Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Dr. Manhattan is naked, blue and perfect
I’ve never been so happy to see a naked man.
Wait, wait, let me explain. I’m referring to Dr. Manhattan’s appearance in the first Watchmen trailer, which blitzed the internets Thursday ahead of an official theatrical premiere before The Dark Knight.
Watchmen is easily my favorite graphic novel, but the beloved series has had a rough ride through Hollywood over the last dozen years or so. As such, I’ve been following the development of Zack Snyder’s adaptation very closely. At WizardWorld Chicago last month, I browsed a gallery of Watchmen toys and statuettes — noting with apprehension that Dr. Manhattan’s merchandise was conspicuously absent from the lineup. I asked a guy from DC Direct about this omission, and he told me he was sworn to secrecy about the visual look of Manhattan.
This was troubling to me. See, Dr. Manhattan’s most identifiable characteristic is that he spends most of the series naked. It’s not a fashion statement; rather, it’s meant to illustrate the fact that’s he’s so far beyond human comprehension that trivial things like clothing doesn’t concern him anymore. He watches quarks and muons flicker through subatomic nuclei; he walks on Mars and assembles microcomputers with his mind. He’s a being who has more in common with God than with humans, and clothing is simply an afterthought.
All this played through my head as I considered what Manhattan might look like — because clearly some decision had been made, otherwise why not show him along with the rest of the character photos that were released earlier this year? And now his toy is absent from an important merchandising lineup? I was worried, to say the least.
Then I saw the trailer. And I saw Manhattan, in all his blueberry-nude glory. And I rested easy that night, knowing that Watchmen — my Watchmen, thank you very much — is in good hands.