Monday, February 26, 2018

WATCHMENUTIA #1: Keep Smiling!


            If you go over a thing often enough, you might not see everything that’s there ... but you’re also likely to see things that AREN’T there.

            I found a lot of  subtle and not-so-subtle images in Watchmen which reminded me of the good ol’ Smiley.  You tell me if some of these are reaching too far.  others may have noted them, but gosh-darn it, this is my blog!


            As Detectives Bourquin and Fine leave the Blake murder scene on page 3, they get on an elevator already occupied by one of the building’s tenants.

            The end of his pipe has a familiar shape.


            In this 1977 flashback to the pre-Keene Act riots, note the charging hydrant to the right of this panel from page 17.  And, of course, the splatter on Archie the owlship, in the foreground, is shaped like the blood smear on Edward Blake’s Smiley pin.  But back to the Smiley-face hydrant ...

            Now do you see it?


            At Christmastime in 1963, Janey gets the shivers thinking about Jon Osterman’s view of time, on page 11.

            Check out the Smiley-like reflections in the Christmas-tree ornaments.


            Here, on the cover of the comic, and just inside on page 1, the smear of dust on Dan’s goggles, left by Janey’s finger, gives a Smiley-like look.

            Here’s one of the more obvious images, from page 18.

            And in the last panel of the chapter, on page 28, there’s another too-obvious-to-miss Smiley.


            For a change, here’s a “Frowny” face that I cannot believe is coincidental.  Look at the mouthpiece of Sally Jupiter’s phone.


            Later in Chapter Eight, a prolonged view of Hollis Mason’s jack o’lantern carving produces a familiar cheerful face.


            This cheerful radar screen is repeated in the first panel inside.


            For the longest time, I was trying to see a Smiley in the reflective bowl with the zigzag motif.  No, don’t look at the bowl.  Look at Veidt’s plate!  The peas are the eyes, the fork is the bloodstain, and the inner ring of the plate serves as the smile!


            Along with “Bodies Beyond Your Wildest Imaginings,” we see the now-detached crown of the familiar charging hydrant.

            This time, it has an extra blot, to match the Comedian’s badge!

            A repeated angle of the entrance tunnel into Karnak from the frozen-over vivarium has an ironically brightly smiling countenance.

            And as Rorschach tries to escape Karnak.

            You see it too, don’t you?

            Thanks for joining me on this tour of Smiley faces in the Watchmen comics maxiseries.

PS:  The fun doesn’t stop there!


            Watchmen: The Art of the Film, by Peter Aperlo (2009: Titan Books), contains three “comics” pages, reproduced on pages 62-63 of that volume.  They were drawn by Gibbons and colored by John Higgins at the behest of film director Zack Snyder to give us “a taste of what the graphic novel’s climax might have looked like if Adrian Veidt had followed the film's script.  These new ‘pages’ were drawn at Zack Snyder's request during pre-production....”


            When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you!  And pretty soon, you may find yourself seeing Smileys everywhere!

            For instance, I’ve had this mini-Mr Coffee for more than a decade.  Over time, parts of the Teflon-like coating of the hot plate have worn off.

            Doesn’t my Mr Coffee hot plate have a cheerful disposition?

   So, no matter what life brews up for you, keep smiling!

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© by Mark Alfred