Anonymous asked: I am doing a presentation on Walter Kovacs pre-Rorschach. Any tips? I'm worried I will go too far into Rorschach, but I need to focus on Kovacs
TW: child abuse, sexual abuse
I’m honored! First thing’s first: don’t read the Before Watchmen books. They only liked blood-and-disturbed Rory, so they made it seem as if that’s all he was. Second, my sparsely filled blog is only head cannon, and I don’t know if you can use that. Now on to the tips: Chapter 6 is your best friend for obvious reasons, but the rest of the book gives hints as to who he was and is. Here are some talking points.
Parents: Behavior is about 75% genes and 25% environment (it’s around there anyway…) so his parents are integral to who he is. Abused children are very likely to grow into abusive adults, so Rorschach’s Mom was most likely abused as well. Most people born in poverty stay below that line, so Sylvia Kovacs was probably born into poverty. Basically she grew up in the same environment her son did. As for Rory’s father…we don’t even know who he is, or if Charlie is his name. He was absentee at any rate. I would talk more about the fantasy image Rorschach had for his father, as that’s what we know. For help on that, check out the essay “My parents” in the insert after chapter 6 (also helps with Sylvia [“Dream” also helps with mom]). On page 1 of the whole book Rory mentions all the people he hates, then talks about following in the footsteps of good men, like his father. He’s always looked up to his dad. He admires him for leaving the situation with his mother because he so wished to leave it. After that, he could let his imagination create a role model for himself. To him, his dad didn’t leave him, he was just off doing the right thing for the world (and dying for it). Here I could compare Rorschach to his dad, but we’re focusing on Kovacs. :)
Environment: It sucked. He was abused and neglected and everyone knew about it. Who can tell what was worse; the humiliation of people knowing, or the fact that no one did anything? (sadly there are plenty of users here that can answer). The day he became Rorschach, he was outraged about Kitty Genovese’s death (who was real—you can google the article he read). He said “some of them even watched.” It mirrors his own experience at home. So many witnesses, and no calls. He was also exposed to (negative) sexual experiences at a very young age. I suspect he was also sexually abused. If not by his mom or her clients, then the children around him. In Chapter 6 he narrowly escapes a genital ‘inspection’ by those children with the cigarettes. It all just hints of sexual abuse. :( Another thing about that scene—look at his clothes. Everyone is dressed warmly, and he is in a tshirt and shorts. “Fine like this”…
Work and Education: He went to the Lillian Charlton Home for Problem Children in 1951. Rorschach excelled in school, but who knows if he went to it before he was separated from his mom. He was especially good at literature, religious studies, boxing, and gymnastics. He dropped out at 16 to work at a textile factory. He hated having to handle women’s clothing. Rorschach is very theatrical and says a lot of puns, so maybe there were old comics at the Home?
Other things: Kovacs used to read the New York Gazette instead of that right-wing stuff. He plays with Adrian’s action figures when he first visits him in the book. (Probably due to a lack of toys in his childhood.) He’s left handed. (Hey, it others him a bit more.) He’s always been quiet, but bright. He’s sexually repressed. People are always talking about how ugly he is. He’s very articulate when he wants to be. He’s very careful, almost timid, around women.
Ummm, that’s all I got off the top of my head. Shoot me some more asks if you need anything specific.