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Perhaps the most lauded graphic novel has been sequelized for HBO, and amazingly, it turned out pretty darn well (with a 96% Rotten Tomatoes rating!).
Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by the Cornell psych prof who hosts the Very Bad Wizards podcast. We consider Alan Moore’s 1986 graphic novel, the 2009 Zack Snyder film, and of course mostly the recently completed (we hope) show by Damon Lindelof, the creator of Lost and The Leftovers.
How does Moore’s idiosyncratic writing style translate to the screen? Did the show make best use of its nine hours? Are there other stories in this alternate history that should still be told, perhaps to reflect on other recurrent social ills or crises of whatever moment might be depicted? Was Lindelof really the guy to tell this story about race, and does making the show about racism (which is bad!) undermine Moore’s rejection of (morally) black-and-white heroes and villains?
Some of the articles we used to warm up for this discussion included:
- “Some Watchmen Fans Are Mad that HBO’s Version Is Political. But Watchmen Has Always Been Political” by Alex Abad-Santos
- “How HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ Can Avoid the Misogynistic Missteps of Its Past” by Rosie Knight
- “The Right-Wing Troll Backlash Against HBO’s Watchmen Is Hilariously Stupid” by Matt Miller
- “How ‘Watchmen’s’ Misunderstanding of Vietnam Undercuts its Vision of Racism” by Viet Thanh Nguyen
- “Why We Don’t Want to Watch Watchmen Season 2” by David Opie
- “When Sex Scenes Go Wrong: Zack Snyder’s Watchmen“ by Jim Vorel
You might want to also check out HBO’s Watchmen page, which includes extra essays and the official podcast with Damon Lindelof commenting on the episodes.
Follow Dave @peez. Hear him on The Partially Examined Life, undoubtedly the apex of his professional career.
This episode includes bonus discussion that you can only hear by supporting the podcast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com.
D Louus says
Kinda sucks how Moore’s trials with DC were glossed over and mischaracterized here. In the 80s he and Gibbons signed a contract, one that was not orthodox for the time apparently, where the rights would revert to them when watchnen went out of print. DC purposefully and manipulatively kept it in print all that time in order to capitalize on that. That’s cynical and bad.
Then when Moore shared in making his own imprint at a diff publisher, DC ended up buying them out. So he ended up working for them just the same. Idk. After such a sour experience, where one’s creations are blatantly commodified its dissapointing that you’d refer to moore as a curmudgeon, when clearly he simply took the high road, actually stood by his principles, made far less money, endured further missapropriations and capitalizations on his work…you get my point. I just think that a little more due diligence should be in order when your podcast is discussing that authors work and clearly opportunistic derivative works.