Posts Tagged ‘annotation’

Ten Things A Diehard Alan Moore Fan Learned From the New Annotated Watchmen

8 April 2018

Watchmen Annotated cover

I can remember reading and re-reading and re-re-reading issues of Watchmen as they were coming out in the mid-1980s. At the time, I knew it was a big deal – a great comic. I had already been enjoying Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, and was looking forward to Watchmen even before the first issue came out. Among many things, it is a murder mystery and I remember re-reading issues looking for clues for me to solve the whodunit.

I even remember that I was buying a couple copies of each issue, expecting it to become a collectible. So much for those plans though, as I loaned the first three or four issues to a woman I met in a laundromat. I had a minor crush on her, of course. If I remember correctly, she was reading a sci-fi book and we had a conversation while our laundry spun. I ended up giving her my phone number and loaning her a couple of early Watchmen issues that I had extra copies of… then I never heard from her again.

Anyway, Watchmen is now widely acknowledged as one of the greatest comics ever.

It was created by Alan Moore (script), Dave Gibbons (art and lettering), and John Higgins (colors).

In recent years there is a lot of great (and not so great) Watchmen analysis available on the web. Lately my favorite is the Under the Hood podcast where Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and Kieran Shiach spend 30-60 minutes going through each page. There are also an excellent Kieron Gillen video, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s Strip Panel Naked videos (including Time Signatures, Power through Composition), and a few issue-by-issue podcasts underway including Watching the Watchmen and Watchmen Club.

In late 2017, DC Comics published a new edition: Watchmen Annotated. It reprints the full series in black and white, with annotations by Leslie S. Klinger, who had access to Moore’s script via artist Dave Gibbons. DC puts out lots of collected editions of Watchmen, and after picking up the initial trade paperback in the 80s, I’ve resisted picking up any new Watchmen editions, in part because of the ways that DC angered Moore over the Watchmen contract. I am pretty into Alan Moore annotations, though, so this week I bought a copy of Watchmen Annotated.

One of the really fun things about Watchmen is that I have read it a couple dozen times, and each reading I end up seeing new things. There is plenty in Watchmen Annotated that I was already aware of, but here are ten things I hadn’t noticed before:  (more…)

Advertisements

More Crossed Plus 100 Questions

14 May 2015

Readers solved many of the comics annotation reference mysteries I put out in this February 2015 post. A couple more issues of Alan Moore and Gabriel Andrade’s Crossed Plus One Hundred have hit the stands; I have posted annotations for No.3 here and No.4 here. But there are things I haven’t figured out, so I am going to toss out some more questions to readers.

Movie theater marquee from CPOH No.3, Page 14, panel 1 - art by Gabriel Andrade

Movie theater marquee detail from CPOH No.3, Page 14, panel 1 – art by Gabriel Andrade

1. What does the Chooga movie marquee say?

In Crossed Plus One Hundred No. 3, there’s a movie marquee in the human settlement in the year 2108 Chattanooga that has some letters left over from when it last showed films in the year 2008. It’s clear that one of the films was “Mama Mia!” which was released July 18th, 2008. On the right side of the marquee it says “_WR__R_” and “_LO_REI_” which should also be partial names of 2008 films. The “LO_REI” one could more-or-less be “Cloverfield” released January 2008, and suitably apocalyptic to match the CPOH world. I haven’t found anything else these might stand for. They’re probably the names of 2008 films, though they could say something like “coming soon,” “double feature,” “air conditioned”, or “eat popcorn”. Any ideas?

Images of 2008's The Surprise from the first pages of CPOH No.4 - art by Gabriel Andrade

Images of 2008’s The Surprise from the first pages of CPOH No.4 – art by Gabriel Andrade

2. Are these The Surprise scenes from earlier Crossed comics?

Crossed Plus One Hundred No.4 opens up with three pages showing what was happening a hundred years ago during “The Surprise” – the initial 2008 Crossed epidemic outbreak. The first panel shows Andrade’s version of an airplane crash that took place in the very first Garth Ennis / Jacen Burrows issue of Crossed. The subsequent panels show fairly specific scenes (in snow, in Japan) that I suspect are from other Crossed comics that I haven’t read yet. Any Crossed readers out there recognize these images?

3. Outstanding questions from earlier issues  (more…)

Annotating Splash Brannigan’s Shenanigans

13 October 2014
Splash Brannigan detail from cover of Tomorrow Stories No. 11, art by Hilary Barta

Splash Brannigan detail from cover of Tomorrow Stories No. 11, art by Hilary Barta

He’s the drip with quip! The ink who can think! The stain with a brain! Now, even his dalmatians have annotations!

I am, of course, talking about the comic book superhero Splash Brannigan. Created by writer Alan Moore and artist Hilary Barta.

I’ve recently had some time on my hands while my wife and daughter are out of town, so I re-read a bunch of Alan Moore comics. I wrote these earlier posts about Moore (or at least touching on some aspect of his oeuvre.) He’s certainly among my top dozen favorite comics creators, alongside Craig Thompson, Mike Mignola, Alison Bechdel, Dupuy/Berberian… yikes! I am not going to finish that list for fear of excluding great folks I enjoy.

Patient souls have already annotated Moore’s most highly Easter Egg laden series: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Top Ten. There are more annotations on-line for Swamp Thing, Promethea, 1963, etc. etc., and From Hell is printed with 66 pages of great explanatory appendices.

I love reading Alan Moore annotations and re-reading the comics seeing all kinds of clever twists I’ve missed. One of the great things about Moore’s work is that it is very honestly and very cleverly very derivative. He swims in culture, and self-consciously and richly mixes and mashes it up to form new stories which pay tribute to and shed light on older works. Like pretty much all great art, it’s easy enough to enjoy with a surface understanding, and then repeated experiences reveal additional layers and details missed earlier.

An earlier re-read of annotations of Moore’s 1963 got me thinking about multi-panel polyptichs in comics. That reveal led me to compiling my listing of notable and obscure comics multi-pans from 1906 to 2003.

I figured I would try my hand at annotating some Alan Moore work. Something that hadn’t been annotated yet.

There are still lots of great works to chose from… but I ended up picking Splash Brannigan. Mostly because each Splash appearance is a sort of tribute to some subject: art, comic fandom, music, early animation, detective fiction, etc. some of which I have decent knowledge of. I think Splash may be Moore’s most highly-referential comic that hasn’t yet been annotated… but I may just be missing references in Lost Girls or Cobweb or Miracleman. And I already owned a copy of every comic where Splash appeared. And I think most Splash stories are still fairly easily available in ‘compendium editions’, unlike hard-to-find Moore classics including American Flagg! back-up stories, or Brought to Light.

WWSBS? How about “Hey! Where’s the love?”  (more…)