Remember this one? Laurie heads to Mars with Dr. Manhattan to debate the future of the human race, and in the process puts together some shocking truths about her past. We’re getting close to the end here as our Watchmen podcast breaks down Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ issue #9, “The Darkness of Mere Being.”
The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon.
Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen:
Alex: Welcome to Watchman Watch, a podcast about Watchman, where we’re watching you. You’re watching us, but who is watching the steering wheel? I’m Alex.
Justin: I’m Justin.
Pete: I’m Pete.
Alex: And we are going to be talking about chapter nine of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchman, The Darkness of Mere Being, as we get closer and closer to the premiere of Watchman on HBO. Before we get into that though, Justin, where’s our fourth co-host? What’s going on here?
Justin: I mean, I sort of feel like I’m Alan’s keeper but I’m not okay. I’m just who he texts. But Alan Moore obviously is our fourth host. I’m his keeper. And unfortunately, he’s embroiled. He was on the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. So, he’s been looped in and subpoenaed and testifying before a congressional panel.
Alex: Got you. Now, we should probably mention that we tape these episodes a little bit in advance. So, whatever we’re talking about right now, this is a week down the road. So, most likely we’re in a different world. Canada has annexed the United States. Mexico is at war with us. Probably a lot of things have changed. So, not completely valid.
Alex: Another thing that’s actually changed in the world is the first episode of Watchman, by the time you’re listening to this episode, it’s already been out there. It’s premiered at New York Comic Con. People, including potentially some of us, have seen it already. So, we will be talking-
Justin: Potentially, some of us.
Pete: Are you saying you’ve seen it?
Alex: No. I’m trying to explain in timeline terms. We tape this a week before but we’d taped it 35 minutes ago. Right. You get that, you understand? Yeah.
Justin: Alex, I don’t know if you know, but all of time is simultaneous. It’s just small minded humans who can’t look at more than one edge of the crystal.
Alex: Right. So we’re taping this episode, but also we’ve already seen the first episode of Watchman, but we’re not talking about it yet because it hasn’t happened yet. So there you go.
Pete: Cool. Way to clear that up.
Alex: Yeah, no problem bro. Speaking of which, let’s get into a pretty straight forward issue of a pretty straight forward comic. Now the main thing that you need to do at this point is that Doctor Manhattan has taken Laurie to Mars. We saw that happen at the end of the last issue. In order to have a conversation with her about potentially saving the entire world. And when we say saving the entire world, there’s two things going on there. The one that we’re not really concerned about with this issue though we are in the background, is the mystery of what’s going on. Who this mask killer that Rorschach thinks is on the loose is. We’re much more concerned with the nuclear annihilation that is very quickly coming towards earth as tensions ramp up between Russia and the United States as they invade Afghanistan.
Alex: So that’s the setup here. Jumping right actually into the beginning of this because I thought this was so fascinating this first page we’ve got a flashback, but from Doctor Manhattan’s perspective and I thought that was such an interesting choice to start off the issue. Why do you think that first page shows us information that we’ve seen before?
Justin: Well, I think it through the rereading this issue for the first time in a long time, it makes me realize that Doctor Manhattan is a unreliable narrator or an unreliable God character in this. He claims to be all powerful. He claims to see things a certain way and he claims to not have human emotions anymore. But really he’s not. I think he actually is feeling emotions intensely and I think it does latch onto certain events that he goes back to and have affected him in a large way. And I think that’s why we’re starting here.
Pete: Yeah. Also like this is the first time I’ve been a little bit like, “Okay, we get it with the imagery.” I think that at this point they keeps showing things over and over again and it’s at this point it’s a little, I’m like, “All right.”
Alex: You think they got to calm down a little bit. Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, what’s the big deal? That’s what you’re saying.
Pete: Well, I’m just saying not, I’m not like that. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that we’re falling into a pattern of a big image kind of starting things. And then it again and it’s important, then it goes away and it comes back and it’s like, “Okay.” I kind of get it as a storytelling the way that we’re kind of going at things.
Alex: I don’t want to ruin anything for you too much, Pete, but there’s three more issues and I can guarantee you that’s going to happen at least three more times.
Justin: Wow. Now who’s seeing the future?
Alex: Right. I mean, listen, at this point, we’re nine issues into this comic, they’re not going to be like, “Eh, forget about a visual [inaudible 00:04:57] that we’ve been going for.” I will say one thing that I do find kind of fascinating, and we talked about this, I believe on the last podcast a little bit, but I am suspicious with some of the repeated imagery, not all of the repeated imagery. But some of the repeated imagery, that it’s more on the level of tone poem, than a specific meaning at any point in time. The Hiroshima lovers definitely show up at very specific instances, but something like the smiley face button, to me, it’s almost, it’s a connective fiber that brings the issues together. Versus a specific meaning every time it shows up. I’m probably wrong about that. I’m sure people are going to yell at it, but I’m curious to get your guys’ take on it.
Justin: I mean in this issue specifically, we see the smiley face show up on the surface of Mars. And I think that’s not even tone, that’s just a pointed reference to the effect that The Comedian has had on all of these characters, the earth and now the surface of Mars. Because as we learn in this issue, and I think this is told perfectly in this, we find out that The Comedian is most likely Laurie’s father. And the way that information is sort of teased out over the course of the issue was so smartly done. It makes you suspicious of that idea. And then it’s like, “Oh that can’t be.” And it’s like, “Oh wait, there’s another little clue.”
Justin: And then we realize it at the same time that Laurie does, like we’re having going through the same feeling she is. And it’s just perfectly done. And I think that’s why the smiley face at the end is so important, because that’s like the full Epic stamp on the planet saying, “Yes he is.”
Alex: And I guess to your point, it’s sort of like The Comedians final joke, right? Even though his jokes aren’t funny, we’ve already established that he doesn’t actually make jokes so much as make true statements. When Laurie finds out this ultimate truth that Eddie Blake is in fact her father, she puts the pieces together, brings all of our memories together. Yeah, to your point, it does make this enormous impact on something that is ancient, as John AKA Doctor Manhattan describes to us over the course of the entire issue.
Justin: I mean it’s almost The Comedian’s sort of a cosmic jokester where it’s not like, “Ha, ha.” It’s like, “Oh Whoa.” Which is not the usual comedians way of making the audience laugh.
Pete: No, but it is kind of very DC like Joker’s more twisted than funny. And The Comedian is more fucked up than hilarious.
Alex: Yeah. It’s sort of like, he’s like the Andrew Dice Clay of the universe. Like not really funny.
Pete: Wow. Wow.
Justin: Yeah, he’s definitely the dice man. Oh that’s going to bother Pete. No, the greatest punchline of all time is smoking a cigarette over the top of your head rather than the normal way.
Justin: I will also say one more thing about the smiling face. It also I think shows how much Laurie affects Doctor Manhattan, because we’re made to think that he created that smiley face. As Laurie reacts to all this information, I think he’s affected by it. He makes the choice to come back to earth, presumably based on their time together on Mars. And maybe subconsciously he put that large smiley face right on the surface as a response or a an echo of her feelings.
Alex: Yeah. To give you those of you listening, the overview of the issue. I think part of the reason we’re bouncing around so much is it’s pretty much just one long conversation between Laurie and Doctor Manhattan. And then the other half of the issue is it’s interspersed with flashbacks throughout Laurie’s life. This is very much the issue focused on her. Even though we are focused on a relationship with Doctor Manhattan at the same time. And we get to see first experiences as a superhero interacting with the older superheroes, if you could even call them superheroes. They’re not really super heroes. Interacting with comedian, confronting him when she’s older and then ultimately, as you mentioned, Justin, getting Doctor Manhattan around to make this choice.
Alex: But it’s also a conversation between predestination versus choice. What governs our lives? Are we just marching through our fate? Is everything determined in advance or can we actually make choices about things? And I would say this issue falls on the side of choice based on the fact that the most self-professed predetermined character, Doctor Manhattan ultimately does make a choice.
Justin: Well, he makes it, you don’t see him make the choice. You just see that he’s not… it’s like a flip switch that’s like a light turning on. He’s like, “I’m not going to earth for all these reasons.” And he’s like, “I’m going to earth for these other reasons.” So I don’t know. I to me the freewill thing is more of, once you smashed something, can you put it back together? The snow globe, the nostalgic perfume spills out. The water that’s they’re sharing on the surface of Mars, their relationship and eventually the world. And then Laurie learning that her dad is The Comedian.
Justin: It’s sort of saying like, “I don’t think you can change things. Once something smashed, it’s smashed.”
Alex: Well, let’s get off of that first page and go through, because there is a funny sequence I think right at the beginning when they show up on Mars. And Laurie shows up there, she starts tumbling down a hill. Doctor Manhattan initially doesn’t understand what’s wrong with her, but he forgot that she can’t breathe on Mars and she needs to give her atmosphere.
Alex: There’s also, to your point, Pete, about the recurring motifs and it’s very strong in this issue. We see for the second time in this sequence, the tumbling bottle of nostalgia perfume, the one that’s falling down that eventually smashes by the end of the issue. Which I think has a couple of meanings, right? I mean one thing that we don’t know it is-
Pete: It’s foreshadowing.
Alex: Yeah, it’s foreshadowing. It’s nostalgia of course, like it’s memory. It smells
memory, it’s slowly coming back to her. But I think there’s also, because nostalgia, we haven’t talked about this on the podcast yet, is one of the products that Adrian Veidt markets. I think this is a sneaky way of keeping him in the mix and keeping us thinking about him, even if he doesn’t show up in the issue himself.
Pete: Yeah. One thing I would like to talk about is yeah, it is kind of ridiculous that he forgets that, oh Laurie has to breathe. Like he just gets, you know like, “Oh yeah, I’m sorry about that.” He’s kind of absent minded professor. But one of the things, we talk about how great the art and a lot of great things about this comic, how high of a time it is. But the tough part is as far as female characters are concerned, this falls very, very, very short. Laurie doesn’t really have… she meanders it’s a lot about the sexual assault a lot about like that kind of stuff. And then you get the drawing of her and she ends up on her knees in front of him right in front of his blue penis. And then like he touches her mouth to open her up again. And it’s like, come on guys. You know what I mean?
Pete: So that part is tough. I mean it’s not, I wouldn’t say as far as female characters and being able to pass certain tests and stuff like that. It falls very short and you’d like to think that the dressing and the female cares and that kind of stuff, that all sucks. But it’s just kind of ridiculous how we get these kind of repetitive, sexualized stuff with the female characters. And at this point I’m kind of sick of the repeating of the first and last and then that kind of stuff as well.
Alex: I hear what you’re saying Pete, and I think you are right. Honestly it did not occur to me with the finger to mouth drawing, but now that I look at it, I think you’re absolutely correct there. But I do think a least I will give this issue credit that it does tackle Laurie’s main issue, Laurie’s main problem head on. Which is that for most of her life she hasn’t made any choices. She’s kind of just gone with the flow. She’s done what her mother wanted her to do. She’s done what other heroes thought she should do. Other people fed her ideas. She just went with Doctor Manhattan, because she thought that would be a good idea and she could help out him. And her entire life for decades was all about Doctor Manhattan. And ultimately as much as Doctor Manhattan needs to realize that the world is important enough to save, she needs to realize that she herself is important. And I think that is what she does realize by the end of the issue.
Justin: Well, and I think to take the other side of it, like she’s kept in the dark by all of the people close to her about sort of all of the big things in her life. And we see in all these flashbacks that her mother’s keeping her in the dark about so many important things. The Comedian doesn’t talk to her again, just like sort of keeping her on the outside. She’s treated like an object by everyone. So of course it’s hard for her to make decisions. She doesn’t have enough information. And people are always just sort of moving her where they think she needs to go with the information that she has.
Justin: I also think it’s funny that you’re like, it definitely reads like doctor Manhattan forgot that she couldn’t breathe. But I don’t know, it feels intentional. I think there’s another way to read it that he is a power play. This whole thing bringing her to the planet is a power play. She scorned him and he’s like a cold dick, cold blue dick about it the whole time I think. And if this guy knows everything about everyone, how does he forgetting that she needs oxygen?
Pete: Yeah. Especially if he knows where they’re going to fight. Oh, he can remember that this is the part where she falls down and needs oxygen. This very much represents kind of like the male, woman, kind of like what’s important, what’s not throughout this comic, which is a little sad.
Alex: Well, I think to Justin’s point, what he’s doing is basically like, “Oh, I don’t need you. I’ve got a cool clockwork house on Mars now.”
Justin: It’s such a boyish. It’s like first girlfriend broke up with this dude and he’s like, “Oh, I’m actually cool right now. I have a palace on Mars. And I know what you’re going to say and do. And I don’t care about the earth at all. So why don’t you just go back home because I don’t care about the Earth at all. I’ve moved on.”
Alex: It’s also to get back to what Pete was saying, it is very gas lighting behavior on his part. Which even if he does have the power to see everything at the same time, him being like, “Yeah, I know what you’re going to say. I know exactly what you’re like, you’re going to do this and then trick her into doing that.”
Pete: Yeah, it’s very gaslighty.
Alex: Yeah. It’s very gaslighty. Doctor Manhattan was the original gas lighter and chief.
Justin: It’s true. And that’s why Allen Moore was on that call, and that’s why he’s appearing in front of Congress.
Alex: Exactly. As long as that’s still valid, unless it’s not, in which case ignore it. Okay. So I do want to talk about one thing that I believe came up in our [inaudible 00:16:31] on Slack. Somebody brought this up and it really stuck with me. This issue. No, I’m sorry. Actually I think somebody tweeted this at us. What is Laurie smoking? And I don’t mean like, “Yo, what she smoking?” I’d mean literally, what is she smoking throughout his comic book?
Pete: It caught me when I was a kid. I didn’t think about it, but now I’m like, “I don’t think that that’s a cigarette. The way she’s relying on it.”
Justin: So what is it he thinks she’s high.
Alex: I think it’s hash man.
Justin: Hash pipe.
Alex: I don’t know what hash is, but it’s that.
Justin: I mean, I don’t know. The way they talk about it, it just feels like a future cigarette.
Alex: Yeah, it’s a future cigarette where you put the tobacco in a big ball in the front and then light it. Yeah.
Justin: So are you saying maybe they’re not on Mars at all? She’s just too fucked up to realize that they’re in like in Doc Manhattan’s apartment.
Alex: Yeah. That’s probably it. They’re probably just like a bunch of regular bros and she’s getting real high. And I think, I haven’t read this in a while, so maybe this is what happened, but at the end she’ll be like, “Yo, I got so fucking high. You were there and you were blue and you were wearing weird mask.”
Alex: And Rorschach like, “Whatever man. Party on dudes.”
Justin: Yeah, there’s a lot of, definitely that’s the way to read this. Real party vibes.
Pete: I also would like to say that, this is the creepiest way to look at a snow globe. Of all the different angles and shading. That snow globe image it’s repeated and it bothers me because it kind of like freaked me out as a kid, but seeing it now I’m like, “God damn. It’s still so creepy.”
Justin: It is creepy.
Alex: Yeah. Well there’s so much going on with that one image. You’re getting of course, the button from The Comedian again, which is part of who Laurie is. As we know by the end of the issue. You’re getting the palace in there, which is reminiscent of Doctor Manhattan’s palace. The fact that she doesn’t have any features other than a smile and eyeballs. That’s very indicative of who Laurie is. She’s looking at people, she’s seeing the world. She’s smiling and looking pretty for them, but she’s not seeing herself as anything else at this point.
Alex: And the other reason I agree with you in a certain sense, Pete, about the visual motifs. I understand where you’re coming from and I understand what you’re saying. But here what I think is so brilliant about the way Dave Gibbons lays this out, there’s probably an Allen Morris script as well, is this is how memory works. You don’t progress linearly through memory. You flash to things out of order. You have the same images like here, she talks about her earliest images, seeing the snow globe and slowly she works out before that and she works out after that as she grabs more and more of that memory. But it’s really just that flash. And maybe this is just me, but that’s certainly how my memory works.
Pete: Yeah. I also think it was interesting-
Justin: Yeah, and just was-
Pete: Oh, go ahead. I’m sorry.
Justin: I was going to say, is she getting used a little bit by Doctor Manhattan’s powers to really take her to these different moments? He sort of talks to her like she. Like he’s like guiding her into these intense memories to help get her where he wants.
Alex: yeah, I mean part of it might be that he knows where the conversation is going, because it’s all happening simultaneously for him. So he is just walking her along that path of, “Well this is the thing that I say now that gets her closer and closer to this revelation.” It might also be her wacky tobacky that’s doing it, really opening up her mind.
Pete: Now also, the first time around to reading it, I did realize that this floating castle is also kind of like the castle in the snow globe.
Alex: Yeah, yeah, yes, exactly. He’s always been there. One other thing that we touch on in this issue are the memories, which is important to note. Because I think it was only really established in the back matter, is that Laurie’s mom, Sally married her agent. But as as strongly by this issue carried on an ongoing affair with Eddie Blake that ultimately led to the conception of Laurie. What do we think about that?
Alex: Because I think that’s the other thing that’s very complicated from a 2019 perspective to say… I don’t know how familiar you are with the musical Carousel. But there’s this phrase of the musical Carousel where they ultimately come around to, there’s this guy Billy Bigelow who hits the lady he’s in love with. And by the end she’s like, “Sometimes a hit can feel like a kiss.” And it’s a very old musical, doesn’t really hold up that way in a modern context, though, my wife and I have had lots of conversations about it, because I love Carousel just based on the emotion in it and the musical. She hates it very specifically because of that. And I’m like, “Yeah, I get it.” But this feels very similar to that-
Justin: Oo, Alex and his wife, musical fight.
Alex: I got to take her side on this man.
Justin: Trouble in paradise?
Alex: Whatever man.
Pete: It’s hard to overlook that part and pull that out of the movie and say it’s still cool.
Alex: Listen man, we have a real first act second act into the woods relationship [inaudible 00:22:02] one of the two, you know what I’m talking about?
Justin: I know what you’re talking about, dude. Pete you get it right?
Pete: I hate when you do that.
Justin: When we do what?
Alex: But what I do want to talk about is the Eddie Blake of it all, because not only did Sally carry on an affair with him. But I think through the way Alan Moore writes it in through the way Dave Gibbons draws him in particular, it’s hard not to feel some sympathy for Eddie Blake in this issue. Pete, you’re nodding your head no, absolutely not. Under no circumstances?
Pete: Yeah, man. Come on man. Let’s not sympathize with this dude who sexual assaults. You know what I mean?
Justin: Well, I will say, I think to your point Alex, I think the scene the first time we see him in the issue where he sort of sees Laurie for the first time and it’s like I think you see him feel like, “Oh wow, this is my daughter and she’s grown up.” So I think you do get that feeling later. I think when he looks more like a monster, he’s meant to be seen as a monster.
Alex: See I didn’t get that. Let’s jump ahead. So there’s, you mentioned that first scene. The second scene is at a party when Laurie is older, she’s now read, Under The Hood, the Hollis Mason book. So she’s very well aware of the allegations of rape. Which we know are true, because we saw them happen in the comic book.
Alex: But there’s a series of two paddles where Laurie confronts him and she says, “Damn straight, damn straight. I do. I mean what kind of man are you? You have to take some women, you have to force her into having sex against her will.”
Alex: And Eddie Blake says, “Only once.” Now, the thing there is such a brilliant turn of phrase because the implication to her is a, I only raped her once. But it’s actually, “No, I only had to force her once. All of the other times were consensual.” But what I take away from Dave Gibbons drawing of Eddie Blake in this panel is there’s a softness. It’s sad this in the eyes. Because he realizes he’s never going to win, Laurie, his daughter over to his side. He’s never going to have that. He’s older now. He’s lost Sally who I think whatever you say about him, he probably had some sort of genuine emotion for. And I do think that doesn’t forgive anything he did, but it’s rather fascinating to layer in those complex emotions for him.
Justin: Yeah, I mean I take that. That panel is the only once panel is great. And you do feel like there’s something in there that’s still feeling regret and loss for that whole thing. But two pals before that, he’s just such a regular dick and so dismissive that, I don’t know, it’s complicated. That’s what’s so good about this book, is these characters are all super complicated and we only get these tightly compacted bits of their lives.
Pete: Yeah, I think that is one of the things, I mean all of these characters are kind of like, we see how horrible they are and how tormented and all the things like that. So yeah, it’s just hard. It’s just such a weird thing that he’s like, I almost feel like at this point in the book, someone gave them notes like, “Hey guys, this is pretty dark.”
Pete: And they tried to like be like, “Oh okay, well yeah he only raped her once.” Because that’s the thing. It’s really weird.
Alex: I don’t think that anybody was giving them notes like that. I’m sure they developed it-
Pete: Not back then.
Alex: Yeah. Not, not back in pre notes times. No, I think what they were dealing with is that people are complicated. It doesn’t forgive their actions, but they can have emotional lives at the same time. And to be clear, I don’t have sympathy for Eddie Blake, but I do think that they do an effective job of eliciting that sympathy. And then making you realize, “Oh God, I just felt sympathy for this monster.” And making you feel bad about yourself while you’re reading it, which is what Laurie feels like.
Alex: It ramps you up very well. So her realization of, “Oh God, this man, this monster was my father. I am feeling so many things at the same time. I can’t deal with them.” And that’s when at the end of the issue she collapses.
Alex: But I did want to jump back and I want to talk about Mars a little bit, because we get these gorgeous expansive pages from Dave Gibbons with John Higgins coloring throughout. He’s mostly used red for danger and blood and terror and here certainly we get that. But it’s mostly for the wonderful wide expanse of Mars. And it’s so beautifully done.
Justin: Yeah. It really is. And I think it’s meant to really put us on the side of Doctor Manhattan choosing this planet over Earth, I feel like. And then it all comes tumbling down. Like so many things, they expose too much of all of this and it all falls to pieces. And Doctor Manhattan has to return to earth.
Pete: Yeah, I do like how Laurie kind of messes up his perfect little toy that he makes. And I think that even if he saw that coming or whatever, it’s a very powerful way for her to be like, “Fuck all this.”
Justin: Well he definitely saw coming because the force, the force field that they need to not get hit by all the junk is already up like before it’s even crumbling. And I also think he doesn’t need this little bachelor pad anymore, because he’s gotten her back. She’s back in his thrall by the end of this issue and so he’s like, “Okay, fine, I’ll leave with you. I knew this is coming and this is what I wanted is to be in control of the situation again.”
Alex: Now, so let’s talk about this moment-
Pete: This guy’s a giant blue dick man.
Alex: You keep saying that you keep your very focused on his dick. He’s more than just a dick. He’s also got a butt. He’s got so hot abs.
Justin: Nice abs.
Alex: Yeah, nice abs.
Justin: Don’t you think he makes those abs, like he didn’t earn them?
Alex: Yeah. Yeah, come on work for you abs.
Pete: I don’t see him working out. I don’t see him doing crunches in the morning.
Alex: Rude. Super rude. Also, he’s bald.
Pete: Put some hair back on there dude. You’re [inaudible 00:28:48].
Alex: Absolutely, I would understand Doctor Manhattan a little better if he had like a flowing mullet to be perfectly honest with you.
Justin: I like the idea that he’s like, “I can see through time, I control molecular matter but I can’t crack this bald shit. I don’t know what it is.”
Pete: I do appreciate the fact that you said mullet, because he is business in the front.
Alex: Yeah. Doctor Manhattan. That was in the original outline that Alan Moore wrote down. He was like, “Doctor Manhattan: party in the back.” That’s all it said.
Justin: When you say party in the back, what do you mean in this? Like where is the party in the back for Doctor Manhattan?
Alex: His butt.
Justin: Ah got you. Is that what mullet means when you say party in the back, you’re meant to. It’s about the butt.
Alex: Yeah. It’s like a butt party. Ah, let’s talk about the snow globe a little bit and what it means for Doctor Manhattan. Now, it’s pretty clear what the imagery here means for Laurie, where she drops the snow globe, it breaks the castle bursts out. She explains there was nothing inside, there was nothing magical. It was just water. That’s when she kind of realized what the world was like. At the same moments that’s happening, she’s throwing the nostalgia perfume. That bursts open, that leaks the perfume everywhere, and the castle that Doctor Manhattan builds that is similar to the castle that was in the snow globe crumbles into bits. Again, pretty clear what that means for Laurie and everything that’s going on with her. Her world is falling apart, et cetera, et cetera. It’s breaking out of… but it’s also widening out at the same time because it’s breaking out of her snow globe.
Alex: But my question is, what does it mean for Doctor Manhattan? Because he built this clockwork castle, because he was so connected to the clockworks several issues back. That was his formative experience. So what does it mean that he is willing to give it up at this point?
Justin: I think it’s time for him to do that. It mean he talks about in this tissue here, there’s a section of time coming up that he can’t see through. So I think-
Pete: Yeah, he can’t see past it.
Justin: … the gears are sort of a unspooling and so it’s time for him to also do that. But like I said, it’s also about, he doesn’t need any of this anymore. He’s got her back. That’s what sort of the function of this time was why he left Earth and now he can go back and it’s all, he’s thrown the clock away.
Pete: Also I’d like to point out though that like sometimes breaking shit is very freeing, but sometimes that not so much. It really depends on what your throwing against the wall and destroying.
Justin: Yeah. It makes me have a lot of questions about what you’re talking about Pete.
Pete: I do want to mention-
Justin: What kind of stuff is cool to break?
Alex: Yeah. What’s cool to break Pete?
Pete: I would say like things that are glass that really shatter are fun to break against something.
Alex: Okay. What’s not fun to break? Knives?
Pete: No, just the things that are like if you throw them, they stay together. It doesn’t give you that big shatter effect.
Justin: Like a rock.
Alex: Like a couple that’s really in love?
Pete: Wow. Wow.
Justin: Yeah. You’re the rock Pete.
Alex: Speaking of rocks, I do want to get back to that moment with The Comedian smiley face on Mars, because I love the way this is laid out. Where over the course of two pages, the last two pages of the issue, we see the smiley face filling the entire panel. And this isn’t a nine panel grid, this is three panels per page. So first it’s filling the entire panel, it’s everything, it’s the whole world. Then you cut back and you see Mars and it’s still very much a part of it and you realize, “Okay, it’s as big as a crater.” Which you’ve already been told in the issue is enormous, it’s huge. And then we keep pulling back and we see all of Mars, until finally Mars disappears and it’s nothing. And I think what you’re ultimately left with is the argument that Laurie and Doctor Manhattan are making, that there are things-
Justin: Smiles fade.
Alex: Smiles fade, smiles fade, but a frown is forever… is the lesson. No, what I was going to say is I think you’re left with the question still of, is human life actually important or is it nothing in the span of the universe?
Justin: Whoa. But, I mean big question Alex.
Alex: Well let’s figure this out on this podcast. Just real quick.
Pete: Yeah, yeah. Can we just round it out real quick?
Justin: Listeners, if you’ve been tuning in for while and now we get into the real shit. Is there any meaning in life? And I’ll tell you what, I don’t know. I think in this comic it’s just a bunch of people smashing into each other. And that’s the joke of The Comedian. Is that he died to start this story, he’s not even in this story as a real person, he’s just a looking back thing. And it all just spins and spins and spins and it doesn’t amount to anything for him.
Alex: That’s really well thought out Justin. Pete what about you? What’s the meaning of life?
Pete: I think you kind of got to look at the guy reading the comic book about life, while life is happening. He gets to sample life and sample little worlds one comic at a time. And you enjoy it for as long as you can until it’s over.
Justin: So life is comics.
Alex: Nice. Well I got to say if you asked me what the meaning of life is, it’s getting high on hash and partying in the back. You know what I’m talking about?
Justin: Yeah. So just to summarize that Alex, you mean partying in your butt?
Justin: Life is partying in your butt?
Alex: Absolutely. A hashy hash, butt party. And then the back matter. The back matter is all sorts of stuff about Sally Jupiter. And this is all so fascinating, we haven’t spent a ton of time with the characters, Sally Jupiter. And I feel like not only do you really get confirmation of the history with Eddie but you find out more about her, you find out about the time. You find out about how important super heroing was to her, which is to say not as much as the merchandising rights. And in a certain way it ties into what’s going on with Adrian Veidt, where we found out about the action figures a couple of issues back. And in a certain way I would say she started that off right. She was the person that said, “Hey, it’s not all about doing good and punching people. You can make a little money off of it at the same time.”
Justin: And based on this last little news article, you can make a bad pornography as well.
Alex: Yes, exactly. Any other thoughts about this issue before we wrap up? Pete, anything else you want to say?
Pete: Yeah, well, when I first read this through, I kind of stopped reading the interview after the first sentence because it was such a stupid sexist thing to say that I stopped reading. And then for this I read the whole thing and I was like, “Oh my God, there’s so much more reveal.”
Pete: But it started out as such a stupid typical like, “So it’s all about the sex, right? Yeah, you got to go out there and look hot.”
Alex: Yeah, but we’re works about that is, that’s what magazines are like. We’ve talked about this before, but Alan Moore is really excellent at [inaudible 00:36:22] the style of a lot of things and here in this back matter we get a news article, we get a handwritten note, we get typed notes from different people, we get a movie review. We get an interview in a magazine that, as you said, is all about like sex and pushing buttons is a very Cosmo style thing, though maybe a little deeper. Let’s say vanity fair.
Justin: Yeah, nice dude.
Justin: Way to draw that line.
Alex: Yes. So it’s stunning. It’s stunning to read that stuff and be like, “Oh, okay. The same guy wrote all of this stuff.”
Justin: It’s just such a complete package from top to bottom, this whole comic.
Alex: Yeah, good stuff. Good stuff. Listen, you guys are good stuff as well. And if you would like to support our podcast, patrion.com/comic book club. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the People’s Improv Theater loft in New York. Come on down. We’ll chat with you about Watchman.
Alex: Couple of places you can check out the podcast, Watchman Watch Podcast on both Instagram and Facebook. Watchmen Watch One on Twitter comicbookclublive.com for this podcast and more. Also, you could subscribe and comment. Please do comment on iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, or the app of your choice. And remember we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago.
Justin: Allen texted just texted me and he said he’s definitely going to be here next week.
The post Watchmen Watch: Issue #9, “The Darkness of Mere Being” appeared first on Comic Book Club.