Saturday, June 30, 2007

Rorschach's Journal: Fan Prank, Viral Campaign, or Both?

It's been around since the web was born, but that "highlight for hidden text" trick never gets old. We recently saw it used in the "I Believe In Harvey Dent" viral campaign for The Dark Knight, and now a similar gag on "Rorshach's Journal", which appears to be a cryptic promo site for Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie. The site is just the one page as seen above; clicking on the graphic links to

Now about that hidden's written in Morse code, and according to the commenters at, it's displayed several different messages throughout the day.

Detailed analysis of all the alleged secret messages after the jump, plus some surprising discoveries...

10:35am: "Stood in street. Watched it burn."

This is a line from Chapter VI of Watchmen, page 25. It's from Rorshach's narration as he describes torching a dress warehouse with a kidnapper inside.

11:am: "You remind me of Weatherbee. I don't like you."

Now this is interesting - I thought it was a commenters joke at first, but someone else verifies it. This is a line from Chris Sims' hillarious Archie/Watchmen mashup, posted on Chris' Invincible Superblog. The comic can be seen here, but here's just the relevant panel, with a bit of context. It doesn't seem likely to me that an official viral campaign would reference something so obscure, but the parody IS awesome, so maybe they're just really going for indie web cred.

UPDATE: We contacted Chris Sims himself, and got this response:

I actually saw it posted on some LiveJournal today and I thought the same thing--that a commenter was making a joke. But then, it became abundantly clear that the people on the LJ had no idea who Weatherbee was, let alone your ol' pal Chris Sims. You're the first person to email and let me know, so I can only assume that somebody involved with the making of the site either

a) Is a "fan" of mine and thought it'd be a funny reference, or...

b) Did it by accident, thinking it was an actual line from Watchmen.

Now that second one might sound unbelievable, but when Kevin Church did a parody of Watchmen re-lettered with Stan Lee-esque dialogue (called, appropriately enough, Just Imagine Stan Lee's Watchmen), the images ended up being used in some documentary about comics. I think it was on the history channel."

1:14am: "Maybe you've forgotten how we do things..."

Checking my copy right now to see if it's in the book...sounds like something Rorschach would say to Dan Dreiberg. Any Geekanerds out there who know off-hand where the line is from?
UPDATE: Found it. Fourth panel of page 10, Chapter 10. Is indeed Rorschach talking to Dan Dreiberg, as they get ready to "Visit Bars. Squeeze People.", in pursuit of the mask-killer. It tips Dan off on a mini-rant about how hard it is to be Rorschach's friend, leading to that super awkward handshake.

UPDATE: 2:22pm, June 30th..."Kitty Genovese was the start". Chapter 6, Page 10 - the line doesn't actually appear, but this is when Rorschach talks about how the Genovese case effected him.

As pointed out by the iFanboy commenters, the site can also be viewed at, leading some to speculate that this is either a prank headed up by, or the site's collective has been hired to help with Watchmen's official viral marketing. Mysterious! Who watches the pitchmen?

Read about the continuing Journal updates HERE and the revelation that the site is unofficial HERE.


Albo said...

There's also been some pretty good in-character correspondence between Rorschach and Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles:

I would lean towards fan site at this point, but a Whois search reveals the page is registered to "Type 40 Internet Marketing and Promotion"... Which sounds legit, but could just be a cover again. Especially considering the contact e-mail is listed as a Hotmail account. I'm e-mailing the contact to see if I get a response.

Albo said...

Eh, I just realized the e-mail address belongs to Michael Regina, the Editor and Chief of

Which doesn't get us anywhere.