Watchmen and my first impression on comic books

This is the first time ever I am reading a comic, and I am wondering what took me so long. Watchmen has changed my entire perspective on comics. I never thought they could actually deal with serious matters, have highly complex characters and the dynamism and detail of a well-crafted story.

The text itself (dialogue, journal entries) is fantastic. It is witty, at times funny, full of voice and most of all, the comic book structure allows for a very fluid sense of dialogue. In a book, it is annoying how usually when someone says something, the author has to make it clear who said it. Yet, in a comic book the dialogue flows from square to square and you can tell instantly who says what. It seems much more real.

Since the text is already so good it could be a novel all by itself, the drawings then become such a treat. It is kind of like if Northanger Abbey or Heart of Darkness came with illustrations for every single scene. Not only are they fabulous from an art perspective, but they are also full of information that is just as valuable as the text. Seeing how well text and image work together to create a cohesive story really makes me understand the idea that a comic is “co-creative intermedia”. It is truly a work of art.

Furthermore, I can see how the book is irresistible to translate to film. Yet, as mentioned in lecture, it would leave no room for self-interpretation. With books sometimes I feel there is not enough descriptive information, while with movies, there is an overflow. So with comic books, it is a great balance between showing you implicitly what is happening, yet leaving enough room for you to interpret it as you wish. The use of stock colours (no shading) and that you obviously cannot hear the voices leave it up to the reader to imagine. The result is a much more personal story that will probably resemble the spaces and voices of your life.

Although the end of studying Watchmen is nigh, I don’t think it will be the last time I pick up a comic book.

1 Thought.

  1. i agree that the format watchman is in enhances its interpretive qualities, that may not work in a film version. The narrative looping and flow, for instance, works best in a book form that allows readers to re-read and scrutinize. Such ease of reinterpretation would be diminished in a film version.

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