The Rorschach Question

The Rorschach Question

“The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout ‘SAVE US!’…and I’ll look down and whisper ‘No.”Rorschach, Watchmen

Twitter decided to go into Goblin mode last week on the question of Rorschach and whether or not he was the real hero of Alan Moore’s Watchmen. I won’t be going into that question here because my colleague Literature Devil did a much better job of answering that at Fandom Pulse.

And by the way, the answer is YES, obviously. He was the only one that didn’t compromise with Ozymandius about his retarded plan to save the world by faking an Alien attack. This short bus idea was based on sci-fi scribbler and pedo Arthur C Clarke’s belief that if Aliens attacked Earth, we’d drop all our differences and unite against it, which anyone who has ever read a history book knows is utter drooling idiocy.

In Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Rorschach came into being because he heard about the notorious rape and murder of Kitty Genovese. 

In 1964 Kitty Genovese was raped and murdered over the course of hours while her neighbors ignored her desperate screams and cries for help. And it was this that event turned Alan Moore’s brilliant creation of Rorschach into a vigilante killer.

Did you know that the Kitty Genovese story was bullshit? 

It’s true! 

Her neighbors drove off her murderer, tried to call the police, and one of them held her hand as she died.

America’s paper of record lied its ass off about most of the events. New York City’s emergency responders didn’t fight the story because they were the ones that had screwed the pooch that night. The other papers went along with it because they liked the message. 

Oh and about Rorschach being Moore’s brilliant creation. 

Yeah, that’s bullshit too.

“So, I thought, ‘Alright, if there was a Batman in the real world, he probably would be a bit mental.’ He wouldn’t have time for a girlfriend, friends, a social life, because he’d just be driven by getting revenge against criminals… dressed up as a bat for some reason. He probably wouldn’t be very careful about his personal hygiene. He’d probably smell. He’d probably eat baked beans out of a tin. He probably wouldn’t talk to many people. His voice probably would have become weird with misuse, his phraseology would be strange.”

“I wanted to kind of make this like, ‘Yeah, this is what Batman would be in the real world.’ But I had forgotten that actually to a lot of comic fans that smelling, not having a girlfriend—these are actually kind of heroic. So actually, sort of, Rorschach became the most popular character in Watchmen. I meant him to be a bad example, but I have people come up to me in the street saying, ‘I am Rorschach! That is my story!’ And I’ll be thinking, ‘Yeah, great, can you just keep away from me and never come anywhere near me again for as long as I live?’-(In an interview he gave to LeJorne Pindling of Street Law Productions in 2008, Alan Moore)

Here is a question: Is it possible that a hideous person like Alan Moore might be lying about all of this?

In 1983, Time Warner bought up the Action Heroes of venerable 3rd place runner-up Charleton Comics. This was supposedly a “gift” to Dick Giordano who was the managing editor of DC and had been an editor at Charleton for a number of years. As unbelievable luck would have it this “gift” tied up a lot of long-standing rights issues, (issues where frankly, DC wasn’t the good guy). It was right around that time that Marvel’s Captain Marvel took suddenly dead. Why yes, Charleton was indeed the original rights holder on Captain Marvel. Why do you ask?

The reason I bring this up is that Rorschach was not an original character, he sure as hell wasn’t based on Batman, and Alan Moore had nothing to do with that character’s creation.

Rorschach was originally based on The Question. Moore was using all-deconstructed versions of the Charlton Action Heroes to tell his long-winded What If story.

As you can see after Giordano finally got around to asking his hairy boy wonder, ‘What the fuck are you doing to the characters we just bought?” Some changes had to be made. Moore’s top-to-bottom redesign involved putting blotches all over The Question’s face.


The Question was created in the late sixties by the legendary Steve Ditko who was based on his previous character Mister A.

“Mr. A was inspired by Objectivism, the belief system and moral absolutism of the philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand. Ditko has been quoted as saying that his creation The Question was intended as a version of Mr. A that would be acceptable to the Comics Code Authority.”

The lefty as-hell Alan Moore would have known all about where The Question came from. There is no doubt in my mind he would have instinctively loathed Mr. A; the obsessed objectivist who asked questions that shouldn’t be asked can come across as a conspiracy nutcase, depending on the circumstances. And that was the aspect of the character that Moore leached onto.  He set to work dragging Ditko’s right-wing creation through the slime as a dysfunctional conspiracy nutcase, hobo who couldn’t remember to bathe.* 

I’ll give credit where it’s due. He stayed true to the core of a character that he didn’t create. And I will also grant that Alan Moore invented the deconstruction of superheroes. Martial Law, the Snyderverse, Brightburn, Miracleman, The Boys, Alan Moore is the one that opened the door for this cliche that is as hideous, godawful, and morally bankrupt as the men who create it.

Destroying heroism has always been the dream of Wormwood and his Uncle Screwtape. The methods for doing so are rhetoric disguised as dialectic (The Golden Compass) scientific proof (psychological technobabble) and art (Alan Moore comics). Yet, it always comes to nothing. Sure, it gets good reviews from Goodreads, and people like Kevin Smith go on at length over how brilliant it is. But at the end of the day, no one reads something like Watchman more than once.

But the story of a well-written hero will always enthrall.

Just like Rorschach, the one Alan Moore hates the most.

Discuss on Social Galactic

*The cold beans out of a can was a British thing, he should have had Rorschach continuously eating Spam.

Share this post