Occupy Wall Street comes to Riverdale

"Sorry, Elizabeth Warren," writes Ruth Graham in a recent article for Slate. "Valiant effort, Paul Krugman. Good night and good luck, Keith Olbermann. There’s a new progressive hero in town, and his name is Archie Andrews."

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The Death and Return of Superman

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Lies My Teacher Told Me

Your classmate, Melissa S., has forwarded choice excerpts from a book called Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. For example, did you know that:

  • “The United States dropped three times as many tons of explosives in Vietman as it dropped in all theaters of World War II, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki?”
  • “Ponce de Leon went to Florida mainly to capture Native Americans as slaves for Hispaniola, not to find the mythical fountain of youth?”
  • “Woodrow Wilson, known as a progressive leader, was in fact a white supremacist who personally vetoed a clause on racial equality in the Covenant of the League of Nations?”
  • “The first colony to legalize slavery was not Virginia but Massachusetts?”

You will need to access TLEARN in order to view the excerpts. Thanks, Melissa, for sharing this!

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LSD in popular culture: The Beatles

Though John Lennon insisted that this song was not originally intended as a reference to LSD, the animated version for the film Yellow Submarine is not shy about psychedelic references.

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LSD in popular culture: FRINGE

This week, we discuss the role that LSD played in the political and cultural movements that transformed the globe in the 1960s. Throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s, LSD was a relatively taboo topic in American popular culture. As evidenced in the television program Fringe, this is no longer the case.

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Atrocity Committed for the Greater Good

Fyodor Dostoyevsky once said that “art imitates life” so perhaps that is why the universe in Watchmen is similar to our own. However, as true to other graphic mediums, the setting in the Watchmen is an exaggerated version of the world in which we live in. It is much more violent and unstable, with crimes populating the streets and the looming threat of a nuclear war between Russia and the United States. In the universe of Watchmen, humanity is immersed in bloodshed and hatred; it is with this backdrop that author Alan Moore discusses a critical question—is murder acceptable if it is for the greater good? Continue reading

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Dr.Manhattan Exposed

Dr. Manhattan Exposed

The fourth issue of the Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmaker discusses Dr. Manhattan’s current location on Mars and his revisits to the past. The fourth chapter of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics delivers the idea that “the past is more than just memories for the audience and the future is more than just possibilities, both past and future are real and visible and all around us.”[1] This concept helps the reader understand how important the element of time is in the transition of Dr. Manhattan’s character because it reveals how his humanity has been compromised after his incident.

The visual representation of the “Watchmaker” issue helps the readers understand Dr. Manhattan’s origins – who he was before he became Dr. Manhattan, who he is now, his transformation from human to a godlike being and also how his humanity has been compromised because of the power he acquired from his transformation.As the reader can see the panels on the third page discuss the events that happened before his transformation. In Understanding Comics page 99, panel 3 Scott McCloud explains that “the duration of time and the dimension of space are defined more by the content of the panel than the panel itself.”[2] The panels on page 3 portray the moments in Dr. Manhattan’s life before his transformation. This helps the reader see who he was before his transformation. In addition on page 12 the panels of Dr. Manhattan dropping the picture and looking at the stars shows the reader that Dr. Manhattan is trying to make a comparison between photographs and stars. When the reader finds out that stars are just rocks in space all their significance becomes dull. Dr. Manhattan is aware that stars are just like old photographs because of this unique perception of time and matter he possess. He does not view humanity the same way as normal humans do. This helps the reader understand how his humanity has been compromised, because with all of the power he acquired after the transformation he can no longer appreciate the most beautiful things like stars and photographs since he can create anything. Additionally, he cannot appreciate these things because he experiences time in a simultaneous manner which makes photographs seem useless.

Throughout this issue time can be seen as a very important entity to the story as a whole. This is due to the fact that Dr. Manhattan narrates everything simultaneously, providing the reader with a wide scoop of moments. This style helps the reader see the world and time from Dr. Manhattan’s perspective. In Understanding Comics page 106, panel 1 Scott McCloud explains that “readers are also conditioned by other media and ‘the real time’ of everyday life to expect a very linear progression. Just a straight line from point A to point B. But is that necessary?” [3] The reader sees that in this issue it is not necessary. One representation of this idea is on page 18 where the panels are divided into 2 zigzag manner representing events that are not happening at the same time. This style is also represented when Dr. Manhattan explodes on page 9, panel 5 to 6 he has to put himself back together by remembering how he assemble components in a watch on the following panel 7.   Then he appears before his colleagues in page 10, panel 4 and there is uproar from the crowd about his existence. Finally on the last page of this issue the reader sees the image of his dad throwing the parts of the watch on the fourth panel, as they were falling down the scene switches to him on Mars watching the meteorites falling from the sky. This is like an echo from his previous statement on the third panel of this page “photograph in my hand, falling”.

The style and graphics of this issue are not that easy to grasp after one read of the whole comic book; the reader needs to read it more than twice to appreciate its artistic content. Even though there are no onomatopoeic sound effects that are techniques used in traditional comic book telling, the graphic design of the comic makes up for it. The fourth chapter of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics helps the reader understand that both past and future events that were happening in the “Watchmaker” are real and help the reader get a feel of Dr. Manhattan’s character: who he really is and why he no longer appreciates the most beautiful things like human life.


[1] Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: page 3, panel 5 and 6.

[2] Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: page 99, panel 3

[3] Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: Page 106, panel 1

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Dr. Manhattan’s Defense Trial

Brett Steffen

Dr. Manhattan’s Defensive Trial

The graphic novel series The Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, contains a controversial issue involving the killing of Rorschach by the hand of Dr. Manhattan. The controversy is whether the death of Rorschach was necessary and Dr. Manhattan acted in the correct way, or if Dr. Manhattan acted incorrectly and should not have killed Rorschach. I believe Dr. Manhattan was justified in the killing of Rorschach because Dr. Manhattan acted in defense of the entire planet Earth. Rorschach would have sent the public into frenzy, the image of the super heroes would have been destroyed, and Dr. Manhattan’s moral obligation to protect the people of Earth led to the justification of the killing.
By killing Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan was able to prevent the public entering a frenzy of chaos and disarray, in fact defending the human race from itself. The resulting chaos brought on by Rorschach would have caused the world to enter a whole new kind of life style. More deaths and losses would be experienced by every nation of the world, and Dr. Manhattan was able to foresee this terrible outcome so he was able to make the decision to sacrifice one life for the lives of millions. The amount of confusion and ignorance based off of Rorschach’s intelligence would have played a major part in the wars that could have possibly occurred. By killing Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan acted on different reasons than the Comedian did when killing the reporters who exposed President Nixon. The killing of Rorschach was intended for the betterment of the world, while the killing of the two reporters was bad in that “Richard Nixon used this success and, unmarred by Watergate (in a flashback, the Comedian alludes to having assassinated Woodward and Bernstein), encouraged a repeal of the 22nd Amendment, removing presidential term limits, allowing him to serve an unprecedented fifth term in office during the events of Watchmen.”1
Another reason why the killing of Rorschach is justifiable is the duty of Dr. Manhattan and his moral obligation to protect the people of Earth. By protecting the people he has become fond of them and begins to care about them and focus on the miracle of each and every human being “And yet, 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 exact daughter…until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you that emerged.”2
The killing of Rorschach, by Dr. Manhattan, I believe was justified by having the world’s population best interests in mind which override the moral beliefs that murder is always one or another, black and white. By letting the information Rorschach knew leak into the public mind, it would have caused a great change in the world such as warfare and the super heroes would no longer be seen as protectors, losing the trust of the people they are supposed to be serving. By killing one person to save potentially a billion people, Dr. Manhattan had to make a call much like the one President Truman had to make in 1945 and refers to the bombs dropped on Japan. Truman’s speech justified the dropping of the bombs to put an end to the war as well as to save lives, “We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans. We will continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan’s power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us.”3

1 .
2 Moore, Alan. Dave Gibbons. “The Watchmen.” DC Comics, New York, New York. Issue 9 page 26.
3 Truman, Harry. “HARRY S. TRUMAN’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DROPPING OF AN ATOMIC BOMB ON HIROSHIMA.” March 17, 2006, 12:31pm .

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

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