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Watchmen (comic series and movie)

Last modified: 2016-03-19 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
Keywords: watchmen | fifty-one | united states |
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Introduction

Watchmen was written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons. There's also a 2009 movie rendition. In the story the year is 1985, in an alternative history.
Jan Mertens, 27 September 2010


United States, with 51 stars

When the Stars and Stripes are shown in the comic, the stars cannot be counted yet the movie shows 51 stars one of which is supposed to represent Vietnam. (See: IMDB and Io9.
Jan Mertens, 27 September 2010

It's been a while since I read this comic (and I haven't seen the movie adaption) and I didn't read it in the original language either (but in a translation to Swedish). However, while the American victory in the Vietnam War is obvious in the comic, I don't think it is ever mentioned there that Vietnam became a new state in the US. That could very well be something which just occured in the movie.
Elias Granqvist, 13 November 2010

You're correct. there's an unsatisfactory absence of American flags in the comic. Now, this being an alternate timeline, there might be a reason for that there, but to me it gives the impression the artists tried to avoid the subject of US development.

One of the reason flags, especially as flag graffiti, are more prominent in the film, is that those takes the place of most "Who shall watch the W.." type graffiti. Maybe that text occurs less to not be overdone in a film, which is watched in one go, different from the long read of a comic in twelve instalments of the comic.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 13 November 2010

51 stars burial flag

[51 star burial flag]
image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg,
3 October 2010

The YouTube filmlet Jan located shows the Comedian's funeral re-cut into a single sequence. There's no single frame showing the entire burial flag, but it looks something like this image. (The stars may still be too large, though.)

In the full film president Nixon is seen making an official statement on television, standing between two flags. To his right is a gold-fringed stars and stripes, with most of its stars obscured by its folds.

Apart from that Stars & Stripes, the coffin flag at the burial of the Comedian is the only flag in use we can see in detail, the remainder being flag-waving at the re-election of president Nixon. Several Stars & Stripes behind glass, with other numbers of stars, can be seen in the film, mostly to indicate times gone by, and these include a fifty star version. Finally, several wall paintings show fifty-one stars Stars & Stripes, with the same pattern. These paintings include a pro-statehood for Vietnam painting with the bottom right star as a star of pretence, so much larger that three of it's points stick out into the stripes.

In all I'd say, on the Watchmen time line, the normal flag of the USA is indeed supposed to be a 51 star Stars & Stripes, sporting gold-fringe if used indoors.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 3 & 5 October 2010


51 stars presidential flag

In the film president Nixon is seen making an official statement on television, standing between two flags. To his right is a gold-fringed stars and stripes, and to his left is the presidential flag, fringed somewhat differently, maybe with gold and silver, on which eleven stars are showing. Though it's difficult to determine whether the arc between the stars is 7,20 degrees, for 50 stars, or 7,06 degrees for 51, in a different scene the presidential seal can be seen in full on the back of his chair, and there it does indeed have 51 stars.

In all I'd say, on the Watchmen time line, the Presidential flag most likely has been changed as well, with the circle likewise consisting of 51 stars now.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 5 October 2010


Flag of the Black Freighter

The comic also has a skull and cross bones flag in Tales of the Black Freighter at one point. It appears yellow on black, but I guess that's because of the "light" in the comic.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 13 November 2010