Comcast's internet services have been sporadic, at best, the last few days, so I never got around to my regular and multi-posts yesterday - but I suppose that is all for the best as it seems Emelia's taking charge in my absent. This article below is dedicated to her, as I know she is a big dork when it comes to comic book movies (as I am).
THE WATCHMEN (Film)
Ain't it Cool (oh god, I hate that name) recently posted a photograph of the Minutemen, which, I will have to admit, made me really excited about this upcoming The Watchmen film.
If you've read my Jack the Ripper article, you'll realize what a massive Alan Moore fan I am, but my reaction to hearing about The Watchmen movie was less than enthused. This is especially because the film versions (League of the Extraordinary Gentlemen, V For Vendetta, From Hell, etc) never really live up to the complexity and imagination of the comic book version. I suppose you can argue the same for movie adaptation of books, but seeing as comics are a visual medium, essentially storyboards, it would be easier to adapt into motion pictures, no?
So far, I've enjoyed all of Watchmen's director, Zach Snyder's previous works. His debut film was the remake of Dawn of the Dead, with an homage to the original George Romero feature, but adding the "fast zombies" ala 28 Days Later. His adaption of Frank Miller's 300 was incredibly faithful, almost a shot-by-shot of Miller's art. I ended up buying the Bluray version of this movie, even though I had already own the 2-disc DVD version. The only problem I have with this film is that it just seems like one gigantic fight sequence (which is basically what the comic book version was like- so no fault on Snyder's part).
With 300, Snyder demonstrated that he understands the source material and it really does translate well onto the big screen, so I am actually kind of excited to see what he does with the very long and complicated storyline of The Watchmen. To be honest, I think the film should be done in two or three parts if it were to include everything and please its core audience... but seeing this photograph of the Minutemen shows his attention to detail (this photo appears throughout the comic book in the background, often obscured by distance or objects).
THE WATCHMEN (Comics)
Of course I own all the original 12 issues limited baxter series, plus the trade paperback, plus the Absolute Edition, plus various interviews, magazines such as Wizard and I thought I would give you a little insight on the origin of the characters of the Watchmen.
Originally Moore had an idea about writing a story of the MLJ/Archies superheroes, about a murder mystery surrounding the death of The Shield. I think because of licensing issues (which might not be a factor because DC Comics eventually published these characters, including the Black Hood, on their Impact series), The Charlton characters, as suggested by DC Vice President Dick Giordano, were used instead.
Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, Peacemaker, Nightshade, Peter Cannon... Thunderbolt, were originally drafted, however seeing as major characters would be killed and not wanting to create continuity nightmares, Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons created original characters in replacement of these Charlton superheroes: Dr Manhattan, Nite-Owl, the Comedian, and Ozymandias.
Preceding The Watchmen were the golden age superheroes called The Minutemen, from 1939 to 1949. Although the comic book briefly mention these characters (appearing in mostly in scattered flashbacks), detailed background were given to each characters.
Here are the liner notes for the original Silk Spectre, as written by Moore:
Very much in the tradition of the original Phantom Lady, the Silk Spectre was voluptuous to the extreme and even had the honour of appearing in her own brief line of pornographic Tijuana bibles along with such other real life notables as Mae West. Born in 1926, she took up her secret idenity in 1942, age eighteen. In later years she confessed that this was because she had a crush on an obscure then-popular super-hero called himself Hooded Justice, and by the time she had learned on that the super-hero gossip grapevine that he was in fact a well-known gay sadomasochist, she was too deeply involved in extricate herself. Although in her early career she used a number of tricky scientific weapons based upon her knowledge of chemistry, she abandoned these when a preparation blue up, badly burning one hand. After this point she wore a single glove to conceal her admittedly slight disfigurement. Most people took it as a further erotic enhancement to her costume rather than concealment of a blemish, and she became more popular than ever. A famous moment in her career came when underworld czar Jimmy Fantucci gave himself up to the polic rather than shoot her.
None of the above were mentioned in the comic - but this kind of microscopic details in her background makes for a wonderful writer that Moore truly is.
The Canadian band, The Watchmen, formed in 1988, got their name from the Alan Moore book. I was surprise to find out that they were pretty successful - although it seems popular in the regional sense.
The band really took off in 1992 with their debut album, McLaren Furnace Room and had a couple of his singles: "Cracked" and "Run and Hide", both were widely played on rock stations in Canada.
In the next few years, although critically acclaimed, did not do so well, commercially. That all changed with their 1998 gold-certified album, Silent Radar with the first of the big hits: "Stereo".
In addition to the audio tracks, fans were treated with a special CD-activated key to access videos and extra music on the band's website - this was really ahead of its time in '98. They even won several awards for this album, including a MuchMusic Award (Canada's answer to MTV) for "Best of Use New Technology".
By 2001, The Watchmen with Slomotion experimented with industrial sound and manufactured drums to replacing their departing drummer, Sammy Kohn. It wasn't long until the band realized they couldn't carry on and by 2003, the band broke up.
As for Zach Snyder, people rarely knew that he started his career as a music director, he shot one of my favorite Morrissey video, "Tomorrow". For those who haven't seen it, it's a one-take shot of Morrissey singing his song while walking down the street through various corridors and alleys.
The video was later remixed with various shots of the bands, probably to make it look more "interesting" for MTV's audience. I have read Morrissey's memos about this video, and he hated the remixed video version.... I believe only the original one-take version appears on his various video compilations, The Malady Lingers On (1992) and Oye Esteban! (2000). It drives completists like myself mad because the remix version have never been officially released. See also the video for "Our Frank".
Speaking of Morrissey, apparently he announced a new album that he will call Years Of Refusal, and will be out sometime in September of 2008. Also, according to True to You, everyone's least favorite Morrissey album, Southpaw Grammar, is expecting a remastered edition with new artwork in July. You're kidding, right?
The good news is that they are adding additional tracks to the album, which is fine because the original release only contain barely 8 tracks.
Also, check out the latest video for
"All You Need is Morrissey", (ahem) I mean "All You Need is Me". Morrissey is doing what he does best in this video, being a goofball.
By the way, this has been the strangest themed-post: Alan Moore, The Watchmen (comics, film & band), Zach Synder, and, of course, Morrissey. You can always read more about the Mozzer on W♥M :)