Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII



Non-Comic Information

World of the Watchmen



Chapter 11: "Look on my Works, Ye Mighty..."

Certain notes are true for each issue.

This issue's title is from Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Ozymandias.

Cover: Veidt's vivarium, seen from the outside through a snowstorm. The shape of the opening is that of the blood spatter on the smiley-face; it will reappear later this issue.

ISSUE MOTIF: The pure white field.
COVER CLOCK: 1 min. to midnight

Page 1, panels 1-7: A white field. The speaker is Adrian.

Panel 2: The reference is to William S. Burroughs. It is said that he wrote Naked Lunch by writing all the components and then scattering them randomly on the floor. Other books written using this technique include Nova Express, 1964. As Burroughs is a particularly '60's sort of writer, this novel may have inspired the name of the magazine.

Page 2, panel 1: The practice of reading the future in goat entrails is most often associated with ancient Greece, where it was known as augury.

Panel 2: It's not dated, but this is the second of November.

Panel 4: Veidt's clock is wrong, or in his nervousness he read it too quickly; it says only eleven fourteen PM.

Page 3, panel 3: That's "Sweet Chariot" sugar Rorschach's eating. (We saw him pick it up from Dan's apartment in issue #8, 22:3.)

Page 4: Turned off, all the screens show white fields. Once again, the tape reels bring to mind the radiation symbol.

Panel 5: The "no time like the present" line is ironic, as the balloon overlaps the painting of Alexander the Great.

Page 5, panel 2: The sign reads, "Do Not Enter When Red Light Is On."

Page 6, panel 1: Referring to the Pale Horse concert. That's Aline walking by the mailbox, and the woman by the radiation sign is Gloria Long.

Panel 5: The Gazette headline reads, simply, "War?" Aline is referring to the "Pink Triangle" poster.

Panel 7: Notice the Gordian Knot truck.

Panel 9: Tying into the "escape" reference, the magazine in the background is titled "Holiday" something-or-other.

Page 8, panel 4: Adrian's parents were named Friedrich Werner and Ingrid Renada Veidt. Clearly his background is Germanic. (Did they come to this country to avoid Hitler, by any chance?)

The clouds in the background form a white field.

Panel 6: Alexander is best known as Alexander the Great. The "most of the civilized world" reference is a trifle exaggerated; he never so much as made a toehold in India, and never went any further east.

Page 9, panel 1: We've jumped back in time here; the time clock shows 11:20 PM.

Panel 2: The supporting cast are beginning to gather. Amusing that the Gordian man calls Joey "fella." "Guppie" is slang for "gay urban professional," an analogue to "yuppie."

Also, notice Aline's jacket and haircut; apparently it's in imitation of Red D'Eath, and not gang colors.

Panel 6: The Hiroshima lovers, and a "Badges not Masks" sign on the mailbox. (Has no one done any cleaning in the city since '77?) The splotch of paint underneath vaguely approximates the shape of the blood spatter.

Panel 7: Knots, by R.D. Laing. This is a real book, published in 1970.

Page 10, panel 2: This is a real legend, and suggests strongly that Veidt owns the Gordian Knot Lock Company.

Page 11, panel 2: Note the time on the clock.

Panel 4: From their unmoving postures (here and on the next page), the logical assumption is that Veidt drugged the wine. He pours himself a glass but leaves it untouched.

Panel 5: The triangle behind the "V" logo (which I don't think we've seen before) symbolizes a lot about the story, and suggests (by its resemblance to the logo) that Veidt owns Pyramid Deliveries, and hence, probably, the ship in issue #10. He may also own/control the Nova Express.

Page 12: The snow forms a white field.

Page 13, panel 2: This is page 9, panel 6 from another angle.

Panels 4-5: Amusing that practically every popular term for African- Americans up to that time gets used in these two panels.

Page 14, panel 5: Compare Dan's speech with the dead butterfly. The butterfly probably symbolizes the Earth, surrounded by the cold of space and easily destroyed (by the nuclear arsenal). See page 21, panel 1, and 22, panel 7.

Page 15, panel 4: The time in New York is about 11:43. The two plots in Karnak and New York are proceeding at different rates.

Page 16, panel 3: The reflections in the dish bring to mind a) the motif from issue #7, and b) Mason's jack o'lantern from issue #8.

Page 17, panel 5: This panel is unusual in the series, in that it has "motion lines." Most of these panels don't attempt to show the passage of time in this way; even if action is occurring, they resemble photographs (or stills from a movie, which, combined with the nine-panel grid, may be the intention). Compare page 16, panel 7; although Veidt is hitting Rorschach here, there's no motion line to indicate his fist's path. Only the word balloon keeps it from being a totally frozen moment in time. (Cf. Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics for a discussion of time in comics.)

Page 18, panel 6: Heroes fighting on mistaken pretenses is one of the older cliches in comics; Marvel popularized it in the '60s. (Before that, hero crossovers were uncommon enough that having the heroes fight would be a waste.)

Panel 9: This is the earliest version of his wall of screens; notice the time on the clock. The top screen is Washington, D.C.; the lower right appears to be the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination.

Page 19, panel 2: He's breaking up one of Moloch's gambling dens; the picture on the wall brings to mind Hell, and "Dante's" (the den Dr. Manhattan attacked).

Panel 4: Once again, notice the time on the clock.

Page 20: The showing of The Day The Earth Stood Still at the Utopia is appropriate; it was a 1950's film with a strong anti-war message.

Page 22, panel 4: The spark hydrant patent must be worth a fortune. Is Dimensional Developments the forerunner of the Institute for Extraspatial studies?

Page 23, panels 2-6: The background here replays page 20.

Panel 7: Steve probably got suspended for the raid on Dreiberg's building. The car clock reads 11:24.

Pages 24-25: This explains Blake's speech to Moloch from issue #2.

Page 26, panel 2: The blood on Veidt's face resembles the smiley-face, seen here and on the last page.

Panel 6: There's a Mmeltdowns ad in the center of the panel, above the police car.

Page 27, panel 1: Villains in '40s movie serials were infamous for explaining their schemes to the heroes, allowing the heroes to foil them. For some reason, Republic has become synonymous with this sort of plotting.

Panel 2: Yet again, look at the clock.

Panel 3: Something's starting to happen at the institute...

Page 28: This page marks one of few times the nine-panel grid is more finely subdivided. The supporting cast rollcall, one last time:

Panel 1: Joe and Steve.

Panel 2: Joey and Aline, surrounded by Mal's Rorschach cards.

Panel 3: Mal and Gloria with more of the cards.

Panel 4: Milo and the Gordian Knot man.

Panel 5: The watch seller.

Panel 6: Bernard and Bernie.

Panel 12: This shape brings to mind the spatter on the smiley-face, and the cover and second panel of this issue.

Panel 13: A white field... Quote: Note that, in the original poem, this line is immediately followed by "Nothing remains." Shelley's poem is about a traveller, describing something he saw in the desert: the remains of a giant statue dedicated to Ozymandias, the only remnants of his past glory. Knowing the poem (it's about the only thing Ozymandias is remembered for), it seems odd that Veidt would choose such a failure-oriented pseudonym. Or is Moore telling us that his plan will only work in the short term? After all, Veidt controls the world economically, but it probably won't last after he dies (he has no heir, and no one who even approximates his level of intelligence). If Adrian has a flaw, it's short-sightedness.

Pages 29-32: "After The Masquerade: Superstyle and the art of humanoid watching." An Nova Express interview by Doug Roth with Adrian, 7/12/75.

Page 7, paragraph 1: CREEP stands for Committee to Re-Elect the President. A real-world organization, it had the same purpose (in 1972).

Bottom: "Photo Courtesy of Triangle, Inc. (c) 1975." The triangle image again; presumably it's another one of Veidt's organizations. (Actually, Veidt may have made himself a corporation for tax purposes, and this could be its name.)

Page 8, paragraph 7: The "also-rans" referred to are Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, and Red D'Eath. Red certainly isn't an also-ran ten years later (look at his influence on styles in New York), and in our world Springsteen wasn't, either.

Paragraph 11: The Constitutional amendment scam refers to the repeal of the 22nd Amendment, allowing Nixon to go beyond 2 terms.

Page 9, photograph: The screens have several themes of the series. To the left of Veidt's forehead is a campaign ad for Nixon. Above it are people protesting somthing (what, I wonder? Not the Vietnam war, or costumed heroes). To the right, a Nostalgia ad. Next tier down, far left, a Mmeltdowns ad. Left and right of his face, war images. Far left of his shoulder, Benny Anger. Bottom left, another war image (Hiroshima?) and, next to that, a mutant Mickey Mouse.

I have no idea what the numbering scheme on these screens is, by the way. The top tier goes 23-97-obscured-31, and the next is 49-obscured-obscured-57, so there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. These could be the station numbers, of course, but we only ever see one that's not UHF.

Paragraph 3: The "unpleasantly specific disease" referred to may be AIDS. There is a persistent conspiracy theory that AIDS was specifically engineered to wipe out some part of the population, either blacks (absurd, since it makes no discrimination for race), drug users (but it's spread other ways), or gay men (since proven much less likely). The idea that it was intended to wipe out gay men seemed more plausible in '85, when the disease seemed mostly confined to them. This can be chalked up to differences between the worlds (though it does explain the absence of any references to AIDS in the series, something that was very much in the news of the time).

The "Puppet of Peking" reference fits well into the mid-'70s venue. I would like to have heard more about China in the series; in our world Nixon opened relations with it well, but there's no reference to it in the series. With the much stronger role of the U.S. in international relations, he may not have felt the need.

Page 10, paragraph 5: These are real composers. I gather he likes Linette Paley, too. (Cage is John Cage; I don't know Stockhausen or Penderecki's first names.)

Paragraph 15: Compare this with his comments on page 22, where he says that the masked crimefighter trend would bottom out by the late '70s.

Bottom: An early Nostalgia ad. The quote is the title of a Bob Dylan song, which is about the old world order reversing itself. It would fit well thematically on a hypothetical soundtrack.

Watchmen is a trademark of DC Comics Inc., © 1999. These annotations © 1995 by Doug Atkinson. They may be freely copied and distributed, provided the text is not altered.
The annotations are maintained at this location by R.J. White.