« Weeks 1-2: Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics | Main | Twelve Hours of the Night »

February 08, 2010


David Golding

You're one of the few people to notice or at least comment on the new colouring. I own an old paperback, so I've only experienced the new colours by first, flicking through the recent paperback in Borders, and second, reading Gibbons's Watching the Watchmen. Thus perhaps I haven't got the full impact, but I hate the new colours. Give me the old colours any day. The "ironic Benday dots" are a double disrespect in this case, epitomising everything I think is wrong with modern publishing's attitude to colour reprints. I promise to stare at Manhattan's march through Vietnam next time I have the chance, however, and who knows what alchemy it will perform on me?

I'm glad the class is doing so well. Since this is Genres in American Literature, did you discuss Watchmen in terms of non-comics genre? It's placement in a wider context is something I've been meaning to investigate.


This post should have some illustrations once I can reclaim my new edition from the snows that have shut down campus for a week. (This is absolutely the last semester I would want campus to shut down for a week!)

I never cared for the old colors, but I think the new ones come off particularly well when you compare the editions side by side. Scenes like the one you mentioned, the last page of chapter two, finally take on their true appearance when the red is actually red and not a slightly off-kilter pink. And I've gotten thoroughly sick of ironic Benday dots, but they perform a great service in distinguishing the Black Freighter panels and captions from the world around them (particularly the captions, which used to be identical in color to every other caption and word balloon in the comic). Whatever aesthetic claims about art's ability to represent the world this decision may or may not invalidate, it's a great leap in terms of sheer legibility.

Higgins goes overboard a few times late in the novel, introducing computer-colored explosion or teleportation effects the story always got along just fine without, but for the most part I found it a vast improvement.

The Genres in American Lit tag is just an administrative catchall used to contain a course that didn't fit easily in the catalog. The genre in question is comics and graphic novels, "genre" in this case being used in that confusing old equivalence with "form." We didn't talk much about placing Watchmen outside of comics.

If I were doing so, I wouldn't compare it to the neorealist (or tepidly magical-realist) novels that claimed the prizes in 1987 but to the great postmodernists of the 1970s, especially Thomas Pynchon and Angela Carter. For all Moore's efforts at introducing an older mode of psychological realism to the superhero genre, Watchmen is displays a wide-angle view of the world, an unabashed spirit of formal play, and an overt intellectualism that had no home in the lowered ambitions of the literature of the 1980s. Compared against the literary fiction of its day Watchmen is a decade out of date--entirely to its credit--which also puts it about two decades ahead of its times.


Fascinating posts, Marc. Keep it up

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 03/2004