The New Yorker's Anthony Lane did not like The Watchmen:
“Watchmen,” like “V for Vendetta,” harbors ambitions of political satire, and, to be fair, it should meet the needs of any leering nineteen-year-old who believes that America is ruled by the military-industrial complex, and whose deepest fear—deeper even than that of meeting a woman who requests intelligent conversation—is that the Warren Commission may have been right all along.
Not to question what is, I am certain, the vibrant and thrilling sex lives of film critics, but I'm not so sure that "film critic" is much higher than "comic book geek" on the social spectrum. Moreover, what exactly do Lane's thoughts on comic book nerds have to do with the quality of the film? What does the reviewer grant the reader by insulting the film's intended audience?
I'm not going to argue with Lane over the quality of a film I haven't seen, but I really find it hard to understand why comic book fans are the subject of such persistent abuse. You'd think we clubbed baby seals for a living or perhaps sold sub-prime mortgages. The unbridled contempt for people who like comic books reaches something close to the feelings people have for parking cops and tax collectors.
Comic book nerds can count Barack Obama, Rachel Maddow and Patrick Leahy among us. We might also include some readers of Lane's magazine, given that it was only three or four weeks ago that I spotted an ad for February's New York Comic-Con in its hallowed pages. For some reason, despite the fact that comic fans have reached the highest levels of professional excellence in this country, the image of a comic fan remains that of a chubby teenager in his mom's basement clutching a two-liter bottle of Shasta.
Whatever Lane's opinions of Watchmen's source material, comic books are the closest thing Americans have to folktales, and their content is about as close as a reflection of American cultural identity, for good or for ill, as we have. You'd think that for that reason alone, the material and its consumers would be worth at least a minimum of respect.
Now if you'll excuse me, my Shasta is getting flat.
-- A. Serwer