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
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.
: 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?
: 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.
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 doesnt work like that anyway. If theres a central line in Watchmen its "Who makes the world?" Then again, thats just my opinion. Im sure other readers can find lines that are more meaningful to them, to me thats the core of it: youve got all these vast powersand Rorschach is a vast power in his own way just as Veidt is a vast financial power and Ostermans a vast physical power. Youve got ordinary people just muddling along, youve got people who dont know what the fucks happening which is, like, most of humanity. Youve 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.