Monday, January 9, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter I - page 9


Panel 1: As we see in the next panel, this is a close-up of the picture Rorschach just took from Edward Blake’s closet. This hero is the first Nite Owl, whom we will see in panel 3.

Panel 2: The camera pulls back, showing the full picture of the Minutemen, as just seen at Blake’s – alerting readers to the fact that there is a connection here.

Panel 3: Note the clock in the background, just a few minutes to midnight – as Dan Dreiberg mentions. This accentuates the theme of pending Armageddon that permeates the book, which was a very real fear in 1985 with the heated rhetoric between American and Russia and the escalation of nuclear arms propagated by these two Cold War antagonists, as symbolized by the Doomsday clock at the University of Chicago.

Panel 4: In the foreground we see some books – most notably two copies of Hollis Mason’s (Nite Owl I) tell-all book, Under the Hood, and a book that has been cited as the inspiration for Superman, Gladiator by Philip Wylie.

Also, the statue of Nite Owl next to these books can be seen as a symbol of how the citizens of this world see heroes if one reads the inscription “IN GRATITUDE” as one word, “INGRATITUDE.”

Panel 5: Hollis’s remark about how “. . . they put you youngsters out to grass in ’77,” is another remark about the Keene Act, which is explained later.

Panel 6: Graffiti on the outside of the steps is for a band named Pale Horse, another reference to the fear of nuclear devastation. From Revelations 6: “I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hell was following close behind him.”

Panel 7: More graffiti: the first markings of “Who Watches the Watchmen?” – which is never seen in its entirety – and a better view of “Pale Horse.”

Panel 8: As Dan leaves Hollis’s place, we see the older Nite Owl’s auto repair sign coming in off the left of the panel. “Obsolete models a specialty,” is not just a marketing slogan, but also a statement about Hollis Mason and Dan Dreiberg, their heroic alter-egos now obsolete in the eyes of the world.

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