Comic Sans had noble beginnings

As far back as I can remember, I’ve had an almost physical revulsion to Comic Sans. Clearly I am not alone, but an article in the Wall Street Journal last week shed some light on the “origin story” of this much-loathed font:

The proliferation of Comic Sans is something of a fluke. In 1994, Mr. [Vincent] Connare was working on a team at Microsoft creating software that consumers eventually would use on home PCs. His designer’s sensibilities were shocked, he says, when, one afternoon, he opened a test version of a program called Microsoft Bob for children and new computer users. The welcome screen showed a cartoon dog named Rover speaking in a text bubble. The message appeared in the ever-so-sedate Times New Roman font.

Mr. Connare says he pulled out the two comic books he had in his office, “The Dark Knight Returns” and “Watchmen,” and got to work, inspired by the lettering and using his mouse to draw on a computer screen. Within a week, he had designed his legacy.

This probably isn’t news to anyone who has studied typography, but as a font noob it certainly makes me look on Comic Sans with a little more reverence.

Brief, non-spoilery review of ‘Watchmen’

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Like I said, this mini-review shouldn’t have any major spoilers, but if you’re super concerned about spoilers anyway I’d suggest not reading any further. OK, now let’s get on with it. I’m also going to assume you’ve read the book, because if you haven’t this post will make even less sense.

I loved the comic book, so it was very cool to see the pages brought to life (and I’m talking word-for-word, shot-for-shot in most cases). They had to take out the Tales of the Black Freighter unfortunately, but they’re releasing that as a supplemental animated short. The only time the film diverges from the main storyline of the graphic novel is at the very end. Now this is the part where I’m a little worried that crazy fans of the original will try to lynch me… The ending in the movie made a lot more sense in the context of the plot than the ending in the comic. If Zach Snyder was going to change anything in this film, altering the ending as he did was absolutely his smartest move. He made it palatable to movie-going audiences, while also staying true to the spirit of the book.

The casting choices were great, I thought, although I found the Nite Owl II to be a little over-sincere and sappy. That’s exactly how he feels in the book, so I guess it’s just a tad more frustrating to actually watch him be that awkward in person. Everyone else was spot on, especially Rorschach. People were actually cheering for him in the horrific jailhouse scene, which shows both how well-written this character is (and how convincingly he was acted).

The worst (read: most intensely uncomfortable thing I’ve had to sit through in a long time) part of the film was the love scene. The third one. It went on for so long, and was so gratuitous, that people were laughing uncomfortably and squirming in their seats. A couple shots to illustrate the point is one thing, but this went on a good 3 minutes too long. It seemed like an eternity.

So, those are my main points without trying to go into it too much. I loved the film, and I definitely suggest seeing it, especially if you’ve read the original. If you haven’t, the story might be a little harder to follow, but you’ll probably still enjoy the film from a action/visual effects perspective (and for some of the great lines).

If you’ve had a chance to see it, let me know your thoughts in the comments! I’m especially curious to know how the really diehard fans of the book are reacting to the movie.

Image from Saturday Morning Watchmen on Newgrounds.