Back when comics were a relatively small subculture, the Comics Buyer’s Guide was like the New York Times of its world. Before there was an internet, this was how everyone kept up on news. The impact it had on me is immeasurable.
A set of three images from the “Under the Hood” backup, with the Rorschach one being unpublished to this day. Silk Spectre accompanies her savior, the Hooded Justice, the first costumed adventurer in the Watchmen universe. The Hooded Justice is theorized in the text to be the communist strongman Rolf Muller, with his image in the middle. Interestingly, the middle image of Muller is shown as a worn poster on a brick wall with Rorschach, possibly hinting at some connection between the two or just acting as a point of transition. The classic “Who Watches the Watchmen” graffiti is scribbled on the wall in the Rorschach ink wash. I was able to show the art to Gibbons during a Hero Initiative function at SDCC 2011, and Gibbons stated that the Rorschach ink wash went unpublished as it didn’t fit the character (“Rorschach wouldn’t stand around and pose for a picture”). (x)
The Watchmen Panel at UKCAC ‘86 - moderated by Neil Gaiman.
‘I think that because there’ve been a lot of fascist overtones in Marvelman [Miracleman] people assumed that the superheroes had taken over. There aren’t really any fascist superheroes in Watchmen. Rorschach’s not a fascist; he’s a nutcase. The Comedian’s not a fascist’ he’s a psychopath. Dr. Manhattan’s not a fascist; he’s a space cadet. They’re not fascists. They’re not in control of their world. Dr. Manhattan’s not even in control of the world — he doesn’t care about the world.’
Ten days or so past the official announcement, I’m thinking More Watchmen may be best understood as a blow to comics’ dignity. It’s product, not art. It’s a limited, small series of ideas derived from a bigger, grander one. It’s sad. One thing that Watchmen did a quarter century ago was to underline certain values of craft and intent and creative freedom that have helped to yield enough equivalent expressions — to my mind even grander expressions — that we may now see this follow-up project for what it is: nothing special.