Comic-Book Buzz

This summer, I discovered I had an unconscience reason for leaving the Yukon.

I was sitting in a Winnipeg movie theatre, my body comfortably slumped into the plush reclining seat. I stretched my legs (I know! There was ROOM!) and readied myself for the usual onslaught of trailers for films I’d likely not care to see.

Suddenly, something amazing happened.

The first trailer opened with the sight of a man, a scientist, accidentally locking himself in some sort of chamber.

Immediately my mouth went dry. My hands gripped the armrests and I slowly leaned forward, instinctively and excitedly, realizing what movie this trailer was advertising.

Moody music from Smashing Pumpkins blasted into my ears, as a white-masked, trench-coated figure steps into the frame.

My heart literally raced as I watched a giant glowing blue man disintegrate someone with a pointed finger. (I might have actually “Oooooed” out loud, seeing an owl-like ship breach water.)

Yes, my geeky brethren, this was my first sight of the Watchmen trailer.

For you non-comic-book readers, you are likely going to get assaulted by a lot of pre-movie buzz for Watchmen. There’s going to be a lot of hype, about a ton more speculation and the audible hush of a million nerds holding their breath in anticipation.

I truly mean it when I say, without hyperbole, that this is the biggest moment in comic-book history.

I know … most of you have likely now skipped over to “Barbe-Yukon”, but I wanted to explain the reasoning behind the inevitable hours-long, pre-show lineup outside the Yukon Cinema, when Watchmen hits the screen.

Watchmen was originally a comic book by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The cyclopean story revolves around a group of crime-fighting vigilantes, but set in a gritty world of realistic consequences.

This was (and still is) an incredible piece of storytelling. Moore had dusted off some old DC-acquired characters, took them from their four-colour world of heroics and weaved them into an unparalleled epic.

All the gritty comics of today owe a small part of their celluloid life to Watchmen. And just to add a little more gravitas, this is the graphic novel that even non-comic-book readers will allow on their bookshelves. If anything, the film’s release will see more people discovering the original book.

A big moment indeed for comic-book fans, but obviously one we look to with trepidation. With such a sacred text, you can imagine how much we comic-book fans want this film to do both: not screw up the amazing work that Moore and Gibbons created – and – also, be successful so that the way can be paved for more comics-to-film.

Moore has said himself that Watchmen was never conceived to be a film. It was always meant to stay in the comic medium, and he believes that’s where the story works best. Comics and film are not analogues of each other.

But try and tell that to Hollywood bean-counters.

So, this-coming March, if you notice a sombre mood coming from Titans, on Main Street, it’s just the worried collectivity of us nerds.

If anything, I’ll have a very cushy, reclining seat to view it from.

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