Friday, May 11, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter V - page 11


Panel 1:  We know that the watch on Rorschach’s wrist reads 11:00, as noted in his journal entry, but still, the hands are close to the midnight image that has been prevalent throughout the book.  In the background, it is interesting to note that the chipped plate standing on its side on Rorschach’s table has a stain reminiscent of a Rorschach blot. 

The background elements in these panels from Rorschach’s residence tells us a lot about the character – namely, that he may be committed in his fight against crime and depravity, but the rest of his life suffers for it, mirroring his ineptitude within society, whether superheroic or not.

Panel 3:  Rorschach’s comments from his journal that he “peeled off face” to hide it because “without [his] face . . . nobody knows who [he is]” gives us insight into his relative sanity, and, more importantly, on how he sees himself.  Rorschach is the reality, his alter-ego the fake persona.

Also, in the background we can see that although the rest of Rorschach’s apartment is a sty, his copies of the New Frontiersman have been stacked neatly, affording us insights into his character and, specifically, what is important to him.

Panel 4:  Rorschach’s remark that his landlady “reminds [him] of his mother” foreshadows revelations that are to come in the next issue, but also clues us in that he has issues with his mother and probably did not have a good home life as a child. 

Panel 5:  Rorschach’s remarks about the silhouetted figures spray painted in the alley doorway – “man and woman, possibly indulging in sexual foreplay.  Didn’t like it.”  – is yet another small insight into his mind.  His strict moral sense includes a distaste for sex. 

And the silhouette – reminiscent of the silhouettes in Hiroshima and Nagasaki burned into buildings by the atomic radiation emitted from the nuclear bombs the United States dropped on Japan to end the second World War – symbolizes the feeling of impending doom that permeates this entire book. 

Also, to the right we see the “Who Watches the Watchmen?” graffiti, still not fully glimpsed.

Panel 7:  As Rorschach sits watching his mail drop, he makes an upside down question mark on his Gunga Diner placemat.  This is a nod to the fact that, in the initial pitch that involved the Charlton characters, Rorschach was to have been the Steve Ditko character, the Question.

Panel 8:  In the background we see a group of Knot Tops spray painting the building wall across the street from the Gunga Diner.  This graffiti will be seen in

Panel 9:  and is revealed as the “Hiroshima lovers.”

In the foreground we see that, from the upside down question on the Gunga Diner placemat, Rorschach creates a Rorschach blot – symbolically: Rorschach being created from the Question.

Also note, Rorschach’s hands as they hold the Gunga Diner placemat with the Rorschach blot on it is a visual transition into

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