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Quotes / Watchmen

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Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I've seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!" ...and I'll look down, and whisper "No."
They had a choice. All of them. They could have followed in the footsteps of good men like my father, like President Truman. Decent men who believed in a day's work for a day's pay. Instead they followed the droppings of lechers and communists and didn't realize that the trail led over a precipice until it was too late. Don't tell me they didn't have a choice.
Now the whole world stands on the brink, staring down into bloody hell, all those liberals and intellectuals and smooth-talkers...and all of a sudden, nobody can think of anything to say.
Rorshach's journal, October 12th, 1985

Slept all day. Awoken at 4:37. Landlady complaining about smell. She has five children by five different fathers. I am sure she cheats on welfare. Soon it will be dark.
Beneath me, this awful city, it screams like an abattoir of retarded children. New York.
On Friday night, a comedian died in New York. Somebody knows why. Down there...somebody knows.
The dusk reeks of fornication and bad consciences. I believe I shall take my exercise.
Rorschach's journal, October 13th, 1985

Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says "Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears. Says "But, Doctor,... I am Pagliacci."

I shall go and tell the indestructible man that someone plans to murder him.

Please! Don't all leave... Somebody has to do it, don't you see? Somebody has to save the world...
Captain Metropolis

Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night.
Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else.
Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It's us. Only us.
Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world. Was Rorschach.
Does that answer your questions, Doctor?

I looked at the Rorschach blot. I tried to pretend it looked like a spreading tree, shadows pooled beneath it, but it didn't. It looked more like a dead cat I once found, the fat, glistening grubs writhing blindly, squirming over each other, frantically tunneling away from the light.
But even that is avoiding the real horror. The horror is this: In the end, it is simply a picture of empty meaningless blackness.
We are alone. There is nothing else.
Dr. Malcolm Long

None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me.

Laurie Juspeczyk: Is that what you are? The most powerful thing in the universe and you're just a puppet following a script?
Doctor Manhattan: We're all puppets, Laurie. I'm just a puppet who can see the strings.

In each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive, meeting, siring this precise son, that precise daughter [...] to distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold... that is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle. [...] Come, dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg.
Dr. Manhattan

Dan Dreiberg: What the hell happened to us? What happened to the American Dream?
Edward Blake: What happened to the American Dream? It came true! You're looking at it.

"Do it?" Dan, I'm not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my masterstroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.
Adrian Veidt

No. Not even in the face of Armageddon. Never compromise.

I have walked across the surface of the sun. I have witnessed events so tiny and so fast that they could hardly be said to have occurred at all. But you, Adrian, you're just a man. The world's smartest man poses no more threat to me then does its smartest termite.
Dr. Manhattan.

Adrian Veidt: I did the right thing, didn't I? It all worked out in the end.
Dr. Manhattan: "In the end?" Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.

All the characters in Watchmen have a bit of me in them. I mean, Dr Manhattan has, Rorschach has and Veidt has...Probably Dan and Laurie as well, to a degree. Amongst the many other things I was trying to say in Watchmen was just that in this world we live in, with all its disparate characters and ambitions there are probably no two people who want the same thing. The world doesn’t work like that anyway. If there’s a central line in Watchmen it’s "Who makes the world?" Then again, that’s just my opinion. I’m sure other readers can find lines that are more meaningful to them, to me that’s the core of it: you’ve got all these vast powers—and Rorschach is a vast power in his own way just as Veidt is a vast financial power and Osterman’s a vast physical power. You’ve got ordinary people just muddling along, you’ve got people who don’t know what the fuck’s happening which is, like, most of humanity. You’ve got the Nixons and all this sort of stuff but ... Who makes the world? Is the world really under the control of its most powerful people or are they just part of the design, the same as the rest?

It was very much an 80s story, born out of that miasma of anxiety and unease that, as I remember it, was hanging over all of us back then. Most of the liberal world was watching in horror at the inexorable rise of the Reagan-Thatcher right-wing coalition, at the same time, elements of fascism were starting to make themselves known on the streets of Britain with the rise of the National Front, and things were looking altogether rather bleak.

I've read Watchmen many times. The reasons that I hated it when I was 25 are still there, but now I kinda like it because I'm older and I like the structure and I'm quite in awe of the absoluteness of it. But for all the same reasons, I hated it.

The fact that none of the characters were allowed to be smarter than the author, that really drove me nuts. The world's smartest man is an idiot. He makes a plan all his life that is undone by the end of the book in an instant. The psychiatrist sits with Rorschach for five minutes and Rorschach tells a super banal story of how he became a vigilante and the psychiatrist cracks. If you're a criminal psychiatrist who deals with men in prison, you've heard a million of these stories. It was all to make a specific point about how the real world isn't like superhero comics.

In my school, I was taught in this Scottish Presbyterian way that structure is hidden: you don't see the writer's mechanics. Watchmen, you can't turn the page without him saying "Look at me, look at me, look at me." Okay, we get it, man. You got thrown out of school at 16 for dealing acid, you're clever.

I took potshots at him in the media. I was the first person to say Watchmen wasn't very good – in fact, the only person to ever say that. And that made him angry so then I would get worse. I said that Watchmen was the 300-page equivalent of a sixth-form poem. That kind of trash talk, I'd brought from being in the band because that's what you're like in a band. I'd brought all that across with me to comics and it didn't go down well. I think it genuinely upset him.

Alan Moore didn't speak to me after that and would take his own little shots. He called Arkham Asylum a "gilded turd." Since then, I've had nothing to do with him and he's got nothing to do with me. A lot of comic fans like to think there's some feud but a feud would actually need to involve people's interest. I read his stuff, he reads my stuff – he pretends he doesn't, but he does.