Who Watches The Watchmen?

I was going to preface this post with a warning: exceptionally nerdy. Well, now I take it back. I don’t think it is.

Yes, I am writing in glorious praise and unquestionable submission to the greatness of Alan Moore’s Watchmen. And yes, it is technically a graphic novel about science fiction and superheroes and all sorts of AU situations (alternate universe– for those not quite well-versed in the language of deviant social cultures). And yes, I do not dismiss the fact that I am, at heart, a complete nerd. To this day, my heart saves space for those years of Saturday morning cartoons, all things Marvel and DC.

I could honestly spend hours reminiscing and justifying my loves, but it is 10th week and I am a literature major. I must spare what little strength I have for the sake of these poor typing fingers and the massive papers they have yet to write. So back to why I even began writing this– Watchmen.

It is a real tragedy that people judge by genre. I can only think: how limiting! I hate that we are so quick to dismiss things without any logical reasoning. Just because it’s “nerdy.” Well, let me be nerdy then. At least I won’t be missing out on something remarkable. Watchmen is so much more than disillusioned superheroes and masked vigilantes. It goes beyond the science fiction genre, overflowing into the real world. It isn’t just a comic book. There are all these stereotypes and assumptions connected to the idea of a “comic book,” even for the more acceptable term, “graphic novel.” And it is honestly tragic that so many of us are limited by our preconceptions. We end up missing out on things that are more poignant and relevant than we could ever imagine. Watchmen isn’t silly animated dribble; it’s just good, pure, quality literature. It’s been a while since I’ve read anything that impresses me as much. Every single part of the narrative is tightly woven. The writing is phenomenal, unexpectedly complex and unfathomably deep. I can’t get over it. I just have this really strong desire to reread it because I know I missed all these intricacies and deeper meanings the first time around. Everything fits perfectly. It just blows my mind. The way Alan Moore interweaves all these different plotlines and genres to reveal this painful truth– it just blows my mind. And the ending! Oh man. Blows. My. Mind.

I mean, this is what good literature does. This is what good literature is. Anyone who argues that it isn’t can kiss my nerdy little ass. (Excuse my brief moment of crudeness. Strong emotions call for strong words.) Literature brings out the absolute best and the unimaginable worst. Good writing is really devastating in that sense. It’s such an impressive and horrifying record of reality. Humanity, all its glories and grotesqueries. I mean, really. Nothing can be quite as revealing. I mean, science and engineering is all well and good. Psychology and political science– admirable, really. But I am immovably and irrevocably certain that my heart is in literature. I have roots so deep. Go ahead, try and sway me.

After devoting the bulk of my Friday to reading Watchmen and ultimately finishing at 8 o’clock that night, I can think of little else. It seems extreme. Maybe it is extreme. Whatever. Thank god it’s the topic of my LTWL 120 final paper… which is what I should be working on instead of writing this. But oh well.

Ah! I feel completely reaffirmed in whatever it was that propelled me to become a hopeless literature major, and surrender my future to such unconventional ambitions. Now, I will end that tangent before it begins, if only for the sake of time and sanity. I can’t seem to shake this feeling, nor do I want to. It puts me in an incomparable state of happiness. I want to smile a lot. It’s practically incontrollable, really– goosebumps and good chills and funny feelings and the works. Don’t girls generally feel this way about boys? Well, I feel it about books. My god, how odd. How unusual. You could ask me to try and describe why, but my writing skills aren’t nearly sharp enough to be convincing. It’s strange, I supposed. I get giddy thinking of all the books I have yet to read, the ones sitting patiently on my shelf and the ones that are simply waiting, dormant and undiscovered. It’s been a while since I’ve felt so strongly convicted about reading. What an unexpected surprise.

It took a 1987 graphic novel to remind me of why I love to read, why (despite busy schedules and late nights) reading is something I simply cannot allow myself to shake. That, my friends, is good writing, and I bask in its unwavering glow.

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About Booki
"Somewhere man must know that self-perception is the most frightening of all human observations. He must know that when a man faces himself, he is looking into an abyss."

2 Responses to Who Watches The Watchmen?

  1. Carla says:

    Haha Booki! I love this. I love you and your love for books. Maybe as my roommate, that will eventually rub off more on me. That is my hope, at least.

    [=

  2. Meg Reed says:

    Okay so I spent a good few weeks trying to track Watchmen down in Budapest to no avail, but I shall try again. You have persuaded me. It has to be somewhere around here. haha

    AND I am very glad I get to read some of your writing now. It makes me happy.

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