Ep. 277 Watchmen by Alan Moore — The Stacks Book Club (Joel Christian Gill) – Transcript

Cartoonist and author Joel Christian Gill returns for book club day to discuss the graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. For comic book newbies, Joel explains many of the formal elements seen throughout the classic. We get into what makes Watchmen the greatest comic of all time, and ask, who are we supposed to root for?

Be sure to listen to the end of today’s episode to find out what our book club pick will be for August 2023.


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Traci Thomas 0:09
Welcome to The Stacks, a podcast about books and the people who read them. I’m your host Traci Thomas and it’s book club day. We are joined again by cartoonist and author Joel Christian Gill, who’s going to help us dig into one of the most iconic graphic novels of all time. It’s watchmen by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. The first full edition of Watchmen came out in 1987. And it is a gritty and complex vigilante tale that has since been adopted into both a television show and a film. Today, Joel and I talked about why this book is considered one of the greatest comics of all time, what Alan Moore is saying about policing God and America and Joel helps answer some of my very basic questions as a comic book newbie. Please be warned, there are a few spoilers on today’s episode. Make sure you listen through the end of the episode to find out what our book club pick will be for August. Quick reminder, everything we talked about on each episode of the stacks can be found in the link in the show notes. If you want more of the stacks, you can join the stacks pack it’s just $5 a month and when you join you have access to our monthly virtual book club. Our stacks pack discord, and the stacks bonus episodes. And this month you’re gonna want to join because we’re going to discuss the HBO watchmen series as our bonus episode in July. So yeah, all you have to do is head to patreon.com/the stacks to join. Alright y’all now it’s time for my conversation with Joel Christian Gill about Watchmen.

Alright everybody we are back today is the Stacks book club day. I am so excited. We are joined again by graphic novelist, cartoonist, author, historian, Professor. Many, many qualifiers Joel Christian Gill. Joel, welcome back.

Joel Christian Gill 1:54
Thanks for having me. Glad to be back.

Traci Thomas 1:56
I’m so excited you’re here. We are doing Watchmen by Alan Moore with illustrations from Dave Gibbons. This is for people who don’t know first of all, let me just say this, we will have spoilers today. But for folks who don’t know what this book is about, it is a satirical comic book story told in 12 chapters that were released serialized, but now it’s all in one book. If you want it that way, I guess. It’s the story of a group of adventurers, which are superheroes. And there’s a murder mystery at the start, and we get to know about these sort of washed up has been superheroes. Yeah, so Joel, we always start here. What do you think of Watchmen?

Joel Christian Gill 2:45
I think Watchmen is probably I mean, it’s it’s one of the greatest comics ever written. It has a lot of different themes. And I think one of the things that people miss about Watchmen initially, is the idea that so like Alan Moore often said that people come up to me and say, Rorschach is my favorite character. And he always tells him, like, get the fuck away. Now that you think is your favorite character, because Rorschach is actually supposed to be a critique of Batman. That man is a horrible, horrible superhero. As I have said, And if anybody’s ever heard me talking about superheroes, you know that like at, you know, if I was a kid, and I had seen Black Panther, I would have grown up wanting to be a child as opposed to Batman, because the child takes care of his people has, you know, he uses his money and resources to create a utopia. Batman basically does all this research and development to beat up poor people. And Rorschach is basically they, you know, like, the real life version of what Batman would be right? He’s like an incel. He’s sitting in his basement. You know, he’s beating up poor people. He’s torturing people. He has basically Nixon’s law and order. Law and Order campaign taken to its fullest extreme, right, like police need extra legal legal activity, legal, extra legal powers, and so they use that. So at its core watchmen is not really plot driven. You know, that starts with the murder of the comedian, but it’s not really about the murder of the comedian. It’s about to madness. And it’s about these two extreme versions of Law and Order one is like an extreme version of a utopia. But Ozymandias the other one is an extreme version of a fascism by Rorschach. And while Ozymandias eventually wins by killing What 4 million people or 8 million people at the end of the book, he came, he wins. Rorschach also wins too, because if you watch the TV show, the natural progression of war strikes ideology is white supremacy and so that I mean, I can go into more of it, but at its core, I think It gets it. You know, Alan Moore originally wanted to use actual old Golden Age superheroes. But DC didn’t want him to do that. So he created these superheroes. I will say one more thing that I think is really important. I think Dr. Manhattan is an is a metaphor for God. Because when you read Dr. Manhattan, he has all of the powers of God. He is a godlike character, but he absolutely doesn’t care. He just sort of exist in this plane. And I think that’s, you know, like, at its core, I think that watchmen is a character study of five individual peoples who have God complexes and one person who actually is a God but doesn’t care.

Traci Thomas 5:42
Right? That’s good. Okay, let me give you my initial thought. And then we’ll dig in. Okay. My initial thoughts are less smart, because so this was my first read of this book. I’ve never read any superhero, anything. I’ve only ever seen two superhero movies. One is the first black panther and the other is the Incredibles. So that is the extent of my superhero knowledge. And I have seen the watchmen TV show. Now twice, I watched it before, long before I read the book, like right when it came out. And then I watched all of it in the last 36 hours. Because I wanted to just see what they did. And we don’t, we don’t have to talk about that. But maybe we will. Um, I loved the beginning and the end of this book, I felt very lost in the middle sections. And I think my understanding of why I felt lost is because the middle stuff is a lot to do with like playing with the superhero form, and like a lot of inside baseball, about superhero stuff. So it felt like really talking to me, but I didn’t get it. I loved seeing how all of the characters like their backstories. And like seeing how they all viewed the world through these very specific like lenses. And I was really taken by this idea that a lot of superheroes don’t have superpowers. That is news to me. I didn’t know that, that I thought Batman was the only one. I thought all the other superheroes had real superpowers. So I was really interested in this idea of like, everyday people who just like wanting to be cops, I guess like, but like not being up. I mean, I feel like the thing that I took away from this, and obviously this is me reading it in 2023 with my own personal lens and politics and everything. But like this also felt like a huge indictment on the police system. Like the police are so useless and this, and they hate the superheroes. But the superheroes are also just useless police officers, everyone’s like showing up after the fact. And everyone has all their own shit, and they’re not helping and like, no one’s doing anything about the real problem, I guess until Ozymandias, but like his choice is a little extreme. And we could get to that later. But so I just, I felt like and I liked that it was satire, like I could pick up on that I could tell that it was like a joke on a thing like are like a queering of a form like I could tell that But and so I liked all of that. But the middle, I was like chapter chapter three, I hated chapter like 78678 I was like, I don’t know where I am, like, I got really lost in there. So yeah, there.

Joel Christian Gill 8:25
I mean, there is a lot of really good stuff. And I think, you know, it’s really interesting, I think if you if you boil down watchmen to the metaphor of the tails of the black freighter because the tails of that,

Traci Thomas 8:40
So I didn’t understand that at all. I couldn’t follow that story at all. I had no fucking clue. That’s the comic within the comic.

Joel Christian Gill 8:47
Yeah. So the tails of the black freighter is a metaphor. It’s so I compare that to To Kill a Mockingbird, and the scene in which Atticus has to kill, you know, him Johnson the dog, right the dog, that’s everybody’s friend. And it used to be like the town dog. And everybody loved him. And he was just like this, you know, this stray this lovable stray but he has rabies. And rabies actually causes him to to just bite anybody. Right? And he has to take and he has to be put down. And Atticus is the only one to do it. Right? In the in that is a metaphor for the entire story. Because Tim Johnson is a is the town, right? Everybody loved him. Everything’s good and the disease that the town has his racism, but the disease that Tim Johnson has is rabies. So the tails of the black freighter is exactly that here, these people who have these really good intentions, and they go out into the world to do these things. And they’re doing it in spite of this corrupt system, right? There’s this corrupt system and they’re trying to do these things in the corrupt system. But eventually he goes right back to the corrupt system. He just sort of leans into it. As he gets does it and Rorschach does it in do As to different extreme ways. And so when you look at how like, I think it’s really interesting, he starts off with the murder of the comedian. And so you’re following this idea that the murder of the comedian is actually the thing. But by the time you find out who murdered the comedian, it doesn’t really matter anymore. Right, because it’s just a red herring. It’s just, it’s basically a way in which to look at, you know, what happens when you give people too much power, which is Dr. Manhattan. And he just doesn’t care what happens when people have no power, and they sort of exude their power with it from this moral superiority, which is, which is Rorschach. And then you’ve got all these little people in the middle who don’t really matter in a lot of ways, right? They just don’t really count. And they don’t really even they don’t even put a dent in the system. This is like my, this is why I think it’s really great, brilliant, because the critique of superheroes, and we’re all like, and this isn’t this was in the 1980s. Right? So everybody’s trying to make serious superheroes and all this other stuff. And I’m always like, Yeah, but this is like, it’s all bullshit, right? If you saw someone, like the only people who dress up in costumes and give themselves names, and go out in the middle of the night doing things are serial killers, right? It’s not real superheroes, right? So like, you are a regular person and you want to save the world. And you have a you know, like, you want to go do something good. You become a police officer. You don’t become Batman. Right?

Traci Thomas 11:20
Right. Right. Right. And I do want to say also, like, I really liked the book. I like, after I was reading it, and then watching the show and everything. I just kept being like, oh my god, this is so smart. Like, I just felt like it was so smart. And like, you know, we talked about getting it a lot on the show. Like, I don’t get it. Like I didn’t get everything. And I definitely know I didn’t get everything in this book. But I loved not getting it. Like I loved like looking at the pictures and being like, oh, and like I felt really smart. Because I knew that Rorschach was that redhead guy holding the sign from the first scene. I was like, oh, that’s him. And then I like went back. And I was like, trying to see a glimpse of like, the side of his face. And I was like, I think that’s the redhead guy. So I was like, Oh, I got it. I got it. Apparently not everybody gets that.

Joel Christian Gill 12:04
Not everybody gets that and everybody and and that’s the thing. I think people leave. Leave thinking Rorschach is the hero but he’s not. Right. There are no right.

Traci Thomas 12:13
Who were okay, but who were you rooting for it? Like, can you go back to the first time you read this? Do you remember who you were rooting for? Or like who your allegiance was with?

Joel Christian Gill 12:22
I don’t think I’m rooting for anybody. I think when I when I originally read this book. I just wanted to see more of Dr. Manhattan. Right? That’s the thing that I kept thinking I want to see more like Why doesn’t he do he knows everything. He could fix everything. Right Word document had knows from the beginning what the entire story is? Right? He knows what’s gonna happen. And he doesn’t change anything. Right? Right. That really amazing line is that we’re all puppets Laurie. I just can see the strings. Right, right. Like you can’t do anything about it. Because it’s already happened. Everything will be in what be so I like I was really fascinated by Dr. Manhattan. As like a character who’s all knowing all powerful and can do anything, but just does it.

Traci Thomas 13:05
Right, right. And I think like so for me, I in the beginning was rooting for Rorschach because that’s, that’s who we start with, right? Like, that’s who you’re like, I come in, I’m assuming this in my protagonist, like, this is the guy whose journal we’re in. This is the story that we’re in. And then, you know, as we keep going on, like, I had this guy’s like, I think I took a note that was like, This guy’s really giving Reaganomics over here. Like I was like, I don’t like like, you know, I knew that something was not right, or like Nixon’s America or something. And then I didn’t know who to root for. And I did because I didn’t ever want to root for Adrian Veidt. Like, I never felt like I liked him. Like there was always something about him that I didn’t really care for. And I feel like I mean, one of the big problems with the book for me is like, the women are no wonder. It’s not great for the ladies. They’re being raped. They’re being beaten in the streets. Nobody’s helping them. Nobody cares. Laurie is just like, get Dan, let’s have sex. I love sex. I’m Laurie. Which is what’s so great about the show because Laurie gets a full makeover.

Joel Christian Gill 14:09
Yeah, it becomes really she becomes a different person, but I think and she becomes FBI agent, and she becomes her dad. Yeah. And the thing that I think is really interesting about I mean, it’s, you know, like I always whenever I talk about books, specifically things that were written before right now, I say everything up until right now was garbage I have hoped from from this point, this point forward, right? Because like, whenever it’s almost like everything’s gonna be sexist, racist, homophobic, right? Like, it’s just gonna have those things in there. And that doesn’t excuse it. It’s just to acknowledge that those things are there. Sure. And so it’s interesting.

Traci Thomas 14:44
And it’s interesting though, because I feel like he flipped so many things like of my understanding about superheroes, and you would think that he would kind of flip the women characters because you have Catwoman and you have like, Wonder Woman in there and they’re in these little costumes and they’re like, whatever. And he’s sort of just like, kept to that, you know, which I thought was interesting. Like, I didn’t feel like he said anything about the women characters that was different than what I would have assumed knowing nothing about women characters going in. Yeah.

Joel Christian Gill 15:12
And I think I think that’s just the function of patriarchy. Right and male, like the idea of not really thinking about it, and not really considered. And, and Alan Moore, who’s in his I think he’s in his late 60s, early 70s. is at a point in his career where he doesn’t even do comics anymore. doesn’t talk about he just bad mouse comics all the time. But the thing? Yeah, but what he actually, but what until like, he doesn’t doesn’t evolve, right? Like there are a lot of people who have evolved from that point, like who’ve written in the 1980s. And they’ve evolved, and they wouldn’t do the same thing again. And I don’t think he’s won. I don’t think he’s evolved as a as a as a on that front. But I don’t know, because he’s never written and he hasn’t written anything else. That well, he wrote, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Traci Thomas 15:58
And he wrote V for Vendetta.

Joel Christian Gill 16:04
Which is really good. And it’s more about, you know, politics and political state. And it’s sort of George Orwellian.

Traci Thomas 16:11
Wrote the Batman that you like.

Joel Christian Gill 16:14
Oh, he worked. Yeah, The Killing Joke, which is really killing Chuck. Yeah, he wrote the killing. He wrote a lot of stuff. I mean, he wrote a lot of comics in the in the 80s. He wrote swampthing. All through the 80s. Oh, from hell, he wrote from hell, which became a movie with Johnny Depp in it.

Traci Thomas 16:29
And he’s talked about how much he does not want his things to be adapted and how much he hates that.

Joel Christian Gill 16:33
Yeah, he hates the Adapt adaptations. And I think he I don’t I don’t know, I don’t I haven’t read. I mean, I kind of tuned him out after a while, because he’s a little crazy. A lot of ways. But I don’t know what he said about the TV show. But I thought the TV show picked up watchmen TV show picked up the themes that he was running with really well,

Traci Thomas 16:54
I think so too. I mean, I think what he had said about adaptations is like, he didn’t want people to do them, because he didn’t want people to think that comics had to be on screen like that comics could be comics, and they could be on the page, and that they can do special things in that place that can’t be done on the screen. And that like this idea that everything has to be turned into some sort of film adaptation, which I do respect, because I do think there’s this assumption that like, Oh, if the book is good, we should make a movie out of it. Or if the book is bad, and I feel like some things are just books, like,

Joel Christian Gill 17:24
I think but I will say this, I think that television, specifically, serialized television is the closest adaptations of comics. I mean, that’s why the first the first watchmen movie was such a hot mess. It was terrible. Like, if anybody’s watched it, you know, like the the book, watchman is really about a character study of all these characters. And it’s not really plot driven. And it’s not really about fighting, or superpowers. It’s about political philosophies. It’s about fascism. And this utopian society of which would could be described as like, socialist or communist. It’s about like, the sort of extremes and how we end up by going so far to the extreme, we do the exact same things. It’s that circular thing that you’ve probably heard of political theory a lot where people go so far to these either extremes, that they end up at the same point, which is the anti Vaxxer-

Traci Thomas 18:19
conundrum, where you have far right wing people and then far left people who are all anti vaxxers. Together.

Joel Christian Gill 18:25
Exactly right. And I think when you because when you follow that ideology, it becomes totalitarianism. Right? And I think that that’s what Ozymandias ends up with. And I think it given Rorschach the chance he would have ended up ended up with the exact same thing.

Traci Thomas 18:38
Do you think Rorschach and Ozymandias would have ended up together?

Joel Christian Gill 18:41
Yes, I think they would eventually. Yeah, I think given the opportunity, they would have both agreed on the on the on the means and which is what happens in the TV show, right? Rorschach ideology, merges with Avi Mandia says, but become like, we’re going to take in turn, you know, Dr. Manhattan’s power into our power. And we’re going to use that to remake the world in our image, right? It’s basically the exact same thing, which I thought was just absolutely brilliant, the way in which they did that. I think there’s an I don’t know, did you notice that all of the panels in watchmen were a nine panel grid.

Traci Thomas 19:15
I literally so I have notes about form for you. I have questions about nine panels. I have questions about the images. Like I like I loved how the images didn’t always match the words and it was like jumping around in time. I thought that was super cool. And then I also noticed that like the speech bubbles, were different for different people like obviously Dr. Manhattan’s were blue, but Rorschach got like squigglies and then Ozymandias got like really clean ones and like so I noticed some things, but I don’t know what nine panels means. I just noticed that sometimes it was nine and then like when they were really big moments. It might be like a really long tall one or like a fat one. Or of course, with the squid. It’s like the whole page, like,

Joel Christian Gill 19:56
right, so that’s easy to connect to right. So it’s a non panel grid. So It’s always set up in that nine panels. So sometimes the panels are three across. Sometimes they’re all nine panels, but they’re always in that rectangular shape. But they don’t really change the shape, right, they like some of them become square. And then some of them become, they’re always in that nine panel grid, which I think was very purposeful. Because once you get to the final, like the climax, it’s just a few pages of like, oh, bleep like drawings, right. And I think that’s really interesting in that and, and a way in which to sort of use the medium of comics to show like, it’s almost like, this is your big moment. This is when all of your music plays this is when you get the full, like panoramic view, right? This is exactly that moment. And they do it very carefully, right? You don’t do that. And then like the word balloons, which is, which is what I was talking about with a serious pilot, and how using different word balloons, and word bubbles for different people sets a tone for that It like makes me it gives you a visual clue to who’s talking sometimes. And you can you can do that when you’re writing, right by just saying she said like she said, Tracy said versus Joel said, or you could do that and film because you can see those people happening. So how do you do that with? With comments when you change the word balloons, and you change the colors. The other thing that you probably noticed is a thing called nonadjacent. Sequencing in comics when you use an image from some, some other place in the book, and you place it here, but you put new words on it, like a flashback. It’s like a flashback.

Traci Thomas 21:33
But if you got that a lot with the comedians,

Joel Christian Gill 21:35
yeah. So you get this flashback, but they put different words on the flashback to give you a different sense of that whole panel, and having and so let me just give you a little bit about how like, this is my quick lecture for all the people who have never read comics and are just like jumping in things to look for. So comics have to do this really interesting dance. Like you have to have the words have to say something. And the pictures have to show something. And they have to sort of like merge into a thing that tells a whole new story. And I’ll give you a really good example. If I were to say, Tracy came onto the call when she was angry, right? That’s not what you that’s not good writing. Right? That’s because you’re supposed to show not tell. So if I say Tracy came onto the call, and she was whipping pages and turning the chair over and she popped down, and then she put on like angrily put on her headphones, that would be showing right now we’ll be showing you. But in comics, I can’t do that. I can’t say Tracy came into the call angry and show you being angry because that’s redundant. Right? So I can show you come in whipping up things, putting on angrily putting on headphones sitting down. And then I could say something like, they were out of Mocha Lattes at Starbucks, right? The worst.

And so that that individual things gives you a much more complete understanding of the story. And so which is different from movies, right? Because you don’t do that in movies, you can’t have word saying something that the pictures are doing. Right, right. Because you, you it’s just a different way of sort of expressing things. And so comics does that. And the best comics do that really well, where they’re giving you a little information that enhances the picture, but does it redundantly show the picture unless you use it specifically to show us that sort of qualities. And I think that’s one of the things that’s the like delicate debt. This is when I say like people always say they’re they’re afraid to call me a cartoonist because they seems like less than it’s like, less than try it. Because that’s the delicate dance you have to do. I don’t want to show you something and tell you something, that all those two things come together to do something that neither one of those things can do differently.

Traci Thomas 23:48
Well, and that makes me also think of like the challenge when you like, especially in a book like this, where you have so many scenes where people are just talking to each other. Because like you don’t just want to draw people like standing talking, right? Like that’s super boring to look at. And so I feel like, But this story is really dependent on that because it is about ideology, and people talking things through. Like we have that whole scene with Laurie and Dr. Manhattan, where they’re fighting on Mars. And it’s like the images are showing us like drawn back or up close and all this different stuff. But really, they’re just having like a conversation and in a movie, probably just have them sitting there talking. But in this it’s like you don’t want to just flip through nine, nine images on a page for 10 pages until like, there’s some really create, like cool stuff that I definitely noticed, like, Oh, he’s trying to, like paint a scene for us. And he knows like, he knows we know they’re talking so he gets to like kind of play around. And I guess he in this case is Dave Gibbons. Yeah,

Joel Christian Gill 24:52
yeah. And so the thing that I would add to that, which I think is really interesting, is in comics, there’s this thing called the one foot Rule, not everybody follows it. And so the one foot rule means that on any given page, you want to have at least one foot on every page. What that does is it forces you not to have the boring Talking Heads, like over and over and over again, you want to sort of pan back and forth. Because if you’re having, if you’re filming a scene, and you film two people talking, you still don’t show just those two people talking in the entire thing, you pan to one person, you pan to the other person. Sometimes you’re looking at one person getting their reaction while the other person is talking. You scroll out, you do all right, in comics, you can’t do that, right? Because you have one thing. So how do you mimic that variation? And saying, and how do you do that to add interest to the page. So this is where, you know, this is where art and design comes into play. When you’re thinking about your compositions in your, in your pages. So it’s not about just showing the person talking. It’s about, you know, like, I always say my definition of comics is images that are adjacently put together in an aesthetically interesting way, in the purpose of forming a story, right, because that’s what it has to do, it has to form that story. So giving you the context of that you’re always being on Mars, giving you the context that you know, these two people are talking given the context of like, who’s bigger, who’s smaller, like all of those things. It’s all about giving you the perspective and making you feel that space. And I think the one of the best examples, I don’t remember what chapter it is, I just have a lecture on it. So I just showed the image talking about it. But it’s the non penile page, where Dr. Manhattan is talking about where he is when he first goes to Mars. And he’s talking in present tense, past tense and future tense. And he says things like, I’m there. 12 seconds from now I’m at he’ll have flats, taking this picture. I’m on Mars. I am looking at the picture my hand, the pictures in my hand, I dropped

Traci Thomas 26:54
it to the SSS

Joel Christian Gill 26:57
picture. Yeah. And he keeps talking about that whole thing. That page that didn’t that

Traci Thomas 27:01
chapter, this this page. Yeah, that’s it. It’s, it’s chapter four. It’s the first page of Chapter Four.

Joel Christian Gill 27:08
Yeah. And that page, if you look at the way that pages is arranged, you’ve got the nine panel grid, and everything around that nine panel grid as Dr. Manhattan searching for his humanity. And that one page, that one panel on the direct center is his humanity. That’s his connection to his humanity. The woman Yep. No, necessarily the woman just that moment, because moment is his last human moment, right before he becomes document? Oh, yes.

Traci Thomas 27:36
Yes, yes. Yes. See, I see. Okay, I read something that I just want to tell people about at home, because I thought it was cool to end our form conversation, chapter five, which is called fearful symmetry. Apparently, if you look at this, the the grids are symmetrical from the first page to the last page of the chapter. So you have like a nine, nine grid on the first page. And then the last page is the nine grid and it like, and I thought that was really cool.

Joel Christian Gill 28:08
Yeah, that and I think, you know, just, I mean, I don’t know, like, I could gush about this book for so much. There’s just so many things that people did, which is why it’s like one of the 100 greatest novels of all time. You know, the, you know, and there’s just like, a lot of like, little tiny like, I can’t so like the the black freighter, because you said you didn’t get the black freighter. Not at

Traci Thomas 28:30
all. Not at all,

Joel Christian Gill 28:32
did it? But it makes sense when I explained it, though. Like if

Traci Thomas 28:35
it does, I couldn’t follow that story. I think because of the way that it was always inter spliced with the guy on the street who was selling the magazines, right, like those. And then it was like I couldn’t, I started trying to read it, where I would read all of the black freighter text at once to try to figure out what the story was. But I just couldn’t keep those two things in my head. Like it just didn’t work. I couldn’t do it. I’m not there yet. Skill.

Joel Christian Gill 29:01
Well, did you recognize the in the watchman television show, they do a similar thing with the TV show,

Traci Thomas 29:07
the TV show I did. But I also listened to Damon Lindelof do the podcast with the guy like they did like an official watchman podcast. And so they talked about it. And so I did listen to that. So I don’t know if I would have recognized it. Oh, show within the show, I think I think they told me. I mean, they even said it on the show. Like you did a comic within a comic in the book. And then you guys did a show within a show. And I was like, oh,

Joel Christian Gill 29:33
yeah, I mean, it’s just like that. I don’t know that. So after you watch after you read Watchmen, and then watch the TV show, did you connect anything like like, do you see all like the other little things that were happening?

Traci Thomas 29:45
Oh my god. I after I watched the first episode, I was like, holy shit. This is great. I liked watchmen the first time but I didn’t fucking know what Laurie Blake was. Yeah, I didn’t like I didn’t know who like when I first saw Jared The irons in the show. I was like, That’s Adrian Veidt. Like I recognized it right away. Absolutely. I remember when I watched the show the first time, I was literally like, What the fuck is this guy? Who the fuck is this? Like, I like I had no clue. I didn’t understand what Dr. Manhattan was, like, I didn’t understand the conversation he was having with Regina King about like, meeting her. And knowing like I did, all of that, to me was just like, what, and it made sense. But it didn’t, I cried, when I watched the show. The second time, I was so moved by the ring scene. And then also the scene where he’s like, I’m in all of our moments together at once. And I was like,

Joel Christian Gill 30:39
He’s saying all of those things are, he’s laughing about something and it like goes back. And I was lucky because

Traci Thomas 30:44
he’s like human for the first time in a way that he’s not in the book. And when you kind of get him,

Joel Christian Gill 30:49
which is really funny, when I watched the TV show, the episode, you know what, God walks into a bar that that whole episode when he walks into the bar, like I went to bed that night thinking to myself, How do I sleep now knowing God is black? Like they did such a great job with that? Yeah, but I mean, there’s like a lot of little things that they take, like, you know, the politicians who, you know, like the liberal politicians, or who are also just white supremacist as well. Like I thought was just amazing. Because that’s the kind of thing that happens in the book, right? You’ve got there’s no real good, good guys. Right? You’ve got the nuclear clock counting down because Dr. Manhattan is left? And what are we gonna do about this? How, like, now he’s gone, and like, we’re gonna go into nuclear war and, and so like you’ve got so like, if you look at the solutions, a nuclear war, so Adrian Veidt, is trying to stop a nuclear war that will kill millions of people by killing millions of people. Like, there’s nothing that’s there’s no like, but at the at the end, right. It’s almost like he did it right. But there’s no saying that a nuclear war wouldn’t have actually done the exact same thing. And

Traci Thomas 31:57
here’s my question, why did he do a squid? Do we know? Is there an answer to

Joel Christian Gill 32:01
No I think it was just like he was creating a monster. Like it was just a monster that he was trying to create a show like, that terrible thing was about to happen. And we all needed to unite around it. I mean, and like, What’s crazy is this is before 911. Right? Before 911. And like, you can hear conservative politicians talking about this exact same thing. We’ve gotten this thing now we should all come together like that.

Traci Thomas 32:24
COVID Yeah. What about COVID? I mean, I think you can’t read this book now, in 2023. And believe that what Adrian Veidt did is a solution, knowing that we know what knowing what we know, after COVID Obviously, COVID is slightly different than like some sort of terror attack or like, some sort of supernatural one moment event, like I think 911 hit different than COVID. Even the way more people died from COVID. Because it was like the shock of this moment, and this visual thing that you could see and like witnessing that and experiencing that. But I I mean, I’m like, Oh, that’s so nice. Adrian right. You think you did something by killing 3 million people? Well, guess what? Nuclear War tomorrow, see it tomorrow? Nobody fucking cares. Yeah, nobody cares.

Joel Christian Gill 33:15
It’s really I don’t like I don’t think I even made the connection to 911. Or like how like politician is talking about like, we all need to come to like this is going to bring us all together when it actually just further divisions. Right? This

Traci Thomas 33:27
of course, there’s because the thing about Americans, which is what I can speak to, but I wonder if it extends to more people and humanity, but I’ll speak to America is that we don’t agree on a lot of things. And so we’re going to see everything differently. Like, just like, you and I are going to see different things in this book differently. Like you think a huge event is going to make us come together. It’s just going to show all the places that we have different beliefs and like all of the different solutions that anyone would come up with. Because if it’s Rorschach Rorschach, who comes up with the solution, what’s he gonna do? Like, what’s his solution to the problem is.

Joel Christian Gill 34:02
Yeah, his solution is law and order, right? His solution means like,

Traci Thomas 34:05
But what’s his solution to the nuclear bomb? I mean, right, like, because it’s like,

Joel Christian Gill 34:09
Like, yeah, law and order. Like, that’s the idea. It’s law and order, right?

Traci Thomas 34:11
Like he’s he gonna lock up like, what’s he gonna do?

Joel Christian Gill 34:14
Who would horshack lock up? I think? I think he would lock up anybody. He said it’d be that moral absolutist map solution. That what’s his name talks about whose name I’m forgetting now, but he writes it down. Yeah. When he writes in his Oh, he writes, in the middle, he’s talking to justice. Yeah. Under the hood, under the hood, yeah. Where he talks about he’s not heard of justice. He said, justice. He’s the other guy. Yeah, he is the I think he was the original owl.

Traci Thomas 34:38
The owl. The original owl, which is all harmless Mason.

Joel Christian Gill 34:43
Yeah. He basically writes from this like, like white nationalist, like, you know, American, you know, American Christian values sort of place. Generation. Yeah. Like he’s got all of those exact same things. And so I think when you Look at that. It’s like the people that don’t conform, right? It’s, it’s, you know, black and brown people. It’s queer people. It’s like anybody who they say, who they deem to be, who they deem to be counterculture, in a lot of ways, right, or counterculture or just different, right? I mean, you take the default and you and it’s starting as white as the default. And then everybody who doesn’t fit that, who doesn’t mold to that, to that conformity? Is is also not right. But when you get what you get now, in modern day politics, it’s not a conformity of like, like what people look like it’s a conformity of like your belief in capitalism or your belief in these bad ideas. And I think that Rorschach ideology, is that I think he is he is Reaganomics. He is you know, the Reagan era. He is Nixon’s law and order, he is Goldwater’s ideas. He has all of those things wrapped up. He is Margaret Thatcher. He is all of the people in this one character that people read, and they miss the fucking point like the TV like the movie did, right? It’s like garter belts, and Ninja fights. And that’s not what it was about.

Traci Thomas 36:02
Right? Because he is the ultimate villain, supervillain of all things 1980s If you’re of a certain political ideology, right? And then Ozymandias is the ultimate 1980s villain of your if you’re of a different political ideology.

Joel Christian Gill 36:18
Yeah. So to pick two different people will look at that and think Ozymandias was the good guy, although he killed a bunch of people. And some people would say, Rorschach was the good guy, although he would have killed a bunch. Like he like his I mean, he was killing people along the way, right?

Traci Thomas 36:33
Yeah, I guess, I guess sort of, I wonder if Alan Moore felt like he had to make Ozymandias kill a bunch of people, because otherwise it didn’t feel like a fair fight between them. Like about like, because like, otherwise, Adrian Veidt doesn’t feel like a worthy adversary, if you will.

Joel Christian Gill 36:49
Yeah. I mean, it is almost, you know, maybe I don’t know, like,

Traci Thomas 36:53
like, he’s too clean. Otherwise, he’s too perfect. He doesn’t like because Dan dreiberg The second our guy, he’s sort of a nothing person, right? Like, he’s sort of he doesn’t he’s not on the same level as a shark. And, and Ozymandias like he is not, he’s more being he’s treated more like the women this sort of like secondary character who like is there but like, nobody takes him seriously. Nobody cares. Nobody really engages with him. They’re just like, damn, Get in the fucking car like getting a little spaceship. Let’s go. I mean, like Dan doesn’t even come up with like Laurie comes up with the idea to go bust out roar shark. Like, Dan is sort of the most emasculated, if you will, man. He’s sort of treated like a nothing. And I feel like if the only way that Alan Moore can have balanced with roar shark and show how terrible he is, or whatever, is by having someone who is the opposite of him, but I think because of who Alan Moore is, for my understanding is that if Adrian Veidt doesn’t do something bad in some way, or something questionable than the fights not fair, they’re not. It’s too clear that Adrian’s ways the right way. Oh, yeah, I’m getting.

Joel Christian Gill 38:01
Yeah, I think you’re right. I don’t know. And so like, it’s one of those things where I think, and this is an interesting question, just in general about like, how do you come up with what happens when you come up with a story? Because I think about this in terms of like, myself, when I’m thinking about stories, do you start with an idea? Like, does he start with like, the person who’s supposed to be the good guy kills the 3 million people right? And then get there or does he start with the person who’s supposed to be the good guy is also I think he probably started with Rorschach first.

Traci Thomas 38:33
I think so too.

Joel Christian Gill 38:34
Yeah, I think Rorschach was probably the because horshack You know like this guy who’s completely obsessed with the crime and is not was like they’ll reach it they’ll they’ll scream and they’ll say and I’ll say and I whisper no.

Traci Thomas 38:46
Right. Never compromise.

Joel Christian Gill 38:48
Yeah. Never back down. Right? He’s like in the real world. Rorschach would be wearing like, lions, not cheap T shirts and like American flag shirts with the flag pointing for the blue-

Traci Thomas 39:00
I guess not the blue line. The police-

Joel Christian Gill 39:04
Yeah the blue line like some of the police because they’re not effective. But that’s not wrong

Traci Thomas 39:10
there. That’s that’s the ideological circle coming together with him. And I I’m like, well, he’s not wrong about the police.

Joel Christian Gill 39:15
Yeah, the police are ineffective, but

Traci Thomas 39:18
I think he starts I think he starts with Roche Rorschach also because Rorschach because like he’s created this world where we’ve won V America’s one Vietnam. Nixon is back for more his third term or whatever. Like, I think that Rorschach fits perfectly into the world that he created, which is why I think he started there because the whole world is built to support that character. Yeah, no, no,

Joel Christian Gill 39:41
I think you’re right. And I think it’s really interesting. You know, that that play on the idea of Nixon being having a third term because Nixon, if you look at Nixon’s politics and what was happening in the 1970s in the late 1970s, and like what he was doing You know, like, I think people will be talking about him like, I don’t think if Nixon had I don’t think Reagan would have existed if Nixon had not been threatened to impeach, I think I don’t think we would have got Reagan, I think we would have got some I think we would have gotten someone like Robert Redford, right. I think we would have gotten that extreme liberal. That extreme, like not extreme liberal. I mean, I guess it is extremely liberal, because it doesn’t really like I think I just find the difference between liberal and a leftist but like, yeah, it’s just basically a soft neoliberal.

Traci Thomas 40:30
It’s sort of like a Gavin Newsom moment.

Joel Christian Gill 40:34
Yeah, exactly.

Traci Thomas 40:35
And that’s how I take him when I would take it. Yeah, but-

Joel Christian Gill 40:38
It was, you know, I don’t know. It’s, it’s, um, they actually I don’t Did you catch the the Easter egg in the book? Robert Redford runs for president in the book. Yes, of course.

Traci Thomas 40:47
But you know, it’s an RR runs for president. I was like, oh, Ronald Reagan. And then I was like, then when I started watching the show, and it was like, read foundations. I was like, Oh, that was fucking Robert Redford, you idiot. I was like, oh, Ronald Reagan. Of course he run. But wait, what about the part where it’s like, towards the end? It’s like the very, very end with the with the guy, the Seymour and the journalist guy. And he’s like, see more. We do not dignify absurdities with coverage. This is still America. Goddamnit, who wants a cowboy actor in the White House, which to me is like, first of all, Ronald Reagan. But second will trump

Joel Christian Gill 41:21
Yeah. Oh, you know, crazy that people like Alan Moore, who can take you know something as as pop culture superhero, and turn it into a political conversation about extreme ideologies. And looking at these ideologies and finding fault in them and having real critiques of both sides. Both arguments, right. Usually these both sides arguments, right. Like, it’s both sides. But I don’t think and he’s not, but it’s not a both sides argument in the sense that we typically talk about like, right versus left. He’s talking about these ideologies, which are not necessarily right and left. It’s almost like, in America specifically, we have, and it’s probably mirrored a lot in England as well, we have a center, we have a center, you know, just just right of center party. We have a far left far right party, and then we have just left of center. Right. We have these, like,

Traci Thomas 42:18
I think we could say that Democrats are just right of center to be fair. Yeah. I think we have a far right and it just right of center. Yeah.

Joel Christian Gill 42:24
So I mean, it’s, you know, like we have those two things, right? We don’t actually have so we’re talking about those two polar? Those, those two polarities, right? The far right, and the just right of center. Like, there’s a lot of both sides, you can talk about in that terms, right. But if you add leftist or socialist ideology into that, and I’m not going as far as communism, I personally don’t think communism would work. But socialism works. We’ve seen proof of it, right? So if you take those things, and you add it, that you don’t have the same contradictions in policies that you would have and those two things and so when Alan Moore is dropped, writing this he’s critiquing that right wing ideology, right, because Ozymandias his right wing ideology takes him the his his quote, unquote, utopian society is killing 3 million people rush X. utopian society is killing all of the people who don’t conform. The queer people, the prostitutes, the pimps, the drug dealers, the these people like just killing an entire group of people. And nobody in the middle is talking about what real world solutions to these problems would be.

Traci Thomas 43:29
Right? I feel like I feel like Adrienne vites solution is not killing 3 million people or his utopia is not killing 3 million people. His Utopia just starts with the death of 3 million people. Right? That’s just him getting started. Then once he does this, allegedly, he can go on and fix everything right? Isn’t that what he says? Yeah, but then he does it right, then he doesn’t know he doesn’t do that. But like, I think to him, this 3 million the 3 million dead is just necessary evil, right? It’s what we heard about like, oh, old people will be willing to die of COVID for for young people, of course, like let’s kill the old people and the disabled people and the high risk, because like, then we’ll be fine. But that’s not what he’s working towards. He’s working towards whatever comes next. He just never He never gets there. You mentioned earlier that when in the movie when you saw when you realize that Dr. Manhattan was black and that God was black that that stuck with you. For me in the book, the line that literally I had to stop and be like, I need a break is God exists and he’s American. Yeah, that will haunt me forever. Yeah, that is the most terrifying thing I’ve ever heard. right as an American I’m like, I don’t I don’t want that. But I do feel like yet like to your point that Dr. Manhattan is sort of this god character. I think like one of the one of the biggest debates I ever remember having in college with a friend of mine who was very religious at the time, was about this idea of God and like the three you know, God is supposed to be all knowing, all powerful and all good. That’s what that’s what you’re taught and Christianity, but God can’t be all three of those things. Because if you’re all good, and all knowing, then you would change things. And if you don’t change things, then you’re not all powerful, right? Like, there’s like, you can’t be all three of those things at once. And I think this idea that if God exists, that he is, and I’m saying he only because that is the God that we’re presented with in this book, that he is American just adds a layer that I’m not, I’m not interested in, like, is that? Does that mean God is a capitalist? Does that mean God is a white supremacist? Like, what does it mean to be American? And if God is all of those things, it’s all of the things that it means to be quote, unquote, American? I’m not sure that I want that for I mean,

Joel Christian Gill 45:44
Absolutely. That’s terrifying. And I mean, it does terrify the world, right. You know, in the, in a lot of ways it keeps, you know, it makes American values, the standard values that we talk about that that become like implanted, right, it becomes like our 51st, state, Vietnam, like the American values are planted on that, and it becomes like a capitalist site society. And I think, you know, like the idea, I love like I, you know, my, the line that sticks with me in the book, which I think is just really brilliant. It’s like, we’re all puppets. Laurie, I can just see the strings. Because and I think there’s a comment on the idea that Dr. Manhattan is all powerful is all knowing, and is neither good nor evil. Right. That’s the thing that I think that’s the smart decision that I think Alan Moore makes is to make this being more aptly, you know, like, more complicated, right? Because Dr. Manhattan makes mistakes as an all powerful all knowing person. He was just a regular dude, before that, we’ve got that argument about the defiant the, the watchmaker, his father was a divine was a watchmaker, which is like that divine watchmaker ideology that came out of like, what, what, who God really was, and there’s like, this sort of great universal thing, and I think, yeah, I think document hadn’t been American is terrible.

Traci Thomas 47:06
Let me ask you about also. So I thought, Dr. Manhattan, and I’m assuming that this has something to do with his name had to do with the Manhattan Project, because he’s like a nuclear thing. Yeah, absolutely. Okay. That’s how I mean, as soon as I saw the name of his like, nuclear bomb, anyone?

Joel Christian Gill 47:21
Let me before you asking your question now that you notice that the blood covering the smiley face connection to the nuclear clock doesn’t turn back at the end, right? Because it does, because we actually ended up killing the 3 million we actually end up killing-

Traci Thomas 47:38
Oh, it doesn’t like after the because that’s like chapter 11. You mean, it doesn’t stop? Yeah.

Joel Christian Gill 47:43
unit we’re supposed to avert a nuclear disaster. But we get this other thing, which is basically a nuclear disaster. Like, what’s the difference between a bomb in New York and this like Alien hitting New York?

Traci Thomas 47:53
Right? Well, so that’s my question. I want to this I guess this sort of also ties into the title. I am not the best reader when it comes to like, these idea, like bigger theme ideas that are played with so like, I wasn’t quite sure that I understood the clock and the watch. And then of course, Watchmen, and I obviously understand like, who watches the watchmen like I understood, I understood the metaphor of watching with your eyes. But I had a harder time with the metaphor for watching. That meant like a watch a clock, timekeeping.

Joel Christian Gill 48:26
So the timekeeping is about the nuclear clock, and how great but like his dad is a watchmaker. And that’s connection to the divine watchmaker ideology that some conservative Christian sort of say that there’s a divine watchmaker that sort of like the idea of Intelligent Design, that though, Douglas Adams Adams says this, in the best way possible, it’s kind of like a puddle, like a hole being in the ground. And because water feels it feels the ground feels that puddle perfectly, and the puddle must have been the whole must have been made for the water, which is kind of an idea. But people say the there’s this idea that, you know, like a watch doesn’t evolve independently, right? You can’t have a spring, and then a mechanism. And all those things come together to create a watch, right? You actually have to like think intelligently and put them all together. And that’s how that’s how it does. And so when you and so like there’s a, there’s a critique of that, because the divine watchmaker, makes the God right. And then the God who knows everything, and is involved in the end can do everything, does it right, he doesn’t, he can’t really control it. And he says, because everything’s already happened. So why do I need to change that? So there’s this whole connection between like, the connection of, you know, like the ideology of the Divine watchmaker, this idea of God and I think that the whole document hattons entire entire existence in this book is a metaphor for like American and our relationship to God like we are a Christian nation. God loves us. We are the best friends with God, the English, we’re not best friends with God, we were better friends with God. That’s why God loves us better than he loves China. Right, right. And so like all of that is connected into that idea of the Divine watchmaker in that intelligent design. Metaphor.

Traci Thomas 50:15
Okay, so then But with that, maybe that answers our question of why Dr. Manhattan doesn’t do anything, or like doesn’t stand for anything or stop anything or whatever, is because if God is the divine watchmaker, and all the pieces don’t work on their own, they have to be put together. But once they’re put together, they out God, God, once the clock is ticking, you can’t take it apart, and you can’t get what you did. There’s nothing can do about it. There’s nothing you can do about it. So once the watch is clicking, once you put it together, maybe that’s the role of God. God puts it together. But once it’s put together, there’s nothing anyone can do about it. But that still sticks with God is not all powerful. Because if he would, he’d find a way to clock the clock. Okay, I have one more thing that I have to ask you about because i What the fuck was the max che stuff? The max che, but like, guy, there’s like a guy that was missing or something. Max? Che? Is he the writer of the writer of the black freighter?

Joel Christian Gill 51:14
Yeah. Oh, I think he was part of the people that wrote the story like the story that because he was bringing all those people together. So like, that was the thing he was doing, like all these people started going missing, like the scientists and these geneticists and like, always start going missing. And people don’t know what’s happening to that. They were all the people that were coming together to create that giant monster, like, oh, Ozymandias,

Traci Thomas 51:38
Yeah, he took all the people that use their brain.

Joel Christian Gill 51:43
Yeah, so like, he was like, how do we do this? And he had all these the smartest people in the world coming up building toward this one ideology.

Traci Thomas 51:50
Got it. Thank you. I missed that. Okay, here’s my last kind of questions about this, the legacy of Watchmen. Everything I saw when I first picked this when we first picked this book, I just did a quick Google search. And it was like, watchmen has changed. Comic books forever, it changed the genre. And also, watchmen is the greatest comic of all time. Those are the two things that I saw. How does watchmen do those things? How, why is it the best? What is it? What did it do in the time or since the time that it came out? That makes it the one?

Joel Christian Gill 52:23
Well, just the fact that we’re still talking about like, all of the different themes that you can run through like Kanye, and a lot of ways we’re very had been up until we talked about this previously, where I talked about the idea of like comics being unserious. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some great things happening in comics. Up until the 1980s. There’s a lot of really, people are exploiting this is when you know mouse started was started to Art Spiegelman started writing mouse before we got the complete book in the 1990s. But it was basically taking the superhero genre and asking a lot of questions about like, Does this really make sense? Like really when because when you expand this out, it becomes silly, right? Like the idea of heroes become silly. And and I keep going back to this idea that to Charla doesn’t seem silly, because he is protecting his country, as opposed to somebody who is protecting their city in this in this really weird way. And so I think by questioning the ideas of what superheroes are, it actually creates new kinds of superheroes. And you get new kinds of stories and expanding on this idea that comics can be a lot deeper, especially superhero comics can be a lot deeper than this really shallow, adventure, action and adventure sort of thing that was happening before. And don’t get me like, I’m not saying this. People gonna get mad at me. But actually, I’m not saying action adventure is shallow. I’m not saying that. I’m saying that it, it was very one dimensional, it was all action adventure. And so you get some really good action and adventure. But the most like the majority of it was just boiler plate. Like I can see this coming from a mile away. And so when Pete When people read a combination of books in the 1980s, they read the Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Swamp Thing, and a bunch of other sort of dark and sort of much more adult things booked. That’s my comic sort of stuff. People started looking at comics, like I was, I was a kid in the 1980s. So like, watchmen didn’t hit me, but it’s like the generation like probably the people who are 10 years older than me, when they started seeing things and going stories can be different than what reading and so it basically changes the game. I mean, out we talked about mysterious pilot and I talked about the concept of carve comics, like he’s doing things with word balloons that you see in Watchmen, right, the nine panel grid that’s slowly like the metaphor of the black freighter like those are things that I don’t think people really played with as much before that, and I think after the fact you can see a lot of people doing really adult themed comics, I think somebody in one of the threads that saga was really great. If you haven’t read slash that you should go read it because it’s long. So We’d like the first book, and then maybe you’ll be hooked. But it’s really, really a great story. It’s like a fantasy Romeo and Juliet. But there are a lot of things that happen because of watchmen that I don’t think would have happened if watchmen had not been been the book.

Traci Thomas 55:14
It was. I love it. I think we’re out of time. But do you have anything else you want to add or talk about briefly before we get out of here that we missed? Because I know we didn’t get everything?

Joel Christian Gill 55:24
Yeah, I think it’s really important to recognize the trigger warnings with with Watchmen, just like so

Traci Thomas 55:30
Glad we’re gonna recognize that at the very act very,

Joel Christian Gill 55:33
you know, my students always telling me I get really excited about stuff. And I forget to say like, oh, there’s some problematic things in there. But, you know, like, it’s like I said, there’s, there’s problematic things in there. And this isn’t, there’s never, there’s never a reason to do that. Because people are calling up the problematic things at the time. I also think it’s really important to read this in the end. And you get the idea that he’s, he’s dealing with like these really complicated ideas about form that he’s using and political ideology. I think it’s like take all of this and it’s a really great book and recommend it to a friend.

Traci Thomas 56:06
I love it. So just for people who are listening now, I think I’m not 100% But I’m pretty sure that the bonus episode this month is going to be David Dennis Jr. and I talking about the show and a lot of details. So if you read the book, but have a watch the show now, you should watch the show and then join the Stax Patreon, because we’re going to do a deep dive and get a little more into the show, because we couldn’t do all of that here today. So if you’re interested, we’re going to do more on the show. Everyone Joel has books in the world. His most recent is the graphic adaptation of stamp from the beginning. He has his own memoir called fights. Joel, thank you so much for being here. This was awesome.

Joel Christian Gill 56:42
I’m glad to come up like I can. I love talking about comics. So this was so fun.

Traci Thomas 56:46
Well, I’m gonna have to do it again. Everybody else we will see you in the stacks.

All right. Well, that does it for us today. Thank you so much for listening. And thank you again to Joel Christian Gill for returning to the show and David Hawk for helping to make this conversation possible. All right, now it’s time for our August book club announcement. Our book is You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by a quickie a messy. It’s a romance novel with themes around grief and loss. It is a very controversial pick. People love it. People hate it. I cannot wait to discuss make sure you listening next week to find out who our book club guest will be. If you love the show and want insight access to it, head to patreon.com/the stacks and join the snacks pack. Make sure you’re subscribed to the stacks or if you listen to your podcasts and if you’re listening through Apple podcasts or Spotify be sure to leave us a rating and a review. For more from The Stacks you can follow us on social media at thestackspod on Instagram threads and tiktok and at thestackspod underscore on Twitter. And you can check out our website thestackspodcast.com This episode of The Stacks was edited by Christian Duenas with production assistance from Lauren Tyree. Our graphic designer is Robin MacWrite. The Stacks is created and produced by me Traci Thomas.

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