Time: A Pool Filled with Albertine

The Albertine Notes was a whirlwind of a story, confusing in the way that Inception was. I feel like I need to read through it a second time in order to fully understand it, however, from just one reading themes that we have been discussing all semester did clearly emerge. Continue reading

Urban Apocalypse

Both this week and last, images of the city as a place of apocalypse are ideas which have been perhaps most provocative to me.  In both Watchmen and Children of Men, the city is the site of the apocalypse at its greatest (worst?) expression; it is in the confines of the urban environment that these secular apocalypses are to be most feared, and it is the escape from the city that can provide an escape from apocalypse, or at least the worst conditions of it.  Why the urban space is the place best fitted for a secular apocalypse is something that has troubled me: is it because the urban space is inherently crowded, or perhaps because technology, and the use of such, seems at its greatest presence in the city?  Or does it play on notions of the person of the city dweller, as already occupying the role of the other, the modern who has strayed too far from tradition (in whatever context that may be). Continue reading

Nostalgia, Apathy, and a Clockmaker

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of reading Watchmen was that it was a comic book, and the particular way in which one enters into a fictional universe that the comic book allows.  Especially considering how heavy the text was on apocalyptic imagery, it allowed an entry into a world which felt fully realized, and in that way, all the more frightening.  Had the novel been text alone, the plot itself is strong enough that it could easily have been captivating as a traditional text novel (if that is the term).  But the visual element truly made the experience for me.  More than anything, reading Watchmen immediately post-Glorious Appearing was a lesson in not judging a text by form alone, as the graphic novel in this comparison is words apart from the traditional novel in character development, complex unfolding of plot, and use of symbols and themes. Continue reading

Man-made Gods

From the very beginning, the pages of Alan Moore’s Watchmen are saturated with apocalyptic imagery. Rorschach wanders through a world where the end seems imminent. The streets are littered with trash and lined with strip clubs and bars; there are roving bands of punks and hooligans and a criminal lurking in every alleyway; the world seems to edge closer to anarchy and devolution every day. It is interesting to realize how the connection between so called “moral depravity’ and the end of the world is hardwired in our brains. While I could recognize that what Rorschach saw as signs of moral dissolution were often the results of changing moral and political order, it also wasn’t difficult to understand the rationalization for his vigilante justice. Continue reading

Hopelessly Hopeful for an Undetermined Future

As I was finishing the last chapter of Watchmen on Saturday morning, my doorbell rang. How terribly coincidental it was to see two members of a local Baptist church on my doorstep, hands out-stretched to give me a pamphlet that read, “The Most IMPORTANT Thing You Must Consider… Where Will You Spend All Eternity?” What hilariously magnificent timing! Just then, a fleeting thought crossed my mind- was this a sign from God? It got me thinking how Alan Moore employs a generally “godless apocalypse” (to use Kirsch’s phrasing) in his doomsday graphic novel, but creates some rather godlike characters. Rosen discusses this in her essay, mentioning three characters that act as apocalyptic gods. For this post however, I would like to stick to the comparison of just two of those characters and their relation to apocalyptic time and predestination: Jon Osterman (Dr. Manhattan) and Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias). Continue reading

Watchmen’s Holy Trinity

Having never read a comic book before, and not being a big fan of cartoons in any medium, I approached Watchmen with trepidation. However, I quickly realized that Watchmen was far different from what I expected. It was beautiful, and exquisitely written. The intricacy of interwoven storylines and the pictures full of hidden meaning made Watchmen exhausting but exciting to read. Continue reading

A “Rehumanized” God for a Disillusioned World

First, I must say that I was absolutely stunned by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Watchmen. I approached the book with a certain bias against “comic books.” How could this offer any sort of intellectual stimulation, I thought. When I started reading, and proceeded to read nearly 2/3 of the book in one sitting, though, I changed my mind. The novel is stunning visually, and I was amazed by how deep and exciting the content is. After completing the book and reading about Swamp Thing in Elizabeth Rosen’s Apocalyptic Transformatio: Sentient Vegetable Claims the End is Near! I am beyond compelled to read more of Moore! Continue reading