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 2: "Absent Friends"

Certain notes are true for each issue.

This issue's title is from Elvis Costello's "The Comedians."

Cover: The angel statue in the cemetery.

ISSUE MOTIF: The graveyard and the Comedian's funeral, with the other characters' flashbacks
COVER CLOCK: 10 min. to midnight

Page 1, panel 1: The speaker is Sally Jupiter, Laurie's mother. (Her name was originally Juspeczyk: she changed it to hide her Polish background. Laurie changed hers back.)

Panel 2: Note the "Nostalgia" perfume ad and the issue of Nova Express . (The title comes from a novel by William S. Burroughs of the same name.)

Note: My copy of the trade paperback (3d printing) colors Laurie's skin golden on pages 1 and 8 of this issue, making her look more like a stereotypical comic-book Asian than the Vietnamese later this issue. This is, presumably, a production error.

Panel 3: The man in the lighter-colored raincoat in the middle is Dan, and the man he's shaking hands with is Adrian. The limo is for Dr. Manhattan, not that he needs it.

Panel 5: Notice the police holding back the onlookers (protestors?) and the man with the "The End is Nigh" sign.

Panel 8: Sally's copy of the Minutemen group photo (we saw the Comedian's and Nite Owl's in the last issue.) We see here that the date is October 16. Laurie is loading her pipe.

Page 2, panel 3: We see here that these pipes are lit by heating the ball (where the tobacco is stored).

Panel 7: The name of the retirement home is "Nepenthe Gardens." Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary lists nepenthe as "A potion or drug used by the ancients to drown pain and sorrow; hence, anything causing oblivion."

Panel 9: Ashes from these ball-pipes are dropped out whole when finished.

Page 3, panel 2: Hollis Mason is the first Nite Owl. Byron Lewis is Mothman.

Sally's dressing table has a bottle of Nostalgia.

Page 4, panel 3: Tijuana Bibles are real (though Silk Spectre was obviously never really in one). Their origin was unknown; the name derives from the theory that they were Mexican.

Panel 4: The speech bubble in the comic says, "Oh! The door. I wonder who it [is?]."

Panels 8-9: The taking of the Minutemen group photo in 1940; one of the last times the entire team was together.

Page 5, panel 1: From left to right, the team is: Mothman, Dollar Bill, Captain Metropolis, the Comedian, Silk Spectre, Hooded Justice, Nite Owl, the photographer, and Silhouette. The headline reads, "Scientists Name First Artificial Wonder Element: Plutonium." The day is October 2, 12, or 22, 1940. (I can't tell if the paper is titled Gazette or Times.)

Research reveals that this is the right time for plutonium to be synthesized. This foreshadows the Manhattan Project, Dr. Manhattan, and the obsolescence of the old-style superhero.

Panel 2: The sign on the left reads, "Moloch's Solar Mirror Weapon;" the case on the right is "King Mob's Ape Mask." The nameplate on the table is Mothman's, and the symbol on the back of his chair is presumably the group's symbol.

Panels 3-4: Silhouette's line and Sally's response confirm a) Laurie's comment about the reason Sally changed her name (in issue #1) and b) Sally's later comment (issue #9 ) about how Silhouette was an unpleasant person to work with. (This line is Silhouette's only dialogue in the whole series; Dollar Bill has no dialogue at all.) Since Silhouette was a Jew who left Austria to avoid the Nazis, it makes sense she'd be against Isolationism.

Page 7, panel 6: There is evidence later that the Comedian's assumption here is correct (issue #9).

Panel 8: It is believed that the Comedian killed Hooded Justice in the '50's.

Panel 9: Note the time on the clock.

Page 8, panel 5: Again, my copy has two production errors: in this panel, Sally also has golden skin and her bathrobe is white.

Panel 6: I believe Varga is a real-world artist.

Page 9, panel 5: The attempted organization of the Crimebusters in 1966. From left to right: Janey Slater, Doctor Manhattan, Captain Metropolis, Silk Spectre II, Ozymandias, Nite Owl II, Comedian, and Rorschach. The newspaper reads "French Withdrawing Military Commitment from NATO" and "Heart Transplant Patient Stable." (Why are the headlines on the last page?)

In our world, the first human heart transplant was performed on December 13, 1967.

It has been pointed out that the heroes gathered here cover the entire spectrum of motivations for super-heroics, and that we learn Captain Metropolis' underlying motivations here (he wants to fight "social ills," as he sees them; some of his choices, such as "anti-war demos" and "black unrest," are very telling). The Comedian's response is perhaps the second most pivotal event in the story (after the creation of Dr. Manhattan.)

This scene will be repeated numerous times from different points of view.

Page 10, panel 1: Again, note the clock.

Panels 2-3: The headline reads "Dr. Manhattan 'An Imperialist Weapon' Say Russians." An internal headline mentions "Dick." The Comedian is wearing the leather costume he started wearing in 1941, but still has the domino mask (which he wore until the '70's).

Panel 5: Janey is saying something to Dr. Manhattan; we find out what in issue #4 .

Note Rorschach's style of speech, and compare it to his later speech.

Page 11, panel 2: Moloch was a stage magician-turned-crimelord; he appears later this issue.

Panel 7: Nelson Gardner is Captain Metropolis' real name.

Panel 8: Nelson's speech, and Ozymandias' reaction to the Comedian's outburst, are *extremely* significant.

Page 12, panel 5: Vietnam, 1971. Dr. Manhattan's involvement led to a quick Viet Cong surrender. (Note that this panel layout is unusual for the series; the nine-panel grid is usually altered only by combining panels, or occasionally by dividing the panels in half.)

Page 13, panel 1: VVN stands for "Victory in Viet Nam."

Panel 5: The yellow man by the helicopter is President Nixon; the two "V for victory" gestures is a mannerism commonly associated with him.

Page 14, panel 2: "Number ten" is slang for "bad;" "number one" is slang for "good." (This is authentic slang.)

Panel 7: Note the blood on the smiley-face button. This incident is the reason Blake changed masks.

Page 16, panel 4: New York, 1977. The riots during the police strike just prior to the Keene act. The building on the left is "Treasure Island," the comics shop from the first issue; the beginning of a "Who Watches the Watchmen" graffito is being added below it.

Page 17, panel 2: The symbol on the middle woman's T-shirt reappears later in modified form. It's obviously a militant feminist symbol; I am unsure if it has been used in real life or is original here.

Page 6: The headline reads "Cops Say 'Let Them Do It;' Senator Keene Proposes Emergency Bill." This leads to the Keene act, re-illegalizing vigilantism (see issue #4). The spatter on Archie (to the right of the paper) is the same shape as the blood-spatter on the smiley face.

Page 18, panels 2-3: Jon Osterman is Dr. Manhattan's real name. The kidnapping referred to is explained in issue #6.

Page 19, panels 2-3: The Comedian's smiley-face button, last appearance. Dan cleaned off the blood in issue 1 at Page11, panel 4.

Panels 4-5: The man placing the flowers on the grave is Moloch.

Panel 6: The man shaking hands with Dr. Manhattan here is Adrian, as seen by the cufflink.

Panels 7-9: The sign man is following Moloch; this is a clue to something that is revealed later.

Page 20, panel 1: The man on the left has a copy of the New Frontiersman.

Panel 2: The headline reads, "Soviets Will Not Tolerate U.S. Adventurism in Afghanistan." I'm not sure if this is meant to be the same headline as in issue #1, page 10, panel 1, or not. If not, it indicates the Soviets getting more belligerent and confrontational.

Panel 3: The door is latched here, so Rorschach probably entered before Moloch arrived home.

Panel 5: Notice the "ice cream," "pizza," and "frozen" boxes. Evidently Moloch doesn't worry much about calories, or housekeeping.

Panel 7: Why didn't Rorschach suffocate? It takes a while for water to boil. Maybe this world has safer refrigerators... (The glass milk bottle is interesting, by the way; one wonders if it's still delivered to the door, too.)

Page 21, panel 4: Rorschach gives us another clue to his identity here. Since he doesn't have a vast army of assistants, he has to have seen Moloch there personally.

Panel 5: This is the first good look we get at Moloch's pointed ears. It is unclear if they have been surgically altered or are natural.

Pages 22-23: All will be made clear later. This is a good summary of the plot underlying the whole series. (Artistic note: All these panels are from Moloch's POV, which only changes a little, but does shift as he moves his head.)

The light changes because of the blinking "The Rumrunner" neon sign outside his window.

Page 24, panel 4: Laetril (or Laetrile) is a real-world drug, marketed as a cancer cure but ultimately found to be fraudulent.

Page 25, panel 1: "Enola Gay and the Little Boys" is a reference to the first atomic bomb used in WWII and the plane that dropped it. This ties in with Ozymandias' theories in issue #10 about increased warlike imagery in times of international tension.

Page 28, panel 7: The flowers on this page parallel the flowers on page 1.

Pages 29-32: More of Under the Hood. This section has a lot of information about the Minutemen.

Page 7, paragraphs 6-7: Part of the attention to realism that this series was noted for. Most superhero costumes are very impractical and flourish by reader suspension of disbelief.

Paragraph 8: An interesting chronological problem. He says he first became active in "the early months of 1939" and it has been said that he was the second costumed hero. However, the first article about Sally in issue #9 is dated January 12, 1939. Three months of preparation after Hooded Justice's first appearance in mid-October, 1938, would put him right around that date; but it seems strange that Larry would prepare the Silk Spectre identity after only one costumed hero had appeared (one is a fluke, but two is a trend). Moreover, the article referred to the "superhero bandwagon," which wouldn't have been the case this early. The simplest approach is to assume that the date on the article is in error.

Page 9, paragraph 3: Captain Metropolis' "strategic approach" stems from his other career: "Marine Lieutenant USMC Nelson Gardner: Free-Lance Consultant" (issue #9).

Paragraph 7: Hooded Justice wasn't actually interested in Sally; they acted as a couple to provide a smokescreen for his real interests. (Issue #9 again.)

Photograph: I presume that's the "Solar Mirror Weapon" on the wall. That seems to be mistletoe Blake is holding over Sally.

Page 10, paragraph 2: What on earth was the "Solar Mirror Weapon" for, given Moloch's described MO here?

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.