Friday, August 20, 2004

Art with a capital 'A'

I had intended last night to work some more on my Savage Worlds game for next Wednesday, but the Watchmen got the better of me.  I can see why some folks call Alan Moore's Watchmen the greatest superhero comic ever written.  It's that damn good.  Hell, I was more than half-way through it before I even had a solid guess as too who committed the murder on page one.  More than that, though, its the most straightforward deconstruction of the superhero genre I've ever seen.  It's doesn't devolve into parody or preach, it just examines the question "What if superheroes lived in the real world?" and never backs away from seeking an honest answer.  Even at its most bone-shilling Moore never flinches.
Moore's refusal to write a sequel is completely understandable.  The Watchmen is a complete tale.  It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  There doesn't seem to be anything more that needs to be said.  Of course, the RPG community demanded a Watchmen sourcebook for Mayfair's DC Heroes game.  I wonder what people did with it?  What stories did they tell?  More Rorschach kicking ass?  More Dr. Manhattan playing god?  I shudder at the possibilities.
Wil Eisner's Contract with God was also an excellent read.  I highly recommend it for people who can wrap their brain around the idea that serious literature and sequential art con co-exist peacefully.  Realizing how long ago Contract with God was published makes me weep for the comic book industry and its spandex fetish.  Count me among the superhero fans, but Eisner long ago demonstrated that the funnybooks could be so much more.  Why do superheroes, a small slice of the pie in every other mainstream media, continue to dominate in comics?

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