Since 1940, children have thrilled to the (literal) cat n’ mouse games of the masters of mayhem known as Tom and Jerry. In 2009, children and animation fans continue to enjoy their mischievous antics as countless collections of shorts are compiled, released and re-released on DVD. Tom and Jerry’s Greatest Chases volume 3 continues the proud tradition of cherry picking a few shorts from here and a few more from there and slapping them all together for your enjoyment.
Another day, another strip. I've started reading the original Alex Raymond Flash Gordon newspaper strips from week one and I've been trying to deliver a synopsis one day at a time. Of course, I've missed a couple of days - Hey, I've got a sick baby at home. But I'm back with the sixth installment.
It opens up with Aura being brought before her father, Ming the Merciless, in his throne room. Ming dispatches two warrior women to take Aura to their country of bitter ice and snow where she will serve as a common soldier in their army for six months. "Oh no, anything but that!" the beautiful Aura cries as she is carried away.
Next we find Dale Ardan tied up in front of some weird device that looks a lot like an old fashioned camera. Ming explains that the reason the denizens of Mongo have progressed so far beyond Earthlings is their lack of human traits such as kindness or pity. She is about to undergo the ordeal of the "Dehumanizing Machine" when one of his underlings draws Ming's attention to the "spaceograph". The battle from last week is depicted on the saucer-like screen and we see that Mongo City is being bombarded by space gyros.
Meanwhile, Flash is flying around in a rocket ship, smashing into space gyros and shooting them with a deadly acetylene ray. Finally, the opposing ships nail him with gas rays and he crashes. Flash is thrown from the ship and a Lion Man of Mongo rushes toward him, sword raised for the death blow!
Wow, reading this stuff is giving me an even greater appreciation for the old Buster Crabbe serials and the 1980's movie version of Flash Gordon. They're both so spot-on in a lot of their depictions. Sending Aura to the frozen wastelands, the "dehumanizing machine" ... nowadays, fanboys like to say "Hey, I don't mind if part of the story gets altered here and there as long as the basic idea is intact" whenever something gets adapted for the big screen - but I gotta give it to the folks who made those movies for keeping nearly everything intact!
Anyway, another good story. It's really starting to get good now and even though I know what happens next, I'm still really excited for the next installment. See you tomorrow!Tags: Flash Gordon, Alex Raymond, comic strip
The first week of the Flash Gordon Project concludes with the fifth installment of Alex Raymond's classic strip. Today's strip was originally published February 4, 1934. I think. It doesn't say in the book, so I have to count them out myself and ... me n' math don't always get along. Some might say that me n' English don't get along too well either. Anyway, let's get on with it.
The story opens with Flash and Aura falling into the "Hole of Horrors". Flash notices a water pipe protruding from the wall and grabs it. He catches Aura, nearly tearing his arm from the socket. They both end up standing on the pipe to avoid the hideous water dragons of Mongo, which are infesting the bottom of the pit. So it isn't really so much of a hole of horrors as it's a hole filled with dragons. Not that dragons aren't horrible, but you'd think that with a name like the Hole of Horrors, there would be more going on down there.
Anyway, Aura and Flash (who is now wearing blue shorts, as opposed to the white ones he was wearing when he fell into the pit in yesterday's installment) jump to an inclined passageway and Aura commands the beasts to leave them alone. Astonishingly, it works! I guess when you're the Princess of Mongo, everyone obeys your commands.
The two of them leave through a secret doorway to an elevator. The elevator takes them above the city and Aura tells Flash to get in a rocket in order to remain safe from her father's wrath. Little does Flash know that Aura intends to hold him in this rocket until Dale Arden becomes her father's bride. Aura wants Flash all to herself.
While planning a possible means of escape, Flash puts on some sort of uniform he finds aboard the rocket. No... he puts on a shirt and a belt, but he does not put on any pants! He's still just wearing his blue underwear! Anyway, a squadron of "space-gyros" spin above the city, destroying it with what appear to be laser blasts. Flash, "only thinking of the safety of Dale Ardan" (sometimes it's spelled Arden, sometimes Ardan) leaps the the controls and sends his ship screaming into action...
Thus far, tere seem to be three main themes running through this series. (1) Rockets (2) Lack of pants (3) Moving heaven and earth to get laid.
Ming demands that Dale will be his bride. Aura risks her own life and then locks Flash in a rocket in order to ensure that he will be kept away from Dale and that she'll get a piece of him. Then Flash flies a goddamn rocket into an armada of gigantic flying saucers to save Dale. "Only thinking of the safety of Dale Ardan" my ass! Everybody in this comic just wants to get some.
I gotta give it to Flash for being a resourceful motherfucker though. Figuring out the controls of a rocketship - awesome! I can't even drive a stickshift let alone figure out the controls of a rocket.
So that concludes today's installment. I'll be back next week with more Flash Gordon. Hopefully you'll be here too.Tags: Flash Gordon, Alex Raymond, comic strips
Reading Alex Raymond's classic newspaper strip one week at a time every day. Does that make sense? Anyway, here's the January 28, 1934 installment...
I was mistaken yesterday when I thought that Flash had stripped down to black shorts in order to fight the Four Red Monkey Men of Mongo - I realize now that he is actually wearing white shorts and it was only shadow that made them appear black. So here's Flash Gordon in his underpants lunging at one of the huge simian dudes. He knocks him out cold and gets him in a full nelson and uses the monkey man's feet to smash the second monkey man in the jaw. Another guy dives and Flash ducks - the monkey man hits the wall and slides to the floor with a groan. Finally, the fourth Red Monkey Man of Mongo dives at Flash who jumps and gets the guy in another full nelson. I quote: "Flash pinions him with a deadly grip! The muscles writhe and ripple under his glistening skin as the youth exerts pressure" ... so I guess he broke his neck.
The next panel shows Flash waving at Ming (who still hasn't been given a name) in a sign of victory. Ming orders a couple of soldiers to kill Flash for making a fool of him. Flash leaps up onto a balcony occupied by the daughter of Ming who announces that if anyone wants to kill Flash, they must kill her as well. A trap door opens in the balcony and Flash falls through. The princess jumps in behind him and the final shot shows them hurtling downward in what appears to be a giant well. The final caption states that she "... unflinchingly hurtles after Flash Gordon into... the Hole of Horrors!" So that sounds pretty scary.
Well, this issue was pretty much all fighting. It was remarkable because it introduces Aura, Ming's red-haired daughter who has a thing for Flash. I suppose I should mention the appearance of the denizens of Mongo at this point - Ming pretty much looks like a Fu Manchu type villain. Basically, he looks the way Max Von Sydow did in the movie only his skin is yellow.
I always thought that Ming was depicted as more of an offensive Asian stereotype, but it isn't really that bad. I mean, obviously he is intended to be sort of Asian or whatever and his appearance is likely intended to play on stupid Americans' fear of anything different, but he's not all freakish like the way the Japanese were depicted in Captain America comics during World War II or anything like that. It's kind of hard to judge because modern sensibilities tell us that anything even remotely stereotypical is the work of Satan, but all I know is that I've seen FAR worse stuff from a lot of other comics and cartoons from around this era and later, so all things considered, it isn't really that bad. It wouldn't (and shouldn't) fly in this day and age though, I'll tell you that much. So... whatever. I'm obviously aware of the connotations but it's not like I'm reading it going "Oh my god, he's Chinese!" or anything. It doesn't take me out of the story the way the character of Ebony does in The Spirit. My god! That's insane. But I know Will Eisner felt bad about that later on, and he should've.
Oh yeah, so back to Flash. From what we've seen so far, all of the men on Mongo are bald and everyone has pointy ears and yellow skin. And not like, yellowish skin, but yellow like the color of lemonade. Also Aura appears to be freakin' hot. She's got a long, flowing skirt and a metal bikini top. Sort of like Princess Leia, only not all coked-out (with all due respect to Carrie Fisher).
Okay so that's it for today's installment. Tomorrow is Friday and it'll probably be the last one I do this week unless I find the time to write something up on Saturday and/or Sunday. I hope you come back tomorrow for more FLASH! (aaaaahhh ahhhhhhh)Tags: Flash Gordon, Alex Raymond, comic strip
Welcome back to the Flash Gordon Project, in which I read the original Flash Gordon newspaper strip one week at a time and tell you what happened. Except I'm doing it one day at a time because reading one page per week would be kind of boring unless I was also working on a simultaneus Prince Valiant Project, Buck Rogers Project, Mary Worth Project, Judge Parker Project and possibly even a Tank McNamara Project. Since I haven't bought any of those collections, I'm just going to do Flash Gordon.
So now we're in Week Three of Alex Raymond's classic strip. I guess this one would've run on January 21, 1934. It would've been nice if they had put that in the book so I didn't have to count it out myself... anyhoo, this hardcover collection that I have collects the original strips from January 7, 1934 through April 14, 1934. We'll see if I actually make it through the whole thing and can keep up this one-day-at-a-time schedule. I'll tell you one thing off the bat: I'm going to be busy this weekend so I'll probably skip Saturday and Sunday.
Anyway, let's get back to the story. When we left Flash, he was carrying an unconscious Dale Arden out of the twisted, burning wreckage of a rocketship toward a gleaming city in the distance. Little did he realize that a big, green dinosaur-lookin' monster was trailing him.
So the monster attacks and Flash decides to fight it with a pocket knife. A fucking pocket knife! That's some balls right there. I'm thinking Flash is in shock at this point, because he didn't even say "Boo!" to the overweight scientist who threatened him and forced him on a rocket, but he's willing to fight a 13-foot monster with a pocket knife. Anyway, as Flash struggles to escape the monster's grip, another monster (this one sort of looks like a tiny brontosaurus with a horn on its head) attacks the first monster. Dale's woken up by this time and they watch the titantic tussle.
Suddenly, a fleet of sweet-looking old-fashioned rocketships descend upon the scene, shooting the monsters with electrical charges (what we might call "lasers"). This dude in a futuristic suit of armor with a big dragon on the chest steps out accompanied by two other guys in shitty looking tin suits. Flash tries to thank the guy but he takes them prisoner.
The next panel finds Flash and Dale in front of "the ruler of the universe" - no name is given and it's the most lackluster intro I've ever seen, but I guess when you are dealing with limited space you have to make do. It was 1934 and comic books hadn't even been invented yet so I'll cut Mr. Raymond some slack here. But still - compared to the movies, Ming's big intro is kind of weak. Anyway, Ming says he will take Dale Arden for his wife and Flash Gordon will be executed, as he does not meet the physical requirements of Ming's army. Flash is all like "Oh, so that's your game? I'll show you!" and he tries to punch Ming and Ming is all like, "If the youth desires physical combat, take him to the arena!"
The final panel showcases Mr. Flash Gordon wearing naught but black underpants as he descends a set of stairs to meet his doom at the hands of "The Four Red Monkey Men of Mongo!", four huge red simian-lookin' guys in blue underpants.
This week's installment advanced the story quite a bit and as usual, left us with an enormous cliffhanger. I suspect that Flash, with his professional Polo background, will likely surprise Ming with his physical prowess.
It was a big week because we get our first real glimpse of Mongo, our first look at Ming and the first of many incidents to come in which Flash is stripped down to his underwear. I've skimmed ahead in this book and let me tell you folks, the man is nearly nude nearly all the time. And even when he's wearing some sort of otherworldly uniform, it often does not have legs. It's odd, but I guess that's how they roll on Mongo.
Okay well... I hope you come back tomorrow for the next installment.Tags: Flash Gordon, Alex Raymond, comic strips
Yesterday I wrote up a... I guess you'd call it a synopsis of the very first Flash Gordon newspaper strip written and illustrated by Alex Raymond. The idea is that I'm going to read one a day and fill you guys in on the details. But seriously folks: you should just read these yourselves.
The first panel picks up where we left off yesterday (or last week) with a rocket piloted by Hans Zarkov and carrying Flash Gordon and Dale Arden is headed toward a collision course with a comet that threatens to destroy the earth. Zarkov is shown piloting the contraption and no explanation is given as to why Flash and Dale had to be there. Judging by the way Zarkov pusses out in the second panel, I'm guessing it's just because he didn't want to die alone.
"I can't do it! We'll all be killed!" Zarkov cries. Flash tries to comandeer the steering wheel (which appears to be made of wood) and next thing you know, both men's shirts are ripped and Zarkov is choking the shit out of Flash. Dale comes running with a wrench but Flash manages to overpower the crazy scientist and knock him out cold. The ship then soars over a beautiful city and the gravitational pull of the planet causes it to crash.
So... is it a planet or a comet? Is the planet surrounded by comets? I don't understand this... one minute we see a comet roughly the same size as the rocket and the next minute they're crash landing on a planet.
Anyway, the comic ends with Flash pulling a KO'd Dale out of the wreckage and heading towards a gigantic, gleaming city with a big scary green monster hunting him.
And that's it for this week's (today's) installment. I'll be back tomorrow with the next week's adventure. It'll be more indepth too, as I am somewhat strapped for time today.Tags: Alex Raymond Flash Gordon comic strip
So I've got this fancy hardcover Flash Gordon book published by Checker Books back in 2005. It features the weekly Flash Gordon comic strips from January of 1934 through April of 1935. These are the original stories written and illustrated by Alex Raymond and they're absolutely beautiful.
I had the idea that I might like to read them as they were originally written. ie - one page per week. The idea being that I'd try to recapture the experience of reading a weekly comic (I don't subscribe to my local newspaper and they don't do many adventure stories these days anyway) Well, I read one page and I was dying to read the next and I knew damn well I couldn't make it a full week without reading another one, so I decided to alter my game plan and read one page per day. And since I've got a blog here on Mania, I figured "Why not clue everybody else in on what I'm reading?" Odds are no one will want to read about me reading about Flash Gordon, but... hey, I've got a couple minutes of free time and maybe you do to. Let's get down to business with the first story from January 7, 1935.
Newspapers are proclaiming that the world is coming to an end as a strange new planet is rushing towards earth on a collision course. A headline reads: "Only a miracle can save us, says science" Who's science?
In Africa, tom-toms roll as (and I'm quoting here) the howling blacks await their doom. The next panel depicts "the Arab in the desert, resigned to the inevitable, face Mecca and pray for salvation" ... okay, so obviously this was the 1930's and white America wasn't quite as accepting as they are today. Then again, plenty of white America still isn't very accepting of other cultures... anyway, at least this isn't as bad as other stuff from this era. Have you ever seen that "Japatours" episode of the Fleischer Superman cartoons? My god! You'd think the Japanese soldiers were going to bite their way through American airplanes the way they were drawn... hideous stuff. But it's a product of the era and all things considered, I wouldn't call these two panels out-and-out racist, though they definitely seems odd to our modern sensibilities.
Anyway, back to the story. Dr. Hans Zarkov (this must be the science they talked about earlier) is seen feverishly working on a device which he hopes will save the world, but his mind is weakening under the strain. Aboard an Eastbound Transcontinental plane, we see Yale Graduate and world renowned polo player Flash Gordon along with Dale Arden, a passenger.
Seriously, they give Flash this big introduction and Dale Arden is "a passenger". But this was 1935 - women didn't have professions and if they did, they obviously didn't matter. Yikes! Again, product of its era.
Anyway, a flaming meteor shears off a wing and the plane begins to descend. Flash takes the girl in his arms and parachutes out, only to land near Zarkov's great observatory. A disheveled Zarkov appears, brandishing a gun and forces Dale and Flash aboard his rocket. He intends to smash into the comet (I thought it was a planet?) that is threatening earth in order to deflect if from its course. They'll be martyrs to science but the earth will be saved.
With a deafening roar, the rocketship shrieks into the heavens on a collision course with the onrushing planet with a madman at the controls!
Okay, so it took me like, 10 times as long to write that recap as it actually did to read the story. So far, so good - I'm hooked. I'm not entirely sure why three people had to be at the controls of this rocket that's going to smash into the planet as no technical description was given. I'm just going to chalk it up to a lack of space though; obviously Raymond knew what he was talking about. Let's not let the minor details get in the way of the story. For example, is this a comet or a planet rushing towards earth? Is it Mongo? Because the pictures make it look about the same size as the rocketship which contains our heroes. I'm hoping these questions will be answered in the next installment.
So... I'll be back sometime tomorrow with chapter two. Hopefully around the same time... maybe earlier, maybe later. If all goes well, I'll be back each and every day with an exciting edition of Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon and you'll be here to share the adventure with me.Tags: flash gordon, comics
As we do every year, I gathered with a small group of friends to watch the WWE's most spectacular event - Wrestlemania. This year was special for a number of reasons, the biggest of which being that it was the 25th anniversary. Twenty-five is a big number. That's a whole lot of Wrestlemanias.
Anyway, on with the review.
1) Primo & Carlito Colon defeated John Morrison & The Miz to unify the WWE Tag Team titles and the World Tag Team titles. I actually didn't see this match, as it did not air on the PPV. That's a shame, because I've always been a fan of tag team wrestling and I expected this to be a good match. I guess it shows how important the tag belts are these days. Boo.
2) The opening match of the Pay-Per-View saw CM Punk, MVP, Kane, Finlay, Mark Henry, Christian, Shelton Benjamin and Kofi Kingston do battle in a Money in the Bank ladder match! A briefcase containing a contract for a shot at any WWE title was hung above the ring and these eight combatants battled tooth and nail to obtain it.
The match was the usual mix of crazy highspots and creative wrestling along with a few botched attempts at interesting spots. The crazy good outweighed the bad though and it was a barnburner. Definitely a great way to kick off the show. Highlight: anything Kofi Kingston did. Lowlight: Christian trying to give Punk an "Unprettier" (or whatever that move is called now) off the ladder. It failed.
CM Punk won for the second year in a row. I was kind of hoping MVP would get the briefcase this year, but it makes sense for Punk to win: He's a former World Champion and one of the few faces with any real fan backing. WWE is in the middle of a golden age for heels right now (Randy Orton, Edge, Chris Jericho and even JBL) but there's really only one big face (John Cena) and half of the crowd hates him. Any other viable hero is getting a bit long in the tooth these days and they need to start building some good guy superstars. Punk is as good of a choice as anybody and the whole straight-edge thing certainly doesn't hurt.
* Kid Rock performed a medly of hits. It was decent and the crowd seemed into it, but it went on WAAAAY too long. You call it a performance, I call it a bathroom break.
3) Next up was the 25 Diva Battle Royal. They didn't even bother announcing the Divas, which didn't really matter: They're just a bunch of cookie cutter Barbie dolls that all basically look the same anyway.
The winner was a newcomer, Santina Marella, who is apparently Santino's twin sister from Italy. The announcers did an amazing job of not noticing that she's actually just Santino in a dress and wig and Santino did an amazing job of playing a woman. He cried and did a little dance... it was like watching an American Idol finale. Absolutely hilarious. Some of the people in the crowd seemed to be fairly disturbed by the whole thing, which proves that it was a success.
4) Chris Jericho vs. Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper (w/Ric Flair).
This match shocked me. I expected nothing but ended up having a lot of fun with it. Snuka and Piper were eliminated early - neither of them can really even move very well at this stage of the game, but I'll give credit where credit is due and say that they performed to the best of their abilities, which was pretty good for a couple of old guys.
And then there's Ricky Steamboat, who actually had a match with Jericho. It wasn't one of those situations where they trot out the old guys, they throw a couple of punches and the crowd cheers. No, Steamboat wrestled and he wrestled pretty damn well. In the end, Jericho won (which makes sense, considering the fact that he's 20 years younger than these guys) and Mickey Rourke was goaded into the ring. Rourke KO'd Jericho with a punch. A fun match with a fun finish that was reminiscent of the many celebrity cameos that Wrestlemania is famous for.
5) It was brother against brother as Matt and Jeff Hardy went at it in an extreme rules match! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this one was going to be good - and it was. Not mind-blowingly good, but the type of solid action you'd expect from the Hardy brothers.
Matt Hardy debuted some new tights (rather than those stupid cargo pants they've both been wearing for so long) and won the match by sticking Jeff's head through a steel chair and giving him a "Twist of Fate". It looked sick and was a great way to finish the match.
I was really glad Matt won. Losing matches never hurts Jeff's standing with the fans and Matt needs a boost right now, so it was an appropriate choice.
6) Intercontinental Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield had been promising to dominate Rey Mysterio at Wrestlemania. The outcome wasn't exactly what he thought it would be as Mysterio defeated him in just 21 seconds! After the match, JBL grabbed a microphone and shouted "I quit!" - which will hopefully put him back at the announce table.
It obviously wasn't a great match or anything, but I love it when stuff like this happens once in a while. Mysterio deserves a run with the IC title, so that was cool too.
7) Undertaker and Shawn Michaels went 31 minutes and it was nothing short of breathtaking. I hope the entire locker room was watching this match. I hope every young up-and-comer was glued to the screen. THIS is how it's done. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being totally awesome, this match was somewhere around a 17.
'Taker won by reversing a moonsault into a tombstone (after both men had kicked out of each others finishers several times). This should've been the main event, as it made all the other matches look like dribbles of piss that missed the toilet bowl. Wow.
8) John Cena pinned the Big Show in a three-way-dance (also featuring World Champion Edge) to win the World Championship. This was a surprisingly good match that I had a hard time paying attention to, as I was still basking in the afterglow of HBK/Undertaker. But it was good and it had a great finish as Cena picked up both guys on his shoulders, gave Show an FU and then FU'd Edge on top of Show.
Oh, I guess that move is now called the "Attitude Adjustment" in the now-PG WWE. Anyway, decent match.
* The Hall of Famers were introduced and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin got one hell of a final hurrah. He drove down to the ring on a four-wheeler and had about a million beers tossed to him. He drank a lot, spilled a lot and toasted JR and the fans. The Austin Era has officially come to an end and I realized that I am now officially an adult.
9) WWE Champion Triple H defended the McMahon family honor and defeated Randy Orton in what was arguably the biggest letdown I've ever witnessed. Not because I had a problem with the outcome, but because it was just lackluster. Very anticlimactic.
They kind of painted themselves into a corner with this match. As the biggest heel in the WWE, Orton should've won this match and cemented his spot as the new "Big Bad". But after all the hell he put HHH through, the good guy had to win - but that essentially kills all of Orton's momentum.
Here's what should've happened: The last three matches should've been:
1) HHH vs Orton
2) 'Taker vs Michaels
3) Cena vs. Edge vs. Big Show
Or at the very least, they should've switched the order of the title matches.
Despite being the WWE Champion, HHH's glory days are done and John Cena is now The Man. Don't get me wrong - I'm a HUGE fan of Trips, but this was just spotlight hogging to me. He's a legend in the making and his spot is 110% secure (being married to the bosses daughter and all), so he didn't need to be in the main event. John Cena is the guy they're pushing right now and he's the future of the business - he should've been in the main event. Also, since the HHH/Orton match was a dud, Wrestlemania would've finished on a much higher note than it did. My two cents.
All-in-all, it was a damn good show. I'd probably rate it somewhere around a B. There were a few misfires but as a whole, it was a great Wrestlemania.Tags: wrestling wrestlemania WWE
I'm not a betting man... but here are my predictions for tomorrow's PPV.
1) Chris Jericho vs. "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, Ricky Steamboat & "Rowdy" Roddy Piper - Jericho wins.
2) Miss Wrestlemania Battle Royal - is Mae Young involved in this? If so, she'll win it.
3) Jeff Hardy vs Matt Hardy - I'm guessing it'll be a draw, double count-out, whatever... the truth will never be known. The real winners will be the fans, as I expect these guys will go all out.
4) John "Bradshaw" Layfield vs. Rey Mysterio - Bradshaw wins and retains the title.
5) Money in the Bank Match - MVP. I hope.
6) Tag Team Title unification match - Miz & Morrison defeat the Colon brothers to become unified champs. And they deserve it.
7) Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels - 'Taker. Duh.
8) John Cena vs Big Show vs Edge - Cena gets the World title
9) HHH vs Randy Orton - this was the tough one... will the WWE appease the fans and have HHH win? Or will Orton walk out with the gold? Well, since they're announcing the World Title match as the main event (and I'm predicting the big face win), I'll go with Orton in this match. This'll be the proverbial passing of the torch and Orton will walk out of Wrestlemania not as the "next big thing" but as "the big thing".Tags: wrestling WWE
How does the saying go? If you love something, set it free. If it doesn't return to you then it was never yours to begin with... or is that a Sting song? Doesn't matter; I'm not really sure it applies to this situation anyway.
This Friday fanboys and girls 'round the world will have to say goodbye to Watchmen. But don't worry, I think it's safe to say it'll come back. This Friday, Watchmen will no longer be ours. We'll have to start sharing it with the rest of the world. For over 20 years, it's been our secret. The thing we pointed to when friends and relatives scoffed at superhero comics. "Oh you don't think superheroes can be sophisticated? Check this out!" For over 20 years we've been reading and re-reading it, finding something new each time. Reading between the lines and picking up on subtle clues and hints that had been expertly laid down years ago. And it's always been ours. Come Friday, Watchmen will belong to everyone.
When I was a teenager (and into my early 20's) I recall hating it when an underground band I loved hit the big time. I always felt like "they" didn't understand the band the way I did. They weren't there from the beginning. They weren't touched by their songs the way I was. They didn't support them before Mtv came a'knockin'. They didn't deserve to love that band the way I did. Clearly, they didn't "get it" the way I did. Sometimes I even blamed the band! Sellouts. I remember when we saw them and there was only 20 people in the bar! Yeah... I liked their old stuff, but their new stuff sucks. They've changed.
As I got older, I realized how stupid and immature this feeling was, but I'm sure everyone goes through it, whether it's a band, a style of music, a movie, a book or whatever. If you never did then congratulations: you're mature and wise beyond your years. But there's a certain sense of ownership and entitlement when you're young, especially if you felt like you've discovered something and it's touched you in a special way.
Er... that last line sounded kind of weird.
Anyway, I realized the other day that Watchmen... our Watchmen will be "hitting the big time". Like all those underground bands from back in the day, it's going to be worldwide now. Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan will be household names. There will be t-shirts and posters and crappy merchandise and certainly the new fans won't "get it" the way we did (and still do). But this time around, I'm not upset. Partly because of maturity and partly out of sheer excitement. That teenage feeling is long gone, replaced by the joy of sharing the knowledge of this great work with others. It's good for Watchmen, it's good for Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons and it's good for Zack Snyder but overall - it's good for comics.
Folks who haven't read the book might be pointed in the right direction and pick it up after watching the movie. That is, if they haven't already read it. I don't know the sales figures, but I bet it's one of the best selling books of the past year and might still be in 2009. People are reading Watchmen. Comic fans who've never read it before are finally picking it up and mainstream audiences are checking it out for the first time.
Watchmen isn't going to be ours anymore. Like that band that we thought was our personal property, they're "selling out" and hitting the big time. Now everyone will know their names and surely there will be tons of folks who don't get it.
And I couldn't be happier.Tags: watchmen