Reflection: Symmetry

In our discussion on Friday, we talked a lot about the role of symmetry throughout the text. I wanted to extend the conversation on it because I am still not sure what exactly Moore’s intentions are with the reoccurring theme. At first glance I saw it as simply an artistic element that just enhanced the images in the text. But with more thought, I think the symmetry does create balance (what we suggested in class) but also its fair to say that it instills a calmness/flow throughout the text. Even when the reader is just flipping through the pages of the book without analyzing the images are very vibrant and chaotic. Moore’s and Gibbon’s illustrations are very detailed, use such strong color, and there is SO much just in one panel, let alone the whole page. Even before reading the text bubbles, my mind races all over the page taking in the pictures. One of the main panels we looked at in class:

This image is one of the best in the book to show how great the impact of the symmetry is. This is a very hectic and chaotic scene. Although there is a lot going on, and the picture is split between two pages the story and images of the story still flow and make sense. For me, the symmetry offers stability when there is so much going on. It’s almost like the calming factor in the whole book. With it being such a reoccurring theme it is something reliable to always refer to among the pages of color chaos. The one thing I questioned when reflecting: What if Moore and Gibbons did not use symmetry? Would the entire book be different? Would the structure and layout be similar? Most importantly, would the plot line be the same? I would have to argue no. The book, layout and structure, and plot line would all be different if the symmetry was not there. When I read a comic or graphic novel, I rely on the images (like most readers do) to guide me through the story. I always want to feel apart of the story through the images and with Watchmen, I definitely feel that way. Without the symmetry the story wouldn’t flow as well or have such an impact as it does. Without the symmetry the pictures would be split up and not follow the story line. When I was reading I would flip to the next page and immediately look for the white lines that separate each image and see if it was symmetrical. Almost every time it was, making the pictures convey the story line better. Without the precise symmetrical layout and theme the text, for me, would not be as effective in the pictures enhancing and helping in understanding the story.

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