Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter VI - page 18


Panel 1:  By utilizing this aerial view of the scene – a technique used rarely throughout this story – Gibbons puts the “butterfly” Rorschach blot at the center of the image, emphasizing the theme of metamorphosis that permeates this chapter. 

Also note that the shadows of Dr. Long and Kovacs hearken back to the “Hiroshima lovers” we have seen spray painted on the edifices of this alternate version of New York City.  This use of shadow could be seen to symbolize the ontological deaths of these two characters – which we will observe over the following pages and which will result in the true “birth” of Rorschach (in the flashback sequences) and the “birth” of a new Dr. Long more in line with Rorschach.

Panels 2-3:  By closing in on the “butterfly” image, Moore & Gibbons accentuate the metamorphosis we are about to observe.  And the use of this Rorschach blot allows for a smooth transition to

Panel 4: which has a close-up image of Rorschach and his “ink blot” mask, in flashback, when he was investigating the kidnapping he is recounting to Dr. Long in the present. 

Also note how this scene, wherein we will finally see the true birth of the vigilante Rorschach that we have come to know in the present, mirrors Kovacs’s initial foray into vigilantism, as both “births” take place at a dressmaker’s.

Panel 6:  That “knob of bone” over which the two dogs are fighting will become important shortly.

Panel 7: Again, Moore & Gibbons use similar imagery/actions – i.e. the kicking in of a door, dislodging the lock mechanism in the process – to create these very real characters.  The attention to their actions, their body language, and the way they interact with others – and keeping that consistent throughout the book – helps ground this story in a manner not often seen in comic stories.  Of course, it helps that Moore & Gibbons conceived this as a single narrative, forestalling the possibility of other writers and artists coming on and utilizing these “heroes” in manners that would be seen as out of character.

Also, it’s interesting to note that, despite his black-and-white view of the world, Rorschach still has a sense of irony, as evidenced by his description of his entrance:  “Went in through front, like respectable visitor,” juxtaposed against the kicking in of the door.

Panel 8:  Note the time-clock on the right of the image; its hands are near the familiar 5 to midnight position.

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