Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter XI - page 20


Panel 1:  where Mrs. Long has surprised her husband, in order to meet him on her own terms.

The newspaper headline – “WAR?” – above the newsvendor’s head foreshadows the hostility that is about to erupt at this intersection over the final pages of this chapter.

Panel 3:  Mrs. Long’s remarks here – “…I can’t’ live with someone who feels driven to help hopeless cases, then lets their misery affect our lives…” – is not only a commentary on their marriage, but also a commentary on the relationship between Joey and Aline, and specifically Aline’s feelings about Joey, which we can see unraveling in the foreground of this panel.

Joey’s ripping up of the book Knots is her own futile attempt to cut her own Gordian Knot – this relationship that she wants to have with Aline, but which Aline is walking away from, and the internal conflict such an experience generates within us.

Panel 5:  Again, Mrs. Long’s remarks are a reflection of this panel’s imagery.  She tells her husband that she won’t share him “with a world full of screw-ups and manic depressives…” even as she shares this sidewalk with people who are emotionally injured in a manner similar to those she describes.

Panel 6:  Ironically, Dr. Long and his wife are having the opposite discussion that Laurie and Dr. Manhattan had on Mars in Chapter IX. 

Panel 8:  This panel is yet another example of the way in which Moore & Gibbons create an image that resonates with multiple meanings.  As Dr. Long is drawn into yet another instance of others’ grief, the younger Bernie is drawn into the grief of the Black Freighter protagonist as he continues to read this pirate story, even while we, the readers of Watchmen, are pulled into that same grief in the Black Freighter comic, as the “camera” pulls in closer to the younger Bernie and transitions to

Panel 9:  and a close-up of the comic page that Bernie is reading.

Dr. Long’s comment that he “can’t run” from the ugliness in this world is mirrored by the Black Freighter captions as the ugliness of the actual Black Freighter comes closer and closer to the comic’s protagonist – something he too is unable to run away from.

The tall rectangles created by the prow of the ship and the panel border within the Black Freighter comic, along with the sea bird (most likely a gull) flying over the surface of the water, transition directly to

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