Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Who's gonna watch The Watchmen

Is it weird now that it's an American dream to be a blogger? As far as I know, most people who do this for a living aren't making a ton of scratch from it. But just being able to pontificate and feel important because YOU HAVE AN OPINION and then get paid for it... well, that's much better than bagging groceries at the Piggly Wiggly, I guess. So I know from my statistics that I get some traffic here, and if people do read the blog, I assume they're geeky like me, into sci-fi, comics, and other geek traditions.

I am about to drop in readership significantly.

I don't care about The Watchmen. I'm not excited about it. I didn't like the comic book and I think Fox has every right to try to stop the film from release until Warner Brothers gives them some money.

Sorry, there, I said it.

The honest truth is that, while I appreciate what Alan Moore was trying to do with his epic tale, which seems to be the deconstructing of the super-hero fantasy and placing such ideas in the real world... sure, it's great, and I'm glad he did it, but I think it's been done better since... even by Moore himself.

When I first read The Watchmen, I wasn't that into complex comics... to be honest there weren't a lot of them out there, if you didn't live near a comic book shop. In fact my first real introduction to that kind of epic storyline was Sandman #8... I'd had my father picking up Comic Buyer's Guide for me when he went to the 'big city' of Lexington, KY, and for a few months all anybody could talk about was a new horror comic called Sandman, written by some guy I'd never heard of. Well, once I turned 16 and got my license, I finally began to (occasionally, as I was poor) going to Lexington myself, and one of my first trips to the comic shop saw me purchasing this comic book.

I remember sitting in my car behind the shop after buying it. I'd read so many reviews and seen so many blurbs that I had to see what it was about. After I was done, I went in and bought the other seven issues.

This began my introduction to "indie" comics, like Tales of the Beanworld, Zot!, Nexus, The Elementals and more. Eventually I began tracking down other well-reviewed indie comics, starting with Alan Moore's other epic story, Miracleman.

Wow. Just, wow. The whole idea of taking an antiquated super-hero like that and asking "What if they really existed? What if we took super-hero physics and applied them to our world?

"What would it be like if these gods walked among us?"

The savage Kid Miracleman was unparalleled violence in comics, at the time, and it was also so amazingly good. Yes! This is what they would be like. Superman wouldn't be a Boy Scout, he'd take what he wanted. He'd find all the Kryptonite in the world and hide it on Europa and make sure we were never able to get to it.

So, it was around 1995 that I first read The Watchmen. My general response today would have been "Meh." I really only liked the Dr. Manhattan stuff, because Alan Moore was taking quantum theory (as it was at the time) and twisting it up and that was fun, but all the other stuff just bored me.

I've tried since to get into the series, but it never resonates with me. It feels like a relic. Perhaps it is.

That said, the movie looks pretty decent from what I've seen. Warner Brothers reportedly isn't being completely faithful to the story, but come on, do we really need a giant squid, guys? Eh, some people are bunchin' their panties up about that, I'm not. But all in all, Warner Brothers looks to be doing a smashing job on the movie.

And here comes Fox to fuck it up!

Okay, here's where I differ from the fanboys crying for a boycott of Fox to protest what they're doing. Are Fox being dicks? Absolutely. And they have every rights to be dicks about it because they still own the rights to distribute the movie. Why Warner Brothers would even contemplate putting this into production without first securing the rights is beyond me. Would it be okay for me to film and distribute a sequel to The Dark Knight without securing the rights to the characters? No it wouldn't.

Fox is completely within their rights to get compensation for a movie adaptation that they still own the distribution rights to. Warner Brothers should have locked this down a long time ago, and yes, it would have cost them a pretty penny. But now that penny is going to be much, much prettier.

That said, I'll still go see the movie, if only to oggle Dr. Manhattan's Smurf junk.

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