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Watchmen/Bench art watchmen i watchmen ii watchmen iii watchmen iv watchmen v

What the heck is this about?

watchmen i 1457 Watchmen I cover. Obviously I changed the yellow & black smiley face into Gabe's Pac-Man. There's a small rock in the original which I made into an acorn for the squirrel. The original cover is a close-up of the Comedian's smiley button in the gutter with his blood being hosed off the sidewalk. He was murdered, thrown from his high-rise apartment. Rorschach wants to find out whodunnit.

The covers are all 100% my own art.

1458 Watchmen I 1. This is the opening 3 panels. I changed "dog" to "squirrel" of course. The original also zooms out from the close focus, but goes straight up whereas I pan downward so that the third panel shows a front-on view of a Gabe-ized Walter Kovacs on the bench instead of seeing him from above.

1459 Watchmen I 12. Rorschach visits Nite Squirrel to discuss the Comedian's murder.

1460 Watchmen I 22. Rorschach visits Dr. Manhattan, who is annoyed at Rorschach and teleports him away.

1461 Watchmen I 25. Laurie and Nite Squirrel reminisce about their superhero past after a nice dinner out.

1553 Beans. A silly gag, referring to Watchmen I 10 (Dan comes home to find Rorschach has broken in and is eating beans), and Penny Arcade's 12/29/99 The Boy Ain't Right. The first of the fluffier strips that are Watchmen-inspired, but not really part of the more "serious" series.
watchmen ii 1568 Watchmen II cover. The original issue II cover is a statue of a woman in the cemetery; I drew Gabe instead. The rest of the art is fairly faithful to the original issue II cover. This cover was much harder than issue I's, mostly due to the face shading.

1569 Watchmen II 3. This one's not as literal a version as the others; Veidt's and Manhattan's text is taken from other contexts in Watchmen (I 17 & IV 19) where they are referring to Blake. Further inside joke: Nite Squirrel's text is from Penny Arcade's 4/7/99 Illiad: Not Funny, which uses a cemetery photo that inspired this strip's drawn background. Look closely at the tombstone to the left of Blake's. This one took a while since I was playing with the parameters in Gimp's impressionist filter for the tree foliage.

1570 Watchmen II 18. At Blake's funeral, Nite Squirrel is remembering a scene years before when he & Comedian were trying to quell riots in 1977.

1571 Watchmen II 24. Rorschach visits Moloch, a retired supervillain who had shown up at Blake's funeral. I like the Penny Arcade zombies and decided the zombie art was great for Moloch, especially the sad crying zombie (which took much art touchup from the original PA 2/4/2000 The Rain).

1572 Watchmen II 27. Rorschach philosophizes as we see a flashback imagining of Blake's murder. This one took a while due to the complexity of the three panels, and there being no shared elements except some of the buildings.

watchmen iii1738 Watchmen III cover. This one is remarkably close to the real cover of chapter III. The subtle difference is an additional bit of smoke over the black circle in the center, creating Gabe's Pac-Man symbol.

It was also around now that I discovered I'd somehow gotten the aspect ratios wrong for my cover art; I think I used the whole page size, whereas the real Watchmen cover art is narrower due to the Watchmen logo running up the left side. Oh well, I'm stuck now! :)

1739 Watchmen III 19. After his breakup with Laurie and the discovery he may have caused cancer in lots of people including his ex-wife Janey, Dr. Manhattan decides to leave for a while and ponder things. Arizona is the site of the research experiment accident that gave him his powers, and where he met his wife Janey, back around 1960.

1741 Watchmen III 24. Rorschach has broken in on his friend Nite Squirrel again with the latest news.

1742 Watchmen III 25. The ever-popular Cthulhu was used in the 1/14/2000 Penny Arcade strip with his magazine of crossword puzzles and has now achieved immortality in many Bench strips, including several popular ones of mine (909 new haircut, 911 Call of Cthulhu, 1184 Yoga-Sothoth)... here he fills in for the kid in Watchmen who reads the news vendor's Black Freighter comics. Tales of the Black Freighter is the pirate story within the story of Watchmen. The body-building ad on the back cover refers to Adrian Veidt, retired hero Ozymandias who's now a successful millionaire businessman.

1743 Watchmen III 28. Dr. Manhattan alone on Mars. No punchline, just a cool scene of solitude!

watchmen iv1902 Watchmen IV cover. This one is a lot wackier than Watchmen III! Mine and the original are set on Mars, where Dr. Manhattan has just dropped an old photo of himself and Janey. I had fun drawing the old photo with the original realistic style Janey and my attempt at a Penny Arcade style Gabe, and the contrast of her realistic hand and Gabe's 3-fingered cartoon hand both at the popcorn container. The real cover also has a guy in glasses behind Jon, and it made me think of Pitr from User Friendly, whom I'd already drawn once in my Bench strip 1690. So there's 3 styles of art going on in the photo. The original cover's Martian sand has bare footprints since Doc tends to go around naked. And as in my first cover, I made a rock into an acorn for the squirrel.

1903 Watchmen IV 7-8. We are in flashback to Gila Flats Test Base, Arizona in the 1950s, seeing how Jon Osterman became Dr. Manhattan in a classic superhero laboratory accident. I couldn't resist turning it into a Windows Blue Screen of Death gag. (In Watchmen, Jon gets trapped in the machine I drew in the background.) Since I drew Gabe (instead of clipping character art as usual) in the final panel, I cheated and used Penny Arcade art for the computer in the foreground -- scenes of Gabe at that computer are in many Penny Arcade strips.

1904 Watchmen IV 9. Again I drew my own Gabes for this strip; unsurprisingly there are no Penny Arcade strips showing Gabe as a walking circulatory system or partially muscled skeleton... So I cheated again and snagged the refrigerator from 4/23/99 Penny Arcade since I wanted a clear inside joke reference to the "How about a MANwich, baby?" pose... (The fence and computer are my art; reused the fence from I 22.) Continuing the "Gabe strips naked" theme, the partially muscled skeleton pose is based on the 2/14/2000 PA... "This is our special day, baby. Oooh, it's getting hot in here!" The astute reader will recognize the screen shot showing I use Gimp to do this art.

1905 Watchmen IV 13. One of the rare times I mess with Alan Moore's dialog. The original uses a "rifle" and "Patton tank", but I wanted gaming references with a "rocket launcher" and "mech". (And they were more fun to draw.) The newscaster is from 1/7/2000 PA, where he gets attacked by the monkey, hence the final non-Watchmen dialog!

1906 Watchmen IV 22. Laurie and Dr. Manhattan quelling the 1977 riots. This one was actually drawn quite early in the project. In keeping with the meta clip art tradition for characters, the crowd of animals is snipped and processed from somebody's early Bench strip; I also used them in my own early Bench 737.

Since Watchmen IV was all about Dr. Manhattan, I did some Dr. Manhattan gags in classic Bench style:
1980 Gabe ponders a deep philosophical question concerning omnipotence. The bench is rife with Matrix references. (See my very first strip 623.)
1981 Augh! Change back! Modified naked Gabe from Capn Pete's old 177. Capn Pete pixillated out Gabe's wang, but I was true to Dr. Manhattan... :)
1982 Even with all the time in the world... AOW is a good game otherwise, the campaign is just boring, I thought...
1983 Power corrupts. I got "The Dimension of Pain" from one of the classic storylines in Sluggy Freelance.
1984 Gabe's revenge. There have been plenty of gerbiling bench strips. Cf. my 1055.
1985 The end of this little rhapsody in blue.
This was a nice break... doing these six took less time than it takes to do a typical "serious" strip of the Watchmen series...
watchmen v2137 Watchmen V cover. The garish neon sign of the Rumrunner lights the street outside Moloch's apartment. The 5/5/2000 PA with the chip clip was popular, and the phallic crossbones made this irresistible... At the top, as in the original, we see the top of Rorschach's head dimly reflected. I experimented with using only flat colors (I used only about 15 colors on the color layer) and using more penwork at the line art stage, partly because I knew if I used all the gradients and painterly effects of the original cover, it would look awful when compressed to fit under the Bench's required 80K size. And partly I felt like taking it easy on this one since cover IV was so time-consuming...

2138 Watchmen V 13. An assassination attempt is made against Adrian Veidt, but his anonymous employee is killed instead. Cf. 4/9/99 PA.

2139 Watchmen V 17. This chapter is full of hints leading to the unmasking of Rorschach... here the newsvendor babbles and the kid reads Tales of the Black Freighter, neither noticing Walter Kovacs (previously seen in I i) walking by.

2140 Watchmen V 19. Laurie and Dr. Manhattan have broken up, so she needs a place to stay. Dan (Nite Squirrel) lets her stay at his place.

2141 Watchmen V 25-27. Rorschach is set up at Moloch's apartment, and the police have him surrounded. He resists but is captured. I've tried to distill 3 pages of action into a 3-panel Bench strip... Rorschach did in fact make use of the pepper shaker and the can of hair spray... I added the Liquid Inferno lighter fluid and ever-popular chip clip from PA.

2142 Rorschach: everything balances. This was one of the earliest Bench/Watchmen ideas I had, and it might have been the original genesis of this whole series. It's modeled after an Bench strip 487 that made me laugh since I love Fight Club.

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