Episode 1679 Talkback - Off the Racks: Doomsday Clock #1

Enclosed are the Geeks' first impressions of Doomsday Clock #1, the initial phase of a year-long DCU/Watchmen mash-up brought to you by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. Listen now. The clock is ticking... (43:51)

Hrrm... Listen here.

Comments

  • Cool! Not reading it but nice little middle of the week listen!
  • bralinatorbralinator Posts: 5,967
    edited December 2017
    Thanks for another timely episode guys! However, I got the feeling that only @pants seemed excited by the prospect and execution of this maxi-series. Everyone else seemed nonplus, troubled, or only mildly intrigued. I hope this maxi-series turns out to impress all of us. I too loved the art and I am intrigued by the premise.

    I was surprised no one mentioned that in the very first panel of Doomsday Clock #1 we see a narration caption that reads, “November 22nd, 1992… or maybe it’s the 23rd,” giving readers a starting point for the story being told. This date puts the start of Doomsday Clock right at the release of one of DC Comics' most well-known storylines, Superman #75. This connection gives the title "Doomsday Clock" a whole different meaning, perhaps referring to the villain Doomsday, and to the death of Superman, and ultimately to the death of “hope” in the DC universe. Would like to know @Adam_Murdough's thoughts on that.

    It’s been established that in the Watchmen universe that DC Comics characters exist as fictional characters in comic books, just like our reality.

    Here’s an excerpt by Night Owl aka Hollis Mason from his autobiography 'Under The Hood,' found in Watchmen #1,
    “For me, it all started in 1938, the year they invented the super-hero. I was too old for comic books when the first issue of Action Comics came out … but from the moment I set eyes on it I only had eyes for the Superman story. Here was something that presented the basic morality of the pulps without all their darkness and ambiguity...”

    I’m convinced that the era that the Doomsday Clock series takes place in is a major plot point of this maxi-series.
  • HelenaBeatHelenaBeat Posts: 4
    edited December 2017
    Right from the first page, the political stuff took me out of the story so much that I'm not going to continue. I don't feel that the Trump-ish and anti-Trump-ish talking points were included for any worthwhile reason. Instead I get the impression that Johns is yet another "well-informed" media addict who can't stop obsessing over surface-level politics, so he needs to inject it into his work because he feels it's "relevant". It isn't relevant. It comes off as sloppy and clumsy. I'd rather read a hyper-partisan political diatribe in comics form (from the right or the left) instead of seeing this same kind of half-baked politics intruding into escapist fiction. There are in fact ways to insinuate and explore the very same themes Johns may be interested in without being so superficial.

    The story is set in late 1992. There's no good reason for the political overtones of real-world 2017 to be in there. The very idea that somehow we "got there quicker" in the fictional universe makes no sense. History and reality do not exist on a pre-determined linear timeline. Adding in the superheroes, super technology, telepaths, and "alien invasion" of the Watchmen universe would not have caused the real world to accelerate political discourse by 25 years. Instead the politics of fictional 1992 would be completely different from our 1992 or our 2017. The fact that it happens to resemble 2017 is not interesting but rather lazy on Johns' part.

    I also want to express my annoyance at hearing the same tired "the '80s were so bad" rhetoric on the show. This was brought up in order to play off the political overtones of the original Watchmen. Here's a real history lesson: By the time Watchmen was coming out, the USSR was already going through Perestroika and Glasnost. The Cold War tensions had died down immensely. The idea that Watchmen was playing off of very real nuclear tension is absolute bunk. By 1986 things were more peaceful between the two superpowers than they had been in 40+ years. That doesn't mean that the political elements in Watchmen were "bad" in inordinate. Not at all! They weren't--they were great and very insightful and a wonderful commentary on the recent past--but they were part of a fictional world.

    The '80s are often portrayed as a bad, dark, scary time, and yet for some reason all the historical happiness indexes were a lot higher then than in later times. For some reason middle-class people in the '80s felt a lot more comfortable and a lot more confident about starting families and having many more children than they do now. We look back on all this time as if the people were constantly huddled under desks expecting the bombs to drop. If they were constantly fearing nuclear war, why were they still having so many more kids than middle-class people do today? If they genuinely expected the world to very possibly end, they wouldn't've kept having so many children. And why were they taking fewer anti-depressant drugs back then? Yeah there were geopolitical tensions, but this "it was so scary back then" doesn't add up. It seems like you guys just want to implicitly blame conservatives for everything, like how Margaret Thatcher gets "blamed" for punk music and Judge Dredd, even though both things started years before she took office. I had to laugh when Chris expressed absolute befuddlement that things in the fictional Doomsday Clock universe could be bad under a left-wing president Redford. Yeah, I mean, in the real world the closest we got to nuclear war was during the Cuban Missile Crisis under "Saint" JFK, but don't let anyone tell you anything other than Reagan was the real danger, probably more dangerous than Stalin and Khrushchev, right guys?

    I'm sorry, I'm not a conservative or liberal and am pretty certain that I would never have voted for any of these various presidents if I was of-age during their elections, but all the political commentary presented here is not worthwhile at all.
  • CalibanCaliban Posts: 1,352
    Like @Adam_Murdough I bought the first issue and felt guilty about. Particularly since I have now read some internet essays which compare the way DC have treated Moore and Gibbons with other examples of industry abuse of creators.

    It's interesting that CGS has recently spotlighted Jack Kirby and his struggles to get his artwork back. I wonder if in the future we will be discussing Moore & Gibbons' Watchmen rights in the same way?

    Maybe the CGS crew might talk about the ethics of this comic in future episodes?
  • bralinatorbralinator Posts: 5,967
    Regardless of what anyone thinks of Alan Moore, I understood that DC has tried to make good on the deal they reneged on, but Moore has repeatedly turned down the rights to Watchmen, ostensibly to avoid entanglement with future prequels and sequels.

    In fact, Moore has mostly turned his back on the industry and no longer speaks with Dave Gibbons.

    Story here: https://www.wired.com/2010/07/alan-moore-watchmen/
  • Regardless of what anyone thinks of Alan Moore, I understood that DC has tried to make good on the deal they reneged on, but Moore has repeatedly turned down the rights to Watchmen, ostensibly to avoid entanglement with future prequels and sequels.

    In fact, Moore has mostly turned his back on the industry and no longer speaks with Dave Gibbons.

    Story here: https://www.wired.com/2010/07/alan-moore-watchmen/

    If a contract over Watchmen doesn't involve returning the rights to Moore and Gibbons, Alan isn’t going to be interested. DC knows this. They do their due diligence anyway, and offer him gobs of money, even though they know he isn’t going to take it. Dave was being practical, knowing they will never get the rights back, and decided to try to get whatever he could out of it. And I have absolutely no problem with that. Alan doesn’t care about the money; he just wants the rights back. He knows he'll never get them back, but he is in a position in life where he can afford to tell DC to shove off. And I have absolutely no problem with that either. It’s just a shame they’ve lost a friendship over the issue. Same thing happened with Moore and Alan Davis over Captain Britain because of the Miracleman snafu.

    I'm not reading Doomsday Clock. Not because of any indignence on Alan’s behalf, I'm just not interested.
  • ChrisBeckettChrisBeckett Posts: 468
    edited December 2017
    Like Eric above, I'm not reading Doomsday Clock out of a lack of interest, but I do enjoy my CGS podcast and wanted to chime in about the question of Robert Redford as President in this timeline --- which is absolutely correct.

    edited to say: absolutely correct, as far as the way things end up in "Watchmen."

    As stated in the "Reading Watchmen" annotations by some guy named Chris Beckett (cheap plug here, for a website that brings me no money), on page 32, panel 3 of issue 12 it's confirmed that Robert Redford is the "RR" mentioned on the news headline brought up by @Pants.

    LINK

    note: There are roughly 78,000 more words on Watchmen across the rest of my site.

    And, since there's no context--only explanation--offered with my annotations, here's the page itself that confirms it's Robert Redford.

    image

    Thanks, as always, for all the work that goes into the podcast. It is much appreciated.

    chris

  • bralinatorbralinator Posts: 5,967
    edited December 2017


    If a contract over Watchmen doesn't involve returning the rights to Moore and Gibbons, Alan isn’t going to be interested. DC knows this. They do their due diligence anyway, and offer him gobs of money, even though they know he isn’t going to take it. Dave was being practical, knowing they will never get the rights back, and decided to try to get whatever he could out of it. And I have absolutely no problem with that. Alan doesn’t care about the money; he just wants the rights back. He knows he'll never get them back, but he is in a position in life where he can afford to tell DC to shove off. And I have absolutely no problem with that either. It’s just a shame they’ve lost a friendship over the issue. Same thing happened with Moore and Alan Davis over Captain Britain because of the Miracleman snafu.

    I'm not reading Doomsday Clock. Not because of any indignence on Alan’s behalf, I'm just not interested.

    Apparently the deal DC offered was gobs of money and the rights back if Moore allowed them to do the prequels and sequel.

    Alan Moore from the Wired.com article above:

    “They offered me the rights to Watchmen back, if I would agree to some dopey prequels and sequel”

    He turned them down. His prerogative. I am more in line with Gibbons, besides the characters are all essentially anagrams of DC owned Charlton characters in the first place. I’ve come to believe that the pragmatic decision would be to have begun negotiating from that DC offer Moore refers to in the Wired article.

    As for the DC (Doomsday Clock) series, I was so impressed with Rebirth #1 and this premise that I’m on board until it falls off the rails.
  • Mark_EngblomMark_Engblom Posts: 300
    edited December 2017
    The whiff of real-world political commentary is what put me off the story almost immediately. Why Geoff Johns couldn't just tell a story without the need to "virtue signal" to his crowd is really disappointing. I also share Murd's assessment of Geoff's Rorschach dialogue as feeling off and amateurish. Yes, I suppose the fact that Rorschach is now a different person could explain some of it...not to mention him being of a different political persuasion altogether than Walter Kovacs (the original Rorschach)...which makes Rorschach II's adoption of the same staccato speaking pattern even more affected and off-putting.

    As a whole, it all feels like incredibly elaborate fan fiction...taking the subtle hints and foreshadowings of Watchmen (such as the artfully hinted-at possibility of someone using Kovacs' diary to blow open Vietch's conspiracy) and just...going there immediately. There's none of Moore's original subtlety or complex "clockwork" machinery at work here, which I guess shouldn't surprise me with a writer like Geoff Johns, who built his career crafting big, loud, audacious Event Comics. It's like recruiting Michael Bay to direct a quiet Indy film. I would've much rather seen a guy like Tom King get to write a work requiring the subtlety and complex layering a merging of the DC and Watchment universes requires.
  • BrackBrack Posts: 580

    The whiff of real-world political commentary is what put me off the story almost immediately.

    The problem is it is only a whiff. It should be all-out political commentary. It's Watchmen.

    The portrayal of this president in Doomsday Clock is toothless satire. If Johns wants to attack Trump, he should have put him in the book and stuck it to him, like Moore did with Nixon.

    Of course then he'd have to think up why he was president in 1992...
  • Mark_EngblomMark_Engblom Posts: 300
    Despite Nixon's appearance in Watchmen, he was still a pretty minor element of the story's larger tapestry...which is as it should be. Watchmen was never primarily a political screed, nor should this new....whatever it is....be one.
  • PeterPeter Posts: 442
    edited January 4
    Written by an author who lived under, and wrote against, Thatcherism. Inspired by the constant threat of total nuclear destruction. Superheroes as metaphors about different kinds of power. Afghanistan, Vietnam, Russia. A president on his third (fourth?) term. A character who possibly killed JFK. Released during the Reagan era.

    Nope. No in your face real world politics in the original Watchmen to be found. ;)
  • Mark_EngblomMark_Engblom Posts: 300
    Peter said:

    Written by an author who lived under, and wrote against, Thatcherism. Inspired by the constant threat of total nuclear destruction. Superheroes as metaphors about different kinds of power. Afghanistan, Vietnam, Russia. A president on his third (fourth?) term. A character who possibly killed JFK. Released during the Reagan era.

    Nope. No in your face real world politics in the original Watchmen to be found. ;)

    I didn't say there were no political elements. I said it wasn't primarily a political screed, in the sense that, say, V for Vendetta was. The vast majority of Watchmen dealt with the interactions between the core characters.
  • Mr_CosmicMr_Cosmic Posts: 3,183
    edited January 4

    Peter said:

    Written by an author who lived under, and wrote against, Thatcherism. Inspired by the constant threat of total nuclear destruction. Superheroes as metaphors about different kinds of power. Afghanistan, Vietnam, Russia. A president on his third (fourth?) term. A character who possibly killed JFK. Released during the Reagan era.

    Nope. No in your face real world politics in the original Watchmen to be found. ;)

    I didn't say there were no political elements. I said it wasn't primarily a political screed, in the sense that, say, V for Vendetta was. The vast majority of Watchmen dealt with the interactions between the core characters.
    This new series could end up being the same - it might be too early to tell. Did Johns jump the gun by shoving the current political climate of the Watchmen universe in our faces rather than letting it unfold over the series?.. I don't know. I'll hold off judgment until I have the whole story.

  • Mark_EngblomMark_Engblom Posts: 300
    I'm really hoping that Johns will resist the urge to "touch every base" of the Watchmen universe. In other words, I really don't want to see every major (and minor) character brought back just so Johns can write them, or just to see the fan-fic match-ups (like Batman meeting Nite Owl). "Restraint" should be the guiding principal for something like this, but knowing Johns' history, I don't think that's going to happen. ...especially with 12 issues to fill.
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