Monday, September 13, 2021

That Bloody Button!

 THAT BLOODY BUTTON

            It seems that everybody on Earth is now familiar with the Comedian’s bloodied Smiley Face button.  Below is its appearance after the Comedian’s murder, from page 11 of Chapter One.

            Worn by Edward Blake both in and out of costume, it was his wry commentary on life’s absurdity.

            In a June 2017 interview with Entertainment Weekly, artist Dave Gibbons narrated his discussions with writer Alan Moore about their character designs for Watchmen.  An early concept had the Comedian togged nearly all in black.

So on the sketch that I did, I drew a tiny little yellow smiley-faced badge, almost as a throwaway, because I thought that’s a really interesting contrast. This big hulking dark character, with this little splash of bright, silly color.


            Next came the inspiration which has locked the bloody Smiley into place as an eternal pop-culture reference.


Alan saw that and he liked it. And when he wrote the first issue it had to start with the death of the Comedian. So he thought, “How about the Comedian’s been thrown out the window [and] the first thing we see is just that badge with some blood on it? And then we pull back and see more?” So he wrote that into the first script. But then we realized that what we had in that smiley-face badge was really the ultimate cartoon. The simplest cartoon. A black and yellow smiley face, with a splash of really realistic blood on it.

            But, Dear Reader, where did that specific blood-drop come from?  Whence its shape, its heft, its contours?

           Well, I can’t say for sure, but let me share a suspicious similarity with you ...

            It all started with the Smiley-Face buttonThe Smiley was created by Harvey Ball in 1963.  As we see in Watchmen, Adrian Veidt’s severe beating of Blake caused blood to drip onto the button.


            While exhaustively reading, speed-scanning, and inspecting the maxi-series and its various book publications, I came to the cover of Chapter Eleven, and a long-harbored thought came a-bubbling ...


           That shape ... that shape ... that configuration, I just knew that I’d seen it somewhere besides in the Watchmen comics.


             Then it hit me.  The blood-spot shape reminded me of a pylon or support for a spaceship model I had.  Inspired, I got out my G.I. Joe footlocker – it contains my model paint, glue, and leftovers for lo! the past fifty years or so.


            I discovered which model I’d been trying to recall.


           This is the X-Wing Fighter model released in 1977 by MPC.  My own model X-Wing is in fragments – this is a completed model seen online – but I still have the kit directions, and I also still have the plastic support which lifted the completed model from its base.

           Check out the shape of the support, in my copy of the directions.

           This is the actual piece.  Doesn’t it look familiar now?

           Another hint ...

           Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.  In my opinion, the blood-spot’s shape is much too similar to have not been inspired by the shape of the model piece.

 I encourage somebody to interrogate Mr Gibbons regarding his STAR WARS inspiration.  It's too suggestive to be a coincidence! 

            What do you think?

  

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