Stolen Pixels #160: Rorschach Interview, Part 2

By Shamus Posted Friday Jan 15, 2010

Filed under: Column 25 comments

This is the sort of exchange that could go on for a long time without going anywhere.


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25 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #160: Rorschach Interview, Part 2

  1. Aaron says:

    I think people like Rorshach because he appears to be the only one of the Watchmen who actually has a set of principles. Now, he has ridigly inflexible and at times harsh and nasty principles, but at least he has some sort of moral compass. Everyone else in the bunch seems to be drifting along. Moral certainty is attractive to people.

    He’s also the lone Watchman unwilling to be a party of mass murder in the name of the looniest, doomed-to-failure plan for world peace I have ever seen. I always wanted to see a follow up a month later when the Watchmen realized that all the world paoers were just going to go back to squabbling as the memory of the “threat” faded.

  2. Girl Gamer says:

    Never really thought about it before, but I bet Rorschach would like Gordon for the whole battling-the-combine-mostly-alone thing (yet probably still have snarky things to say about being bossed around by the G-Man).

    Also: Of course we like Rorschach. He’s awesome. The other Watchmen were mostly just whinging about feeling sorry for themselves. Wtf? You’re superheros! Turning out to actually be a crazy guy just made Rorschach more real and likeable for me.

  3. krellen says:

    We like Rorschach primarily because he has all the good lines. It’s that simple.

  4. Rorschach does have a personal life. He walks around carrying a sign saying ‘The End is Nigh’. What more do you want?

    Got to wonder when the guy sleeps.

  5. neothoron says:

    Look at his competition:
    * Nite Owl? Nice guy, quite relatable, but… he’s a loser. Nothing wrong with that, but I don’t see him leaving a strong impression on anyone. As a superhero, that is.
    * Dr. Manhattan: god-like powers, but inhuman and unrelatable.
    * Ozymandias: only (really) appears at the end; he’s cool, he has planned for every occurence, and he never has to escape from a desperate situation.
    * The Chick (sorry, I don’t even remember her name): no comment.

    So, I’d argue that Rorschach is popular because the story is told form his point of view in about 66% of the book, and because he is always the one who has to overcome unfavorable situations – despite that, he continues, unfazed.

  6. Teldurn says:

    Neothoron: Silk Spectre.

  7. Rutskarn says:

    Simon: He sleeps in his apartment. The one with the lying prostitute as a landlady.

    Also, I always liked Rorschach as a character, not so much a human being. I liked his complexity, his coldness, the levels of personal trauma and skewed viewpoints that drive him to action. I wouldn’t invite him to my Birthday party, but I like reading about him.

  8. Noah says:


    I never saw the movie, but in the comic he sleeps in an apartment similar to what Rutskarn describes, but he doesn’t seem to sleep much. One reason (I interpret) that he doesn’t stake out Jacobi’s house more thoroughly when they get him is because (according to what he writes) he hasn’t slept in several days at that point.

    It seems he often works on very, very little sleep, and is probably sometimes sloppy as a result.

  9. SolkaTruesilver says:

    I dislike Rorschach, but for a single reason: he likes the Comedian.

    I don’t understand why people say that Rorschach never compromises, he DID. Rorschach has no problem about the Comedian because “he serves his country”. Yhea, a attempt-rapist, murderer, child/mother killer, is okay because he does the governement’s dirty work?

    So, when you take that into consideration, the whole character collapse: No. Sorry. Rorschach is an hypocrit asshole that arbitrary decide who’s right and wrong. He beats innocent people just to get intel (I don’t care what neighbourhood you hang around, just being in a bar doesn’t warrant being attacked by Rorschach to give him a tip).

    Hell, how many innocent bones did Rorschach broke just to get the Pyramid tip?

    Ozymandia was my favourite character. He clearly had problem about what he was going to do, but.. he had to do it. He was afraid for humankin. He wants to have people to be healthier, richer, more propesrous. In peace. He kills only when he HAS to, and even then, he is fill with doubt and remorse afterwhile.

    Did Rorschach even shown a pinge of remorse, or the slightest possibility that he might be wrong about his suspects?

  10. RudeMorgue says:

    I love Rorschach as a character because he is so strange and deluded but admirable in the fervor of his convictions. He should be a villain, but is somehow a hero. He has no powers (not even cool gadgets, really) but he is deservedly feared.

    I think I like him more after seeing the movie, though. Jackie Earle Haley went beyond nailing the part and, I think, injected some humanity into the character. I pitied Rorschach at the end of the comic, but I really felt for him at the end of the film (despite the utterly unneeded crowbarring of Nite Owl into the scene).

    As a side note: I find it odd that people continue to say Moore’s comics are unfilmable despite the fact that, flawed as the translations may be, V for Vendetta and Watchmen are two of the best comics to film projects I’ve ever seen.

  11. SoldierHawk says:

    God you captures Rorschach’s voice perfectly Shamus, and his character too. And the gag, while an oldie, is still funny especially coming from him. Plus, the juxtaposition of him and Half Life is just funny as heck in and of itself.

  12. Sydney says:

    I pretty much liked Rorschach only for the “elevator shaft” anecdote. He’s just so over-the-top, you can’t help but have fun with him. Like if someone patched Portal to replace GLaDoS with SHODAN on every fifth line.

  13. That was hilarious.

    We like Rorschach both because of that fearless tenacity and refusal to compromise, *and* because he has all the cool lines, as Krellen said. Comic and movie fans love a cool menacing line delivered by someone with the oomph to pull it off.

    SolkaTruesilver: Sure, his ideas about what’s OK and what isn’t are inconsistent and downright illogical, but that doesn’t mean he’s making compromises, it just means he’s a nut. If you could convince him that the Comedian’s crimes really still count as crimes, he would go take him down–he would not be held back by the Comedian’s legal status or any personal liking he might have for him.

    As to Ozymandias–ick. He’s one of those “ends justify the means” guys. They’re always sure of themselves, always sure that their solution is the best and they are godlike and since the world is too stupid to appreciate that things should be done their way, they’ll just have to kill anyone in the way of their perfect vision until it happens. It occurs to none of them that killing people doesn’t create perfect visions. And they all actually make things worse, and the ones that are sorry for the murders they have to commit to get what they want still aren’t sorry *enough* for mass murder to be more important to them than their egos. OK, so Ozymandias actually is godlike, but it’s clear that for all his total information awareness the world is still too complex for him–he makes more than one clear mistake. His scheme is a triumph of ego and self-regard over realism, just like all the other ends-justify-the-means types, and the reason he can’t see it is that his belief in his awesomeness is more important to him than the lives he professes to be so concerned about. Pompous bastard. You notice that he talks and talks and talks, but never listens. The guy would make a great cult leader. Basically, the girl has it when she shoots him: Veidt’s an asshole.
    Of course part of the reason I don’t like Ozymandias is he reminds me of a certain sort of person I’d meet at university sometimes. I consider myself very very smart–but I’m impatient with clever verbiage and postmodern posturing. Ozymandias makes me think of the kind of guy who was bright, but used his brains mostly to throw a barrage of jargon at you that meant nothing in an attempt to intimidate and snowjob you. It never worked on me, but the attempt made me figure the person doing it thought they could talk down to me, and my reaction was always a very pronounced “Who the fleep do you think you are?”

  14. Jack of Spades says:

    My main reason for liking Rorschach is that he has the second-best costume in all of comics.

    The best, of course, belongs to the character who inspired him: The Question.

  15. Zombie Pete says:

    Purple Library Guy- You know, Alan Moore has said that he himself is most like Ozymandias, if he had to pick a Watchmen character. Ha.

  16. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Purple Library Guy – Don’t you think your dislike of that kind of person influenced your opinion of Ozy’s action?

    I would like to argue point by point, but this blog isn’t about Ozy, it’s about Rorschach :D

  17. Akheloios says:

    Rorschack thought he was honest. He’d rather see the world burn than hide the truth. I suppose that’s admirable, if monomaniacal.

  18. SolkaTruesilver says:


    “He’d rather see the world burn than hide the truth”

    … that’s incredibly selfish. And some people call Ozymandia a bastard?

    Rorschach was ready to allow to die every. single. people. on. Earth.

    All of them, just to reveal the truth.

    If you have 1 person who has the power to press the button to destroy the world, do you care that this person’s principles tells him that he should, press him?

    This isn’t D&D, where compromises of ideology brings a philosophical victory for the “Evil” side of things. I say screw what you believe in and SAVE THE WORLD.

  19. Michael says:

    Shamus, IIRC, you’re absolutly right, Alan Moore’s said in a couple interviews something to the effect of “WTF is wrong with you people.”

    As for why Rorschach is loved? I’m not sure. It might have something to do with the fact that he’s the closest thing the book has to a traditional batman type superhero, and people then fail to analyze his moral system, simply accepting that, since he has one, he must be the “good guy.”

  20. LintMan says:

    Great job capturing the flavor of Rorschach’s character, Shamus!

    Like others have said, i think he’s the most popular because he’s the most over-the-top in terms of his actions – that makes him the most fun.

  21. someboringguy says:

    How about the Comedian?He is a rapist.You can’t go lower than that…Also, Rorshack is liked because he doesn’t sell himself, and especially because he does whatever we would.Giving the criminals what they deserve.No letting the bad guy escape, no believing in rehabilitation…Also he doesn’t crack under pressure.He’s… real and he’s himself.

  22. froogger says:

    Great comic, and thread. Too bad I can’t think of a way to work in Dwarf Fortress… oh wait, I just did.

  23. Tiki Tok says:

    In regards to the last post which had absolutely nothing to do with this post, it should be clear that:

    1) You never said that you can’t talk about your work, only that you don’t.
    2) I am fond of short numbered lists.

    Furthermore, it was meant to be constructive in helping you realize that your project’s artist is, to understate, not good.

  24. Adam says:

    I think you can definitely go lower than rape or molestation. Murder’s worse.

    We look up to Rorschach – yes, look up to him – more than any other character in the story because whatever other values he has, we find his lack of compromise heroic, especially as it compares to all the other characters who have somehow bent. I think I relate to him (and Ozymandias, since they’re two sides of the same coin in many respects) most. Oddly, I’d put Dr. Manhattan second – I think we can relate to his experiences because like him, right now mankind is waking up to the nature of the universe, feeling more and more unmoored, alienated from what we thought we knew, as it confronts the science of the universe and what it means for our existence.

    There are principles I want maintained in my society – a certain level of personal liberty, for instance – I simply see as non-optional, more important than even people’s lives.

  25. evileeyore says:

    Me and mine have always thought V For Vendetta was the future Ozy created. After going batshit crazy in this “his perfect world” he is institutionalized… eventually being experimented on and realizing the mistake of “Absolute Law” he breaks free and becomes V…

    It pretty well fits with both V and Ozy’s powers (if Ozy were older and tad slower due to it), and the wealth, the ability to operate behind the scenes, etc.

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