Obviously I haven't been tracking Watchmen's progress into mainstream awareness, but surely this represents a new level of cultural penetration. A woman writes in to "Dear Prudence," Slate's advice column, about her insensitive-genius boyfriend. She ends with, "Am I being unreasonable for wanting a little bit of slack, or should I just accept that I'm dating Dr. Manhattan and let it go?" Emily Yoffe responds, "Mr. Spock and Dr. Manhattan are effective characters because while they seem human, their lack of emotion and empathy means they aren't quite."

What's startling is that no one feels the need to explain who Dr. Manhattan is.