7. Contextualising Watchmen In The Horror Of Tulsa
One could be forgiven for mistaking Watchmen's opening scene as a fiction - another event that comprises a part of the original text's alt-history. Horrifically it wasn't, and the show should be applauded for shining a light on such a terrifying chapter in American history, given it's scarcely taught in schools across the globe, let alone in the United States.
The Tulsa massacre took place in 1921 and is pretty much the worst example of racial violence in American history. It occurred during a time in which the Klu Klux Klan were resurgent, and where the Civil Rights Movement was still decades away. White mobs descended on the affluent black town of Tulsa and massacred dozens, with the city even being bombed from the air. It was appalling, and the opening of Watchmen captures the horror in excruciating detail.
It also serves to re-contextualise the idea of Moore and Gibbons' original story. For all that Watchmen was an excellent satire on superheroes, American culture and the Cold War, race was a blind spot. And if you're talking about America, you have to talk about race.
By kicking off the new show with the Tulsa Massacre, Watchmen centres its new story on the most important element of American history, and the most pertinent to us today. White supremacy is a historic enemy, and it's one Lindelof's series is evidently eager to confront.