Everything converges in a single frame

I just read Watchmen by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, and it confirms my earlier hypothesis that the graphic novel is the ideal form for the screenplay. Further, it complicates that hypothesis: not only do the sequential frames of a comic book naturally expand into the film sequence, but the film sequence itself has contributed a potent visual syntax to its static sister medium. (And this syntax, of course, makes the transition from book to screen all the more organic.)

On the second to last page of Watchmen proper, we see the minor character Seymour emerge from "Burgers 'n' Borscht" (a final, hilarious, unification of the two Cold War combatants). Across the street, barely visible in the frame, is a placard advertising the two most recent movies by Tarkovsky: The Sacrifice, which deals with averting a third world war through the self-sacrifice of an individual, and Nostalgia, which is also the brand name of the book's fictional and oft-recurring perfume. I was surprised to see this allusion, and more surprised that it forced me to invest with new meanings details I had merely passed over or thought strange.

I have little experience with the graphic novel, and granted Watchmen is considered by many to be the apex of the art, but I found in the layering of visual and textual elements (to a degree almost impossible in the fleeting frames of film) a suggestion of the possiblities for artistic expression in hypertext, or in the hyperlinked realm in general. (I owe this observation somewhat to John Stilgoe, who connected graphic novels with Windows operating systems in a lecture I attended.)

It seems to me the future of hyperfiction lies in this direction, parallel to the comic book, as opposed to the primarily textual. (An answer to Jim's discussion of hyperfiction?)

Apologies for the scattershot.


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