Tom King and Jorge Fornes sat down with Watchmen producer Damon Lindelof to talk Rorschach the comic as part of DC’s Fandome, and they revealed that they’re taking a bit of a different angle on the story’s famed, and frequently misunderstood, vigilante.
King and Fornes’ Rorschach sounds like it is going to be explicitly political, which isn’t that much of a shift from the original Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons tale.
“Rorschach, as I find a lot of nerds know, but some don’t, it’s a parody character. It’s making fun of Steve Ditko’s creation, Mr. A and a little bit of the Question,” King said. “Steve Ditko, post-Stan Lee became enmeshed in the philosophy by Ayn Rand…basically the idea is, [with] Ayn Rand, there is good and there is bad and there’s nothing in between.”
Moore and Gibbons used the character as a set piece in a story that was about nothing but shades of grey, something right up former CIA case officer King’s alley. The new book is going to be more of the same, only with a different philosopher animating the story: Hannah Arendt. Arendt, King said, was obsessed with how a free society stops another Nazi regime from coming to power. So rather than grounding Rorschach in Rand’s black and white objectivism, the new series imagines Rorschach as fighting to stop what he sees as creeping fascism.
Eerily timely, I guess.
The book starts off with a president being assassinated and apparently Rorschach (or a Rorschach lookalike) being implicated. From there, the story unfolds as you would expect: new “nodes of knowledge” that help the noir murder mystery unfold over the course of the limited series.
The new series wouldn’t have happened without Lindelof’s television show, King told him. “I didn’t want to do this. They had offered it to me much earlier and I had said no,” he said. “You don’t want to be the guy who follows Richard Pryor on stage, to tell the next joke. It just sets you up for failure…when I first saw [the] show, I remember just looking at the first episode, and I said, ‘Oh, someone can follow Pryor.'” So King matched with the guy who drew the Question for him once before in Fornes, and the pair went to work.
King revealed that he’s pulling from not only the comic and his understanding of Steve Ditko’s life, but also from a long out of print Watchmen RPG module (which we also used to fill in the blanks in the Watchmen HBO show timeline). But while the creators of the new book are leaning heavily on the classic comic for reference, they’re not trying to trot out a cover version of the song Moore and Gibbons played the first time.
“If we told it the exact same way Alan did, we would be doing exact opposite of what he did, which was innovation,” King said. “So we’re using these sort of weird stories and weird influences and it’s very noir drenched to sort of get away from that original Watchmen, how to tell the story, but to get at that huge themes of that story.”
Rorschach #1 hits stores on October 13th.