He is one of the only masked adventurers (along with Captain Metropolis) to be a member of both the Minutemen and the Crimebusters, and had been active for forty-five years through the aid of government-sponsored activities and the press conjuring him into a patriotic symbol of war and victory. Blake is a cigar-chomping, gun-toting vigilante turned paramilitary agent. He is described variously as "deliberately amoral" with a "practiced cynicism", meaning that he usually has little regard for social conventions or human life. Always in character as the Comedian, he describes the world as a sadistic joke that only he understands, but in the end his practiced cynicism is shattered when he discovers a plot that he regards as a "practical joke" even he can't believe anyone would pull.
The Comedian was born in 1918 as Edward Morgan Blake. Almost nothing is known about Blake's early life. According to him (and his caseworker) he experienced traumatic events during his childhood, resulting to moments of uncontrolled rage. When he was 16 he was arrested by the New York Juvenile Correctional Services.
When he first became a costumed adventurer in 1939, Hollis Mason had described him as a 'particularly vicious and brutal young man' who was an effective vigilante, managing to expunge most organized crime from the New York harbor. In one of those exploits he beat every thug in The Bloody Ear down with a baseball bat.
In the fall of that year he read an advertisement in the New York Gazette written by Nelson Gardner with the help of Laurence Schexnayder that asked all other masked adventurers to step forward, a unification that spawned the Minutemen. Since he was the youngest member of the group he had always made jokes that he was going to outlive and even bury all of them, as well as always having been flirtatious with fellow Minuteman Silk Spectre.
He also mentioned his young age to support his selfish and individualistic attitudes, as the Minutemen was the only place where he could make a living. Nite Owl accused him for salvaging money from all the villains he was beating. As the World War II began in Europe, he wished that they would be sent where the action is.
After a photograph shoot in 1940, he sexually assaulted Sally Jupiter (who was about three years older than him) while she was getting dressed. As she exclaimed 'no' to his sexual advances, he persisted and she clawed him in the face; Blake punched her in the stomach and face until blood was spilling from her mouth and laid her on the ground barely able to move. Hooded Justice interrupted the assault and caught Blake with his pants down over her semi-conscious body. He savagely attacked Blake, breaking his nose and kneeing his groin, then held him up to face him. (While he coughed up blood, it dripped from his chin to his shirt in a small drop about where his badge would be years later). Blake laughed and said "This is what you like, huh? This is what gets you hot..." but to this Hooded Justice only replied "Get out." (As Blake left the room, the clock above the door read approximately five minutes to midnight.)
He had been expelled from the group with minimal publicity, but Sally's agent, Laurence Schexnayder, persuaded her not to press charges against him for fear of what it would do to the group's image, so he continued his profession on his own, although his self-restraint continued to slip.
The following year, 1941, he was stabbed by a small-time hoodlum and was seriously injured. Due to this he decided to upgrade his costume into a leather based uniform for his own protection, and began carrying a pistol. Later, during a battle against a gang of Japanese, who were hiding explosives, he was approached by FBI Agent Kaufax in order to recruit him for World War II.
He underwent training in counterintelligence, sabotage, survival, advanced combat, and was then assigned to Henderson Field in Guadalcanal under Captain Peterman. He represented the G.I., and although he had no rank, he was considered to be in command and his men called him "Boss". His first mission was to map Japanese caves to be demolished. They were ambushed by a sniper and fled straight into a minefield. Six of his team were killed, with their fireman falling on a mine, and a large explosion pushed Blake away and he blacked out. Thought for dead, he was later rescued by a native Soloman mother and her child and rifleman Greg. They tended his wounds, and that was the first time Blake had ever felt kindness. He and Greg swam their way back to their base.
Hearing the news and ignoring Blake's mention of the natives, Peterman ordered the artillery to raze the area. Blake attempted to return to the cave in orer to warn the woman and child, but he was too late. The woman emerged mutilated from the fires, only to be shot by Peterman, as a mercy. The next night Blake snuck into Peterman's tent and slit his throat with a Japanese bayonet. Nonetheless, Peterman opened his eyes, and from then on, the enemy were all animals to Blake.
In 1945 he was courtmartialled for killing 7 Japanese POWs on a bet, claiming he could shoot them all with 8 bullets at 50 paces. The charges were dismissed due to lack of evidence.
Around 1948 he had another encounter with Sally Jupiter while she had been married to Laurence. One year later she had a child that would be later revealed to be Laurie. While never explicitly mentioned, the second sexual encounter between the Comedian and the first Silk Spectre is said to be consensual, and at the end , in spite of everything, Sally had feelings for the Comedian.
In 1949 there appeared to be a movie starring or featuring the Comedian in the works. It was titled "Okinawa Dawn" and seems to be based on his adventures in the Pacific theatre, possibly inspired by war hero Audie Murphy's biographical movie about his own exploits. The page of script that was revealed shows the Comedian alongside several soldiers. One of them has wandered into danger and the Comedian fights all protests and runs off to save him. He is ambushed by a hidden Japanese soldier. A fight ensues and ends with the soldier at the Comedian's mercy. He has a knife, poised to slit the soldier's throat, but throws it aside and ties him up, saying "Looks like the war is gonna end a bit early for you, friend."
During the 1950s, while his former peers were column-fillers, Blake flourished as the only masked adventurer left still making headlines due to his government connections which were transforming him into a sort of patriotic symbol of American justice.
During the HUAC hearings Blake was the only vigilante not forced to testify, likely also because of his involvement with the government. Rather, he was secretly present, cooperating with and watching his ex-colleagues from behind duck-blinds.
As Hooded Justice went into hiding, J. Edgar Hoover ordered an FBI-wide investigation to find him. The Comedian stalked Nite Owl and Mothman and discovered their secret base, where they were researching Ursula Zandt's audio tapes. He then moved to Boston, where she was murdered, and researched the Evidence Office for casefiles found on her, and got a lead to circus strongman Rolf Meuller, whom Zandt had suspected. He went to Rolf's trailer at Big Top Circus and strangled him, but further research showed that he was not Hooded Justice.Thinking that Nite Owl could lead him to Hooded Justice, he kidnapped Tino Musante Jr., a neighbor of Hollis Mason, and tied him up in an abandoned building near the Circus where he had found a victim of Meuller's back in 1940. Dressed as Hooded Justice, he assaulted Nite Owl to provoke him. Indeed, Mason suspected Hooded Justice for the murder, and a few days later he found him in the Tower of Freedom and killed him.
As an operative he reported failure for discovering the whereabouts of HJ. In late 50s a new vigilante, Ozymandias, attempted to discover HJ and followed the traces of the previous operative for clues. His government sources tracked him to dockland and he met the Comedian. The two despised each other immediately and the Comedian attacked Veidt, and won. He later said that he mistook him for a criminal.
In 1960 Blake and other former Minutemen attended a Red Cross charity event for the India Famine along with other new heroes, like Dr. Manhattan. He discussed a little with troubled Captain Metropolis. It was the second time he met Ozymandias, who avoided him.
In 1962 he broke into Hollis Mason's house and woke him up by playing a music record. He informed him that Hoover was not happy with the book he was writing, and as an example that some things should not be revealed, he explained that it was him who led him to Hooded Justice, who was otherwise innocent; The Comedian wanted him only disgraced. He also threatened him in case his book was anything else than a light-hearted reminicence of the old days. Mason was convinced, although he didn't cut the part of the Comedian's rape attempt.
In the '60s, Blake established a close respect and relationship with the Kennedy family. They played rugby together, and Blake had even tasted Nikita Khrushchev's vodka through John Kennedy. According to Jackie Kennedy, Jack, Bob and Ted loved Blake. The Comedian thought that Bob Kennedy was much more effective a crime-fighter than himself. Annoyed by her husband's affection to Janet Smith, Jackie told the Comedian to take care of her, and he did.
After losing a bet with the Kennedy's he was ready to travel to Washington and buy them a dinner at Dunston's. At the airport he was stopped by FBI agent Luxem, as he was needed to apprehend Moloch the Mystic who started doing business in drug dealing. While in the car, the Comedian didn't agree with the initial plan, an took control of the car and broke into the storehouse, causing havoc. As he approached Moloch, he saw him crying, as the news said that John Kennedy was shot in Dallas and taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital, Instead of arresting him, the two shared a booze and mourned about his death.
However according to Ozymandias, Blake was in Dallas, nominally as Richard Nixon's bodyguard, on the day that John F. Kennedy was shot; it is also implied, although vaguely, that Blake either was the actual assassin or knew of the assassin's plot beforehand.
Robert McNamara told Blake to go to Vietnam and act as an advisor to the soldiers. His arrival was met with enthusiasm on behalf on the tired and scarce soldiers, as seen with Colonel Pitch's welcome. On his first night in the camp he wondered on the soldiers' attitude that they are not yet in a war, and why they don't respond to the nightly shootings. He led a direct approach (for the first time in the war) and attacked a band of Vietnamese, slaughtering the last of them with his military knife. Unlike his soldiers, the Comedian did believe that it is a war: a war against Communism.
During a leave back in the U.S. he met protestors against him as he exited the plane. Hearing about the Watts riots in Los Angeles he went there to "help". When he created more havoc than it was, and Police chief William Parker scolded him, the Comedian threw dog poo in his face and ran away. He spent the rest of his leave in Hawaii and he received a call from his friend Robert F. Kennedy demanding an apology for Parker's behalf, but Blake refuse to apologize.
That year he was invited to join the Crimebusters by Captain Metropolis, but he quickly ruined the older hero's hope of a new team by mocking him, claiming he was only doing it for vanity and glory, and even set his display on fire while saying that old fashioned crime fighting methods were useless for saving the world when the threat of nuclear war lay overhead at all times. This rant opened Ozymandias's eyes.
It was also here that the Comedian met his daughter, Laurie Juspeczyk, now the new Silk Spectre, and asked her if her mother ever talked about him, but their conversation was quickly broken up by an angry Sally Jupiter. The Comedian seemed genuinely perplexed that Sally was still holding a grudge against him, saying he thought they had settled their differences. Ozymandias saw the three from the distace arguing. Laurie noted that the Comedian looked sad as he watched them drive away, and felt sorry for him. That was until her mother told her of their past history (but still not telling Laurie that she was his daughter), after which she felt nothing but disgust and hatred towards him.
In 1968 he killed his friend, Robert Kennedy.
Back to Vietnam
While in Saigon, he was joined with Dr. Manhattan who joined the effort in March '71. Together they played a major role in the United States' war with Vietnam. Shortly after Manhattan's godlike powers forced the north Vietnamese into full surrender, Blake was confronted by a Vietnamese woman he had apparently impregnated. He told her bluntly that he planned to leave the country immediately without her, and in a rage she slashed his face with a broken bottle. Blake shot and killed her.
His injury led to a disfiguring scar that ran from his right eye down to the corner of his mouth, giving his face the impression that he was constantly sneering; after this incident, he wore an enclosing leather gimp-style mask when dressed as the Comedian. He was court-martialed for the incident but the charges were dropped for lack of evidence.
In 1974 a banquet was held in his honor. G. Gordon Liddy and Gerald R. Ford were there as well as Dr. Manhattan with Laurie. Blake was with a company discussing about the deaths of Woodward and Bernstein who were found in a garage, and the publication of underground newspapers that linked them to a conspiracy; Blake joked that the editors of Berkeley Barb took drugs and came up these stories; he also joked about JFK's death. Then Laurie (who had drank much) approached him, accused him as a rapist, leaving Blake petrified. She even threw a glass of drink onhis face. Angered, Dr. Manhattan teleported her home.
The costumed adventurers faced massive backlash and rioting in the 1970s. Masked adventurers were sent to quiet the unrest and the Comedian teamed up with Nite Owl II in his Owlship. During that time, Nite Owl reminisced that the Comedian mistook the Owlship's flamethrower for a lighter and almost caused a disaster. The Comedian responded violently to the protestors, throwing a grenade driving the crowd away scared, shooting one who was painting a graffiti against the vigilates. He explained to his mate that there is an Act in the making, but until then the adventurers must protect the people "from themselves". He claimed that he didn't go crazy like the others, and keeps things in proportion, trying to see the funny side.
In response to those events, the Congress passed the Keene Act, requiring all heroes to register with the government if they wished to remain active. The majority of them "retired" in anonymity, while one other, Rorschach, continued his activities in open defiance of the law. Doctor Manhattan and the Comedian were the only two who registered with, and were employed by, the government.
The Comedian later resolves the Iranian Hostage Situation around 1980 and frees the captives. This action silences many of his critics, though Laurie Juspeczyk still hated him. The Comedian's actions during the hostage crisis are suggested to have traumatized those who were rescued by him. A panel shows a jubilant Comedian on the stairway of the plane returning the hostages, while the hostages standing near him appear traumatized. This contrasts with the joyous appearance of the returned hostages; his method of "resolving" the crisis was traumatizing to those involved.
Death & Legacy
While on a plane during a mission in 1985, Blake noticed suspicious activity on an uncharted island. He infiltrated the island and learned of its purpose, the realization of which was severely traumatizing. Unable to bear the burden of knowledge alone, Blake broke into the apartment of Edgar Jacobi, who had fought Blake years earlier as Moloch the Mystic, and rambled drunkenly about the island.
Adrian Veidt, who was controlling the island's activity and had bugged Moloch's apartment for his own reasons, responded by attacking Blake in his apartment, beating him up and then throwing him through the apartment window resulting in him falling to his death. The investigation of this incident by both the New York City police and Rorschach opens the graphic novel. The CIA informed Dr. Manhattan about his death, and theorized that Libya was responsible.
Blake was buried in a cemetery under the rain with his coffin covered with the American flag. Protestors could be seen outside.While trying to convince Doctor Manhattan to save the Earth from nuclear war, Laurie Juspeczyk came to the shocking realization that the Comedian was her father. This revelation provoked an unexpected emotional response in the superhuman Manhattan, who was stunned that two people as different as the Comedian and Sally Jupiter could come together and produce a child, and that child being Laurie, he realized that such odds of improbability extended to all members of the human race. This revelation encouraged Manhattan that human life was worth saving and, later, gave Laurie a chance to reconcile with her mother.
When his apartment was broken into, he was writing a note to Laurie Juspeczyk. The note reads as follows:
- Dear Laurie,
- I don't know what your Mom has told you about me but I
- Well, I think that something terrible is going to happen soon, and before I die I just wanted you to know I l
The note cuts off there, presumably when he is interrupted.
Events in Watchmen
The story of Watchmen starts with the aftermath of a murder in 1985: a man named Edward Blake was beaten mercilessly and thrown through the window of his apartment, falling several stories to his death. A "costumed adventurer" named Rorschach begins independently investigating the murder. While searching Blake's apartment, Rorschach discovers a hidden closet containing a costume and other items that indicate that the murdered man was The Comedian. The main plot of Watchmen initially involves Rorschach's suspicion of a plot to kill costumed heroes ("masks"); his continuing investigation into Blake's murder leads to a much larger, more horrifying secret.The Comedian never appears alive in the present events of Watchmen (the first issue begins the morning after his murder), but is seen several times in memories of other characters shown as flashbacks during Chapter II, as well as appearing in documents appended to the end of chapters (such as extracts from Hollis Mason's biography, Under the Hood).
Skills and abilities
Edward Blake was an incredibly skilled, self-taught hand-to-hand combatant who was in excellent physical condition, even at the time of his death aged 61. In the Under the Hood excerpts it is revealed that the Comedian defeated Ozymandias in combat during their first encounter - a loss that Adrian Veidt never got over personally. Veidt described Blake as the "perfect fighting man" when he revealed to Nite Owl and Rorschach how the Comedian had stumbled upon his plan to trick the world out of impending disaster and bring an end to all war. In denigrating his mortal enemy's martial prowess as amounting to little more than a "skillful feint" and "devastating uppercut", Ozymandias perhaps described exactly how Blake had beaten him when they first met.
Blake was proficient with virtually all military and non-military grade weaponry and was an expert marksman. As a government-sanctioned agent from 1942 onwards, Blake received professional training in special operations, urban and guerrilla warfare, espionage, intelligence gathering and military tactics. In these covert disciplines he proved so talented and effective that during the 1960's and 1970's he was a "Black-Ops" type agent for the U.S. government, possibly as part of the CIA's elite "Special Activities Division". He fought as an active combatant and government liaison in several wars, most notably World War II and the Vietnam War. Blake was fairly slight but lean (and mean) when introduced as a member of the Minutemen, but his physical stature greatly increased over the years, which could be attributed to the fact that he was only a teenager at the time he served with the group. At the time of his death, Blake was quite tall and had a very well-built, muscular physique despite being in his early sixties. He was described as being 225 pounds, being built like a line backer, and being in terrific shape despite his age.
The Comedian was also highly intelligent and possessed remarkable detective skills of deduction and analysis. He was the first crime-fighter to discover Ozymandias's plot, and the first character to fully recognize Dr. Manhattan's growing detachment from humanity. He also correctly intuited Hooded Justice's sexual orientation (although he is apparently not the only member who suspects this).
Like others in the series, especially in the film, Blake is portrayed as being seemingly superhuman in terms of strength and resilience. He has been shown to be strong enough to smash his fist through a stone wall during his final fight with Veidt. This superhuman physicality was not effected at all by his age, as his great youthful vitality followed him to his old age, allowing him to roll, sprint, and fight men only a portion of his age. He could even land on his feet from several feet in the air without being hurt, weakened or slowed down. However, there are people who have overpowered and beaten him, such as Hooded Justice, who bashed his face to a bloody pulp while restraining him (albeit he was caught off guard), and Adrian Veldt, who thoroughly dominated a dispirited Blake in their last confrontation.
While in the Minutemen, the Comedian's costume was extremely gaudy, consisting of a bright yellow and purple boiler suit. He has purple gloves and boots as well a similarly colored domino mask over his eyes to protect his identity. Also, he had a bright red belt buckle in the shape of a laughing face. In 1941, due to an unexplained incident, he was stabbed and decided to convert his armor into something more protective. He then produced the armor that would serve him throughout the rest of his career, made out of thick leather and patriotic shoulder pads, although he kept the same mask for quite some time. On V.V.N. Night in Saigon, he was slashed in the face with a bottle by a girl he had gotten pregnant. Afterward he wore a more protective, concealing mask.
Throughout the work, the Comedian is typically seen wearing or in close proximity to the "smiley-face" button which is closely associated with him. At the beginning of the series, the button is smeared with a single drop of blood which, if the button is viewed as a clock face, is at the position of the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock at the time of the series, eleven minutes to midnight. However, the smile is constantly appearing when Blake is not present, possibly at important junctures in the story.
He was created by Watchmen writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons, although, like all characters in the series, he was based on a Charlton Comics character, in this case Peacemaker, created by writer Joe Gill and artist Pat Boyette. The Comedian's alter-ego of Edward Blake is a play on the name of movie director Blake Edwards,  best known for the Pink Panther comedies. His character design is said to have been based on actor Burt Reynolds.
Moore also loosely based him on G. Gordon Liddy, although Liddy himself appears a few times in Watchmen as a separate character: at a banquet in Blake's honour he is mentioned in the text and laughs at Blake's reference to the Kennedy Assassination; he also appears when still-President Nixon arrives at Norad.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the Comedian in the film. He is best known as Denny Duquette in the television show Gray's Anatomy and as John Winchester in Supernatural. Morgan was initially put off about playing the Comedian as the characters dies in the first chapter. His agent convinced him to continue reading the graphic novel to see how important the character was, and Morgan then showed interest.
In the film, the Comedian is described as being 67-years-old at the time of his death. This means he was born around 1918, and is therefore about six years older than the Comedian in the graphic novel. His facial scar is not as deep in the movie, being hardly noticeable at all.
Implied actions by the Comedian in the graphic novel are explicit in the film adaptation. Examples include the Kennedy assassination and the assassination of Woodward and Bernstein. In the original graphic novel, the Comedian was half-sarcastically asked if he had something to do with killing the two reporters, but he waved it off and jokingly denied it.
Like others in the series, Blake is portrayed as being seemingly superhuman in terms of strength and resilience. He has been shown to be strong enough to smash his fist through a stone wall during his final fight with Veidt. This superhuman physicality was not effected at all by his age, as his great youthful vitality followed him to his old age, allowing him to roll, sprint, and fight men only a portion of his age. He could even land on his feet from several feet in the air without being hurt, weakened or slowed down. There are only two people in the film who have overpowered and beaten him severely, such as Hooded Justice, who bashed his face to a bloody pulp while restraining him (albeit he was caught off guard), and Adrian Veldt, who sent him flying through the air, beat him to a pulp, chopped his fingers with a butcher knife Blake threw at him, and finally killed him by tossing him through a window.
Watchmen: The End is Nigh
In the video game Watchmen: The End Is Nigh, Nite Owl and Rorschach are tracing the criminal Underboss, whom the Comedian frames for the murders of Woodward and Bernstein, clearly to cover up the Watergate scandal. The morning after Underboss' capture, Richard Nixon secures a second term as President.
DC Universe Rebirth
In 2016, DC Comics began a new initiative known as Rebirth to retcon the increasingly unpopular New 52 lineup, and released a one-shot special to launch the initiative. This special officially incorporated Watchmen into the broader DC Universe continuity.
Wally West, the original Kid Flash, first attempts to return to the DC universe after being trapped outside of time and space. In doing so he attempts to contact Bruce Wayne, better known as the superhero Batman, but is ultimately unrecognized and pulled back out of the universe. Following Kid Flash's departure Batman notices something out of place on one of the walls of his cave when light reflects off of it. Investigating further, he discovers something lodged in the rockface, most likely by Kid Flash's attempted incursion. Upon removing the object from the rocks, it is revealed to be the Comedian's pin.
Later, the Flash arrives to bring Bruce up to speed on events after he rescued Wally. Bruce is running the pin through several scans as he arrives, revealing that while he originally thought it might have been left by the Joker, it is becoming clear it is something very different. They both discover it has a unique radiation signature, completely unknown to them, indicating that it was in the possession of Doctor Manhattan prior to it's appearance in the Batcave. Unable to discern its origins or purpose and seeking to deal with more tangible concerns for the time being, they put it aside.
- In the film, Blake's apartment number was 3001 but after throwing the cup it knocks down the 1 making it 300, a nod to Zack Snyder's previous film before Watchmen.
- In Chapter V: Fearful Symmetry, the number of the case file for his murder held in the police department, is 801108. It is a palindrome, with symmetrical digits, like many other elements in that chapter.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Chapter VIII
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Before Watchmen: Minutemen 01
- ↑ Under the Hood: Chapter III#Others
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Chapter II: Absent Friends
- ↑ Before Watchmen: Minutemen 02
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Under the Hood: Chapter IV
- ↑ Before Watchmen: Minutemen 03
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Before Watchmen: Minutemen 04
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Before Watchmen: Comedian 01
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Under the Hood: Chapter V
- ↑ Under the Hood: Chapter V
- ↑ Before Watchmen: Minutemen 05
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 Before Watchmen: Minutemen 06
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Chapter IV
- ↑ Before Watchmen: Comedian #02
- ↑ Before Watchmen: Comedian #03
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Before Watchmen: Comedian #6
- ↑ Watchmen: The End is Nigh
- ↑ Chapter VII
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Chapter I: At Midnight, All the Agents...
- ↑ March 2007
- ↑ March 2007
- ↑ March 2008
- ↑ Watchmen (film). The exact line is:
"Edward Blake, sixty-seven years old. Six-two, a solid two twenty-five, the guy was built like a linebacker."
|Captain Metropolis • Hooded Justice • Nite Owl I • The Comedian • Silk Spectre I • Dollar Bill • Mothman • Silhouette|
|Captain Metropolis • Doctor Manhattan • Rorschach • The Comedian • Ozymandias • Nite Owl II • Silk Spectre II|