Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

What the hell does that mean? I hear you ask.

Actually, I don’t hear you ask that, because my surveillance equipment is all whacked up (mayhaps due to the wintry frost?), but I’m ninety-seven point eight nine percent positive you asked it anyways, or at least Googled the phrase to see what it meant. I’ll give a minute to finish that and…

There, you should be reading this post again. Now, if your searching yielded no results, I ought to at least give you a free pass for this one and tell you that it’s Latin for “Who watches the watchers?” This quote just so happens to appear on the last page of Alan Moore’s brilliant graphic novel Watchmen, because Alan Moore is just awesome like that.

Couldn’t finish up talking about Watchmen, though, without telling you that there’s also a bunch of other awesome quotes, as well as awesome storylines and some really neat artwork. Of course, there’s also a couple of panels that feature full-frontal nudity in males*, so I wouldn’t suggest reading it near your mother, just because parents tend to exaggerate these things. Or your siblings, for that matter, because I think that I traumatised my five-year-old little sister when she looked over my shoulder and saw (spoiler alert!) full-page panels of people lying dead in the streets.

However….Well, actually there isn’t a however. Watchmen is just plain incroyable. It’s like the Cien años de soledad of graphic novels.

Maybe. Stylistically speaking, it’s got a lot of German Expressionist elements (whereas Cien años has almost no expressionist elements), but with the one major difference being that while, yes, there are a lot of dark, almost monochromatic overtones, there’s also colours galore.

Example: One of the main characters is blue; and most of the other characters wear complex, anything-but-monochromatic costumes save for Rorschach.

Now, just because there’s colours, though, does that mean that it’s colourful? Of course not. Look at Nightmare Before Christmas–it’s super colourful, but it’s also dark and twisted and about as far away from Disney that a Disney film can get.

So, in short, Watchmen is bloomin’ brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that it’s taken me almost four hundred words and one groovy acrostic to describe its awesomeness to you. Now, to quote the back cover of Watchmen itself: “If you’ve never read a graphic novel, start with WATCHMEN. And even if you have, it’s time to read it again.” Yeah, I know, that passage is logically confusing and has no parallelism, but that’s only because the people who write blurbs on the back covers of book usually are sadistic sociopaths who hate the English language in all its wonderful forms.

~~La Stranezza

P.S. First one to find the acrostic I spoke of gets a guest post!

*The nudity itself isn’t that bad–it’s played down, and the guy who’s exposed is actually some sort of weird alien deity guy, so, I mean, it’s not like there’s a huge orgy scene through the streets of down town New York.

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10 thoughts on “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  1. Grammar problem: “…because there’s colours…” That’s bad grammar. It should be “…because there’re [or there are] colours…”
    And I found the acrostic. The first letters of the first eight paragraphs spell out “WATCHMEN”. I almost added the first letter of the ninth paragraph too, but that would’ve said Watchmens, which is another grammar problem. So, I claim the guest post.

  2. Man, I thought I was all smart for finding the acrostic. I even wrote it down as I went down the page but then I saw the 4 previous comments and my smile just kinda slid right off my face. Then I started smiling/chuckling because I’m stupid for thinking I won in the first place. Anyways, the main point is that I found the acrostic. How very clever, Kid. *take that as sarcasm or a compliment, either way is good*

  3. I. Am. In. Love. With. Watchmen.

    Admittedly, given my more conservative tastes I’m definitely not a fan of the nudity/sexual content, and for that reason alone I took a hiatus from reading it (although I do intend to finish it. It’s just, I don’t need to *see* what they were doing in order to *know* what they were doing). Oddly enough, the blood and gore never bothers me.

    That said–gosh dagnabit can that man write poetry or what. I love the narrative style, the characteer depth, and indeed the Burtonesque grotesque beauty in that apocalyptic world. One would think Neil Gaiman had ghostwrited some of the script.

    Furthermore, it’s neat to see where the Pixar creatives got their Incredibles inspiration from… never underestimate the value of comic books.

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