Observations on the Road to...

Thursday, March 5, 2009


In about 24 hours from right now, I'll be sitting in a movie theater. But for now, I'm gonna admit something I'm quite frankly, very embarrassed about admitting in public: I barely finished reading Watchmen just last month.

I've been reading and collecting comics for almost six and a half - going on seven years now. The nerd in me feels like I should have read this book long ago. It's like I'm losing my "street cred," my "nerd membership," or something. It just feels wrong that I discovered comics and really got into the medium, but had never read the one story that many of today's creators and the works they've spawned have been influenced by.

Just last year, or maybe even the year before, I inadvertently found out which character it is who in fact 'watches the Watchmen.' Or, if you'd like the simpler, less verbose sentence, a piece of the ending was spoiled for me. At first, I was pissed, but then realized that it was my own fault. Spoilers have a statute of limitations, and I should have had already read it. However, just this past weekend during WonderCon, some things were put into perspective for me even more so.

Waiting anxiously in line to get into the con's exhibition hall on Friday, I struck up a conversation with the guy in front of mr in line. He seemed like a nice enough guy, I invited him to come out to the Isotope's Tiki Tour. I had already invited some friends to come out anyway, so I figured, why not?

These friends, with the exception of one, don't read very many comics, but practically all of them have read Watchmen by now.

Anyhow, during the Tiki Tour, as you would expect, talk of Watchmen the book, and the movie turned up in conversation a couple times. It got hard to believe when I found out that this guy wasn't a particular fan of Moore and Gibbons' book. If that wasn't enough, he'd rag on it every chance he'd get. There was also a point when he mentioned that when he saw the movie's first trailer he was excited until he realized what it was. True, he was drunk for most of the night (it was a pub crawl after all, and I had a nice buzz most of the night), but there is only so much disagreement you can take. He mentioned how much he hated the stuff about the Black Freighter, and I responded "but that's one of the best parts." That the other different tangents Watchmen goes into are some of people's favorite parts, as well.

I internalized how my friends who don't read comics, but have read Watchmen recently, absolutely love the book. It really left me at a lost, and since this guy was really buzzing, and we were out there for a good time, going into an even deeper discussion just wasn't worth the bother.

Later that night, my friend, Jamie (the one friend in the group who reads comics more regularly than the others), pointed out that maybe the guy just didn't get "it" about the book, and instead of saying "I don't get it," and coming off as a fool and/or dumb, and without even knowing (or maybe he is conscious of it), just sticks with the opinion that the book isn't that great.

Looking back now, I think I might be grateful I didn't read Watchmen til just recently. Maybe I wouldn't have comprehended certain portions or just wouldn't get "it" in general.

People are of course, entitled to their own opinions, but even now, I'm wondering what does he read on a regular basis? What is on his pull-list at his LCS? What, if any, comic book that gave him pause, that broke through, that made him think. What comic book out there has reached out to him?

For some people, it's Watchmen. For others, Watchmen might not be the one, but I'd bet they'd rank it pretty high. Then there's those that have no care for Watchmen at all, like this guy. There are also those who might not "get" Watchmen, but I reckon they at least recognize the comic's importance.

I'm pretty sure this guy doesn't even recognize its importance, and that's the weird thing. All that said, my anticipation for this movie couldn't be higher, and midnight Thursday night can't get here fast enough.


Fad23 said...

I think Watchmen is best appreciated with the background of years of comics reading. Also, it's often been surpassed in the history of comics. So if a comics fan comes to it now, they've seen much better, or at least books that have been influenced by books that have been influenced by books that have been influenced...

You can't expect anyone to like a book. Though I would agree that the endless bashing would get tiresome for me too. On the other hand, I would also add that Watchmen is hardly Moore's or Gibbon's finest work. It might be there most influential, but that's different.

And don't feel bad about not having read a book. It's not like you were there when the book was new. I mean, I can tell you about the way I had to stop reading the book at issue two because I just wasn't ready for it. I'm not embarrassed about it, because clearly the book had an impact on me. Everyone had their own way of getting to the book.

Joey JP said...

This guy seemed to know a lot about comics, though. He talked of going to cons, and commissioning artists for sketches, and having some original pages, too.

I probably wouldn't have made a big deal out of this (i.e. this blog post), if he didn't keep going on about it. Plus, there was an arrogance to him that just rubbed me the wrong way after a while.

The guy was just starting to get annoying, I would make faces or roll my eyes while looking over to my friend, Jamie, as if to telepathically say, "oh c'mon, this guy is totally killing my buzz, right now."