Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chapter I - page 2


Panel 1: Detective #2: “Do you think you black out before you hit the sidewalk, or what?”
This question will be answered in a later flashback.

Also, in the distant background we see one of the zeppelins that will pepper the skylines of the book, signifying this is a different Earth from ours, and also symbolically displaying the reality that Dr. Manhattan – whose symbol is a hydrogen atom, which would be the fuel for the zeppelins – is looming above everything in this brave new world.

Panel 3: With this panel, we see something novel for comics in the mid-80s, though more commonly utilized today – the use of color to evoke an emotion or imprint a scene or scenes with a common hue. The flashback scenes of Edward Blake’s murder are all bathed in red.

Panel 5: “He would have put up some kind’a fight, I’m certain.” We can see with the imagery – and again, we see the juxtaposition between words and images – just how hard a time the victim was having of it, despite his physical size.

Panel 7: “Maybe he just got soft.”

Again, this statement juxtaposes with the imagery, and we can see that, although he’s taking a pounding, Blake is someone who has not lived a soft life. We also see that, contrary to the theory these detectives are positing, it appears it was only one person that took out Blake. Of course, the point of view of the reader is such, that this is not conclusive.

Panel 8: “It’s Vice President Ford!”

This is our first indication that the world in which the Watchmen live is not the same as the world in which we are living. Ford was out of office – as the President – in 1976, but this story takes place in 1985.


  1. The colouring really stood out when I first read this. John Higgins' work is superlative.
    Again, I hadn't seen this done in comics before and it really told me that something was very different about this book.

    I'm sure there have been other fine examples over the years but the most direct comparison I can think of is the effect that Jamie Grant's colours had on me when I read All-Star Superman

  2. Great point, Eamonn. I completely agree - and I know that Dave Gibbons went into some detail on what Higgins brought to this book in his "Watching the Watchmen" companion.

    And the analogy to Jamie Grant's work on All Star Superman is an apt one. It's rare that a colorist gets such acclaim, but it is well worth it in these two instances.

    Thanks for reading.