Adrian Veidt’s Gordian Knot

Continuing in my reading of my well-thumbed copy of the graphic novel (trade paperback collection of the 12 issue comic book miniseries) of Watchmen.

There exists in the Watchmen universe a company of locksmiths called the Gordian Knot Lock Co. which may or may not be owned by Adrian Veidt, Ozymandias. Veidt owns pretty much all the companies depicted in the book so it is a safe assumption yet given Veidt’s fascination for Alexander the Great its name would seem like an ironic joke.

The basic plot of Watchmen is Adrian Veidt’s solution to his Gordian Knot, the intractable problem of the world’s slide into nuclear warfare. The horrifying result of the world’s smartest man thinking laterally, conceiving of an unconventional solution and making the bold stroke to prevent war.

In contrast to Alexander, whose cutting of the knot was widely proclaimed so as to give legitimacy to his conquest and reign, Veidt’s actions must remain hidden and unknown by the world at large.

Fearful Symmetry

The trailer for Watchmen inspired me to reread my well-thumbed copy of the graphic novel or to be more precise to assuage the fanboys in the audience the trade paperback collection of the 12 issue comic book miniseries.

I have read it many times though it has been years since I last did, but it still manages to surprise me and I spot details that I hadn’t before. One example is the sheer amount of symmetry in Chapter 5 Fearful Symmetry. There are obvious examples of symmetry such as all the panels whose content is pretty symmetrical (windows or faces centered in the panel) or the panels which feature reflections. But Fearful Symmetry also contains far more subtle examples such as numbers and letters used for background elements deliberately chosen to be symmetrical or panels which are similar to earlier panels the protagonist of The Black Freighter comic gnawing on a gull and Dan in the Gunga Diner eating a chicken leg.

This latter example of symmetry then led me to notice a symmetrical element that had escaped me all these years. The entire chapter Fearful Symmetry is symmetrical (or as near as it can be) page 15 mirrors 14, 16 mirrors 13, 17 mirrors 12 and so on.

Also of course the entire book of Watchmen outside of chapter 5 features symmetry both in the visual elements and metaphorically.

Why Batman Could Exist

With The Dark Knight opening at cinemas in the US tomorrow and here in the UK exactly a week from now there has been a glut of Batman related stuff on the internet but Scientific American’s analysis of the feasibility of really becoming someone like Batman is probably the best. This and this come pretty close though. [via]

See also E. Paul Zehr’s book Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero, upon which the Scientific American’s piece was based.

And this review of the IMAX version of The Dark Knight makes me sad that we no longer have an IMAX cinema in the region.

Pounds of gold in the sea

A line in Action Comics #244 from 1958 about there being 84 pounds of pure gold in every cubic mile of water got me thinking and with a quick back of an envelope calculation I worked out there had to be at least 100 Trillion US dollars worth of gold in the Earth’s oceans.

The volume of water in the Earth’s oceans according to Wikipedia is 310 million cu mi

The current price of gold is 943 US dollars troy ounce

There are 14.58 troy ounces in a pound.

161 962 513 200 000 dollars

Batman R.I.P.

Reread Grant Morrison’s run on Batman and have come up with many crazy ideas as to the identity of Black Glove.

Alfred. Classic of pulp crime novels ‘The butler did it’. Perhaps under orders from Bruce Wayne. What would happen if Batman won his war on crime? Would he know? Would he walk away? Or would he construct for himself a nemesis of such great intellect and knowledge that he gives Batman a new focus so that he can continue.

Speculation abounds online since #677 that it is Thomas Wayne and that he really did fake his death. Good reason for Bruce to quit if his primary motivation was taken away from him. That he can never avenge his parent’s deaths as his father never died and was responsible for his mother’s death.

Another theory occurred to me when I considered that perhaps Detective Comics and Batman although ostensibly separate titles telling different stories might actually be telling the same story. And the Batman RIP story does crossover into the other Bat-titles anyway. The villain Hush returns in Detective soon and I wondered what if Thomas Elliot had be named after his father and was actually the illegitimate offspring of Thomas Wayne. He would be Thomas Wayne II which is the true identity of Owlman the evil counterpart to Batman in Morrison’s Earth-Two graphic novel.

In fact the more I read it the more weird and fucked up this whole run of issues seems.

Smallville sufferance

I don’t know why I continue to watch Smallville as it just pisses me off that there seems to be far too little movement towards Clark becoming Superman. I guess the producers figured that the endpoint of the show would be when he finally took up the mantle that was his destiny.

But it’s dragged on for six and a half seasons now, and he’s in his early twenties it’s about time that the character got his journalism degree ( the whole Clark and the gang go to college thing was dropped pretty quickly), stopped bumming around on the family farm and started frigging flying.

Him no come from same place as Bizarro #1

Me not discover new genre of fiction called Bizarro.

It’s nothing to do with the character from the Superman universe of the same name though. Although if we were still using the bizarre backward logic and manner of speaking as exhibited by the character Bizarro then it would mean that the two were linked – confusing!

Anyway Bizarro sounds right up my alley so I think I’ll be checking out The Bizarro Starter Kit as recommended by Bizarro Central.

Superman at SDCC


PICT7525-2, originally uploaded by hellboarder.

Brilliant composition in this photograph with the lady on the seat giving just a glance out of the corner of her eye to Superman walking past her.