Chapter 10: "Two Riders Were Approaching..."

     Watchmen is a trademark of DC Comics Inc., copyright 1995.  
These annotations copyright 1995 by Doug Atkinson.  They may be freely 
copied and distributed, provided the text is not altered.

     Certain notes are true for each issue.  Each one is written by 
Alan Moore, drawn and lettered by Dave Gibbons, and colored by John 
     Moreover, each issue has a continuing motif, a reoccuring object 
or pattern that is seen on the cover, the first and last page (usually), 
and throughout the issue.  This issue's motif is computer/TV screens, as 
well as a "two riders" theme.
     Another trend is the title, which is always an excerpt from an 
apropos quote shown in its entirety in the last panel.  This issue's title is 
from Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower."
     The clock appearing on the covers counts the minutes to 
midnight, similar to the clock in the _Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists_, 
which is an estimate of the world's closeness to nuclear war.  The clock 
stands at 2 minutes to midnight.

Cover: A control tower radar screen.  The position of the two 
incoming blips and the seep, plus the white curve on the bottom, give us 
another spattered smiley-face.

Page 1, panel 1: Notice the time and date: 10/31/85 (a jump backwards 
in time), 11:59:30.  "DEFCON 2" refers to the state of military 
readiness (from DEFense CONdition); DEFCON 5 is complete peace, and DEFCON 1 is
outright war.

Panel 4: Note that two riders are approaching in the truck.

Page 2, panel 1: President Nixon, carrying the control to launch the 
U.S.'s nuclear arsenal.  He and Vice-President Ford constitute two riders.

Panel 6: VP Ford, losing his balance.  In our world, Ford stumbled 
down some airplane steps while President, thus acquiring a reputation as a

Panel 7: Both the cars have two riders (counting the driver as a 
rider).  If not, there are still two riders, just in different vehicles.

Page 4, panel 3: The change in Rorschach's manner is beginning.  
While the bit about Laurie may be politeness, this is warmer than he's been in 

Page 5, panel 4: Lots of ongoing themes on the fence in the 
background. From left to right, a Pale Horse "Krystalnacht" poster ("Sold Out"), 
a "The End is Nigh" sign, a Nostalgia ad, a Gunga Diner box, a "Four More 
Years" sign, a sign reading "Badges Not Masks: Support the Keene Bill," an
Ozymandias Famine Relief poster, another "Four More Years," another 
"The End is Nigh," "Krystalnacht," "Badges Not Masks," "Nixon the One," 
"Badges Not Masks," "The End is Nigh," "The End is Nigh," "Nixon the One" 
and, finally, a Pink Triangle poster.  (The downward-spiralling arrow has 
been around for a while, too; maybe it's symbolic of the way the world 
situation is going.  The way they go from the Pale Horse poster and "the one" 
sign to the trash can may be foreshadowing.) Across the bottom is another 
"One in eight go mad" graffito.

Page 6, panel 2: A really old coat; that's the bloodstain from the 
dog he killed.  Next to it is his journal.

Panel 7: Another sign of his humanization.

Page 7, panel 1: This is Karnak, Adrian's Antarctic retreat.  Named 
after the site of an ancient palace/temple complex in Egypt.  At least part 
of it was built by Rameses II, the original Ozymandias.

Panel 4: Lots and lots of triangles, with TV screens in the lower 

Page 7: TV screens.

Page 8, panel 1: Slight artistic slip here: the "Mmeltdowns" ad in 
the lower left is missing an "M." Above it and to the right is a 
political ad (?) for "R.R.", who we're probably meant to think is Ronald Reagan, 
but most likely isn't, though it does look like him (see #12).  There's a
Nostalgia ad hidden under Adrian's first balloon.

Panel 5: The shape of the recording reels is reminiscent of the 
radiation symbols.

Page 9, panel 1: Computer screens.

Page 11, panel 4: The Chrysler Building is visible on the far left.

Page 12, panel 3: The two people in the background were just recently

Page 13, panel 1: The headline reads, "Eastern Europe: Tanks Mass as
Conflict Escalates."  The back of the comic reads, "The Veidt Method: 
I Will Give You Bodies Beyond Your Wildest Imagination." Those are 
Jehovah's Witnesses in the background (two of them, riding).

Panel 7: _The Watchtower_ is a real-world magazine, but it refers 
back ironically to the source of this issue's title.

Page 14, panel 2: Daniel is discreetly changing the sign to "Closed," 
anice artistic touch that's easy to miss.

Page 17: Notice the symbol on the side of the boat.  All the people
referred to as missing in the _New Frontiersman_ except James 
Trafford March show up or are referred to on this page, and he may be among 
the unindentified people in panels 2-4.  The brain is that of Robert

Also, doesn't this beach bring to mind the one from _Tales of the 
Black Freighter_?

Page 18, panels 1 and 7: That's the picture Mira was drawing in issue 
#8, page 11.  This is foreshadowing.

Page 19, panel 7: Notice the pyramid on Adrian's desk...

Page 20: Another computer screen.  The computer is a Veidt product, 
but that's hardly surprising.

Panel 4: A reference to the '75 Roche kidnapping, presumably.

Panel 8: The rider here gives another "II rider."  The weakness of 
the security is intriguing, and suggests that Veidt is either a) 
extremely careless, b) extremely overconfident, or c) wanted to be found.  A) 
seems unlikely in view of what we know.

Page 22, panel 1: The Chrysler Building again, with a geodesic dome 
in the bottom.

Panel 3: They're flying over Madison Square Garden, where Pale Horse 
is playing tonight.  Notice the time on the clock.  (This page can be 
used to trace the geography of the region.  Assuming they went straight, 
Veidt's building is east of the newsstand corner of 40th and 7th.  The 
Chrysler Building, the most useful landmark, is shown as due east of the 
newsstand in 3:22:1.)

Panels 6-7: This is the mailbox next to Rorschach's trashcan 
maildrop: next to the Promethean offices, across from the Gunga Diner and the 
newsstand. In panel 7, Rorschach's sigil is miscolored and looks like a sign on 
the wall. 

Page 23, panel 1: The mailman's getting Rorschach's journal out of 
the mailbox.

Panel 2: Two riders again.

Panel 9: The journal is the "Urgent" package.  The watch salesman is 
in the background.

Page 24, panel 4: The graffiti read "Sieg Heil," a swastika, and 
"Scum." Apparently not everybody approves of the _Frontiersman._ We see 
through the window that Pioneer Publishing is opposite Woolworth's, which has a
Mmeltdowns ad.

Panel 5: Feinberg drew the cartoon in issue #8 (it was signed just 
"F.").  This may well be the same Walt Feinberg who drew "Tales of the Black

Panel 6: Odd that the journal is from 1984-1985, but the 10/12/85 
entry is on the first page.  (In issue #1, it read "Dog carcass," not "Dead 
dog." Either Seymour is paraphrasing or the captions were from his notes, 
not the final version.)

Page 28, panels 4-6: More TV screens, and the final set of two 

Pages 29-32: Various papers from Adrian's desk.

Page 29, paragraph 1: He vetoed them in issue #5, page 13.

Page 30: Notice "Call Laurie" and the beginning of a phone number on 
the left.  This blotter's layout is interesting; internal evidence 
suggests that it begins on Saturday (the opposite of Dan's).  Clumping the 
weekends together on one line is a useful idea, actually.

One wonders if the Rorschach figure's mask would shift patterns; it's
theoretically possible, but might be expensive for a cheap plastic 
action figure.

Page 31, paragraph 5: In issue #12 we see some of the Millennium

Page 32: The new "Veidt Method" ad (looking like it was printed on a

By the way, Adrian's signature is identical on all three pages.  
(Obviously Gibbons had a stat made of the first signature on the art, but it 
looks a little odd in the context of the series.)             Doug Atkinson