Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Who reads the Watchmen? Everyone, apparently.


So I hit up Acme Comics here in Greensboro yesterday to grab some books for my after school class, and while I was there, I noticed that they had stocked over twenty copies of Alan Moore's Watchmen. The manager there is a buddy of mine, so I told him, "Man, you guys really got a lot of copies of Watchmen," to which he replied, "Yeah, but we still don't have enough."

Apparently, after the trailer for Zack Snyder's upcoming adaptation was released, the book has been flying off the shelves to the point where they can't even keep it in stock. They also told me that the deluxe hardcover, Absolute Watchmen, which came out last year and has since been out of print, is now selling on Ebay for way above its cover price. When I got home, I checked it out for myself and sure enough, some people have gotten bids over $100.00 for a book that retailed at 75 bucks.

(Note: Before you go and try to make a fortune buying and selling a bunch of Absolute Watchmen copies, you should probably know that DC Comics is getting ready to print a whole new batch to capitalize on the demand.)

When I got a chance to see the trailer for Watchmen that was attached to The Dark Knight, I was non-plussed. Alan Moore had made one of the greatest comic book stories ever told, and it didn't seem appropriate for Snyder to lens a bunch of glamor scenes with excessive, masturbatory slow-motion. Sure that worked for Frank Miller's 300 (sorta), but the superheroes in Watchmen are far more human and vulnerable than King Leonidas and his army of 300 Spartans. Then adding insult to injury, Snyder also incorporated the reprise to "The End is the Beginning is the End," which The Smashing Pumpkins wrote for Batman & Robin, a song choice that doesn't bode well considering it was created for the worst comic book film ever made.

About the only good thing you can say for the Watchmen trailer is that it does not reveal any plot details. A good thing, too, since most of them will probably be butchered by the finished product. Instead, all the trailer really says is the movie was based on "THE MOST CELEBRATED GRAPHIC NOVEL OF ALL TIME." I guess the trailer convinced a lot of people of this fact, and now they are going to give the book a read. And even if the Watchmen movie is a big steaming turd, my belief is that it will almost be worth it so long as all the hoopla surrounding the film will get a lot of people to read the novel.

Speaking about reading Watchmen, DC Comics and iTunes just released an semi-animated version of the book's first chapter. It's basically the closest thing we comic book geeks will have to a audiobook for sequential storytelling. You can download the chapter for free here.


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