Long Excited Cables

Deep in the middle of the night, I discovered that the Watchmen trailer is out. And I immediately had a flashback to Easter, sitting at Orbital talking to Patrick about tor.com, and how nobody would be expected to stick strictly to topic in their blogs, because of course there would be some subjects that everyone would race to get up onto the site. So I watched the trailer and then downloaded the HD version to keep all 173Mb of it with me forever and realised that this is why I own a computer with an HD screen. And then I thought I must blog this right now or someone else will.

But it was 3am by then, and I needed to watch the trailer again. And sleep, and then go upstairs to the library and find Watchmen. And then re-read it in its entirety, noting several points where I made new connections that I’d never made before in all the previous readings. And then watch the trailer again, and then show it to my family, and explain to my daughter why this matters. And then watch the trailer again.

I have no sense of proportion about this. I am a total squeeing fangirl. The entire Internet is with me on this. There hangs this awful anticipatory sense of doubt; even after all this, this film may still be pants. We have been here before. But gosh. It may still be pants, but if it is, it will not be because of a lack of attention to its source material.

Every time that the trailer is shot like the book I am in awe at how much trouble they’ve gone to recreate the images. Wow, it’s the Gunga Diner. There’s the newsstand. There’s the Comedian in Vietnam with his smiley face badge. Every time they change something it just seems right too. Of course Rorschach’s face moves. Of course Doctor Manhattan glows. And of course the costumes reflect the glossy armour and leather gear of today’s superhero movies, rather than the lycra costumes of comic books. And Mars is red, not pink.

Suddenly its early 1986. I’m sitting at the party following a CUSFS event; we have just finished interviewing Alan Moore, and somebody else. My memory fails me there; John Grant, maybe? Whatever, I am a total squeeing fangirl, and we are all agog with anticipation for Moore’s new comic, which people have been talking about and which is Coming Out Soon.

Alan remarks that he has some pages with him; are we interested in seeing them? We are all overcome with excitement. It’s issue 4, inked but not yet coloured. Doctor Manhattan is on Mars. We try to say sensible things, but we’re very young and this was all out of context. Eventually, I think of a reasonably sensible question. “What colour is he?” Blue. Blue. Right. But by then I am lost in excitement and wonder.

Gretchen Rubin describes the four stages of happiness; anticipate, savour, express and reflect. How much happiness have I had from all four of those elements from Watchmen over the last twenty-two years? All that anticipation and excitement from that night in 1986, fully realised as I read the comics month by month as they came out. Discovering for the first time all the nuances of the plot and the way it was so non-sequential; it demanded repeated readings. And how much of this reflects the essence of fandom; this shared cultural experience that caused us to point out delightedly to each other all the wondrous detail of Dave Gibbons’ art. And so fandom has erupted in unbelieving delight over the last 24 hours.

Yes, we’ve been here before, and for all sorts of reasons there’s still a good chance this film will be pants. But I intend to get as much happiness out of the anticipation stage as ever I possibly can.

And now I must go and watch the trailer again.


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