Born Edward Morgan Blake in 1924, The Comedian first became a costumed adventurer in 1939, dressed in a clown-like costume with a simple domino mask, and was an effective and brutal vigilante. He became the youngest member of The Minutemen, a prominent group of heroes. After a group photography shoot one day, he sexually assaulted fellow Minuteman Silk Spectre ... she was spared only when another Minuteman, Hooded Justice, interrupted the assault and beat Blake, breaking his nose. The Comedian was expelled from the group ... and continued to work on his own. it was later revealed that Blake was the Birth-Father of Laurie (aka the new Silk Spectre) - but not because of the assault, but of his subsequent relationship with Sally Jupiter (the original Silk Spectre he assaulted earlier)
In the 1940s, after being stabbed by a small-time hood - Blake radically updated his Comedian uniform. He donned a leather outfit that served as light body armor, adorned with short star-and-stripe-themed sleeves and a small happy face button. (the Smiley button and imagery would become iconic with the Watchmen-lore) Only the domino mask remained from the old costume, and The Comedian begun carrying firearms. He fought in World War II, becoming a war hero in the Pacific theater. It is also implied, but not directly stated, that he murdered Hooded Justice in revenge for the beating he suffered. By the late 1960s, Blake had begun working as a covert government operative ... Alongside Doctor Manhattan, The Comedian played a major role in the United States' war with Vietnam.
Shortly after Dr. Manhattan forced the north Vietnamese into full surrender, Blake was confronted by a Vietnamese woman he had seemingly made pregnant. After dismissign her, she slashed his face with a broken bottle in a rage, which left a disfiguring scar from his right-eye down to the corner of his mouth. Blake shot and killed her. After this incident, he wore an enclosing leather gimp-style mask when dressed as The Comedian.
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; a few, like Ozymandias, publicly revealed their identities and capitalized on the sudden fame, while others, such as Rorschach, continued their activities in open defiance of the law. Doctor Manhattan and The Comedian were two of the few who registered with, and were employed by, the government.
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, and rambled drunkenly about the island.
Ozymandias, who was controlling the island's activity and had bugged Moloch's apartment for his own reasons, responded by personally murdering Blake, throwing him through Blake's apartment window.
and the story starts with Blake's death, as the catalyst for Rorschach to investigate and eventually uncover Ozymandias' true plans for the world. thru reading the comicbook, we learn about Blake's past and i wonder if the movie adaption would take on this format. baring in mind the multiple flashbacks in the comicbook source itself may proof to be quite a task (and we're not even talking about Dr. Manhattan yet! :p), even if the final run of the movie is up to 3 hours! (as compared to 12 issues of the GN). let not The Comedian be just a footnote for story-catalyst sake. A shell of a costume, with no humanity within.
- above contents were edited from The Comedian's Wiki-entry, with only a slight sprinkle of my own commentary.
- additional comic-panel images via lowtion.org
nevertheless, this is my own personal interpretation about the character of The Comedian/Edward Blake (no heavy analysis here, just plain-speak :p):
The Comedian represents the dream; of Justice. A hardworking self-made man fighting FOR justice, whose arrogance (due to recognition and achievement) blinded him to mortal limits and social norms. After he tried to take what he thought he deserved, he got a thrashing instead. He has been scarred indirectly becoz of a woman, without realizing nor accepting he was the true cause for his situation.
His faith in his own abilities were shaken. His perception of the world around him, and of himself, had changed for the dire. Hardened and bitter with that fact, he now fears death. To conquer (and cover up) his own fear, he turns up the violence. He begins down the path to immune himself from death, by creating more deaths. And his "actions" are absolved, by working under the sanction of the government. Justice is now "Just". Justice is now invincible.
He faces his mortality once more, in another country, when yet another woman scars him, this time physically and directly, leaving him a visual scar, which shames him so much, he must cover his face with a full-mask, like he had covered his fear, with violence. He has become a faceless harbringer of justice, in effect he has become the refelction of Hooded Justice, in a visual sense. where one had a noose for a costume-accessory, this one carries a gun and a chip-the-shape-of-a-star on his shoulder, instead.
Mortality greets him face-front once again, when years later, he sees a threat more dangerous that he's ever seen. The reflection (and of the scar) he has been seeing in the mirror all these years, has been eclipsed by the horrors of the realization of what is to come, which only thru his years of violence-letting could have helped him comprehend. The irony is like a hot blade scarring a slab of butter.
With newly discovered clarity, Blake questions himself, of the path he had chosen to take, and embraces humanity by accepting that tis his own decision he had made, and not to blame anyone else in return. Guilt has caught up to him. Death was his reward for his self-revelation. Blake dies a painful death, without redemption. Mudered, as he had done unto countless others, for perhaps more or lesser deserving reasons, it does not matter, in the end game. For mortality offers no solace, even unto death. Blake died as a mortal, the only lingering aspect of his former life, of his search and destructive path in the name of "Justice", was the smiley button he had on. His true mask to the world.
Edward Blake perhaps, represents the American* dream, of Justice. The Comedian was the system that failed Blake. Blake was the mask that The Comedian had tried all these years to hide instead. For justice may not be blind, it perhaps is scarred, IMHO.
But perhaps redemption lays not in his hands, but thru another, who investigates his death, to bring truth into light. but will it shine bright as it did before? will it shine as bright as anyone had hoped for, in the first place?
(*only by virtue of the where the comicbook-story unfolds)
"The Comedian is a cigar-chomping, gun-toting vigilante-turned-paramilitary agent. During some of the series' most intense moments, he has shown himself to be a nihilist with little regard for morality or human life. It may even be possible that, because no motivation is ever stated, he only fights crime as an excuse to please a sadistic desire to commit violent acts. He was created by Watchmen writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons, and was based on Charlton Comics character: Peacemaker." [wiki]
Jeffrey Dean Morgan portrays Edward Blake / The Comedian in the upcoming film based upon the series.