content by

Joe George

Watchmen: A Tale of Care and Understanding

At the end of November, DC Comics released Doomsday Clock #1, the first in a twelve part sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ legendary superhero deconstruction Watchmen. Doomsday Clock writer Geoff Johns, aided by artists Gary Frank and Brad Anderson, feature in their story not only Watchmen characters Ozymandias and Rorschach, but also two figures unconnected to the 1985 original: Superman and Lois Lane, the first of many popular DC heroes slated to appear in the series.

Doomsday Clock is the culmination of Johns’s year-long project enfolding the Watchmen characters into the mainstream DC Comics Universe. Or, more accurately, enfolding mainstream DC characters into the Watchmen universe. Various stories by Johns, beginning with 2016’s DC Universe: Rebirth #1, have revealed the company’s line-wide reboot—which largely erased the characters’ past histories so their stories can begin anew—to be the result of meddling by Watchmen’s godlike Doctor Manhattan.

On a plot level, these stories find Batman, Flash, and others fighting to defend decency against Manhattan’s machinations. On a metatextual level, they pin the blame on Watchmen for the comics industry’s turn from away from optimistic do-gooders toward gritty anti-heroes such as Wolverine, Lobo, and Deadpool.

I find this move doubly disingenuous. It ignores both Alan Moore’s super-hero reconstructions, like 1963 or Tom Strong, and Geoff Johns’s own tendencies to mix sex and violence into his stories. And worse, the move subscribes to an intensely shallow reading of Watchmen.

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Targets: Horror Movies in the Age of Mass Shootings

Like many Americans, I began this October indulging in Halloween traditions, including a marathon in which I watch a horror movie every day of the month.

Like most Americans, and people all over the world, I also began this October in mourning, shocked by the news that gunman Stephen Paddock killed 59 Las Vegas concert attendees and wounded hundreds more.

This month, in the wake of such a horrific event, in a country in which such attacks are growing increasingly common, the question is unavoidable: Why choose to watch terrible or scary things on a movie screen when we see them all over the news? What’s the point of horror movies when the world seems filled with unavoidable horror?

It’s a fair question—even a necessary one. But I do think such films serve a purpose, for many fans. Especially in times like these, in which fear and violence have become an all too familiar part of our daily lives.

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