Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Watchmen day 1

I'm teaching my comic class again, and I thought that as I go through each class period, I would post here some of the interesting little observations made by myself and the students. Today was chapter 1 of Watchmen, and here were a few of our insights:

+page 1's slow pull back from the smiley face button is reciprocated in the last page as well, the first page symbolizing death with its blood and the last symbolizing life with Dan and Laurie laughing over drinks

+page 1 also contains hints at two incredibly significant presences in the book: Kovacs walking through the blood (while Rorschach's journal narrates) and a purple Pyramid Deliveries truck goes by (singled out by its purple color, tying it to Adrian)

+panel 5 of page 4 is filled with clues: the newsstand, gunga diner, a knottop, electric cars, Kovacs. it is all important. it's all part of the narrative puzzle. everything is connected and nothing ever ends.

+page 4's last panel and page 5's first are the same two buildings in the day and at night, with one other change: Kovacs is in the former, and Rorschach in the latter

+our introduction to Rorschach sums up his character well. we've gotten insight into his world view in his journal excerpts that run parallel to the action, but in his first actual scene he says little. he slowly and methodically puts pieces together, looking down on them from above

+our intro to Dan: a dork who hangs out with old guys reminiscing about the good old days. he walks home to where he lives alone and has locked all his toys in the basement, in denial about how much happier he would be if he let himself play with them

+the middle panel of page 10, one of my students pointed out, has Dan in silhouette from a distance, and the shape of his coat and his glasses mimic Nite Owl's costume perfectly

+the Dan/Rorschach scenes are essentially the two different sides of Batman (gadget-loving wealthy thrillseeker vs. obsessive grim detective) having an argument

+intro to Adrian: first panel of page 17. skyscraper with his name on it, dialogue coming out of the side like the building itself is speaking. He IS the ivory tower. Lots of purple and yellow too throughout this scene, in his costume and in his present day business suit, the colors of opulence.

+intro to Jon: he's 25 feet tall. he looms large over everything and his presence and uniqueness is undeniable. demonstrations of his powers and his detachment to human concerns (the bit about the number of particles in a corpse) throughout these pages.

+intro to Laurie: in Jon's shadow, arms crossed in confrontational pose. demonstrations of her boredom throughout these pages. (is Jon smiling on the bottom of page 23 because he knows where she and Dan will end up?)