Walter Joseph Kovacs was born March 21, 1940 in an unknown city. His parents split when he was very young, and he grew up with his mother, a drug-addicted prostitute. He would constantly walk in on her jobs, believing she was being hurt. She would beat him whenever he did this. When he was ten, he was attacked by two bullies, who called him "whoreson" , shoved a half eaten fruit into his face, and told him that he would make them appointments with his mother. He lashed out at the boys, shoving one of the bully’s cigarettes into said bully’s eye. He proceeded to tackle the other boy tearing at his cheek with his teeth, and pulling his hair and mouth. He was pulled off of the boy by passing pedestrians. After this incident, he was sent to Lillian Charlton Home for Problem Children located in New Jersey (homage to Charlton comics).
At the school he excelled in religious education and literature, and was a natural athlete, excelling in boxing and gymnastics. During his time there, he wrote an essay commending Truman on his bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, believing that it was a necessary sacrifice that saved millions of lives. This is ironic, due to the fact that he reacts the exact opposite way at the end of the graphic novel. It was while he was in high school that he learned of his mother's death, a force-feeding of Drano from her pimp. His one word reply to the event: "Good." He was sixteen.
Becoming a Superhero
The same year as his mother’s murder, he dropped out of school. He took a job as a garment worker. Here his phobia of working with women, or anything relating to women began to take effect. This was caused by his being beat by his mother whenever he saw her doing sexual activities. When working at the factory, a women ordered a dress, made of fabric, developed by Dr. Manhattan that consisted of two liquids, black and white, which were constantly shifting in response to heat and pressure making images like a Rorschach test. The women did not like the dress, but Walter grew to love the fabric. When he was 18, Kitty Genovese (a real life figure) was brutally murdered while people looked on from their tenants.
No one responded to her screams. Kovac was certain that Kitty was the woman who ordered the dress, and this spurred Kovacs to the belief that he needed to personally avenge her and many others like her, the victims of crime. He made her dress into a mask, while still keeping the moving patterns. As a result, his mask has a constantly changing pattern on it which terrifies those to whom he speaks. This also emphasized his low, emotionless voice.
Later on, in 1965, he would team up with Nite Owl, another superhero who used many technical gadgets. Together the two fought against organized crime, bringing down the Jimmy The Gimmick, Big Figure, Underboss, and Twilight Lady. One year after teaming up with Nite Owl, the team was invited to a meeting by Captain Metropolis. He tried to create a new team called the Crimebusters. It was here that Kovac met The Comedian. Everything fell apart and Kovac left with Nite Owl. At some point, Nite Owl and Kovac went their separate ways.
The Rise of Rorschach
In 1975, a young girl named Blaire Roche was kidnapped. Her captors, believed that she was connected to the Roche chemical company, a family worth a fortune. The kidnappers were in erring, kidnapping the daughter of a bus driver instead. Rorschach heard of the Kidnapping, and after days of waiting without word from the kidnappers, he began imagining her abused, scared, and scarred for the rest of her life. He remembered his childhood, and decided to offer up his services to the parents, promising them he would return her unharmed.
Rorschach went to the underworld, visiting bars and roughing up the drinkers. He put fourteen of them in the Hospital, but the fifteenth one told him that a man named Gerald Grice had kidnapped the girl, and to check a disused dressmaker somewhere in Brooklyn. Rorschach described it as a “Bad neighborhood''. Smelled of damp plaster and stained mattresses.” Rorschach arrived at the shop around dusk, and the building had no lights on in it. In the back of the warehouse were two German Shepherds, both of them fighting over a bone. Rorschach avoided the rear entrance, avoiding the two attack dogs. Rorschach entered the building from the front door, commencing a search for the girl. When looking in a furnace for clues, he discovered a little girl’s underwear. Commencing the search, he discovered a meat cleaver and a recently used cutting board.
Looking outside at the fighting attack dogs, he discovered, to his horror, that the bone they were fighting over was a human femur. In a fit of rage, he took the meat cleaver and walked outside. He described the event with “It was Kovac who said ‘Mother’ then, muffled under the latex. It was Kovac who closed his eyes. It was Rorschach who opened them again.” At ten forty-five, the man returned to the store, calling to the two German Shepherds, Fred and Barney, trying to get them to bark. He brushed off their silence, and entered the store.
As he passed by a window, the dead body of one of the dogs came busting through the window in front of him. He backed away in fright, shouting that he hadn’t done anything. Suddenly, the other dog was thrown through the door window, hitting the man in the back and knocking him down. Rorschach then walked silently through the door, lifting the man up, forcing him against a pipe, and handcuffing him to the pipe. He then put a saw in front of the man before picking up a gas canister and spreading its contents around the room, all the while in silence.
He then took out a box of matches, telling the man “Shouldn’t bother trying to saw through handcuffs. Never make it in time,” implying that the man had to saw through his arm to escape. He then lit the match, dropping it into the kerosene. The man did not make it out, and Walter Kovac ceased to exist, and Rorschach was born.
"The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder foams up about their waists. And all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us" and I'll look down and whisper 'No'."
-Watchmen, Issue #1-
Events in Watchmen
On October 12, 1985, Edward Blake was thrown out of his window. The impact of the fall killed him instantly. Rorschach, at that time carrying a "THE END IS NIGH" sign as Walter Kovac witnessed the clean up of the blood on the street, and overhearing the detectives talk as they walked away from the crime, he decided to begin investigating the crime. He returns that night, and finds The Comedian’s smiley-face badge in the gutter with a bit of blood on it. He begins to get suspicious, and uses a grappling gun Nite Owl had made for him years ago, he scales the building to Blake’s room.
He then begins a thorough investigation of his room, looking for a clue of any kind that may in fact be helpful. While searching the back of the closet for anything, he discovers a button. Pressing it, a secret door opens in the back of the closet, and he discovers The Comedian’s costume, weapons, and a picture of his former team. After this realization, he believes that the attack is the work of a mask killer, and sets out to warn the other heroes. He first visits Nite Owl, due to the two being former partners.
When he enters, Daniel, Nite Owl's real name, is not there. He then simply grabs a can of beans and eats it cold. When Dan enters, he gives a simple greeting to the former Nite Owl, and telling him he hopes he doesn't mind the missing can of beans. He then gives Dreiberg the comedian's button, and when Dan asks about the stain, he tells him that it is blood, and that The Comedian was dead. He tells him about his mask-killer theory, but Daniel thinks that it may have been a political statement. Rorschach brushes this off and is told by Daniel that he can leave safely from rear exit tunnel, used for his flying ship, Archimedes. When leaving, Rorschach makes a comment about Dan quitting being Nite Owl, which seems to have deeply effected him.
Then, on October 13th, when trying to find out about Blake’s murder, he visits Happy Harry’s, a bar in the underworld. When there, he tells them that he is investigating the murder of his “friend,” someone makes a comment about how he had to have changed his deodorant to have any friends. Hearing the man’s comment, Rorschach walks over to the man, grabs his hand, and breaks his pinky finger. He then asks the bar who killed Edward Blake. They tell him that they don’t know, and Rorschach breaks the man’s index finer before leaving. He then proceeded to warn Adrian Veidt, formerly known as Ozymandias.
Veidt makes a comment about Blake being almost a Nazi. Rorschach responds to this comment with, "He stood up for his country, Veidt. He never let anybody retire him. Never cashed in on his reputation.never set up a company selling posters and diet books and toy soldiers based on himself. Never became a prostitute. If that makes him a Nazi, you might as well call me a Nazi, too." After leaving Veidt to contemplate his mask-killer theory, he makes his own contemplation about Veidt's sexuality. He makes a note to investigate this further. Later that night, he visits the Rockefeller Military Research Center, and sneaks in to find a giant Dr. Manhattan and a normal sized Laurie Juspeczyk, the former Silk Spectre.
When he informed them that The Comedian was dead, he learns that, because Manhattan is the only other mask employed by the government, he was informed on the day after the murder. Dr. Manhattan is completely unconcerned with the death, and Laurie expresses her hate for The Comedian, due to his attempted rape on her mother years before. Rorschach brushed this off as a moral lapse. this infuriates Laurie, who gets Jon to teleport a protesting Rorschach out of the building. Due to the goodness of Dr. Manhattan's heart, he teleported him out of the base. Rorschach walks off thinking of the evil of the world and Armageddon. He is shown outside of Blake's funeral as Kovac holding his sign.
Later, Rorschach shows up at Jacobi's house, aka Edgar William Jacobi, aka Edgar William Vaughn. Rorschach asks him why he attended the funeral today and Jacobi mentioned The Comedian visiting him. Rorschach asked him how he knew Blake was The Comedian and Moloch tells him. He tells Rorschach about the night The Comedian visited him. Drunk and crying while he sat on Jacobi's bedside, he tells him his regrets, he thoughts, he tells him about a list he found with Jacobi's name on it along with Janey Slaughter, Dr. Manhattans former girlfriend and how he'd kill Jacobi if he thought he was in on it. Jacobi tell Rorschach this is all he knows. Rorschach goes to Edward Blake's headstone, covered with Red Roses. Rorschach think about Blake. About his understanding of society and the purpose of the heroes in it and how he treats it. How he was the only one to get the Joke, and so he was lonely. Rorschach picks a Rose from the headstone places it on his collar.
Later, Rorschach returns to Jacobi's place and tells him that he thinks that the list he mentioned before might of been a cancer list which someone gave to the media so they can force Jon (Dr. Manhattan) into exile, proving his theory that someones trying to eliminate masked heroes. He lets Jacobi off easy and tells him that if anything refreshed his memory to leave a note in a specific location. Rorschach tries to piece his facts together on the walk home. He figured that Jacobi knows nothing and the Russians behind Blake's death doesn't fit. Rorschach wakes up and goes to the dinner were he sees Daniel and Laurie leave. They don't recognize him without his "face" on. He contemplates about the possibility of Juspeczyk setting Jon up so she can make room for Daniel. He thinks of how she hated The Comedian. He reminds himself to investigate further. He sees Jacobi drop the letter. Someone tried to kill Veidt (Ozymandias). This further proves Rorschach mask killer theory.
Message from Jacobi says to that he has urgent information. He went to get his face. In the alley were his cloths were he heard a woman scream. Its possible that Rorschach killed the man. We are lead to believe so. Rorschach enters Jacobi's house at the time Jacobi told him to be in the note he left. He finds Jacobi dead. Shot in the head. Rorschach was set up. The police arrive. They warn Rorschach to come out. Rorschach fights off the police squad, blinding one with pepper, using his grappling hook at point-blank range and combining matches with a flammable spray to create a homemade flamethrower. He then jumps out the window only to be beaten, unmasked and arrested by the police. as he enters, inmates make jeers and death threats at him as he goes by (presumably, these inmates were incarcerated by Rorschach himself). Kovacs is quizzed on the Rorschach blot test. The Doctor(Malcolm Long) show him a picture and asks him what he sees. Kovacs sees a dead Dog with his head split open, but replies that he sees "A Pretty Butterfly". Dr. Long shows him another picture, asking him what he sees. This one makes Kovacs think of a time when he was young and he sees his mother having sex with a man. When the man sees Kovacs in the doorway he goes in angered.
He leaves five dollars, telling Kovacs' mother that it's more than she is worth. Outraged by her son's interruption and her lack of earned money she starts hitting him. Kovacs replies that he sees "Some Pretty Flowers". Dr. Long ends his session with him . The guards take him to his cell. On the walk back, inmates continuously threaten him. In his cell Kovacs thinks back to his childhood. On the way to the store, older kids bother him, calling him a Whore's son because of his mothers profession along with other insults. In a rage Kovacs sticks one of the kids cigarette in his eye and then violently attacks the other. The next day Dr. Long comes back to interview Kovacs again. The Doctor asks Walter to tell him about Rorschach. Kovacs replies by saying that he doesn't like him because hes fat, wealthy, and thinks he understands pain.
Walter agrees and tell him about Rorschach and how he began. He tells him in 1956, at age 16 he left children's home and became a manual worker in the garment industry. In 1962 a dress, new Dr. Manhattan spin off fabric was ordered. But it was never picked up by the woman who ordered it. Said it was ugly. Kovacs thought it was beautiful. No one wanted it, Kovacs took it home and cut and sealed the latex with heated scissors. After he was bored with it he left it in his trunk. In 1964 he got a paper from a newsstand while going to work. On the cover was a story. He was sure it was the woman who ordered the dress. Kitty Genovese. She was raped, tortured and killed outside her own apartment building while neighbors looked on. He saw people, society for what it was them. Ashamed for humanity he got the remains of her dress and made his face. Dr. Long asks him if what happened to her is proof that mankind is rotting. He says that there are good people in the world. Kovacs tells him off.
He says that there more people in the cells acting more extreme. He says that he interviewing him because hes famous and it'll get his name in the journals and that he doesn't want to know what makes him well but what makes him sick. He says that he'll find out. The guards take him to his cell. Later in the prison cafeteria when a inmate by the name of Otis who is standing behind Kovacs in the food line pulls a knife Walter throws hot cooking fat in Otis's face. Kovacs says to the other inmates "none of you seem to understand, I'm not locked in here with you...your locked in here with me ". Next day they had another interview. Kovacs said that he wasn't Rorschach in the beginning. That he was Kovacs pretending to be Rorschach and that being Rorschach takes a certain insight. He said he was soft, let the criminals live. He talked about the time he worked with Nite Owl. And The Comedian. He said out of all of them he understood most about what was happening to society, to the world. How he admired him for that.
The following day Dr. Long quizzed Kovacs on the blot tests again, believing that he was holding back in his first responses. He shows Rorschach one of the pictures he showed him earlier and and Kovacs says he sees a dog with his head split in half. When Dr. Long asks him how the dog head got that way Kovacs says he did it. Kovacs tells Dr. Long about a kidnapping. In 1975 Blaire Roche, six years old, was kidnapped.
She was mistaken for an heir to the Roche Chemical fortune but really her father a bus driver. Days went by with no word from the kidnappers. Rorschach thought of his childhood and decided to step in. He promised the girls parents that he'd return her unharmed. Rorschach visited underworld bars looking for information. He put 14 in the hospital. Number 15 gave him an address in Brooklyn. He arrived around dusk and look out in the backyard to find to German Shepherds fighting over a bone. He decided to go in the front entrance. He found little girls panties in a furnace. He went to the kitchen and found a meat cleaver and cutting utensils in one of the cabinets. And recently used cutting table. Then he looked out the window and figured out that it was the little Blaire Roche's bone the dogs were playing with. He went outside with the cleaver and killed the dogs. He said it was Kovacs who closed his eyes and Rorschach who opened them. He waited until the man got home at 10:45. When he went to his front door he saw the handle broken off. When he the man neared his kitchen window one of his dead German Shepherds were launched at him. Then as he backed away another was throw and he fell to the floor. Rorschach handcuffed him to his furnace. He left a saw in front of him and lit the basement on fire. Implying that he had to cut through his arm to escape the blaze. Rorschach watched the building burn for an hour. No one got out of it.
Later while Rorschach sat in his prison cell, an enemy of his, Big Figure (actually a midget) came to his cell. They told Kovacs that the man he burned is going to die. And when he dies there's going to be a riot. Sure enough there is, when one of Figures henchmen reached through the bars to try and grab Kovacs, Kovacs uses his prison shirt to tie the man arms together. The man, unable to move and is now blocking the lock to Kovacs cell. Figure tells the other henchman to kill him so they can get to Kovacs before the riot is over. The other henchman cuts the mans throat. After that they start cutting through the cell with a cutting torch. Kovacs kicks the toilet bowl and the water electrocutes the man. Figure runs away. Meanwhile Nite Owl and Silk Spectre come to break him out. Kovacs walks after Figure. Figure hides in the bathroom. Nite Owl and Spectre spots him and he says he has to visit the men's room. He walks out and they enter the Owlship with bloody water leaking out from under the bathroom door.
They return to Daniel's home for equipment. Jon arrives in one of the rooms and takes Laurie to Mars. Kovacs and Dan, powerless to stop Jon, go back to the Owlship. The police burst in and the Owlship flies away. They wait for an hour in the Owlship, submerged in the water. Kovacs tells Daniel that he needs to collect his spare uniform. They go to Kovacs' apartment. He gets his clothes. In the Owlship Daniel yells at Rorschach saying it is hard to be his friend after Rorschach offends him. Daniel says he shouldn't have said that and Rorschach apologizes for sometimes being difficult. The two shake hands and rekindle their relationship. They head off to get information from bars. They ask about Roy Chess the man who shot at Veidt. They people step away from the man who has the information. Rorschach gets the information out of him while Nite Owl finds out that Hollis Manson was murdered. Distraught by this they return to the Owlship. When they arrive at Veidt's office they find it deserted. All his stuff gone.
Rorschach tries to piece together the mask killer theory together while Daniel tried to hack Veidt's computer. They find out what they need to and leave for Veidt's Antarctica lair. Soon they crash land in the Antarctica and after a long journey they arrive at Vedit's lair. When he and Daniel try to defeat Vedit in combat but fail, Vedit then reveals his plan to create a utopia (which is built on the body's of several million people) when Rorschach and Daniel try to find a way to stop his plan they find they are too late. Soon after Dr. Manhattan and Laurie arrive a short battle occurs which ends with Vedit convincing everyone to keep his dark deeds a secret, everyone except Rorschach. When he tries to go to civilization to tell people about Vedit's action but encounters Dr. Manhattan. Dr. Manhattan replies that he cannot let Rorschach expose the truth. " Of course, you have to protect Veidt's new utopia...what's another body amongst the foundations?"
Rorschach knows what Dr. Manhattan has to do; "Well what are you waiting for? Do it.", Dr. Manhattan seems hesitant, until Rorschach takes off his mask, exposing his face, with tears in his eyes screaming "DO IT!", and with that, Dr. Manhattan disintegrates him. However before heading to Vedit's lair Rorschach sent his journal(an object that links Vedit to his crimes) to the New Frontiersman, a reactionary right-wing newspaper whether or not the contents of Rorschach's journal will be printed and the evidence seriously investigated is left to reader's interpretation.
Powers and Abilities
Rorschach is a normal human being who is 5'6 in height and weighs approximately 140 lbs. He normally engages in regular and extremely intense physical exercises. Although he does not carry any weapons with him, he is adept at adapting random objects into usable weaponry. Examples of this are how he uses pepper to blind a police officer then converts matches / hairspray into a flame thrower. While in prison, he attacks an inmate with a tray of hot grease in the cafeteria. Later he uses torn cloth as handcuffs and also combines a overflowing toilet / live wire to electrify the floor of his cell. He does own a gas powered grappling gun (a gift from Nite Owl II) which is used for scaling buildings. However, at one point Rorschach uses it as a literal gun, firing it into the chest of a police officer.
His main power (and greatest improvised weapon) is his psyche which is described in detail below. 'Rorschach' is a persona of Walter Kovacs who exists solely to punish crime and embodies all of Kovacs darker tendencies. When Kovacs 'becomes' Rorschach, he forgoes any other needs beyond his 'face', his 'uniform', his journal, and his grappling gun. He has no fixed address, eating what he finds as he needs it, and 'disguising' himself as a homeless sign bearer during the day for intelligence gathering. His persona literally is his will power and, as such, he pushes himself past normal boundaries of fatigue, discomfort, and risk paying them little attention. This proves his undoing as he is incapable of compromise. When given the situation to do so or die, he chooses death.
Rorschach is a pragmatic and experienced brawler, and is a master of improvisation, using a variety of household objects as weapons against various opponents. He usually uses his excellent boxing skills to beat his opponents, and due to his willingness to cause severe damage and even kill his foe, he is rarely beaten. He is extremely intelligent and a brilliant tactician being described by Nite Owl as "unpredictable and tactically brilliant". He has proven to be highly adept at infiltration and lock picking by sneaking into military bases and crime scenes undetected, and has entered Nite Owl's home many times using this skill. Rorschach also possess a sharp mind which is able to adapt to different chains of reasoning. In the absence of his internal instability, it is likely at one point he was a brilliant detective. Rorschach has also demonstrated great feats of strength such as when he broke a toilet with a single, effortless kick. Rorschach has a map of New York and has alternated the map to fit the changes of landscape throughout his career; it is likely he uses it for tracking. It also doesn't take Rorschach long to memorize a description of a person, showing that he has a very good memory. Rorschach was also taught gymnastics and is skilled in literature and religious education.
The Improvised Weaponry of Rorschach
Grappling gun- This device injured a police officer and is used to get up to high locations. He has also used it for a improvised gun, once hurting and breaking a SWAT officer's pelvis bone.
Homemade flamethrower-Gave minor burns to a police officer.
Pepper-Temporarily stunned a policeman.
Meat Cleaver- He split a dog's head with it.
Cigarette-Blinded a bully as a child in one of his eyes.
Fried Fat-In prison, he used a container of boiling fat to give an inmate serious burns for trying to pick a fight with him. The prison inmate died days after.
Fork-Attempted to use as a weapon on Adrian.
Toilet-He cracked it open with a kick to give someone a shocking experience.
A dog-Threw a dog at someone through a window, whom he suspected had killed a 6-year old girl and fed to his dogs.
Rorschach Mask Designs
Rorschach's mask is a very important part of his character. It is what he calls his face, as well as a symbol of his views on morality: things are either wrong or right, evil or good, black, or white, etc. The shifting of the black and white is a reflection of the varying forms and patterns both good and evil exist in: always changing yet always consistent. An interesting point is that while the majority of his mask is white, his pseudo expressions manifest in the black markings. It may note that while he functions as 'good' character', it is his brutality which he expresses to the world. The patterns appearing on the mask may seem to be at random but, there are a few instances where his mask's design is a symbol.
Every time that Rorschach shows surprise, his mask has the same pattern. This occurs when:
a. On the second panel of page 8 of chapter 1 when he discovers that Edward Blake was The Comedian.
b. on the fifth frame of page twenty-four of chapter five, when he discovers that the letter from Moloch was fake and that Moloch was dead.
c. on the ninth panel of page twenty of chapter six, when he realized that the bone the two German shepherds were chewing was a human femur.
Every time that Rorschach enters Happy Harry's bar, his mask has the same pattern. This is seen on:
a.the third panel of the fifteenth page of chapter one
b. the second frame of the fourteenth page of chapter ten
Every time that Rorschach deepest morals are challenged, his face has the same shape. This is seen on:
a.On the sixth frame of page twenty-four of frame six, when he is speaking to himself about punishing criminals
b. On the seventh frame of page twenty of chapter twelve, when he is saying that keeping Ozymandias's plot was a joke.
It is interesting to note that at both of these instances, Rorschach mentioned facing Armageddon.
After Laurie and Dan embrace, Rorschach's mask resembles two embracing figures (Chapter 12, page 23, frame 1)
On the third panel of the twenty-eighth of the fifth chapter, when Rorschach is arrested and is asking who framed him, his mask resembles two question marks.
When Rorschach took off his mask for the final time, his mask is composed of one single dot in the middle of the face (Chapter 12, page 24, panel 2).
Due to his mother's poor parenting, occupation, and abusive nature, Rorschach grew up without stability or nurturing. The effect of this is shown later in his introverted personality, both solitary and logical, with little use for social interaction. He also displays a deep disgust for immoral conduct, dishonesty, and promiscuity. Often the target of bullying and ridicule, Kovacs developed a severe hatred for those who victimize others. It was also during his childhood when he first began lashing out with wrathful violence. His belief system was further honed by religious studies (which has themes of morality, judgment, and punishing sin). Becoming a superhero allowed Kovacs to personify his darker repressed side and use it as a weapon. Being Rorschach was more about punishing the wicked and correcting society than it was about saving the innocent. He acted with remorseless efficiency, regarding himself as a moral absolutist, overwhelmingly committed to his views. The death of Blair Roche traumatized Kovacs. The Rorschach side of his personality became dominant and the vulnerable Walter side became submissive. He abandoned any attempt to lead a normal life, focusing solely on his vigilantism. He lived as a minimalist in, extreme poverty, with no concern for anything but the necessities for his survival and his work. Due to their previous partnership, Nite Owl is the only person Rorschach considers a friend after Blair's death. It is in this relationship where we see the Walter side of Kovacs' personality surface, as he describes moments of loneliness, expresses appreciation for Daniel, and admits that being around him can be difficult.
Rorschach's death is an exclamation point on his evolution. He previously defended the bombing of Hiroshima but, stands up against Veidt's plan, regardless of the fact that they are both portrayed as sacrifices for the greater good. While the others are opposed to the death toll, Rorschach was more likely opposed to the deception. Veidt was not an elected leader of the people. He did not go to war against an enemy and then attack that enemy ruthlessly as was the case with Hiroshima. Instead, he murdered and framed fellow 'masks', deceived the world, killed multitudes of people indiscriminately, and demanded the other 'Crimebusters' become accomplices. In essence, he became a super villain. Kovacs lived as Rorschach for so long that Walter could not survive without him. Compromising and becoming an accomplice would essentially break Rorschach, leaving only Walter. Instead, he walks into the cold knowing he would have to be killed to be kept silent. In his final moments, he faces his death as both Rorschach and Walter.
Like most characters of Watchmen Rorschach is inspired by a Charlton comic book character. His inspiration is the Question and Mr A. Alan Moore has also quoted Rorschach to be a realistic/archetypical Batman, or a "nutcase."
He makes cameo appearances in Kingdom Come, Astonishing X-Men and Smax. He also is referred to in a Question comic, as well as being quoted by Deadpool when his mask was removed.
Jackie Earle Haley portrays Rorschach in the Watchmen movie directed by Zach Snyder. Many of Rorschach's quotes in the movie are similar, if not the same as the original comic. As well, His journal entries are almost word-for-word the same. The only major differences between the comics and the film is that Rorschach is mentioned to be 35 instead of 45, he smashes a thug's head into a toilet to break it instead of using his foot, he cuts open Gerald Anthony Grice's head with a meat cleaver instead of burning him alive inside his house, he is not shown to be left handed and he is incorrectly labeled as a sociopath by numerous characters when this is not necessarily true. Another major difference is Nite Owl's appearance in Rorschach's death, whereas in the graphic novel Nite Owl is having sexual intercourse with Silk Spectre for "nostalgia's" sake.
Watchmen: The End is Nigh Part I
Rorschach appears along side his crime fighting partner Nite Owl II in the downloadable Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Windows PC video game Watchmen: The End Is Nigh, taking placing in 1977 while the Nite Owl Rorschach team was still together. The game was released in two parts for downloading, or as a combo on the Xbox, or included in the Ultimate Edition of the Blu-Ray DVD of the Watchmen film for the Playstation 3. In the first chapter, Rorschach and Nite Owl are investigating a breakout from Sing-Sing, where they must fight through hordes of criminal only to discover their old foe, Underboss has escaped. Left without a clue to his whereabouts, the duo fight through biker gangs on the way to the Rum Runner bar, where they learn that Underboss is being supplied by the weapons dealer Jimmy the Gimmick, who is working out of a rundown amusement park under Top Knot control. The crimefighters eventually track Jimmy down, and save him from death, but threaten to let him die unless he tells them where Underboss is. Jimmy claims the weapon shipments have been going to Underboss' old hideout in the sewers, but before he can give any more information someone shoots a sniper rifle, severing the cable from Nite Owls grappling gun, causing him to plummet, though he only gets knocked out.
Following Jimmy's lead, Rorschach and Nite Owl enter the sewers where they are confronted by a number of mercenaries. While the heroes don't find Underboss in his old base, they do find the FBI Associate Director Mark Felt tied up and brutally tortured. He warns them that someone is going to kill Bob Woodward and Carl Burnstein, who want to expose the scandal at Watergate. The heroes go to stop the murder, but are attacked by the police, where it is revealed they have been set up. They fight their way to a construction yard, where they find the reporters already dead. They fight Underboss, who is wielding a flamethrower, but he claims to have been set up as well. He is killed when he is shot in the head by The Comedian, who was the true killer of the reporters, working for the government to cover up the scandal. He dismisses the duo as "amateurs".
Watchmen: The End is Nigh Part II
Part two begins with Rorschach takes the case to find a missing girl, Violet Greene, taking Nite Owl with him despite his partners complaints. Rorschach shows a video sent to the girl’s parents of her being “disciplined” at a seedy strip club. The two investigate, beating down thugs and guards at every step. Investigating the club, they discover the kidnapper is the Twilight Lady, a notorious member of the criminal underground and an ex-girlfriend of Nite Owl. The two break into her mansion, and as they fight through her guards they grow more and more hostile, Rorschach is solely focused on bringing the Twilight Lady to justice and rescuing Violet, but Nite Owl just wants to rescue the girl and let the Twilight Lady on her own. They find Violet and discover that she enjoys being a prostitute, and Nite Owl wants to leave, claiming that she’s there of her own free will, but Rorschach claims that she’s been brainwashed. They chase the Twilight Lady through her mansion, all the way up to her roof. After a fight with her “favorite toys” they battle the Lady herself, eventually throwing her into a skyline. Rorschach goes to finish the job, but Nite Owl tells him that it’s enough. Rorschach sees this as an act of weakness and the two come to blows. The player can pick which hero they want to play as- If Rorschach wins the fight, he steals Nite Owl’s grappling gun and kills the Twilight Lady. Nite Owl snaps at him in rage to go away and Rorschach obliges, leaving his former friend to continue his career solo while Nite Owl joins the Comedian to clean up rioters off the streets.
In both games Rorschach shares the same combat system. He focuses on crowd control, and most his attacks and combos allow him to punish large numbers of enemies. His rage mode allows him to defeat lesser enemies in a single punch and deals much greater damage for a short period of time, and lets him bull rush foes, tackling them to the ground. He also heavily relies on counter attacks, which give him time to heal and provide the gamer with an amusing mini cut-scene. Rorschach is able to take weapons off of unconscious thugs or simply steal them and turn them against their wielders. He can also pick locks, which allow him to find hidden combos and "Rorschach Cards" which increase his maximum health and rage meter size.