Comedian (comics)


Comedian (comics)

Superherobox|

caption=The Comedian from Watchmen. Art by Dave Gibbons.
comic_color=background:#8080ff
character_name=The Comedian
real_name=Edward Morgan Blake
publisher=DC Comics
debut="Watchmen" #1 (1986)
creators=Alan Moore (story) and Dave Gibbons (art), based on The Peacemaker
alliance_color=background:#ffc0c0
status=Deceased
alliances=
previous_alliances=United States government, Crimebusters, Minutemen
aliases=
relatives=Laurie Juspecyzk (Silk Spectre II, daughter)
powers=Olympic-level strength, great fighting prowess, an expert in practically any type of weaponry.|

The Comedian (Edward Morgan Blake) is a fictional character, a superhero/anti-hero featured in the acclaimed 1986 comic book series "Watchmen", published by DC Comics.

Character background

The Comedian is a cigar-chomping, gun-toting vigilante-turned-paramilitary agent. During some of the series' most intense moments, he has shown himself to be a nihilist with little regard for morality or human life.

He was created by "Watchmen" writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons, although, like all characters in the series, he was based on a Charlton Comics character, in this case Peacemaker, created by writer Joe Gill and artist Pat Boyette.

It's been suggested that his civilian name, Edward Blake, was a play on the film-maker Blake Edwards, best know for his "comedies", such as the Pink Panther series.Fact|date=September 2008

Involvement in "Watchmen"

The story of "Watchmen" starts with the aftermath of a murder in 1985: a man named Edward Blake was beaten mercilessly and thrown through the window of his apartment, falling several stories to his death. A "costumed adventurer" named Rorschach begins independently investigating the murder. While searching Blake's apartment, Rorschach discovers a hidden closet containing a costume and other items that indicate that the murdered man was The Comedian. The main plot of "Watchmen" initially involves Rorschach's suspicion of a plot to kill costumed heroes ("masks"); his continuing investigation into Blake's murder leads to a much larger, more horrifying secret. The Comedian never appears alive in "Watchmen" (the first issue begins the morning after his murder), but is seen several times in memories of other characters shown as flashbacks, as well as appearing in documents appended to the end of chapters (such as excerpts from Hollis Mason's biography, "Under The Hood").

Fictional character history

The Comedian was born in 1924 as Edward Morgan Blake. When he first became a costumed adventurer in 1939, he dressed in a clown-like costume with a simple domino mask. An effective and brutal vigilante, Blake managed to expunge most organized crime from the New York harbor. He became the youngest member of The Minutemen, a prominent group of heroes. After a photography shoot, he sexually assaulted fellow Minuteman Silk Spectre (who was about three years older than him and whom he seemed prone to flirting with); she was spared only when another Minuteman, Hooded Justice, interrupted the assault and beat Blake, breaking his nose. The Comedian was expelled from the group - but Silk Spectre's agent persuaded her not to press charges against him for fear of what it would do the group's image - and continued to work on his own, although his self-restraint continued to slip. He would later have another encounter with Silk Spectre, and the second time around, he impregnated her with her daughter and successor, Laurie. While never explicitly mentioned, the second sexual encounter between the Comedian and the first Silk Spectre is said to be consensual, and at the end of Watchmen it is implied that, in spite of everything, the first Silk Spectre had feelings for the Comedian.

In the 1940s, Blake updated his Comedian uniform, after being stabbed by a small-time hood. He adopted a leather outfit that served as light body armor, adorned with short star-and-stripe-themed sleeves and a small happy face button. He retained the small domino mask and began carrying a pistol. He fought in World War II, becoming a war hero in the Pacific theater. It is also implied, but not directly stated, that he murdered Hooded Justice in revenge for the beating he suffered. By the late 1960s, Blake had begun working as a covert government operative. Hollis Mason, the original Nite-Owl, had published his autobiography "Under the Hood" by this point and he disclosed the Comedian's sexual assault on Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre, though Blake never sued the author. In 1966, he was invited to join the Crimebusters by Captain Metropolis, but he quickly ruined the older hero's hope of a new team by mocking him, claiming he was only doing it for vanity and glory, and even set his display on fire while saying that old fashioned crime fighting methods were not useful for saving the world when the threat of nuclear war lay overhead at all times. It was also here that the Comedian met his daughter, Laurie, now the new Silk Spectre, and asked her if her mother ever talked about him while lighting a cigarette for her, but their conversation was quickly broken up by an angry Sally Jupiter. The Comedian seemed genuinely perplexed that Sally was still holding a grudge against him, saying he thought they had settled their differences, and Laurie noted that the Comedian looked sad as he watched them drive away, and felt sorry for him until her mother told her of their past history (but still not telling Laurie that she was his daughter), after which she felt nothing but disgust and hatred towards him. Alongside Doctor Manhattan, The Comedian played a major role in the United States' war with Vietnam. Shortly after Manhattan's godlike powers forced the North Vietnamese into full surrender, Blake was confronted by a Vietnamese woman he had seemingly made pregnant. He told her bluntly that he planned to leave the country immediately without her, and in a rage she slashed his face with a broken bottle. Blake shot and killed her. His injury led to a disfiguring scar that ran from his right eye down to the corner of his mouth; after this incident, he wore an enclosing leather gimp-style mask when dressed as The Comedian.

The costumed adventurers faced massive backlash and rioting in the 1970s; in response, Congress passed the Keene Act, requiring all heroes to register with the government if they wished to remain active. The majority of them "retired" in anonymity; a few, like Ozymandias, publicly revealed their identities and capitalized on the sudden fame (however, Ozymandias had foreseen the Keene Act and became public before it was passed - it is also suggested that his becoming public at that moment was part of his great scheme), while others, such as Rorschach, continued their activities in open defiance of the law. Doctor Manhattan and The Comedian were two of the few who registered with, and were employed by, the government.

Government-sponsored activity

It is strongly implied that Blake killed Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein before they could reveal the details of the Watergate scandal. In the series' alternate reality, Richard Nixon enjoyed unprecedented popularity and was able to serve five terms as President after a constitutional amendment. Blake was in Dallas, Texas, nominally as Nixon's bodyguard, on the day that John F. Kennedy was shot. The Iran hostage crisis in 1980 was resolved when Blake freed the captives after an assault. A panel shows a jubilant Comedian on the stairway of the plane returning the hostages, while the hostages standing near him appear traumatized. This contrasts with the joyous appearance of the returned hostages during the actual event and implies that his method of "resolving" the crisis was traumatizing to those involved.

Powers and abilities

Edward Blake was a skilled hand-to-hand combatant in excellent physical condition, even at the time of his death at the age of 61. His simple, street-wise fighting style was very effective. Blake participated in the Pacific Theatre of operations in World War II, and several flashbacks showed him particpating in the Vietnam conflict in the 1960s and 70s'. Blake was proficient with a 1911 .45 caliber pistol, MAC-10 submachine gun and pump-action shotgun, and was shown using a variety of conventional weapondry in his adventures (flamethrowers, grenade launchers, etc). His government-sanctioned activities suggest that he received training in covert operations and unconventional warfare. It is implied that he was a "Black-Ops/CIA" type agent during the 1960s and 1970s. Blake was slightly built when he was introduced as a member of the Minutemen in the 1940s (he was 19), but his physical stature increased over the years.

The "Smile"

Throughout the work, the Comedian is typically seen wearing or in close proximity to the "smiley-face" button which is closely associated with him. At the beginning of the series, the button is smeared with a single drop of blood which, if the button is viewed as a clock face, is at the position of the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock at the time of the series, five minutes to midnight. However, the smile is constantly appearing when Blake is not present, possibly at important junctures in the story. Some examples of the button's appearance are as follows.

* The story begins with an extreme close-up of the stained button. The same button physically appears in Dreiberg's house, as well as atop a prominent restaurant and at the Comedian's funeral.
*Also, in the first edition, the guy in the elevator who asks the agents what floor they're going to has a smiley face-looking shape on the pipe he has in his mouth.
* While Dr. Manhattan is reminiscing of Blake's activities in Vietnam, the smile makes its first chronological appearance. When Blake is slashed by the broken bottle brandished by the mother of his unborn, illegitimate child, blood falls upon the button and simulates the pattern.
* When the recurring "detective" characters investigate the murder of two children by their war-obsessed father, the religious poster on the back of the door is spattered with blood. The colors and shapes reference the Comedian's button.
* In the scene where Ozymandias is beating his would-be assassin, some blood flies in front of the yellow flower on Ozymandias's lapel, making it resemble the smile button.
* While the second Silk Spectre is going through Dreiberg's basement, the Nite Owl's goggles, which are covered with dirt except for a patch that mimics the blood spatter, reflect the front of the Owlship, which mimics the smiley face.
* After rescuing innocent victims from a tenement fire, the Owlship occupied by Nite Owl and the second Silk Spectre is shown flying against the yellow moon, with smoke rising up on one side. The ship's portholes are the eyes, the clouds make a smile, and the smoke is the blood spatter.
* On page three of Chapter 7, there are a few panels of flashback with Rorschach. In one of the panels the bloody button makes yet another appearance.
* In Chapter 7, Dan Dreiberg walks to his window and wipes some water from it with his finger, imitating the blood splatter, while two raindrops form eyes, and a formation of clouds as the smile.
* Halloween Night, Hollis Mason carves a Jack-O-Lantern which strongly resembles a smiley-face. A smattering of pumpkin pulp falls across the face of it, repeating the pattern.
* When Hollis Mason is killed, the blood smeared across his face in his Minutemen photo is similar to the stain on the button.
* When Dr. Manhattan's "flying clockwork" is destroyed on Mars, the pattern of debris on the Argyle Planitia's Galle Crater (which itself resembles a smiley face) is reminiscent of the blood-spatter pattern.
* On the cover art of Chapter 10, the radar has two lines coming down to make the eyes, with the scanning beam making the trajectory of the blood stain.
* While not an appearance per se, there is a clear patch on the side of Veidt's Vivarium, shown on the cover of Chapter 11. This clear patch is a perfect replica of the shape of the blood spatter.
* In addition, when the "alien" is teleported to New York, and the world turns to white, the comic book boy and the newspaper stand attendant incinerate together, and their silhouettes meld together to form the blood stain.
*In the very first alien attack aftermath, there is a board with a large stain on it that looks exactly like the one in the button.
* In one of the panels depicting the aftermath of the New York disaster, the outlet of a "spark hydrant" on the ground has a splatter of blood mimicking the smile.
* In Chapter 12, When Laurie and Dr. Manhattan return to New York to survey the destruction, a tear running down Laurie's face mimics the shape of the bloodstain.
* Following Rorschach's disintegration by Dr. Manhattan, the vaporous blood rising from his remains intersects with an icicle hanging from a circular entrance to Veidt's fortress and a hoverbike in the foreground, resembling the smiley face.
* In the very last panel, the "New Frontiersman" employee known as Seymour, who habitually wears a green T-shirt with a yellow smiley face, drips ketchup on his stomach from a burger he is eating. This mimics the smile which opened the story almost perfectly.

Film

Jeffrey Dean Morgan portrays the character in the upcoming film based upon the series. [ [http://www.superherohype.com/news/watchmennews.php?id=6056 Watchmen Cast Confirmed!" superherohype.com; "Hollywood Reporter"; July 26, 2007] ] Morgan later commented on the brutality of the Comedian's character and implied that the aforementioned murder of the Vietnamese woman would be included in the movie, though he does not appear to gain his facial scar in the event. Prior to Morgan being cast, Ron Perlman was talks for the part during early development. Gary Busey was considered for the part in the early 1990s when Terry Gilliam was to direct the film.

References


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