A New Way to See Comics, the Secret Stories Within the Story
In the reading of Watchmen, if you pay close attention you can find many significant relationships which may slip by if you do not. Next it will be shown that different kind of relationships that exist throughout the book in the first 5 chapters (except for chapter 2)
As the title for chapter five states Fearful Symetry, symmetry is exactly what the entire chapter is based on. As the reader can see there is a relationship between every panel in order from the first one to the last one, the second one, to the second to last one, etc. The events happening at the front part and its counterpart at the back are pretty much the same. The characters appear in the same order (except for the rebels that want to kill Rorschach), and they are either doing the same activity in both parts, maybe with slight variations, or continuing the activity that they were doing in the front part. For example in page 5, panel 7 Rorschach is asking Moloch for names, information about who is behind the assassination of The Comedian and the disappearance of Dr. Manhattan. In its counterpart, page 24 panel 3, Rorschach is again asking Moloch for names, only this time the information he is looking for is who got him into this trap. Another clear example is when Laurie and Dan appear briefly in this chapter. In page 10 there is a conversation about Dan inviting Laurie to spend the night at his place since she does not have a place to stay. In its counterpart in page 19 the continuation of this activity takes place, which is them arriving to Dan’s place. The reader can see here that the events might not be exactly identical, but the concept is basically the same. This discovery leads the reader to wonder how much time, dedication and effort took from the authors to be able to do this.
Other sorts of relationship can be found in different chapters, for example in chapter one, the first and last panel reveal much more than one may think. The first panel reveals the place on the ground where The Comedian fell, the reader can come to this conclusion because he is able to see a smiley face covered in blood, which he then finds out belonged to the comedian. The last panel shows the reader a larger picture of the block where the building from which The Comedian was thrown out of is located. Again the reader can come to this conclusion by analyzing the images of the first page in this chapter. Another interesting link in this book are the titles of the chapters and the final words at the end of each chapter, something else that one can easily miss if not reading carefully. In this chapter the relation is quite easy, since the words at the end are simply the continuation of the title.
In chapter three, multiple things suggest that people should take care of the environment and the future. For example, the relationship that exists again between the first panel, which is basically the same image as the cover, and the last one, suggest the idea that society must be conscious of their actions. In the first panel a close up of an image of the Radioactive sign is shown. In the last panel, the reader can see Dr. Manhattan sitting by himself in a remote place with nothing around him, this suggesting that if people engage in a nuclear war that is the future that awaits us. Other important elements of this chapter are the title, The Judge of All the Earth, and the final words which question if the Judge of All Earth Should do what is Right. These two small texts make the reader conscious that what every single person does is important and everything has an impact.
Finally in chapter four many events suggest that war and destruction should be avoided, unfortunately, many things lead towards it. What reveals this to the reader more than anything are the title, Watchmaker, and the last words in the chapter, which are a quote by Albert Einstein “The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking… The solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known I should have become a watchmaker.” This tells the reader that Einstein regrets his invention, because it is now being used for a different purpose. He gave humanity the tools to destroy their own species and he does not trust their judgment. This is also supported by the relation that exists between the first and the last panels. In the first one, the reader can see Dr. Manhattan holding the picture that is shown in the cover, which looks old and damaged, it is a picture of a man and a woman, which the reader then finds out that it actually is Dr. Manhattan and his previous lover. And in the last panel the reader can see Dr. Manhattan standing in a sort of balcony watching meteors fall, giving a hint that humans give in to their emotions, which is another reason to believe that it is not safe to trust our species with the future.
In conclusion, I have discovered that there is a much deeper relationship throughout the events of this story. After analyzing thoroughly we can see that everything written in the book has a purpose, it is not just a linear set of events, but the authors really managed to make something unique, which we might not notice if we do not pay close attention. There is also link between all this relationships and the narrative of the book, since the narrative is what ties everything together and gives sense to the whole story, so are these relations, they help us tie and understand the deeper meaning of this book. Therefore, this may lead to a change in the sequential art and comic book medium, authors may even write two or more different stories within one, or have sort of encrypted messages, which only a few people will be able to grasp. I also cannot help but wonder, what if I have missed this sort of things in many other books that I have read, what other secrets have slipped right in front of my eye?