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January 09, 2005

Comments

Charlotte

Since we were discussing it in class, I got curious about the bloody smiley face imagery, so on my rereading, I kept an eye out for it. I noticed that whenever anything happens to anyone's eye, it's almost always the right one, like on the Comedian's badge--the most notable exception that I saw would be on Mars, where Laurie's left eye is almost completely blocked out by the milk Jon's pouring. Anyway, here's a list of times when something very similar to the same image recurred:

In Chapter II, the Vietnamese woman whom Blake kills first slices his right eye. We only see this from the back, but the blood spurt is nearly identical. It also leaves his smiley face bloodied in the same manner.

In Chapter V, when the police are looking at the house where the man killed his children, the poster of the Buddha has a line of blood over its right eye. It is featured in the first and last panel of page seven.

A slightly different event, but in Chapter VI, young Rorschach drives the cigarette into the older boy's right eye.

The last panel of Chapter VII has the owlship over the moon with the clouds beneath it, and red smoke going through the right eye.

In Chapter VIII, Hollis's pumpkin has pulp through its right eye in almost the exact same manner the badge does.

The most obvious of all these (except for the end of Chapter XII) is the crater on Mars in Chapter IX.

Chapter X and XI both have images that look much less like the smiley face badge, but still seem worth mentioning--the man Rorschach first targets in the bar is seen clutching his right eye, with blood coming out of it--we never see the wound. In one of the added scenes of Veidt killing Blake the entire right side of Veidt's face is covered in blood.

Those are the ones I wrote down--in class today I noticed thumbing through that somewhere (no idea what chapter), the shark in the pirate comic also has blood all down the right side of its face. I don't know what significance all these have, other than connecting the reader back, over and over, to the image of the bloody smile, but I figured the list couldn't hurt. I probably missed some, so if anyone else noticed them, add them on.

Rose

Charlotte, I haven't gone back to Watchmen in a long time, but I think your list is especially interesting because it's the sort of thing that most comics bloggers don't bother to do (or maybe just aren't interested in doing). I think it can be rewarding for everyone involved in the conversation to have recourse to things like the list you've just made, which is sort of a secondary text we can all now discuss in a way that's different from just addressing the arguments another participant has made.

None of that directly addresses Watchmen, and I'm not sure I'm equipped to really do that anyway, but one way to address your list might be to come up with subgroupings of this bleeding eye motif. If I go back and reread, which I might, I'd be tempted to look at situations where the blood and the eye have the same "owner" versus cases where the blood and eye/face come from different sources. Also it seems like there are enough instances where this motif appears in a first or last panel to be potentially significant. I don't know what significance you want to attribute to any of this, but it does definitely seem like an intriguing direction.

Cole Odell

For another "smiley face" check out the cover with the shot of the incoming missle at the tracking station. It's all there; the smile, etc.

However, the smiley faces are fairly well-trod gorund. I don't know what it means politically or otherwise, but one thing I recently noticed that I've *never* seen mentioned about this text (granted, I easily could have missed something) is the similarity between the unresolved twist ending of Watchmen and the twist ending of the Ealing Studios comedy Kind Hearts & Coronets. It's almost an identical gag--a forgotten journal that could undo the "perfect" crime--and given that the film is one of Britain's best-loved, I'm sure Moore was aware of it.

Pignut

The yellow round smiling face is almost everywhere a symbol of the sun. Odin/Woden, the norse trickster was blinded in one eye (there seems to be no general agreement about which one). There is quite a lot of mythical imagery in Moores work. Watchmen reminds me of a Greek play, with the newstand regulars as a chorus, and the heroes as the gods. After Watchmen came out the yellow smiley face became (for no obvious reason) a symbol of the acid house/rave movement, perhaps Moore, the magician was playing games with our subconscious.

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I don't know what it means politically or otherwise, but one thing I recently noticed that I've *never* seen mentioned about this text (granted, I easily could have missed something) is the similarity between the unresolved twist ending of Watchmen and the twist ending of the Ealing Studios comedy Kind Hearts & Coronets.http://russian-girls-site.com

Ellis

In Chapter II, the Vietnamese woman whom Blake kills first slices his right eye. We only see this from the back, but the blood spurt is nearly identical. It also leaves his smiley face bloodied in the same manner.
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