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Minutes to Midnight: Twelve Essays on Watchmen Paperback – November 28, 2011
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"Will surprise even longtime students of the book... admirably ambitious." -- World Literature Today
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"... Ditko, following in the footsteps of his philosophical mentor, applied the same 'law of identity' to the question of good and evil, as in this lecture by Mister A [...] to his television audience: A truth is truth for all, an absolute! To compromise, to give up any part of a truth is to wipe out justice, to choose some evil over the good, to renounce man's means, reason and logic which makes his success and happiness possible! Each man must make his own choice! A is A or anything goes! -- For Ditko, 'reason and logic' are the tools by which humankind knows truth."
As with Shakespeare studies, Austen studies, or even Lebowski studies, the reader is struck, sooner or later, with the inadequacy of even the best literary criticism. Some of the interpretations here struck me as depressingly wrong:
"... At the end of the story, Moore plays with the notion that, while Rorschach is the detective and Veidt is the culprit, because Veidt's actions had altruistic motivations and Rorschach refuses to support them, perhaps Rorschach is the villain and Veidt the hero after all."
"... We see early on that, rough around the edges though he may be, Blake is a man who tries to find answers. Consider that even when he commits an act of rape, he verbalizes his justification as a response to an unasked question. 'C'mon baby,' he tells Sally Jupiter, 'I know what you need. You gotta have some reason for wearin' an outfit like this.' Even in his darkest moments, the Comedian tries to understand."
Every such 'false note,' is more than matched by something striking and worthwhile on the other side of the ledger. I particularly liked this bit of gossip in one of the later essays:
"... One of the main complaints to be made about Watchmen is that it is depressing, pessimistic, cynical, and nihilistic. In its negative reviews on Amazon.com, this is the most common source of the single star ratings. Even a powerhouse like Grant Morrison can use this complaint to distance himself and his work from the crushing influence of Moore's major work. When Matt Brady from Newsarama asked if a sandwich-sign doomsayer, glimpsed in the opening of the concluding issue of Morrison's Final Crisis mini-series, was intended as a nod to Rorschach, Morrison sarcastically responded, 'Watchmen? What's that? Is that the one where the hero dog gets its head kicked in? Sweet.' It is a hard objection to deny.
Loving my boyfriend, I asked him what he enjoyed about comics. He told me the dynamic stories accompanied by art made comics a unique experiences that was different from any other type of media. I then asked him who some of his favorite comic celebrities were, he replied "Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis".
I opened up my Kindle later that evening and found Watchmen... WOW. I finally understood what he meant. Searching for more material to read, I noticed I could borrow this for free on Amazon Prime. So Friday I borrowed this book and finished it Sunday. I now feel I can have a conversation with my boyfriend about something he is passionate about. Plus, I know what I am getting him for his birthday.
Thanks Amazon, thanks Sequart.