


An alien invasion doesnt bring peace, it brings out of control arms spending, militarization of space, random violence, accusations of helping the enemy, etc. War is never a peaceful solution.

How could you possibly know this?
posted by delmoi at 9:09 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rule 34 and Alan Moore (slightly NSFW)

Slightly!?
posted by delmoi at 9:10 PM on November 21, 2008


Thats one of the subtle points of the ending. This won't bring peace at all, only a very brief respite. Manhattan says as much, in an enigmatic way. Manhattan's statement, from memory as I don't have the book with me, was "This isn't the end. Nothing ever ends." when Adrian said something along the lines of "I saved the world! I've ended war!"

This is one of the things that makes the book for me. Squid ex machina would have been rather terrible if not for this statement. All those struggles and deaths and all ultimately for nothing.
posted by pandaharma at 10:48 PM on November 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm not seeing it. Why am I not seeing it?
posted by alexei at 11:09 PM on November 21, 2008


Thats one of the subtle points of the ending. This won't bring peace at all, only a very brief respite. Manhattan says as much, in an enigmatic way. Manhattan's statement, from memory as I don't have the book with me, was "This isn't the end. Nothing ever ends." when Adrian said something along the lines of "I saved the world! I've ended war!"

Interesting (and I always thought the squid plot was a bit lame) but the obvious rejoinder is: why doesn't Adrian know that? He's so effortlessly right the rest of the time. How does he get to be wrong about this, the crux of his plan?

(Or is it simpler to just write it off as a failure of imagination on the part of Moore?)
posted by outlier at 1:49 AM on November 22, 2008


It's not even subtle. Rorschach wrote everything down in his journal and sent it to a magazine, and they're going to publish the truth. It didn't work. War will still happen.
posted by empath at 2:42 AM on November 22, 2008


I'd say it's still a bit subtle. Sure Rorschach's journal will get printed but by a magazine of very marginal journalistic quality. Hence, there would be some doubt if anyone would actually pay any attention to the story.

Could be explosive and expose the fraud. Could be printed next to stories about Dolly Parton's alien love child and therefore go unnoticed.
posted by pandaharma at 5:42 AM on November 22, 2008


I'd say it's still a bit subtle. Sure Rorschach's journal will get printed but by a magazine of very marginal journalistic quality. Hence, there would be some doubt if anyone would actually pay any attention to the story.

Yeah, the feeling I got was that Rorschach's journal would get little or no attention at first, would probably be written off as a hoax by most people (that is, there'd be a lot of doubt re: whether he even really wrote it), etc. But as Veidt's utopia hits the snags inevitable whenever any utopian ideal collides with the real world, and people grow more receptive to the idea that maybe shit isn't so great here in post-space-vagina-land after all (and possibly wonder what exactly did happen to Rorschach?), I can see the journal gaining quite a few 9/11 Truther-type adherents. Then one day Alternate Universe Oliver Stone calls Alternative Universe Kevin Costner, and...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:55 AM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Interesting (and I always thought the squid plot was a bit lame) but the obvious rejoinder is: why doesn't Adrian know that? He's so effortlessly right the rest of the time. How does he get to be wrong about this, the crux of his plan?

On the one hand, Veidt is this great big unmatched thinker who manages throughout the story to pull every switcheroo possible; on the other hand, this is a book full of (with one glowing blue exception) decidedly, tragically human "superheroes". Veidt doesn't get the convenience of being e.g. Batman in a Batman title—he's just very good, not destined by title continuity to always come out on top.

So Veidt is smart, and knows he's smart, and knows he's been right about every tactical step he's executed. Smart as he is, that sets him up to be powerfully unqualified to recognize when he's got an idea beyond the scope of his abilities to evaluate—who would he confide in to call him on it, and who would he trust to know better than him?

Ambition and narcissism collide into an irresistible need to Do This Thing. It's too big, too clever, too perfect not to attempt; if he shrugged it off and walked away because of mere creeping doubt, what is he but a man who wasn't as capable, as brilliant, as unconditionally correct as he had convinced himself he was?

He gets it wrong because he's too invested in the idea that he's going to get it right and that only he can do so to look back.
posted by cortex at 8:16 AM on November 22, 2008 [7 favorites]


Ozymandias is too excited thinking about what the inscription on his big ass statue will be to waste time thinking through all the consequences.
posted by turaho at 2:20 PM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


How does he get to be wrong about this, the crux of his plan?

Because on the scales he's playing, the smartest man and the smartest termite is about the same thing.

Veidt did indeed save the world, the problem is keeping it saved. But having the scared the world into co-operation, how do you keep keep all those various hatreds and reasons for wars on the back burner, for at least a generation or two? You can't. You can also can't control six billion people, there's always some nut with a religious mission, determined to appease god, allah or the voices in his head. To think you could is almost like being a republic serial villain i.e. whatever master plan you have is bound to fail.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:12 PM on November 22, 2008


How could you possibly know this?

How does Alan Moore the opposite then?

When has a massive military build-up, out of control military spending, fear, paranoia, and xenophobia has ever been for good for anyone? Look at the cold war, sure the button wasnt pressed against the Soviets (barely) but we got Vietnam, Korea, and Afghanistan.

At the very least militarization of space, which is the logical outcome with a war with aliens, would be a nightmare for humanity. If the Soviets ever managed to get Polyus in space then we would be living in a completely difference world.

The book ends on such an incredible silly note the only thing I am able to consider is that Veigt is truly a nutball sociopath (thus the hackneyed mad genius stereotype) or that Moore cant write endings (some have argued this successfully). Either way, neither are good for people from outside comics who read this because of over-the-top fanboy ravings. The whole book reminds me of that funny dialogue Stewie gives about being a writer in family guy, you know the part about "enemies becoming friends and right turning out to be wrong."

I also dont like how people ignore the great deal of moral ambiguity in comics prior to Watchmen. Moore certainly didnt invent it.

Yeah, its a good book, but its not the bible for comics. Its a nice departure and along with Miller's Batman work, helped comics moved slightly past the kiddie lit ghetto.

FWIW, I recommend stuff like the Death of Captain Marvel and Pyongyang to people interested in exploring graphic novels. Not Watchmen. Death of Captain Marvel predates Watchmen by a few years and does a much better job at raising comics to the adult level.

/comic book guy voice
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:30 PM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Regarding Veidt and his plan, the world might not have even needed saving. Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviets in our world as well, and it didn't lead to the end of everything.

There were a couple of scenes in the comic that might support this. First there's a scene where President Nixon looks at projections of what nuclear war would do to the east coast, shocked into silence. Second, when he's in NORAD and is asked "what now" he responds "We sit here and wait".

The Americans weren't going to fire the first shot so to speak. Were the Soviets? What would they have to gain by starting a nuclear war when Dr. Manhattans departure radically alters the balance of power in their favor?

Plus it ties in with the main character from the black freighter comics, an obsessed man doing terrible things because of a threat that proves to be a figment of his imagination.
posted by Grimgrin at 7:16 PM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Death of Captain Marvel predates Watchmen by a few years and does a much better job at raising comics to the adult level.

lol, whut?

No. No, it really doesn't. It helps to raise superhero comics to a slightly more adult level by killing off a major character in a real world kind of way, but this is not exactly a bold step forward for comics as a whole. Watchmen's contribution to the form doesn't have a lot to do with the superhero genre, even though it is a superhero comic; not really getting why the book is good is, I think, the big reason you have silly shit like Identity Crisis paraded around as the "next" Watchmen, when all it is is a Justice League comic now with rape!. The costumes are just context: On a story level, Watchmen is great because of its themes, and on a storytelling level, it's amazing because of all the techniques in play (and this is all leaving aside the incredible detail of the environment that Gibbons creates). It's not "adult" because Rorschach is badass or Nite-Owl can't get wood or whatever. It's adult because it's a graphic novel that actually has the scope and depth and ambition of a Big Serious Novel. To be honest, I'm not sure even now how many other even really good comics you can say that about...From Hell, certainly, Burns's Black Hole to a lesser degree, Hernandez' Palomar, and...uh...I'm drawing a blank, though there have to be other good examples. The Death of Captain Marvel...uh, not really one of them.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:23 PM on November 22, 2008


Halo Jones was better.
posted by Artw at 10:36 PM on November 22, 2008


Stewie gives about being a writer in family guy, you know the part about "enemies becoming friends and right turning out to be wrong."

link 4u
posted by thedaniel at 2:49 AM on November 23, 2008


What elevates Watchmen from being merely a good superhero comic to a masterpiece isn't the plot, it's the technique. I'm not sure that any other comic is as densely layered in allusion and symbolism. It rewards reading and re-reading, it makes for interesting conversation. That's why people keep referring to it as a classic and forcing copies on to their friends.

It's also why I'm not expecting the movie to be a masterpiece, even though I think it will be a good flick. Just to reverse the situation -- Imagine a comic book version of Psycho. I'm sure it would be a decent read, but would it be a groundbreaking masterpiece? How could it be?

Btw, has Alan Moore ever worked on an original screenplay? I'd love to see what he comes up with for an original story for film.
posted by empath at 3:10 PM on November 23, 2008


He has said he's more interested in a long TV serial like The Wire than movies.

Which would work for me.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 9:26 AM on November 24, 2008


TBH in recent interviews he’s given the impression that he regards film as pretty brain dead, and has little interest in it. Good on him, I say, especially when you compare him with the hordes of B-List writers who are pretty nakedly using comics as a stepping stone to imagined Hollywood careers.
posted by Artw at 9:29 AM on November 24, 2008


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