June 11th, 2007


who watches the watchmen

Oh my.

I just finished Watchmen, and...dear God. I need to hold something. Someone. Anything.

This is more than a mere comic book. This is quite possibly the most seminal work of fiction I have ever read. In any medium. It was written twenty years ago, but it fits the post-September 11 era like a bad sock.

What's it about? Lots of things--the impending nuclear holocaust, the annihilation of American moral identity, the death of the superhero genre. All things that have, thankfully, never come to pass. But that is hardly an adequate description. It betrays the story's inherent timelessness. The best I can describe it is that it is a story about the powerlessness of (super?)human existence, and how terrible and precious it is.

That description isn't completely accurate. And I know it doesn't say a lot. But I don't think I could say it better than the book itself.

Two weeks ago, while waiting for Spider-Man 3 to open at the Apollo:

Me: Do I have twenty dollars to spend on this?
David: No. Don't bother.
Tom: Well, that depends. What are you looking at?
Me: Watchmen.
David: I take that back. The answer is YES. For Watchmen, the answer is always YES.
Me: ...But that's a day's worth of food.

Me: All right, all right...I figure I could live for a few miserable extra days, or I could let the time I have be enriched by a wonderful graphic novel.
Matrix Games clerk: I like how this guy thinks.
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i like traffic lights

and apparently I'm not the only one.

That is an absolute crapload of information. Someone even bothered to make an animated gif to show how they change, lest the classic red-yellow-green signal ever cease to be commonplace. I mean, I can understand why there's so much detailed information on cats--crazy cat people can be damned obsessive. But road signals? Since when did Wikipedia because the Extraterrestial's Guide to Human Civilization?

Some civil engineers have far too much time on their hands.