Watchmen: My Newest Fandom

March 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

(Crossposted from my LiveJournal, because I want more of my friends to see this and I don’t have that automatic crossposting thingy set up)

I am pleased to say that I am now a member of the Watchmen fandom. The last time I found myself falling in love with a new fandom was a little under two years ago, after I saw “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” in the theater. Several weeks after that, I wrote a post about my entry into the Pirates of the Caribbean fandom. This post will be similar to that one in terms of topic, but longer and in more depth.

I am grateful to my friends at the Deadpan Podcast for getting me into the fandom. For me, it all started when our wonderful host, Jack Mangan, declared that the Watchmen graphic novel would be the subject of our next Deadpan Palooza. A Deadpan Palooza is a community event where we all watch the same movie (or, in this case, read the same graphic novel), record our thoughts on it and creative content inspired by it, and send it in to Jack to be edited together into a themed episode of the podcast.  This time, though, we did things a little differently: we had a roundtable discussion of the graphic novel over Skype. Dan and Cj were generous enough to let Jack use their studio and equipment to facilitate the discussion, and they made great co-hosts. The discussion was held on the night of Sunday, February 22, 2009. I had finished my first read-through of the novel on the afternoon of the previous Monday, February 16, and had already started rereading it – it’s that good. I enjoyed the heck out of the discussion, the first part of which has already been posted. It was a great time with great, intelligent friends.

I finished my second read-through of the novel the night before I went and saw the movie, which I will comment on toward the end of this post. I reread it almost immediately, and became a fan, for several reasons. The first and foremost was the characters. They’re real and human and complex and I love all of them to death, especially Jon (in the book) and especially Rorschach (after I saw the movie). I loved the rich, complex story, which spans over 40 years when you include everyone’s backstories and has several truly awesome twists. I also loved all the references to history, literature, and songs, even the ones that were new to me. All those things combined caused me to fall in love and become a fan. This definitely deserves to be called a great work of art.

I haven’t ‘fallen in love’ with quite the same fierce, consuming passion that I had for Pirates of the Caribbean in those first two weeks. It’s been lower-key. I’ve had the same constant background hum in my mind of thoughts about my new fandom and how awesome it is, but it’s not as loud as it was before. Seeing the movie turned the volume on that hum up a notch, but didn’t get it to the level where it was back then. Now, as before, that constant hum of thought and interest has made me want to go and look at the fanart, fanfic, and discussion related to my new fandom on LJ. I have, joining the watchdom community there, but there seems to be less fan-creativity for Watchmen than there was for PotC two years ago. That may change in the coming weeks, though, as the fandom continues to grow.

I’m expressing my interest in my new fandom creatively in the same media as last time: cooking and fanfiction. The special Watchmen meal I prepared wasn’t as creative or elaborate as the savvy pirate’s dinner, though – it consisted of baked beans (a character is seen eating them near the beginning of the graphic novel), served over fried eggs and toast. I prepared this twice – once on the night of the roundtable discussion, and once right before I went out to see the movie. As for the fanfiction, I have an idea, but I haven’t started writing it yet. I’m planning to write it and have the world premiere during TurnerCon Tampa, the event several members of turningpirate are putting together two weeks from now.

I saw the Watchmen movie at midnight with two friends. It was my very first time at a midnight movie premiere, and I’m glad I went. The theater was mostly full, but there was no one in costume, to my mild disappointment. I enjoyed the movie; it made me love the story, the characters, and their world even more than I already had. I agree with most fans that the actors and their acting were spot-on, especially Jackie Earle Haley, who was absolutely phenomenal as Rorschach and really deserves an Oscar. In fact, his death was my favorite moment in the whole movie; I thought it was really well-done and very powerful. Interestingly, Rorschach and James Norrington from “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” are both dark but interesting characters who get killed in violent ways by a specific other character near the end of the movie, and both of their death scenes were the scenes that stuck out most in my mind from their respective movies. They were both particularly dramatic moments for me.

My favorite scenes of the movie are not the same scenes that were my favorites in the graphic novel. My favorite scenes in the graphic novel were the two chapters that take place on Mars (yes, the whole chapters). My favorite scenes in the movie were the ones that featured Archie in action, because he just looked so darn awesome on screen. I especially loved the approach to Antarctica.

The one thing I regret about my viewing of the Watchmen movie is that I was so busy enjoying the great acting, the realizations in moving-picture form of Archie and Dr. Manhattan, and the countless visuals lifted directly from frames of the graphic novel that I completely failed to look at and appreciate the movie as a movie. I was filtering it through my experience of the graphic novel. I think I’ll wait a while without rereading the book again (probably until the DVD comes out), then watch the movie again and try to apply the normal expectations for movies to it, rather than the ones I had going in, which were taken from the graphic novel.

So, here I am, enjoying the discussion over at watchdom and my Watchmen playlist at Songza (it’s the bottom section, starting with Bob Dylan’s version of “All Along the Watchtower”), enjoying once again the delights of being in a new fandom. Maybe someday, I’ll go to Comic-Con in San Diego and be able to appreciate the event as a comics fan.

Entry filed under: Random Thoughts. Tags: , , , .

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