June 4th, 2009

Picking up a copy of Watchmen lying around a friend’s apartment the other day reminded me that I never threw in my two cents back at the height of the Alan Moore craze that hit earlier this year. Like every good geek (normally I would say “dork,” but apparently I’ve been using that word incorrectly), I made sure to read the graphic novel before the movie came out. Then I sat around analyzing both the text and the film, separately and in comparison, because that’s just my idea of a good time.

Even months later, now that the book has really sunk in, I can’t say I enjoyed reading Watchmen. That’s blasphemy, I know, but I’m not doubting the groundbreaking things it did for graphic novels, or the impressive intricacies of its plot and character backgrounds. For me what was lacking was meaningful and unusual interpersonal connections. Granted, I’m biased. I don’t care about action. I’m not a super hero fan, so I don’t get off on the meta commentary. What interests me in all genres is the way people interact, and these people don’t interact very interestingly.

I can think of two notable exceptions. They’re also the elements of Watchmen that have stayed with me the longest. First, there’s Dr. Manhattan’s simultaneous relationships with Laurie and Janey — more an expression of polyamory than serial monogamy, given the way everyone’s favorite big blue hunk experiences time. Second there’s Sally’s striking affection for the Comedian, the man who tried to rape her. It’s that inexplicable yet bizarrely understandable response (how could she love him? what choice did she have?) that makes both characters real.

Of course, my mixed feelings for Watchmen aren’t making me any less anxious for my re-released copy of Alan Moore’s Lost Girls to hurry up and get its ass here from Amazon. Erotic graphic novel based on children’s stories, quit being a tease!

Tags: better late than never, books, reviews

One Response to “On ‘Watchmen,’ polyamory, and loving a rapist”

  1. halfassured Says:

    It’s interesting to me, because I always felt that Watchmen was /mostly/ about the characters as people. What action there is is minimalist and done in such a way as to make the reader feel uncomfortable. But I guess that you see more of the characters as individuals than you do of their interrelationships with one another.

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