- by Liam McGuire
Both superheroes and supervillains need a lift sometimes. In the DC Comics Universe, the vigilante from Watchmen known as Rorschach once found himself in a tight situation and hails a cab. The person driving? Travis Bickle from the iconic Robert De Niro film Taxi Driver.
Taxi Driver by Martin Scorsese is considered one of the greatest films of all-time as practically any list collecting the best movies ever made features the 1976 thriller and usually near the top. The movie starred De Niro as taxi driver Travis Bickle, who gradually falls deeper into the darker depths of his own mind, culminating in the character coming up with a plan to assassinate the president in the name of love. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards and Bickle’s famous line “you talking to me?” has become one of the most quoted lines in pop culture history. Someone at DC Comics must be a huge Taxi Driver fan, as the character popped up in the pages of Watchmen’s prequel comic.
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As recently reminded by CBR, Before Watchmen: Rorschach #3 (2012) by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo opens with a bang, as Rorschach’s previous investigations are interrupted by a group of street thugs. With guns pointed at him, the ink-blotted masked antihero throws a smoke grenade at the unwelcome visitors, grabs a handful of cash, and jumps face-first through a window. Rorschach’s escape from the hotel isn’t smooth, as he nearly falls to his death after a ladder decides to snap, but he finds his bearings in time and sticks the landing. He tumbles into a taxi, where he’s picked up by a De Niro lookalike behind the wheel.
It’s clear Bermejo was using Bickle as his inspiration as the character, as he’s a spitting image of De Niro. The taxi driver tells Rorschach that there’s “trouble everywhere,” and that he’s not like him since he doesn’t have the guts he does. The taxi driver drops Rorschach off at a diner and lets him know that outlawing masked vigilantes is a bad idea, “I mean look at this place.”
While the taxi driver’s name isn’t revealed, it’s clearly supposed to be a riff on Travis Bickle. The Taxi Driver star would fit seamlessly in the gritty world of Watchmen and being Rorschach’s taxi driver is a fun moment in a very dark comic. In this universe, he’s on the side of masked vigilantes. Who knows how different his story went in the DC Comics Universe?
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About The Author
Liam McGuire is a comics editor for Screen Rant. Hailing from Nova Scotia, he has worked for numerous publications including Cineplex Canada, MLB.com, Vice, CBR.com, and more. You can reach out to him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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