The Watchmen panel at DC Fandome saw HBO Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof interview the new Rorschach creative team Tom King and Jorge Fornes, with Damon Lindelhof's background covered in White Rabbit. Subtle.
Tom King talked about his own unofficial sequel, the upcoming Rorschach comic book, leaning on the original Watchmen but also the role-playing game that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons worked on. While he doesn't reference the HBO TV unofficial sequel from Lindelhof, King says that he intentionally doesn't contradict anything in that series.
King talked at length about the series, about a Presidential assassination, and in Citizen Kane style, having his detective investigating the attempt, with the story then being told in flashback in a very noir style, but also talks about how he attempted to tell the story in a different way to the original, tried to innovate as the original did.
He also talked about how Rorschach himself is a Rorschach test, how the audience's relationship with him changes over time, and reflects yourself in the way you respond to his deadly, uncompromising vigilante methods. Touching in the inspiration in Steve Ditko's The Question and Mr A, King talked about Steve Ditko;'s inspiration in the philosophy of Ayn Rand that also informed Rorschach's objectivism – "there is black and there is white and there is nothing in between." Tom King says that Steve Ditko would hate his Rorschach and probably hate everything about Tom King's life, working as a field agent in the CIA and now writing comic books.
But the Rorschach that he creates in the new series – different to the original Walter Kovacs, is obsessed with a different modern philosopher, and diametric opposite, Hannah Arendt, but who shared similarities. A German Jewish immigrant to the USA who had been in the concentration camps and became the first woman appointed professor at Princeton, she was "obsessed with citizenship, how we as a free society stop another Nazi rising" and King asks "how that change perception of the vigilante? Is it bad to kill Nazis without trial?" And seeing different moral questions – or even the same ones from a different perspective.
Hannah Arendt may also be best known for the phrase "the banality of evil" – which may apply to Rorschach as well, and that as a philosopher on human rights being confused with civil rights, she is known for stating that the consistent mistreatment of refugees, most of whom were placed in internment camps, is evidence against any innate existence of human rights.
Will both concepts of Rorschach take him to the same place, whoever he is? Oh and Tom has some quotes…
"Under conditions of terror, most people will comply but some people will not."
—Hannah Arendt pic.twitter.com/DZMgtpVNCF
— Tom King (@TomKingTK) July 15, 2020
"The greatest evil perpetrated is the evil committed by nobodies, that is, by human beings who refuse to be persons."
—Hannah Arendt pic.twitter.com/cS26d20PW2
— Tom King (@TomKingTK) March 18, 2020