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. Nothing was ever mentioned about his life prior to his crime fighting career, but 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.
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 first explained 'no' to his sexual advances, he persisted and she clawed him in the face; Blake punched her in the stomach and face till blood was spilling from her mouth and laid her on the ground barely able to move. Hooded Justice interrupted the assault after realizing how long she had been and caught Blake over her almost unconscious body with his pants down. He attacked Blake savagely, breaking his nose and kneeing his groin, then held him up to face him. While he coughed up his blood, it dripped from his chin to his shirt in a small drop about where his badge would be if he had worn it, he laughed, "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 mutually 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. One time he was fighting with a gang of Japanese hiding explosives, when he was approached by FBI Agent Kaufax in order to recruit him. He fought in World War II, becoming a war hero in the Pacific.
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 claims 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 of Watchmen it is shown that, 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, Blake was 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 Senate Subcommittee hearings detailed in Under the Hood, Chapter V, Blake was the only vigilante not forced to testify, likely also because of his involvement with the government. In 1963 Blake was in Dallas, Texas, nominally as 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.
Alongside Doctor Manhattan, The Comedian 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 martialled for the incident but the charges were dropped for lack of evidence.
It is strongly implied that Blake killed Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein before they could reveal the details of the Watergate scandal around 1974. The Iran hostage crisis in 1980 was resolved when Blake freed the captives after an assault. 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 during the actual event and implies that his method of "resolving" the crisis was traumatizing to those involved.
Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl, had published his autobiography Under the Hood in 1966 and he disclosed the Comedian's sexual assault on Sally Jupiter, though Blake never sued the author. 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. 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 while lighting a cigarette for her, 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, and Laurie noted that the Comedian looked sad as he watched them drive away, and felt sorry for him 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.
The costumed adventurers faced massive backlash and rioting in the 1970s; in response, 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 in 1980. 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.
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 personally murdering Blake, beating him and then throwing him through Blake's apartment window so Blake would fall to his death. The investigation of this incident by both the New York City police and Rorschach opens the graphic novel.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.
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).
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.
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.
•Blake's apartment number was 3001 but after throwing the cup it knocks down the 1 making it 300, the same name of Zack Snyder's previous film before Watchmen.
- ↑ 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|