A Public Service Announcement! ;)

A Public Service Announcement! ;)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Watchmen Motion Comic DVD Coming Soon

ICV2 reports that the motion comic version of Watchmen, sort of a comic book on tape, with video reminiscent of those 1960s Spider-Man cartoons, is set for DVD release soon.

I have the motion comics downloaded to my ipod and find them fascinating. They're well-done, my only criticism is that there is one narrator for all parts, even the women, but the guy is good.

However, they don't stand up to the original text. I had the opportunity to compare some scenes from the book to their equivalents in the motion comic with students in my "Teaching the Graphic Novel" course, and it was clear this format can't capture the intricate intertextuality of the source material.

An excellent example of this comes in Chapter I, after Dan leaves Hollis. The "Obsolete Models" sign gets a lot of attention as a signifier in the comic, but even though it sways back and forth in the wind in the motion comic, one can't read the entirety of its text, meaning that unless one has already read the graphic novel, one is probably not going to catch on to this layer of meaning.

Also, none of the print sections at the end of each chapter are reproduced in the motion comic, so those nuances are lost as well.

The dissonance between these two texts has me a little more anxious about the movie, of course. But, I'm very happy to have these multiple textual iterations of Watchmen coming available soon. I do not know if I'll buy the motion comics DVD, since I've already got them, but I will get the DVD of the film so I can compare and contrast the various forms on my own and with my students.


Sean said...

I picked up the DVD of this yesterday, and my son and I watched disc 1 after he came home from school "sick" (hurm ...). We've found it a truly magnificent text, although you're right about it being a less nuanced medium for experiencing the narrative. My son found Chapter IV easier to follow in the motion comic format, and by eliminating much of the gutter with motion, the text takes back some of the narrative inferences that were left to the reader in the original. The camera movements, while cinematic, don't adequately replicate the free-wheeling, iterative way my eyes scan the panels, and it does attempt to force you to pay attention to certain details at the expense of others. Nevertheless, it's not a bad way to review the text in preparation for the movie. And yes ... I owe you an email! Lots of news from up here. Cheers!

Bucky C. said...

Hi there!

When you say "the text takes back some of the narrative inferences that were left to the reader in the original," I have to admit I'm not sure that's a strength of the motion comic. Part of what I love about Watchmen is the ambiguity and tensions that arrise from inferences. How one interprets sublte nuance has a profound influence onhow one interprets major events/elements.

I don't like seeing those tensions resolved (or interpretted, I think might be a better term, especially since Moore didn't sign off on the motion comic). Great literature is great partly because it isn't easily resolved, and to me, Watchmen is great literature. I don't want to see some of it interpretted with one answer. Considering the multiplicity, the chaos theory, the quarkiness, the fracticality of the text is part of what makes it so cool -- and, of course, there a signififers of atomic physics all over the text as well, so it seems a legitimate and intentional quarkiness. :)

Yes, do send me an e-mail soon! Always good to chat with you!!