Saturday, November 1st, 2003
In both Watchmen and Shakespeare’s King Lear we have to deal with the notion of revealing or uncovering and the idea of the disquise. Edgar in King Lear must keep his identity from his father, Gloster. Rorschach and Dan must keep their identities hidden as well in Watchmen. When R is revealed to us and goes before the therapist and to jail, something else happens. R’s story is also opened in both text and visual story: we learn who he is and “we learn who he is.”
As a murder mystery, the identity of the killer is the overarching “disguise.” It seems to me that Watchmen’s play with heroes, costumes, and the story “behind” or that is hidden is picture perfect for the form, which as Tom Servidone claimed to me after class, is like a movie on paper. I think he was pointing to the nature of the comic as sequential art in the dramatic tradition, which, of course, points us to the sense of sight and “seeing.” Thus we are back to Lear and the metaphor of sight which pervades that play.