This week, Favorite Comic Runs decided to celebrate two brilliant pieces of work by Alan Moore: V FOR VENDETTA and WATCHMEN. They serve as excellent commentaries on politics, the superhero genre, and mankind in general; however, we wanted to see which story you prefer and why.
It wasn't an easy decision, but many Viners accepted the challenge and eventually made a choice. The voting period is now over and WATCHMEN obliterated V FOR VENDETTA. It was kind of like how Dr. Manhattan easily destroyed... okay, even though the story is quite well-known by now, we'll avoid spoiling that for the very few that have yet to dive into the epic.
WATCHMEN took 71% of the votes, and V FOR VENDETTA earned 24%. Meanwhile, 7% shamefully admitted they haven't read either of these storylines. Hopefully they'll rectify that mistake as soon as possible.
Along with artist Dave Gibbons, Moore crafted a masterpiece that has absolutely earned the enormous amount of praise it regularly receives. It's a compelling read that's laced with unique characters, superb contrasts between the dialogue and the artwork within the panels, and, of course, a stellar narrative which speaks volumes about multiple topics. Despite being decades old, it's an experience that holds up in the modern era extremely well and is without question a tale that begs multiple visits over the years. Simply put: WATCHMEN is something every comic fan needs to read at least once.
Several Viners chimed in throughout the week and we've highlighted two thoroughly impressive and detailed posts. Yes, there's some spoilers.
Viner Post for WATCHMEN is by Saren
"Watchmen, I think, has more impact because it draws much of its framework from events that we've already lived through and faced the impact of ---- Kitty Genovese's death, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, etc; whereas it's not as easy to get into V for Vendetta's deal owing to it being set in a hypothetical future with hypothetical causes. It lends more urgency to the former. V is also a lot more traditional as far as storytelling goes: good guy fights evil system to liberate the oppressed masses has been done to death. The heroes in Watchmen have more or less all given up on the oppressed masses --- the Comedian believes that humanity is inherently wicked, Rorschach believes humanity is inherently apathetic, and Doctor Manhattan doesn't really care about humanity anymore. The only person who actually believes in humanity and wants to restore its potential to the world is Ozymandias, the villain of the story. V for Vendetta's impact on the conventions of storytelling is fairly minimal in comparison to the impact Watchmen had and continues to have."
Viner Post for V FOR VENDETTA is by kennybaese
"V for Vendetta for this guy.
The more I think about Watchmen, and the more times I've read it, the less I like it. I really dislike the ending. It is hinted at enough throughout the story that I can't categorize it as unearned, but it is unbelievably goofy given how seriously the rest of the book takes itself. I realize that this is probably an unpopular opinion, but I think that the ending in the Zack Snyder's adaptation is better. It's cleaner and makes more sense within its fictional world. Plus, every time I read an interview with Alan Moore regarding Watchmen, I dislike him, and by extension the book, a little more. He continues to be insistent that Watchmen is the best thing that DC has ever published, and that they won't let him have the rights back because nothing else they have is as good; something I wholeheartedly disagree with. Watchmen has had a huge impact on the superhero genre, but like The Dark Knight Returns, people tend to ignore its imperfections in the interest of only singing its praises.
V for Vendetta, on the other hand, has aged perfectly, and is even more relevant today than it was when it was written. With V for Vendetta, Moore told a good story inspired by real world concerns without the burden of trying to fix or otherwise elevate a genre within the medium he seems to think is beneath him. The character of V is rich and layered, serving as the protagonist and antagonist at different points in the story. While the characters in Watchmen are interesting, they're ultimately rather one note. The only ones that have really changed by the end of the story are Dan and Laurie. Both V and Evey have much more complete and interesting arcs. V goes from simply wanting revenge to actually buying into the political dogma he used to justify his murders in the first half of the book. Evey's entire life is changed by her contact with V, and she goes some being a weak victim of the system to the next person in line to dismantle it. The art has aged better as well, I think. Gibbons art is gorgeous, no doubt, but it still feels distinctly 80's (mostly due to the coloring, I think) whereas Lloyd's art in V for Vendetta looks much more timeless.
Watchmen, at its heart, is ultimately just another superhero book. A very good, meticulously crafted one, but its still a superhero story, complete with a silly twist ending. V for Vendetta on the other hand works as a paranoia fueled political thriller, a superhero story, a revenge tale, a murder mystery, and a modern fable all wrapped up in one while telling a much more concise, grounded, and otherwise satisfying story to read. Because it seems more interested in telling a story rather than subverting a genre, it's better at it, so it gets my vote."
Below is a teaser for the weekly segment's next pairing. Think you have a keen eye and know what it is? Well, if you're the first person to guess BOTH covers correctly, we'll give you some praise in the upcoming article. Have at thee with the guesses, Viners!
Be sure to check the homepage on Monday to vote in the next Favorite Comic Runs match-up. Also, do you want to suggest a writer and two of their stories for the segment? Go ahead and tell us below or send it via Twitter. Don't be shy, we welcome the input. Have a good weekend, everyone!