On one of the blogs I regularly read, author and commenters alike often referred to a graphic novel, soon to be a movie, called "Watchmen." Huh, I said. Then there was a long and interesting article in the NY Times about the book, calling it "a seminal piece of popular culture." Huh, I said again. Finally, curiosity got the better of me and I reserved it at the library--where I was on a waiting list for one of six or so copies throughout the system. Huh, I said again, what is this thing? And then I visit Lorin's blog and doggone if she hasn't just finished reading Watchmen herself!
It finally got in this week and I finally started reading it yesterday and can I just say graphic novels are not an easy read? I went in thinking, "Oh, surely, you can just skim along," but no. I am finding that it required very different muscles from reading words alone. There's so much that has to be interpreted from the images themselves that it's rather slow going.
I took a picture of one page, copied below (well, duh).
Notice how alternating frames are blue and then orange? I said to myself, "Huh. I wonder why the alteranting frames are blue and then orange?" And then I thought, "There's a neon sign outside!" At least that's how I interpret the images.
You'll also notice that this is from the viewpoint of a person in a bed; you can see his hands above the sheets and his knees and feet under the sheets directly in front of him. I didn't even realize that's what was going on, that I was seeing this from that character's perspective, until I was writing this. It's also a flashback as he tells someone else about the visit of the other person you see in the frame. In the next to last frame, you see the visitor close up in the narrator's face. And then in the final frame of the page, you're in the present (the masked character is named Rorschach who was pumping the other character for this memory).
I'm not sure if I'll like the book or not ultimately. It's very violent, for one thing--graphic, indeed. But it's a much more intense reading experience than I expected. I don't know all the conventions yet--at all. I had no idea how much work this was going to take.