Saturday, August 11, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter VIII - page 10


Panel 1:  where Hector Godfrey, editor for the New Frontiersman, is working to get his article pasted up in time for their printing deadline. 

Of note in this panel is the fact that Seymour is wearing a smiley face t-shirt, hearkening back to the Comedian’s button, which has acted as a recurring visual motif throughout this story. 

Panel 2:  Interestingly, the clock in the background has Roman numerals, similar to the chapter numbers utilized in Watchmen. 

Panel 5:  The picture Seymour finds – for the aforementioned “missing writer” piece – is that of Max Shea, whom we have seen briefly in Chapter III (on the cover of the New Frontiersman on Page 1, Panel 3) and Chapter VII (on the newscast on Page 13, panel 2) as well as in the back-matter for Chapter V.  He is the writer of the pirate comic that has been interspersed throughout Watchmen. 

Panel 6:  With the cover for the latest edition of the New Frontiersman pasted up, we can see that this article is the back-matter created for this chapter. 

The New Frontiersman is obviously the conservative counterpoint to the more liberal-biased Nova Express, mentioned by Godfrey.  But, along with the fact that this article is the back-matter for this chapter, Godfrey and Seymour will come to play small but important roles in this final third of the book.

Godfrey’s final bit of dialogue in this panel – “…I’ll get this … ready to hit the streets…” transitions directly into

Panel 7:  where we see Dan and Laurie getting ready to hit the streets.

Gibbons’s use of a large panel – taking up the entirety of the bottom tier, which would typically encompass three separate panels - emphasizes the importance of this scene (Dan and Laurie are just about to leave in order to break Rorschach out of the prison, the schematics of which are shown on the computer screen). 

This change in page layout also does something else, as the pattern of two tiers of three panels stacked on top of a single, larger, seventh panel will carry through the next six pages, allowing Moore & Gibbons to jump back and forth between scenes, with the bottom panel relating one scene – that of Dan and Laurie’s approach on the prison – while the upper 6 panels on each page show us a different, concurrent scene that will have consequences later in the story.

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