Alan Moore Curses Watchmen Movie
I caught a student reading Watchmen at the back of my class. Don’t worry, I didn’t bust him for it. After all, it is an English class, and I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from reading one of the greatest graphic novels of all time, even if they choose to do so while I’m trying to explain sentence fragments. I used to do the same thing myself in high school. (I may even have done it with Watchmen.) I just wasn’t smart enough to hide in the back of the room. Whether because of my poor eyesight or my extreme nerdiness, I always sat right up front, in plain view of my teachers. Luckily, I’ve always been capable of focusing on more than one thing at a time. I remember astounding my Spanish teacher, a retired Colombian bodybuilder who was clearly not a man to be fucked with, by answering his rather pointed questions in passable Español, my head still firmly buried in a John Varley novel. But I digress.
I talked a bit with my student during the break, eyeing his shiny new edition with the slick paper and restored colors. A friend of his, presumably a comix geek, had insisted that he read the original before seeing movie.
I too am excited about the upcoming Watchmen movie in large part because director Zach Snyder (who also brought Frank Miller’s 300 to the screen) has promised as faithful an adaptation as the 150-minute running time allows. There are also a couple of genius bits of casting. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (John Winchester on TV’s Supernatural) has already demonstrated that he can dredge up the tortured cynicism necessary to play The Comedian. And anyone who has seen Jackie Earle Haley as a paroled sex offender in Little Children (a film recommended by no less an authority than Stephen King) cannot doubt his ability to portray the fascist vigilante Rorschach. His line reading in the trailer alone is enough to give me chills.
The only thing marring my anticipation is the sadly predicable behavior of the notoriously misanthropic Alan Moore, the snake-worshiping Englishmen who wrote and co-created Watchmen along with artist Dave Gibbons. Every time I read an interview with Moore (usually in the back pages of Jess Nevins’ annotations to Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) he cannot refrain from slagging Hollywood moviemakers, the American comix industry, and (by implication) anyone who enjoys their products. Granted, Moore does have legitimate grievances against certain people and publishers here in the U.S., but his tedious ire never seems to wane. Moore has refused to have anything to do with the Watchmen movie, even to the point of turning his residuals over to Gibbons, who has been on set with Snyder as a consultant. Laughing about the film’s legal troubles in a recent interview with L.A. Times blogger-in-residence, Geoff Boucher, Moore jokingly claimed to have cursed the movie with his wizard powers. I find his childish attitude disappointing, especially as both Snyder and Gibbons are trying to stay true to the spirit of the original.
Regardless, I took my boys to ComicKaze the other day. (We were seeking Ben Templesmith’s Doctor Who one-shot, The Whispering Gallery.) I saw the Watchmen action figures, and had to fight off the almost irresistible urge to open several packages and twist a bunch of Ozymandius figures into contorted poses. A pile of Watchmen reissues sat on a table like a load of colorful bricks. I remembered the last time I saw stack like that, in a cramped comic shop on El Cajon Boulevard, in 1987. I still have my first edition compilation. It sits on my shelf even now, battered and faded, alongside Moore’s recent work. I’ve carried it from place to place since before my boys were born, before I got married, before I graduated high school or learned to drive. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve read it over all those years. Yes, I will see the Watchmen movie. But like it or hate it, it will not diminish my admiration for the graphic novel.
And then there’s my student. If it weren’t for the upcoming film, he might never have read Watchmen at all. Maybe Alan Moore should bear that in mind.
Strap on your cardboard party hat and get ready for cupcakes. The Weekly Rot is officially one year old. So take a swing at the Cthulhu piñata. Pin the butcher knife on Janet Leigh. Try the punch. I’m pretty sure the eyeballs in there are rubber. If you’re feeling nostalgic, take a stroll through the archives, and check out some of our early posts. Just try not to wake Mad Mary.