[Marxism] Watching the Watchmen | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jan 4 07:20:33 MST 2020
On October 25, 2019, I supported Martin Scorsese’s put-down of Marvel
Comics super-hero films in a CounterPunch article. The article appeared
just five days after HBO began streaming “Watchmen.” I knew little about
Alan Moore, the author of the graphic novel that inspired the series,
but decided to begin watching the watchmen. Written in 1985, it shared
Scorsese’s dim view of super-heroes. In a 2017 interview, Moore’s
vitriol surpassed Scorsese’s:
I think the impact of super-heroes on popular culture is both
tremendously embarrassing and not a little worrying. While these
characters were originally perfectly suited to stimulating the
imaginations of their twelve or thirteen year-old audience, today’s
franchised übermenschen, aimed at a supposedly adult audience, seem to
be serving some kind of different function, and fulfilling different
needs…In fact, I think that a good argument can be made for D.W.
Griffith’s Birth of a Nation as the first American super-hero movie, and
the point of origin for all those capes and masks.
There are six degrees of separation between Moore and me. Twelve years
ago, I worked with Harvey Pekar on a comic book about my comic life as a
Trotskyist. Harvey always insisted on calling what he did “comic books”
rather than the somewhat pretentious “graphic novel.” Like Moore, he
wanted to break with super-hero mythology but on a different basis.
Moore’s “Watchmen” made these figures loathsome while Pekar sought to
ignore them altogether. Instead, he rooted his comic books in what he
called the “quotidian” life of ordinary workers.
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