Whether you consumed it at the time or some years later, one of the cultural rites of our era is spending a couple days devouring all of Watchmen, the genre-bending, formally rigorous 12-issue superhero tale by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons and John Higgins that was published at DC in 1986 and 1987.
Watchmen managed to point up the silly pretensions of costumed crimefighters even as it offered no fewer than three examples of truly exceptional men doing truly exceptional things in Ozymandias, Dr. Manhattan, and Rorschach, all told in a savvy counterfactual timeline featuring a fictitious third term for President Richard Nixon.
I don’t know if it’s that (shudder) third term or the golden trappings of the successful businessman Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias that reminded Aaron Edwards and Arlen Schumer of our current predicament with a distinctly un-super businessman occupying the Oval Office. In any case they have decided to replay the entire election as a Watchmen remix, with Trump in the Ozymandias seat and Hillary Clinton as….. wait for it… Dr. Manhattan. I suspect this interpretation will not go over in all of the precincts of our great nation. By the end of Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan is all-powerful but essentially removes himself from the narrative as his increasingly “universal” mindset makes him insensible to mere human concerns.
On January 20, 2017, Edwards and Schumer unveiled the first installment of “Who Watches the Men?” called “Trump Rises,” on The Outline, and today, May 1, comes the second one, with the title “Hillary’s Escape.” I’m looking forward to more of these.
Weirdly, in the role of Rorschach we have none other than .... Anthony Weiner! (Perhaps Nite Owl will be .... James Comey?)
If you’re not into Watchmen, It’s worth noting that the entire story is told in a long series of nine-panel pages with each cell being the exact same size (there is one exception to this rule), and Edwards and Schumer have done a wonderful job of sticking to that premise.