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So….Watchmen Prequels…

Here is the talent on the seven prequel mini-series

- RORSCHACH (4 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: Lee Bermejo
- MINUTEMEN (6 issues) – Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
- COMEDIAN (6 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: J.G. Jones
- DR. MANHATTAN (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artist: Adam Hughes
- NITE OWL (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artists: Andy and Joe Kubert
- OZYMANDIAS (6 issues) – Writer: Len Wein. Artist: Jae Lee
- SILK SPECTRE (4 issues) – Writer: Darwyn Cooke. Artist: Amanda Conner

Plus Len Wein and John Higgins will be doing two-page back-up stories in each of the books (which will be shipping weekly) telling the story of the CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR.

Plus, there will be one big EPILOGUE one-shot where everyone will come together.

Alan Moore finds the whole thing “completely shameless” and pointed out that, “As far as I know, there weren’t that many prequels or sequels to ‘Moby-Dick.’ ” Dave Gibbons wishes the creators well, while noting that he and Moore said everything they wanted to say with the original book (Gibbons is awesome. What a sweet guy).

Now on the one hand, this surely is not going to taint the legacy of Watchmen, anymore than Scarlett…

tainted Gone With the Wind.

Plus, the talent involved really is quite impressive. People who you’d never see doing a full comic for DC Comics otherwise.

On the other hand, while projects like Scarlett don’t taint their original works, they tend not to leave a positive mark on the original, either. No one is rushing to package S. Darko with Donnie Darko, ya know?

98 Comments

Respect to the original and all that aside, I just don’t know how this CAN work, creatively. The characters and themes of Watchmen are pretty self-contained and addressed in the story. How can you possibly do anything with these characters that won’t either contradict or simply parrot the original work? Rorshach can’t be revealed to be secretly doubting his mission, and what hasn’t been covered about Manhattan already? It’s such a hermetically sealed piece of fiction, that I don’t know how you get anything worthwhile out of re-visiting the characters.

For Chris’s sake, Brian, you just made me remember that S. Darko exists. D:

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

February 1, 2012 at 6:31 am

I pretty much agree with Alan Moore on this one.

Watchmen was already a fleshed out, self-contained universe, and this project, regardless of the talent they’ve put on it, just reeks of a cash-grab.

Oh well. People’ll do what they do.

Peace out!

So, who’s going to join me in the “profoundly apathetic” camp?

At 36 issues this will triple the amount of pages of the original Watchmen. And I doubt will have any of the impact.

i’m sure DC will make alot of money off of this, but none of it will be mine.

Were I to buy these (and I weren’t), I’d be curious to see how it was possible for J. Michael Straczynski to actually tell a story in four issues.

Personally I’m looking forward to seeing some new stuff from Amanda Conner and Darwyn Cooke.

And, no, I don’t think it’s an especially good idea.

I love this thread. All good and/or funny points. I will be hitting up my local library for this stuff, probably in 2014 after they’ve all been collected and forgotten about.

I hate this idea so much, and for me it underlines everything about the comics industry I find mercenary, creatively bankrupt, etc, but holy shit will I have a hard time resisting Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner artwork. WELL-PLAYED, DC!

@ P. Boz: I’m no defender of Straczynski, but the best thing he’s ever done was the Silver Surfer: Requiem 4 issue mini. DC had just better make sure that they have every one of his issues in the can before this thing starts, or else he’ll get distracted by something shiny and never finish.

randypan the goatboy

February 1, 2012 at 6:43 am

DC has them..Alan Moore thinks he created them.And psycho militant fanboys will bitch with their mouth’s full as they buy them and read them.I believe that sums it up nicely. MR. Moore can’t pretend that he has never taken someone’s idea and twst it to fit his agenda can he? I am sure that the families that own Wendy darling and Dorothy and Alicewithout wonderland found themselves in a similar situation when they found out Alan moore was telling jerk stories with their legacy…Fuck him.

Of course nobody’s rushing to package S. Darko with Donnie Darko. It’s been out for years.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001RP9760/ref=nosim/michaelsmovie-20

And while Scarlett wasn’t particularly well-received, if the long rumored Mitchell-estate approved sequel by Pat Conroy ever gets greenlit, we’ll see what the response is to THAT.

[...] So….Watchmen Prequels…- comicbookresources.com Here is the talent on the seven prequel mini-series… – RORSCHACH (4 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: Lee Bermejo – MINUTEMEN (6 issues) – Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke – COMEDIAN (6 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: J.G. Jones – DR. MANHATTAN (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski… [...]

Most of these leave me cold, but I am seriously considering the Minutemen mini…

Captain Librarian

February 1, 2012 at 7:14 am

I’ll admit, I’m a little surprised they’re actually going through with this.

But yes, it’s not like the huge number of Jane Austen ‘sequels’ and continuations written by other writers have besmirched the original work.

I am going to stay as far away from these damn things as I possibly can. I won’t buy them, I won’t read them, I won’t suggest anybody else read them. I don’t remember the last time I heard an idea this bad.

I was totally against this… and then I saw the creative teams.

Do I think these will be ‘important’ books? Not at all…

But they sure look like they will be good. (Cooke and Connor? Jae Lee? Hughes? Seriously!)

How dare DC rip off Dick Giordano’s classic Charlton Action Heroes AGAIN!

Not a JMS fan but he gives good interview and I think he’ spot on when he points out that Moore seems to have no problem using characters created by others in, say, LoEG. Hopefully these don’t suck, but interior art from Adam Hughes seems like an immediate win.

I question letting Len Wein do anything other than the pirate back ups, and I’ve always found Azzarello insufferable, but his WW is … less insufferable, so there’s hope.

http://www.amazon.com/Ahabs-Wife-Star-gazer-Novel-P-S/dp/B005EP2310/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328110952&sr=8-1 Just sayin.

These will be unnecessary, but good-looking books, I imagine. I can’t see myself picking up any of the JMS books, but Darwyn Cooke’s Minutemen will be hard to resist.

There were already prequels to Watchmen. They were the 2 modules and 1 sourcebook for the Mayfair Games’ DC Heroes RPG that includes the first Crimebusters adventure with the team led by Captain Metropolis, which parallels the Watchmen storyline on a smaller stage (and you can almost hear Ozy’s wheels turning). If I recall correctly, Alan Moore had some input on these and worked with the creators.

Not creators, I mean game designers.

I’ll admit my first thought was “How many issues will JMS do before he bails?”.

I have nothing against the talent involved. However, Watchmen doesn’t need a prequel or a sequel.

JMS got it right when he points out that Alan Moore was willing to work with other people’s properties in the past: LOEG is the comics equivalent to “Groove Is in the Heart,” a new creation made fully out of pre-existing elements, and so was “Lost Girls” from what I hear. He didn’t create Captain Britain, didn’t create Miracleman, didn’t create Swamp Thing. The Watchmen characters were pastiches of the Charlton characters, so to my mind they fall under the same principle — though the story was wholly original, the main cast of Watchmen was derivative in the same way that Greyshirt was Moore’s opportunity to write some Spirit stories.

(The Minutemen were, as I recall, based on characters that either Moore or Gibbons had created as a kid. So there’s a little more grounds for his argument to be made there.)

I’d be more bothered if this were a sequel or prequel to V for Vendetta or From Hell. Those were much more original creations, drawing on some historical figures but not on pre-existing comics or literary characters. I’ve been less than thrilled to see the America’s Best Comics titles continued by other people as well for the same reason (though let’s face it, Greyshirt was as much a pastiche of The Spirit as Watchmen was of the Charlton characters, and Tom Strong had a lot in common with Doc Savage).

https://www.facebook.com/groups/154098527970915/

On January 2 at the above link I made these predictions.

“What do you think? I wouldn’t let JMS near this after what he did to both Superman and Wonder Woman prior to the New 52. Garth Ennis on Hooded Justice would be spectacular. If you could get Ellis on Dr Manhattan, Gail Simone on Silk Specter, Grant Morrison on The Comedian, Scott Snyder on Rorschach, James Robinson on Nite Owl (both generations) and Cooke on Ozymandias you have a better than average chance that it’s not going to suck. But they are going to have such a thin line here.”

I’m all for the prequels. As has been stated here, no one is forcing you to read them. Don’t like it don’t support it with your pocket book. I’ve been reading comics for 35 years and I have no problem with this. What I have a problem with is bad stories. I just want to read good stories and I think the talent they have lined up (Even JMS if he has a decent editor) can pull this off.

~Shane

A thread about prequels has gone on this long and nobody mentioned Jar Jar?

I guess that’s a good thing.

OMG, Darwyn Cooke is writing and drawing a 6 issues mini-series set in the 40s and 50s?!
Thats awesome!

And apparently its tangentally connected to some other books and this mini series from 1986… eh, whatever, as long as I get some sweet Darwyn Cooke.

P.S. Adam Hughes drawing Dr. Manhattan might be interesting

Looking forward to them all.

I’m a big fan of Watchmen, it’s one of my all-time favorite books, and I understand that many fans are against this and why. However, almost all comic book characters and stories are carried on by someone other than their original creators. I think what Moore and Gibbons created was fantastic and it’s a tribute to them that it still resonates with fans to this day. I see nothing wrong with other creators trying to build on that foundation.

Whatever happens Watchmen will still be Watchmen even if these new ones bomb.

The Star Wars prequels are complete crap, but that has no effect on my feelings for the old ones.

With Watchmen, Moore attempted to elevate the medium to something approaching actual art.

With these prequels, DC says, no, they’re just dumb superhero comics after all.

There’s vague hypocrisy in railing against these Watchmen books while continuing to buy just about anything else Marvel or DC publishes. Alan Moore made a hell of a lot more money from Watchmen — and found a lot more success and recognition because of it — than Siegel and Shuster ever did from Superman.

He could afford to see the Watchmen movie when it came out, he just chose not to. The same couldn’t be said for Siegel and Shuster.

Is a continuation of Watchmen necessary? Hell no, but I’ll admit to a certain morbid curiosity (Azz and Bermejo have never made a bad book together). However, what I’m really excited for in 2012: Saga, The Manhattan Projects, The Massive, the return of Shaolin Cowboy, Jupiter’s Children, more Goon, more Hellboy, more from Brubaker and Sean Philips, etc.,etc.

Like various direct-to-video sequels and prequels that keep coming out, often around some anniversary or other tie-in, this is essentially a cash-grab that may or may not be of good quality. Will wait and see, but I don’t think I’ll be buying them in monthly form, knowing there will be trades of each series and probably an eventual giant hardcover.

in other words, “meh.”

If my library has them and Burgas gives them a good review, I’ll read them. But that’s forever from now. Like everyone has said, there’s been good sequels/prequels and bad ones. I’m sure most of these will be standard superhero stories. Some will suck, some will be good and none of them will live up to the original work. But someone might give us a gem of a read (we’re all looking at you, Darwyn).

And I think these have way more of an ability to taint the original work with the copying of the trade dress. If people who don’t normally read comics are told to read Watchmen, what will they do when they see all the look-alikes on the shelves?

DC is just doing what EVERY other corporation does and what Alan Moore himself does: exploits resources. Prequels/Sequels were inevitable when Moore/Gibbons signed away their rights.

One curious thing is the lack of Morrison unless they’re saving the reveal of him on the final issue thing for a different time.

It’s ‘Tales of the Marvels’ all over again.

“Prequels/Sequels were inevitable when Moore/Gibbons signed away their rights.”

My understanding is that they didn’t do so in the first place. This work was supposed to revert to Moore/Gibbons when it went out of print. DC just took the unprecedented step of keeping it in print as a collected edition–something completely foreign to the comic book industry prior to WATCHMEN.

Someone is welcome to correct me if that’s wrong.

All due respect to Alan Moore, but anyone who actually says something like “As far as I know, there weren’t that many prequels or sequels to ‘Moby-Dick.’” deserves to be irritated as much as possible on general principle.

From Hell (my favourite Moore book as it happens) wasn’t original either – the William Gull Royal Conspiracy theory is lifted straight from Stephen Knight’s Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution. I don’t see any problem with Moore doing that, so I don’t see why Moore should have any problem with DC doing Watchmen prequels.

Is it April 1st already?

Cooke: yay. Straczynski: that sound you hear is my soul committing suicide.

Good for Morrison not getting involved (although i expect it’s because he has already said what he wanted to say about Watchmen in his upcoming Pax Americana…)

Alan Moore having borrowed from other creators doesn’t make him a hypocrite for decrying the Watchmen prequels. The situations are entirely incompatible. Watchmen is regarded by many as THE great literary superhero comic. More importantly, DC promotes it as such.

When you talk about Alan Moore continuing Len Wein’s creation Swamp Thing, there’s no tenable analogy between the two cases, because for one thing, no one at DC was touting Wein’s original run as a serious literary masterpiece. For another, unlike Watchmen, Swamp Thing was created in an ongoing series for use in ongoing series; arguably no definitive Swamp Thing story was told until Moore. For another, Wein, as editor-in-chief, ASSIGNED Alan Moore the title, whereas DC now proceeds against the creator’s wishes.

As for the wildly inaccurate comparison to Moore’s use of characters from Victorian literature, notice in every case from Lost Girls to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the cast and setting is completely reimagined by Moore and the artist. These characters share a few traits with their originals, but they’re only nominally the same characters. On the other hand, I’d bet dollars to donuts that DC will be holding as “faithful” to the plot and tone of the original Watchmen as possible. I mean for God’s sakes, they’re even doing Tales of the Black Freighter vignettes in each issue.

Everyone involved in this is a scumbag.

I really don’t have a problem with this project from DC.

Looking at the writing and artistic talent brought in to make each of these ‘prequals’ shows some commitment from the powers-that-be at DC that they are looking to creat something of quality (as well as quantity).

We are not being distracted by flashy Alex Ross style covers, only to find [insert least favourite artist here] on the interior.

Given the Watchmen Babies parody idea from the Simpsons, and the Saturday morning cartoon mock-up that floated around the internet a few years back, this whole idea could have been worse. At least DC isn’t trying to fold the franchise into the main fold and setting it up as Earth-M(oore). I don’t think we will have to worry about a Rorschach/Question crossover.

I think though, DC could have difused the money making accusations by publishing these stories straight to graphic novel format, rather than the mini-series route. 35 separate issues.

There will be those collectors out there who will order and buy every single issue. There will be those who will only buy the first of each just to sample, and there will be those (like myselves) who will just wait for the collective trades.

I don’t get where you go creatively with this without doing massive retcons or just fleshing out what we know already. I thought the safer, slightly less scrutinized way of doing anything after Watchmen was to do a sequel set some distance in the future (20 years? Maybe 30?) where we see what’s become of Veidt’s Utopia (maybe through Jon coming back after being gone). It’s what we don’t know, and the ending of the book indicates it could go either way, and either of the options might make a good story (if it fails, why, and what does that drive Veidt and the others to do? If it succeeded, then was it all worth it and do the characters find themselves more in agreement with Veidt? Can ignoble means to an end be ok in hindsight?)

I wonder if JMS will have a hissy fit and leave the minis half-completed. That’s a more interesting story than the one he proposes to tell!

Regardless of the quality of their work, it’s hard not see this as anything other than a bunch of creators taking some money in exchange for essentially wearing huge “Kick Me Please” signs at conventions for the next few years.

For good or for ill, Watchmen is treated like a serious literary text in the comics medium, not just as “a really good comic book.” It’s hard to imagine even an excellent set of follow-up works really being accepted in the same way because critics very rarely do that where literature is concerned.

No, the official sequel to Gone With the Wind probably won’t have the cultural impact of the original. For one thing, it will be impossible to read except in comparison to and, frankly, as a very belated commentary on the original. That’s how critics read literature.

The critics aren’t the public, of course…but they tend to determine what is enshrined in literature for subsequent generations of the public. Were I to ask people today what late 19th-century novels they have read or heard of, who would mention Trilby, possibly the most popular book of its generation, complete with product and multimedia tie-ins? Who would say their favorite 18th-century English poet was Felicia Hemans, by far the most popular versifier of her day in a day when poetry was actually popular; or, to use more recent and popular examples, would think of The Plains of Passage when asked about novels of 1990. (It was the best-selling novel of that year.)

That is likely the fate of these Watchmen prequels: they’ll probably not become perennials, whether they are good or bad, high-selling or…well, they’ll sell a lot of copies in the short run just on the notoriety, and that’s probably DC’s real objective.

I hope this sells gangbusters. I know I’m on for every issue. Now the question is: 2.99 or 3.99?

Unless these are exceptional commentary on Watchmen, the way Watchmen was exceptional commentary on the superhero genre, this gesture strikes me as little more than DC’s ongoing necrophilia towards old franchises.

Interesting creators indeed. And while I agree that some of those characters are so well covered in the actual book that it is hard to imagine what possibly can be done with Rorschach that isn’t just “Rorschach dealing vigilant justice to random people, with some nods to what will be”, or Dr Manhattan…
But I’d say Comedian and Silk Spectre still can have some story to cover, and Minutemen might be fun too.

But there is a good possibility that I will not bother to read any of these.

Oh and this is basically a weekly. 2012: the year of the Watchmen weekly series. Awesome.

So basically for this to work it has to be presented as a valentine to the original series. These are some very good creators. JMS is hit or miss, but the rest are solid. It will be very well made fan fic. That’s all fine and dandy, but it implies that this is all going to be light-weight thematically since, as the first poster pointed out, you can’t do anything to change these character’s motivations, all of which has already been explained perfectly well in the original series.

Found the CBR article on the original Watchmen prequels:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=17997

Well, the creative teams are better than most of the new 52 teams. The odds are that this stuff won’t be unreadable. This is more like the DC that put out WEDNESDAY COMICS than the one behind RED HOOD.

Still, I am pretty unlikely to read any of this stuff. I love WATCHMEN, but I have spent exactly zero seconds wondering about what other adventures those characters might have had. Moore and Gibbons said everything that needed saying.

Why not follow the spirit of WATCHMEN and turn top-flight creators totally lose on your huge library of properties?

The books will be good or bad or otherwise and should be judged accordingly.

As for the idea, it doesn’t seems any different from standard Marvel/DC operating policy. Both companies stock and trade on re-using characters and ideas long past what would normally be considered the window of freshness. And both occasionally still come out with fresh ideas. Complaining about a revisitation of Watchmen strikes me like complaining about a revisitation of Superman. Will the creators have anything new or interesting to say that doesn’t contradict the world Moore establish? Probably not, but maybe so.

I have never been a fan of Watchmen. I recognize its place in the history of the medium’s late-twentieth-century development, but its not a book I celebrate. Maybe my lack of attachment makes the news that somebody else will play in Moore and Gibbon’s sandbox a little easier to take.

While I respect him as a writer, Alan Moore has got to get over himself. He seems to hate everything anyone does related to anything he did. I recall the fact that blackest night had a root in a short of his from the 80s led him to insult the way people pick over his ideas. Many of Moore’s greatest works were based on existing properties. Watchment too if it wasn’t for a case of nerves on DCs part. Seth called this Moore and Gibsons’s sandbox but it just wasn’t. As for the potential quality, this isn’t movies. Not as good as the original doesn’t mean worthless or even bad.

(Still, there is no way this can be as good as Watchmen and I doubt I will buy any of them. I just don’t understand the militant attitude out there.)

For or against, you’ve got to admit that DC certainly picked creators that are high-profile and respected enough that it would be difficult for anyone, no matter how opposed to this, to boycott everything the creators do. (Boycotting Len Wein and his creations alone would force one to stop buying Marvel comics altogether, since Wolverine appears in at least one panel of just about every book they publish.)

And, for the record, I’m in the apathetic camp. I haven’t bought a new DC superhero comic in ages, and this isn’t going to suck me back in.

I can hardly wait to read these! Ever since I first read Watchmen, way back in 1986, I’ve been wondering about one thing: Did Nite Owl ever have secret children with the Green Goblin?

Looks like I’ll find out!

Aaaand looks like they re-released the Worlds Collide articles to the front page. :)

The single biggest problem with this is what it says about DC in 2012:

Look! Here’s our bold, new initiative! Remember those 26 year old characters from that popular mini-series? The ones that were based on characters we already own? From that self-contained miniseries? You know, from that film from a few years back? Well, we’ve put our top talent on them!

Wait, you’d prefer us to release original works by our top talent that might challenge the 26 year old property as ground breaking and relevant? That’s madness!

DC, cheerfully living off of past glories.

I have to agree with JMS on this – Moore doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Nearly everything he’s known for besides Watchmen, Tom Strong and V for Vendetta use established characters, whose most well known and definitive stories were NOT written by him, ie For the Man Who has Everything, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, Killing Joke and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Then his Captain Britain, Swamp-Thing, Miracle Man, and Supreme runs all may have (arguably) had their best periods under him, but still used characters established by other creators. Plus Promethea was reworked from his Glory pitch (which means the inspiration for it came from the starting point of someone else’s character).

Nearly all the work he’s known for uses characters he had NO part in creating. DC has every right to do more with these characters since they OWN them. He can claim the contracts were “draconian,” but it’s his own damn fault for signing them. I’m not saying he should give his blessings like Mr. Gibbons, but he doesn’t have to diss his fellow colleagues in the industry. Many of these guys are fans of him, people he inspired like Jason Aaron (who pretty much said the same thing I am over a month ago), he shouldn’t be spewwing vitriol for trying to establish a name for themselves using other peoples’ characters SINCE HE DID THE SAME EXACT THING.

A real pro would choose his colleagues over what DC may or may not have screwed him out of OVER A QUARTER OF A CENTURY AGO. Besides, he needs to get off his high horse, like he’s the greatest comics scribe of all time – everyone knows Grant Morrison is the best of the British Invasion DC writers lol

While I’d say Hughes would be a better fit with Silk Spectre, I’ll probably check out the Dr. Manhattan series, at least.

I for one look forward to DC Retroactive: Swatchmen, the 1980s.

And man, that cover just looks like a Photoshopped teaser image–which maybe it is.

I dunno, I’m glad they’re putting some effort into it anyway, and I’m a little curious about the Cooke stuff. And no, no matter how lame it is it doesn’t ruin the original series, even less than the dreadful new JLI do-over in the New 52 keeps me from enjoying the now-retconned-away classic Giffen/DeMatteis run. I’ll still file teh prequels under “check out the trade from the public library,” though.

Instead of digging up the bones of Alan Moore’s ancient Watchmen series, I’d rather see all these so-called “creators” actually CREATE something.

Oh, absolutely. Though I don’t think DC or Marvel is the best place to look for that.

Cooke, Hughes, Azzarello, Connor, JG Jones, Jae Lee and the Kuberts. Honestly I don’t care that this has anything to do with Watchmen, I’m buying it because I know I can count on these people to make some damn fine comics, whatever they may be.

Well, DC does publish new and interesting content through Vertigo, so there’s that, but the majority of their income will always come from sucking the marrow from yesterday’s creations. I’m not shocked, but nor am I especially interested.

I would be shocked if the creators on the prequel series (great as most of them are) use the project to attempt anything nearly as ambitious as what Moore and Gibbons did in the original. Watchmen is not just a great super-hero comic, it’s a groundbreaking work of amazing depth. Watchmen isn’t as much about the characters as individuals as it is about super-heroes in general and stretching what could be done with the comics medium. As someone above put it, it doesn’t matter what they did during the ’50s or ’70s. Who cares how they beat Moloch? I don’t know if I’ll be able to resist checking the Cooke, Hughes, or Lee books, but I can’t say I have positive feelings about the project.

Is there going to be the formal experimentation that the original series thrived upon? Are we going to get political, social & cultural references & context above and beyond what was already established? Are we going to get complex philosophical themes & subtexts executed with subtlety and nuance? Or are we going to just going to get story beats already alluded to in the original work executed bluntly and telegraphed as obviously as possible for people who seem to think Watchmen was nothing more than an ultraviolent riff on Charlton Heroes?

Look, I don’t really fault the creators who signed on, because I doubt any of them signed on for cheap as a love letter to the original work and they all seems smart enough to demand lots of $$$$$ to make it worth their time, but the reason why this seems so desperate on DC’s part is the extreme bloat of the prequel concept. Seriously, 35 issues and 12 creators for what 2 guys did in 12? I would have had more respect if they just hired Darwyn Cooke to do a 12 issue series set 25 years later exploring the world as it stood after the miniseries, but we know no creator is going to risk contributing something new that they can’t own to DC/Warner (or Marvel/Disney for that matter).

As for Alan’s perceived hypocrisy, back in the the early 1980s when he started in American comics the direct market & creator’s rights were still in the nascent stages, so if you wanted to make a living you worked at DC or Marvel it wasn’t until much later when actual money began to be had such as through TPBs and movie deals is when such that become a concern for creators. Since then and since he’s left DC, he’s used historical figures, characters that are in the public domain, roman a clefs, versions of superheroes whose publishers weren’t currently publishing and more but he’s certainly never written a prequel made to order by a publisher for a creative work against the wishes of the main creator.

My thoughts & predictions:

1) These will all dramatize moments that were better left to the imagination & won’t add much of anything to the original story.
2) The Rorschach mini will be the most popular, because fanboys LOOOOOOVVVVVVVEEE Rorschach.
3) The Darwyn Cooke Minutemen mini will be the most well-done of the prequels, but it still won’t have much of a reason to exist. This is the only one I’m tempted to buy, though.
4) The JMS/Adam Hughes Dr. Manhattan mini will have deadline problems.
5) The Nite-Owl mini by JMS and the Kuberts will read just like a third-rate Batman comic.
6) Most folks will be rather indifferent to the Len Wein/John Higgins pirate backup.
7) JMS has obviously wanted to be Alan Moore in the worst way for the last 10 years. With these miniseries, he’ll finally get a chance to be that.

And yes, with Watchmen, Supreme, 1963, Lost Girls, LOEG and From Hell all at least partially inspired/derived from preexisting works, Moore is being a hypocrite here.

Is Amanda Conner the only one out of this group of creators that can actually hit a deadline, though? THAT’S going to be very very interesting to see, HOW late they all will be. I guess keeping in the tradition of the original Watchmen.

Since we’ve been hearing about this for awhile now, it’s no real surprise to have it confirmed. It is still depressing that it’s happening. As much for the “Alan Moore should stop whining” crowd coming out AGAIN. He signed a contract under the conditions of the industry at the time, and made the “mistake” of being incredibly good at what he did and therefore becoming incredibly successful. Now after being screwed over again and AGAIN by the industry that he helped give legitimacy to, he speaks out about it, and gets crapped on for doing so. Yes, there are things Moore’s done that are hard to fathom (the break with Steve Bissette, f’r instance), but there’s no denying that Moore helped the superhero comics medium grow up (well…), and for him to be continually derided for pointing out that he’s getting screwed over AGAIN is more than a little annoying to me.

Curious — will the one shot that brings it all together be, as someone suggested above, the Morrison/Quitely Multiversity issue? Or will DC just reprint the original Watchmen again, since that “brings them all together”? :)

I do wonder if Multiversity is still happening. Supposedly Quitely’s one shot was the Charlton characters, and he was starting that after the new WE3 pages. That’s been out awhile, so Quitely maybe has 4 pages done :) if he’s still got that going.

And let’s not forget, as Brian revealed in a CBLR early on, the Charlton characters WEREN’T the characters Moore originally focused on for the Watchmen story, it was the Archie/Mighty Crusaders/Impact heroes. From that seed, he went to the Charlton characters that DC had recently acquired, and then once he had a proposal and DC (particularly Dick Giordano, I think) saw what Watchmen would DO to those characters, the DC people told him to create new characters — which allowed him to do things that he couldn’t do with these other characters that the company owned. Which suggests that, “original idea” notions or not, THIS WAS A NEW WORK.

Let’s see, I’m guessing in the Nite Owl book, young Dan will have been FASCINATED by owls and their habits. Veidt read the poem “Ozymandias” in school, and it always stuck with him. A young boy who didn’t laugh much or made jokes was nicknamed “Comedian”. and so forth. (actually, didn’t the Comics Critics guys do that gag with Silk Spectre? And much better?)

I would enjoy “the adventures of Rorschach when he was a boy,” though. Well, I probably wouldn’t because it would inevitably disappoint, but I like the idea.

Wow. So much hate. That’s sad to see.
I, for one, am impressed by the writers and artists. I can’t wait to see what they do in the Watchmen playground.

I will say that this is much less insulting than when it looked like the Watchmen characters were casually going to be tossed into the mix of Countdown: Arena. Rorschach was prominently featured in the teaser picture, being backhanded by Dark Knight Returns Batman. It didn’t help that <i.Arena was a terrible series all around, but this at least sounds like they’re going about it in a less halfassed way. Of course, the New 52 turned out to be pretty ill-thought-out in conception and execution so far, so I’m dubious of pretty much any project DC initiates right about now.

IIRC, buttler, that teaser image of Countdown Arena was a piece of art done for Wizard, and not actually a DC based image. But otherwise, I agree there.

Actually, would anyone be surprised if by the time this prequel is over, it essentially ignores/subverts the original work to instead reposition it as just another alternate universe intersecting with the DCU so we can get that Batman/Rorschach team-up and Silk Spectre joining the Justice League that DC seems to think people really want?

I fall in league with those excited that Cooke’s name is attached to the project.

I have never been a fan of Watchmen or Alan Moore, but I went through this whole rigmarole last year with the Rocketeer Adventures mini. The parallels to that and this are astounding:

-Creator unable/unwilling to participate in new stories of signature series (Stevens’ death / Moore’s ego)
-Characters only semi-original (King of the Rocket Men, Bettie Page / Charlton Heroes)
-Both beloved series from the 80s with dedicated fanbases
-Both with insanely small amount of material originally (8 issues / 12 issues)
-New projects are piecemeal collaborations involving current “top” creators in industry
-New projects are more or less “in continuity,” but are not continuing series that progress from the original stories endpoints.

Upon its announcement, I was appalled and angry that the Rocketeer property would undoubtedly be tainted (again, as that movie was a travesty), and that Stevens would not have a say in its publication.

But, I still bought it. All four issues. Variant covers, even.

Anyone who is mucho-mucho-Watchmen-fan that is stating they will not be reading this new series is either blatantly lying, or will change their tune upon its release. I know, I’ve been there.

The glaring difference upon the respective announcements is that the Rocketeer mini was met with a collective “meh,” whereas this Watchmen announcement has swelled with so much hostility and vitriol, but little enthusiasm. It smacks of groupthink, and suggests that there are many, many readers (or phonies who have never actually read it) that have done nothing but drink the kool-aid of Watchmen’s “brilliance” without substantive independent judgment in taste or content.

One more thing. Anyone who believes that Watchmen would have become what it became, solely on the merits of Moore and Gibbons, is absurdly undervaluing the brilliant marketing job that DC did in 1986, and the marketing that it has continued to do through the last 25 years. Watchmen’s acclaim is not purely due to its creators. There are most assuredly deeper, more profound, more complete works out there that will never reach the status that Watchmen enjoys. Those who would decry DC in regards to anything Watchmen related, might do well to recognize that Watchmen has its exalted status largely because of DC, not in spite of them.

I’m a huge Alan Moore fan but Watchmen is not my favourite work of his, and I find V For Vendetta and especially From Hell to be overall better works than Watchmen. But in terms of vitriol, I’ve found far more expressed by people directly at Alan for disapproving this, as opposed to most of the reactions from the people opposed to the idea who aren’t slamming the creators (well, maybe Stracynzski).

It’s weird, but it really seems so many people have bought into the idea having a big-budget Hollywood film made from a comic somehow validates it more than how good the comic is itself, so when Alan showed he honestly did not give a damn that they made a movie that seemed to throw a lot of “fans” for a loop.

I suspect these are the same sort of “fans” who are more concerned about getting monthly fixes of Superman comics than whether the Seigel family should have any claim to the character Jerry Seigel co-created.

The Crazed Spruce

February 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm

About 15 years ago, back when I actually believed I had a hope in hell of becoming a professional comic book writer, I toyed with the idea of a sequel to Watchmen, set about ten or fifteen years later, that would’ve been an indictment of the Image books of the 90′s. Then I realized how incredibly, tremendously, immensely stupid that idea was.

Everything that needed to be said about those characters was told in the original 12 issues. Anything else is an obvious cash grab. (Okay, maybe, just MAYBE, The Minutemen could stand to be fleshed out a bit more, and Darwyn Cooke is a great choice to tell that tale, but I really don’t see the need or the point to the rest of ‘em.)

Actually, would anyone be surprised if by the time this prequel is over, it essentially ignores/subverts the original work to instead reposition it as just another alternate universe intersecting with the DCU so we can get that Batman/Rorschach team-up and Silk Spectre joining the Justice League that DC seems to think people really want?

Well, that’s exactly what’s happening with StormWatch in the New 52, and really what’s been happening ever since Wildstorm joined the DC multiverse. So nope, I assume that’s exactly what will happen. That’s what they did with Kingdom Come.

And now, a reworked version of the “Godfather debate” from Family Guy:

Peter-There’s just one secret I feel I have to share with you–I did not care for Watchmen.
Lois-What?!?
Peter-Did not care for Watchmen. (Lois-Ugh?)
Chris-How can you even say that, dad?
Peter-Did-didn’t like it.
Lois-Peter, it’s so good, it’s like the perfect comic book. (Peter-eh, the…)
Peter-I, this is what everyone always says. Whenever they say, it’s like “o my…”
Chris-Dave Gibbons, John Higgins, (Peter-I) I mean you never see (Peter-Listen) ALAN MOORE!!
Peter-I know ?#%&*?! fine, fine writer, did not like the book.
Brian-Why not?
Peter-Did not-could not get into it.
Lois-Explain yourself. (Peter-It) What didn’t you like about it?
Peter-It insists upon itself, Lois.
Lois-What?
Peter-It insists upon itself.
Lois-What does that even mean?
Chris-’Cause it has a valid point, SEVERAL of them, to make, IT’S INSISTING!
Peter-It’s got a really bleak atmosphere, takes forever getting in, you spend nearly 10 and a half pages, and then–you know, I can’t even get through it, I can’t even finish the book, I’ve never even read the ending.
Chris-YOU’VE NEVER READ THE ENDING?!?!?
Stewie-W-well, how can you even say you don’t like it if you haven’t given it a chance?
Lois-I agree with Stewie, it’s not really fair. (Chris-It’s outrageous.)
Peter-I have tried on many separate occasions to get through it, and I…I get to the part where the blue naked guy and the lady are on Mars, (Lois-YEAH! It’s a great scene) and he…(Lois-I love that part)…it’s NOT a great part…(Chris-It’s been noted in every annal) I have NO IDEA what they’re getting at, it’s like they’re trying to sneak a–that’s where I lose interest and put the book down.
Lois-You know what Peter?
Chris-THEY’RE BEING METAPHYSICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL!!!
Lois-The conversation they’re having has a lot of subtle meanings, something you don’t concieve very well nor understand.
Peter-I love Mark Gruenwald’s Squadron Supreme–that is my answer to that statement.
Lois-Exactly.
Peter-Well, there you go.
Lois-Whatever.
Chris-I like that book too.

I can almost see the cover blurb, “BEFORE WATCHMEN is totally acceptable to people that never liked WATCHMEN that much in the first place!”

It is hard to see what could possibly go wrong.

Bravo to Acer!

Y’know, maybe I’m being too harsh. As long as there’s naked blue dong in it, it’s bound to be good, right?

There had better be blue dong! I demand there be blue dong!

@Travis Pelkie and Dominic.
Prequel = speedos.

Um… this whole prequel thing almost seems like it’s a joke. But it’s not.

There’s some great talent there – I hope it’s clever rather than cringeworthy.

Tom Fitzpatrick

February 2, 2012 at 5:34 am

Two things to say about Before Watchmen:

1) For those who think that anyone involved with B.W. is scumbag: at least nobody died in the making of B.W.

2) For those who’re against this project from ever happening: at least DC haven’t tried doing a “After Watchmen”. …. Yet. ;-)

Would’ve been nice if Gibbons took part in this project, despite Moore’s misgivings.

My thoughts:

1. I think the talent on the these books is an impressive bunch.

2. Still not convinced these books will be any good.

3. Alan Moore is really going to compare his work with Melville’s? The high falutin’ Columbia educated English Literature major in me cries out “What a fucking idiot!”

4. I miss WEDNESDAY COMICS

Wow, so many thoughts here…

I’m certainly not surprised DC is doing this. It’s a good business decision for them. And it appears that they’re going about it in a respectful way (as respectful as can be given that the project exists), with Gibbons even saying as much.

I do think people are totally missing the point about Alan Moore’s anger. He’s NOT angry about the notion of other creators using characters created by someone else (which, as several commenters have pointed out, Moore has been doing his whole career). Moore has never had a problem with other writers tackling Constantine. Moore even said good things about Azzarello’s work on the character. What Moore is mad about is the notion of tampering with a work that was “finished.” As Dave Hacket pointed out in the first comment, Watchmen is about as hermetically sealed a work as you can find, so Moore’s anger comes from the stance that further stories about those characters have no raison d’etre. That’s why he used Moby Dick as an example- Moby Dick is also a “sealed” story. There’s nothing more to be said about the characters within. Moby Dick wasn’t simply a famous book that he randomly thought of to name-drop, it was a carefully calculated example that’s analogous to why he feels Watchmen shouldn’t have any prequels/sequels. So commenters saying Moore is a hypocrite because he wrote a few Superman stories are entirely missing the point of his response.

Do I agree with Moore? I agree that DC made an artistically poor decision in starting this project, but that’s the thing, it wasn’t an artistic decision; it was a commercial one. And now the project exists, so arguing whether or not it should is already a sunk battle. Now, as a comic reader and a diehard advocate of the original work, I’m left with the decision to read or not read these new series. And you know what? They look pretty good. Do I think they’ll hold a candle to the original? Of course not. But they all look eminently readable and enjoyable, and I think it’s unfair to the creators on the project to just write off their hard work as being a travesty. Those writers and artists are all talented, they know the stakes of the project they signed up for, and I expect they’ll all try damn hard to live up to them. Even if this is a money decision for DC, it’s likely not a simple cash grab for those creative teams. (I said likely, not definitely; maybe someone on there is doing it for the money, but I hope not.)

And for people that want to write off this project simply because it was a commercial decision that exists at the potential expense of a great artistic masterpiece, well, so was Godfather II. Seriously, Godfather II only existed because of ego and money. Coppola admits so himself. I attended a great Q & A session with him in Toronto last fall, and people asked him how Godfather II came to be. He said that Paramount had decided to go ahead with it despite his wishes and recommendation (a purely financial decision for Paramount), but they still wanted him to do it. Coppola finally caved and said “Ok, I’ll do it on two conditions: You pay me a million dollars (more than any director had ever been paid for anything), and Robert Evans (Paramount head of production who tried to take credit away from Coppola for the original Godfather) can’t have anything to do with the project. He can’t even read the script.” So Godfather II really exists due to Paramount’s greed and Coppola’s ego–it wasn’t created for any sort of artistic reason. And yet… Godfather II is one of the greatest films ever made, and, arguably, tops the original. The lesson here? Just because something exists due to less than pure motives doesn’t mean it won’t be worth a damn.

Now I don’t want people to run away with that analogy. I don’t expect Before Watchmen to be as good as Godfather II. But I’m going to give it a chance, and anyone that won’t based purely on the notion that it exists under impure motives should therefore ban themselves from ever seeing or liking Godfather II.

The last thing I’m a little curious about are the creative teams. The seven artist on the project are absolutely all top of the line, “special event” level artists. It would be difficult to find seven better artists. But the writers feel a little bit second tier to me. Seriously, I think all 4 writers are very good, and I have enjoyed work by all of them. However, I can’t escape the notion that they weren’t DC’s first choices for the project. I’d love to know the pecking order timeline of who DC talked to about this project. How much money did they try to throw at Grant Morrison to be involved? Or Garth Ennis? Even Ed Brubaker and Jason Aaron, who I know have Marvel deals, but if they can also be writing Fatale and Scalped, surely there are loopholes somewhere. Was Scott Snyder approached? Jeff Lemire? Bill WIllingham? Brian K. Vaughan? My guess is DC wanted 7 different writers on the project. Cooke on Minutemen and Azzarello on Rorschach feel like first choices; the other five feel like the writer is there by default. That said, I think they all still have good potential.

The only two characters I’m really worried about are Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan. The original series went so deeply in their heads and histories that I really can’t imagine how to tell “new” stories about them. The histories of Night Owl and the Minutemen were largely untold in the original series, so I think there’s fertile ground there. And Veidt, Silk Spectre, and the Comedian, while all having significantly explored pasts in the original work, still feel “available” enough for good new stories. But the inner monologue of Rorschach and Manhattan have such a clinically established tone that those two series have the most potential to be bad. The margin of error on them is almost too slim.

And anyone that thinks these will be $2.99 is dreaming. DC has no reason to make them that cheap. Anyone that wants to get these prequels probably won’t find the cover price to be much of a mitigating factor. Plus, they have backups, and will likely be over 20 pages. There’s a better chance that they’re $4.99.

That’s why he used Moby Dick as an example- Moby Dick is also a “sealed” story. There’s nothing more to be said about the characters within.

I don’t know why you have to hate on Philip Jose Farmer’s The Wind Whales of Ishmael.

To extend Moore’s metaphor…

What about the Oz series, where – like “Gone with the Wind” – different authors have picked up the canonical series when Baum passed away. I am sure there are Oz fans out there that are quite happy to get more of their favorite characters.

Also, “Moby Dick” was a critcal and commercial flop in my day IIRC. If it had been as successful as Watchman is today, maybe Melville would have written a sequel.

I hold Watchmen to the same high standards that most fans and creators do, and am therefore scared by the outcome of these prequels. That said, no art can exist without some form of capital behind it. DC has a duty to its shareholders to maximize the value of their properties. In other words, Alan Moore would never have had the chance to create such great art if DC didn’t also create popular, yet less important works that made the money that bought the Charleston IP that Moore based his work off of in the first place.

Moore, be honored that so many top-notch creators love your work so much that they want to make an homage to it.

Also, “Moby Dick” was a critcal and commercial flop in my day IIRC.

I can understand how it would be difficult for you to remember all the way back in your day when it came out. ;)

buttler, that someone else knows of that books existence is awesome. So goddamn random to involve Ishmael…. I mean giant floating gas filled fish should sell itself, right?

@Travis Pelkie
Essentially, that’s what I think of Watchmen, period. I don’t like the story–I don’t because I don’t like deconstructionism. I can appreciate its place in pop culture history, but truth is, I’ve only seen the movie, I’ve never read the whole thing, and when I do eventually get to reading it, I’ll do it, put it down, and be done with it.

Personally, I grow tired of creators vs companies in situations like this. If I was the one who took over DC Comics in 2010, the first thing I’d do? I’d forfeit all the rights to Watchmen, every single one of them, even the non-Watchmen stuff Moore did, and give them back to Moore and Gibbons–I’d even do it in person, in a major attempt to redeem DC in the eyes of Moore. I can just picture it now: “Mr. Moore, on behalf of myself and no one else at the company, I’m hereby returning the rights to everything you did for DC and turning full control of said content to you. Look, this whole bitter grudge against the company has gone on too long. You forget–it wasn’t the company itself you were dealing with, it was the people in charge of it at the time. I want to make it up to you, please, PLEASE understand.”

“…the reason why this seems so desperate on DC’s part is the extreme bloat of the prequel concept. Seriously, 35 issues and 12 creators for what 2 guys did in 12?”

This was posted above by The Eye. I think it’s the most profound comment here.

“Anyone who is mucho-mucho-Watchmen-fan that is stating they will not be reading this new series is either blatantly lying, or will change their tune upon its release. I know, I’ve been there.”

Don’t speak for everyone. Yes, some, perhaps over 50% of the people saying they won’t try it will break down in the end. But a certain percentage will indeed pass. Readers have become so jaded that I think you have to take a certain percentage oif people at their word (I’m more of the “maybe someday at the library, but no immediate plans to do so” camp myself, so I’m not entirely ruling it out, but no definite plans; if someone actually gives them to me as a gift or in an even trade, what the heck, but otherwise probably years down the road if at all).

Just wanna add that the above “Family Guy” reworking by Acer was just fantastic.

@Danny
Thanks. It just hit me since that’s my favorite part from the entire episode it’s from (Untitled Griffin Family History).

Nobody here gasped at my idea of forfeiting the rights to Watchmen? Seriously???

@Brian Cronin

Yeah, $#!t, why’d I type that? — I’m only 27. I meant “back in THE day,” like when it was released. Moby Dick only became popular after-the-fact.

Here’s my thing, and let me state before I begin that I mean no disrespect to any other poster, nor am I implying that they’re not creative people, yada yada yada:

I find that whenever the whole “Moore hates people using his stuff” conversation happens (or anything like it), I always have to take the artist’s side against people who either aren’t creative, or for some reason don’t have as much connection to the things they create as most artists I know.

Here’s the thing (and again, no offense or intent of being condescending to anyone), most creators (myself included) think of the things they write/draw/render/play on an instrument/whatever to be something like their children. This is something that was birthed from you. Something built from your experiences, your feelings, your tastes. When you’re working on a creative project, a part of you is always thinking about it. The characters are literally a part of you. For the period of time you’re creating it (and usually for quite a while after), they exist. They are every bit as real to you as anyone else in your life.

That’s why I can’t help but side with the creator on stuff like this. The idea of someone taking a thing I created and changing it, adding to it, adapting it, etc. makes me physically ill. I once had a book of sketches stolen (it was in a bag of other, actually financially valuable things), and it was one of the worst, most invasive experiences of my life.

I also don’t quite understand the hypocrisy argument. We’re discussing someone using characters that the still-living creator has specifically said he wishes people wouldn’t mess with, as opposed to someone writing stories based on classic literature or folk-lore characters with long-dead creators. I can’t imagine someone successfully arguing that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons didn’t make those characters completely their own, whether they were originally based on the Charlton characters or not.

Sorry if this got long-winded, but creators’ rights have always been kind of a “hot-button” for me. I understand that DC legally has the rights to these characters, but that doesn’t change what’s right. I can only imagine how much real-estate the “Watchmen” characters took up in Moore’s mind when he was working on such an involved, long-term project. It may have been 25 years since he finished it, but I would imagine they still mean quite a bit to him.

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