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CSBG Archive

…And the Superhuman Review – Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #1

Every week, Chad Nevett and I will be reviewing an issue of Before Watchmen through a discussion of each issue. We continue with Silk Spectre #1 by Darwyn Cooke (co-writer), Amanda Conner (co-writer and artist) and Paul Mounts (colors).

Chad Nevett: I think we can safely say that Silk Spectre #1 delivers a little more of what we were hoping out of the Before Watchmen comics than Minutemen #1 did last week. The characters are still introduced, but in a much smoother, subtler way. We aren’t simply told straight away who Laurie and her mom are; those details trickle out over the course of the issue, partly because that’s good storytelling and, partly, because there seems to be an assumption that someone reading this comic has read Watchmen and doesn’t require a heavyhanded introduction. This issue has a strong plot that’s driven by the characters. The first part of the comic is driver by Sally until Laurie fights back and, eventually, takes things over entirely.

One thing that I really liked what that Amanda Conner and Darwyn Cooke are using the nine-panel grid. And, more than that, using it well. While Conner’s art doesn’t look much like Dave Gibbons’s, she’s definitely making an effort to work within the framework he provided in Watchmen and go beyond it a bit.

The use of the little cartoon fantasy panels is something radically different from how Watchmen was presented visually, but it works quite well in the context of Laurie’s story and with Conner’s art.

It seems like this issue struck a great balance between using established plot and character points, visuals, and storytelling elements from Watchmen, and playing into the strengths of Conner and Cooke. One foot in Watchmen, one foot outside of it… Which is what we’d want, I guess?

Brian Cronin: Yep, this was a marked improvement on Minutemen #1. Hell, even if I had no clue about what Watchmen was, I’d want to read more about the Jupiter family. The relationship between Laurie and Sally is fascinating and Cooke and Conner portray it so well that I’m legitimately interested in seeing more, despite what we already know about their relationship from Watchmen. So yes, I’d say Cooke and Conner did their job very well here. as you noted, the fact that there was no info dump was appreciated, although to be fair, it is a lot easier to subtly introduce characters when there are only two main characters to be introduced and they are mother and daughter.

Conner is the real star of the issue, as her off kilter approach to the nine-panel grid was fascinating. Her experimentation with the grid was a blast, especially the cartoony asides that you mentioned (here’s a sample of the asides).

I was impressed with how a lot of the story was structured. I really enjoyed how they used a flashback to reveal the resolution to the altercation at the soda shoppe. I thought some of the usage of media was a little bit TOO on point (“Baby please come home” playing as Laurie is walking out on her mother? For serious?), but in general subtly was the keyword of the issue (like having a panel constructed so that a framed photo of the Minutemen is cropped so that just the Comedian is spotlighted).

I don’t know what impressed me most about Conner in this issue – her storytelling, her facial expressions or her depiction of action (the fluidity to her characters is striking). This was a good comic.

And the pirate back-up by Len Wein and John Higgins continues to impress!

CN: I enjoyed this week’s “The Curse of the Crimson Corsair” more than the first chapter. Then again, I’m a sucker for that “Okay, everyone, let’s get the evil captain now! …Uh… Guys…?” gag. And John Higgins’s art is fantastic. I’m very glad to be seeing it every week.

The media stuff didn’t bother me, but I have a terrible habit of glossing over songs in comics. Something about it just makes my eyes move on…

Something that bugged me a little — and I’m sure it will come up again and again — is that I’m not sure if these characters felt the same. Sally was a little over-the-top — moreso than she was in Watchmen. She was SO singular-minded and unwilling to hear anything else that it felt a bit too simplistic. Too aimed at justifying Laurie’s actions in our eyes. Sally was always the stage mom who pushed Laurie, but I guess Moore walked a finer line than I think Cooke and Conner did here. Just a little too much.

BC: I would imagine Cooke and Conner’s thought process was that this was earlier on, when Sally was still dealing with the fact that Laurie will, inevitably, have to leave her at some point. Once she comes to terms with that (which she did by the story in Watchmen), she will be less over-the-top. Conner and Cooke are catching Laurie and Sally at a point where Laurie is very much still an everyday part of Sally’s life and she can’t bear the thought of that not being the case (to the point where she cries and plays topical songs to show her feelings).

Also, how could anyone hate a comic book that has a simulated porn facial in it?!

CN: I still can’t believe that panel. You think that other girl is a bitch and then she does THAT? Not a lot shocks me in a comic, but that made me pause a moment, because I thought maybe I was reading it wrong — you know, mind going to the worst possible thing immediately. But, no, it was that sort of insult. She’s lucky all she got was one punch in the face… jeez.

A moment like that really played to Conner’s art, which is quite cartoony. It’s easy to forget the world we’re dealing with when we’re looking at art like that and I think that made that moment a bit more shocking. I mean, if this was a Darick Robertson-drawn comic, it wouldn’t be quite so unexpected. (No offence to Mr. Robertson, of course.)

BC: Yeah, like we both noted, the way that Conner moved from serious to silly gave the book a great sort of unexpected feel. Also, like I mentioned before, I love that Laurie’s response to that affront was not revealed until later in the issue, so they could sort of tease you with “Would Laurie actually take something like that? She wouldn’t, would she? Would she? Oh, okay, she didn’t. Awesome.”

It’s funny, since the book was so good, we really don’t need to say too much about it, as it was just a flat out normal good comic book. Good to see!

106 Comments

One note on the third panel of the second page you show: it’s really hard to tell immediately which word balloon to read first. Obviously context makes it clear once you start reading, but you have to read a balloon before you can tell if you’re reading the right one.

Otherwise, the book sounds interesting.

Just curious…WATCHMEN was published in 1986, so the typical character was born in the late ’40s or early ’50s. Is that reflected in the new series?

Yes. This story is firmly set in 1966.

Agreed—Silk Spectre was a much better comic book than Minutemen. So far, Amanda Conner’s the star to beat on this project.

http://www.timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/books/15438931/minutemen-and-silk-spectre-roundtable-review

This is pretty much the only After Watchmen title that caught my eye when it was announced. I don’t want to support such a shameless cash-grab, but Darwyn Cooke AND Amanda Conner? How do you say no to that?

I would never in a million years spend money on this, but it does look pretty. I may get it via torrent or the public library in a trade. That Amanda Conner art is spectacular.

Not to sound judgemental, but if you’re boycotting the project on ethical grounds, I would submit that piracy is not the option most conducive to the moral highground, though there is a certain aptness to seeing the backup story that way.

Haha protesting by stealing something that people worked very hard on. Way to take a stand.

I love Conner’s art, would prefer some of the coloring be flatter but I will have to see how it looks in print.

I jut threw up in my mouth a little. Regret even looking at those 2 pages above of this masturbatory “creative” exercise.

Although, the more bits and snippets I see of this, the more sure I am that I’ll never support the creators involved again

Too bad. The Pro was a freaking great comic

Gerry Frankel

June 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm

+1 Amanda Conner.

All this Conner praise makes me miss her Power Girl all the more.

Good grief, the DRAMA! “Oh I shall boycott this! Oh I’ll never support these creators again!”
Get over yourselves.

I’ve never read any of Connor’s work before, but I’ve heard fantastic things from a lot of comic fans.
I’m a little surprised because this artwork really leaves me cold. It looks flat and awkward. The faces look rushed and inconsistent.

These few panels are probably not enough to go on, but I expected something more dynamic.

Wow there’s nothing awkward or rushed about those faces.

A question about the historical accuracy here… was there such a thing as a porn facial in 1966? I’m thinking no. And of course one could argue that “the Watchmen universe is different than ours,” but those differences (allegedly) only stem from the existence of masks and Dr. Manhattan, so I’m not sure how the porn industry as we know it today would have been created decades earlier.

I thought Conner handled that visual really well, and it’s certainly a degrading enough insult to have set Laurie off, but the inaccuracy of it bothered me, for the same reason I would have been bothered if Twitter were mentioned in the issue. Just a poor handling of period accuracy.

And @abcdefg

I don’t really have a problem with your opinions about this project, and indeed I even agree with some of them. But that being said, I guess I don’t understand why you’re reading this column if you’re so disgusted by the content? I’m not trying to attack you, just genuinely curious.

If this book is an example of a masturbatory exercise, then my right arm is going to look like Popeye by the time this series ends.

@Third Man Looks like facials have been part of literature since 1785′s publication of the Marquis de Sade.
Lots of Tijuana Bibles online, many of them caricaturing famous figures of the time in some pretty crazy sex acts. Wouldn’t surprise me if a real bible was the inspiration.

@hebituninous

I’m not disputing how long the idea of a facial as a sex act has been around, I’m just disputing how long that idea has existed in the public consciousness. Teenage girls in 1966 probably weren’t reading the Marquis de Sade. To be able to imitate something, one has to be aware of that something.

Facials were not popularized in pornography until the 1970s when hard core porn became so prevalant, but that is a bit misleading since porn itself was not really popularized until the hard core porn boom of the 1970s. Facials did, indeed, appear in pornography before that and would not be out of place in a Tijuana bible. They just did not became a staple of pornography until the 1970s when hard core porn became so pervasive that it became THE standard as to how pornography was perceived in popular culture. So yes, if the girl in the comic had made a facial joke out of nowhere, it would have been out of place. But since she was mimicking what she saw in the Tijuana bible, I don’t think it is an anachronism.

Wow there’s nothing awkward or rushed about those faces.

Can you elaborate, because I really don’t see it? It seems in fact opposite to me.

Of the various Before Watchmen books, in the initial bunch this one together with Minutemen seemed most interesting (already with Watchmen, Sally Jupiter was the character I would have wanted to read more of), and it looks like this is worth reading.

When it comes to art, I don’t bother with moral high grounds. Good comic is good comic, even if it has been made as a money-grabbing spinoff.

Can you elaborate, because I really don’t see it? It seems in fact opposite to me.

I am confused. You quoted the reply, so who are you disagreeing with? The original comment or the reply?

I have some difficulties with the peoples that take positions for a mere comic book.

Was watchmen great, sure, does it merits all the praises it had over the years ? most of them , sure.

But , why some extremists , who doesnt know alan moore from ear nor nose, would defend him ? that makesme wonder. Watchman always had a finish too “cartoony” , but it did eleviate the medium.. bit not at the same heights some of the european “Bande dessinee” reaches.

If the work is good, even if its not from the creator.; enjoy it .

the problem of rights over intelelctual proprrties is a little different here in france, and belgium, but :

There’s been a lot of changes over the years on ‘Blueberry’ , even if jean Girault did continue till the end to have an eye on it (the series continue with someone really liked in rance, that i dont)

“Spirou” has had many authors writing and drawinf him over the years, the most known may be Franquin, but others did great jobs.

and i could continue my rambling and citing other euro comics…

Even in britain Judge Dread did have its share of creators… (Ezquera, bolland, maccarthy, ewins, … )
What must interest the reader if the final product, are the series proposed by DC good ones, or bad ones. The trends seems be be on the godd side, for now, so enjoy it

* the only creator owned character that didnt have an official follow up is “Tintin”, but i never was a fan of tintin, always found the art to be too basic ( ligne clair – no perspective, no nothing .. ) and the early ‘original’ stories full of crap . (anti-communism, anti-americanims, pro-slavism , good white boy giving good parole to idiot black boy .. )

have fun, have a cup-cke and read good comics when possible.

In the first page, I read the heads/faces as a little misshapen. They don’t look like an object in space, consistent from panel to panel. The eyes look a little wonky. The page flow seems stilted because of it. It takes me out of the narrative a little.

In the second page, everything is extremely flat. Without the computer coloring to give depth/shadow, it would look like a coloring book. The middle panels in particular look that way to me.

I did a little bit of googling and found out she got her start with Archie comics, which makes sense. I was going to say the second page reminded me of one of something along those lines.

I think it’s more of a letdown because of the revered tones people use when discussing her art. It’s not bad, but it’s not fantastic. (again I realize this is a tiny sample).

I haven’t read this yet (but I will!) but I don’t udnerstand the naysayers about Minutemen. It was a GREAT comic!

To me it read like a better version of the credits sequence of the movie, and who didn’t like that?

Please leave Watchmen alone! What is the point of watering these characters down? Can’t DC come up with anything original anymore? Leave the back story of these characters to the imagination of the readers. That art looks like something Disney created. Big eyed cartoon depictions of the classic Watchmen characters don’t work!

Anyone who refuses to buy or read or even consider “Before Watchmen” isn’t doing based on any sort of “moral high ground,” it’s based entirely on being a hipster contrarian. If you really want to make a stand for creator’s rights, or support creators who have been shafted, then you’ll have to boycott any comic that Jack Kirby had anything to do with, which is basically, oh, everything. Start banging the drum for a boycott against X-Men and Avengers and Fantastic Four, and I’ll be impressed by your moral stance.

So far, I love both “Before Watchmen” comics. While “Minutemen” was a bit stilted in its storytelling, I’ll cut it a little slack for having to introduce so many characters. It was still amazingly well-written and drawn. I’m betting subsequent issues rocket this to the top.

sorry SartPurple , we sold out yesterday, our last of 120 books , THANK YOU DC !! for giving us comic book stores , something we can sell!! (and each week to boot) – Just did a re-order of 75 !! I already have another 22 people that have asked me to hold the comic , when the restock comes back –THANK YOU DC and ignore the naysayers , they never buy comics anyway , just like to make noise!!

“One note on the third panel of the second page you show: it’s really hard to tell immediately which word balloon to read first.”

Uh, no, just read left-to-right there buddy. It’ll all work out for the best.

Word balloons typically go top to bottom and left to right (like they do in the first panel on the page). In the third panel, it can’t be both. So yes, it is an unconventional usage of word balloons. It is not that the information wasn’t delivered, it is just a question of which order. If you read left to right, then you’re reading the balloons from bottom to top. Which is out of the ordinary. Not bad. But out of the ordinary.

I think reading from top to bottom and reading the balloons right to left flows better, dialogue-wise, actually.

“Anyone who refuses to buy or read or even consider “Before Watchmen” isn’t doing based on any sort of “moral high ground,” it’s based entirely on being a hipster contrarian….Start banging the drum for a boycott against X-Men and Avengers and Fantastic Four, and I’ll be impressed by your moral stance.”

In fact, I know quite a few people who stopped reading Avengers prior to the film’s release (and likewise go to see it) who also refuse to read Before Watchmen. It’s got nothing to do with being a “hipster contrarian”. Some people just stick to their principles. So your nerd rage really says more about you than them.

Me, I saw the movie 3 times and am reading 2 Avengers books. BW looks vaguely interesting to me, but I’ll wait for the inevitable collected-in-trade version.

“And of course one could argue that “the Watchmen universe is different than ours,” but those differences (allegedly) only stem from the existence of masks and Dr. Manhattan”…

Not sure where that allegation comes from. It wouldn’t explain why in the Watchmen universe Heinz has a different number of varieties of beans in an advertising slogan that dates back to 1896.

I don’t think there’s a causal link between the Heinz slogan and the arrival of masks or Dr Manhattan, just that it indicates are a LOT of differences between the two histories: some trivial, some colossal. (I theorise the Hindenberg didn’t explode there, as one reason the airship industry survives there, for instance)

lol… no nerd rage here. Just utterly bemused by the faux outrage people are using to say they aren’t going to read Before Watchmen. The people you cite who stopped reading Avengers, it was in support of Jack Kirby? I seriously doubt it. If so, I hope they will also boycott Spider-man, and X-men First Class 2, and Man of Steel, and Dark Knight Rises, because all of those films are based on characters where the creator didn’t get a good deal. Just like the poster above who says he’s going to boycott buying the BW comics, but will probably bittorrent them, I think most people who are taking a “moral stance” don’t really know what it means. You can’t just pick and choose which shafted creators to rally behind. You are either opposed to ALL shafting of creators (and willing to boycott all of the associated properties), or you are just being a contrarian because it’s temporarily hip to turn your nose up at “crass commercialism”, as opposed to the “honorable commercialism” of 100% of every other comic on the stands right now.

Ramone as per Brian’s explanation, I hit a momentary snag on which balloon to read first. I think if the lower, leftmost balloon would have been located further left (maybe even slightly overlapping the border), I wouldn’t have had any problems. It’s more a usability question than anything.

FLIPBERKHEIMER

June 15, 2012 at 8:49 am

“and Dark Knight Rises, because all of those films are based on characters where the creator didn’t get a good deal.”

Vic, you are sadly mistaken about the deal Bob Kane got for Batman. He made a bundle. He also went from artist to exploiter of the first degree.

I would imagine he’d referring to Bill Finger, Batman’s co-creator.

@Vic

If you “love” Before Watchmen, then you clearly didn’t understand the original Watchmen comic

Steven R. Stahl

June 15, 2012 at 9:12 am

Just utterly bemused by the faux outrage people are using to say they aren’t going to read Before Watchmen. The people you cite who stopped reading Avengers, it was in support of Jack Kirby? I seriously doubt it. If so, I hope they will also boycott Spider-man, and X-men First Class 2, and Man of Steel, and Dark Knight Rises, because all of those films are based on characters where the creator didn’t get a good deal.

The two situations aren’t comparable. WATCHMEN was a standalone, close-ended story. Spider-Man and the others were created as endless serial characters. People can argue about how well a hero was handled in any particular story, and how responsible Kirby was for the success of any story–how far did the writer depart from the basic construct?–but did the story have any purpose beyond filling n pages showing the hero and villain doing their things? Doing nothing more than showing the hero being heroic and the villain being villainous doesn’t justify the story’s existence.

The effects Moore and Gibbons achieved in WATCHMEN were different than the effects achieved in most endless serial comics because the story was written with an overall purpose that the serials lack. In hard SF, the exploration of scientific ideas and concepts might be more important to the writer than the characters; if his characters are all stock and wooden because he considers them unimportant, he’ll be criticized for that. He needs to strike a balance between the handling of the idea(s) and the handling of the characters.

In BEFORE WATCHMEN, there doesn’t seem to be any central idea for the project beyond separating the characters from the story. The stories aren’t essential; a writer would have to struggle to explain how writing them benefits anyone who has read WATCHMEN. Creating a Watchmen universe is anything but a worthy goal. Striking a balance between the handling of the idea and the handling of the characters in a BEFORE WATCHMEN story is impossible, because there is no idea.

SRS

I am confused. You quoted the reply, so who are you disagreeing with? The original comment or the reply?

Oh, my bad, I didn’t realize he was replying to someone else. Steve Broome didn’t quote anyone in his comment, so I was under the impression that when he said “Wow there’s nothing awkward or rushed about those faces.” he was sarcastically saying those were awkward and rushed faces. It was the “wow” combined with not seeing the original comment that made me think he was sarcastically bashing Conner’s art. I was trying to say that I saw nothing wrong with Conner’s art, but now I realize Steve was saying the same thing.

@abcdefg On the contrary. I consider Watchmen to be the pinnacle of superhero-based comic storytelling. It’s a masterpiece of the highest order. I have the Absolute Edition sitting prominently not just on my bookshelf, but next to my TV, in the spots reserved for the books, comics, and movies I consider the best of the best.

But to say that no more stories should EVER be told in that world is preposterous. It’s a nice personal choice you can make on whether or not you choose to read or not read something. But our literary, comic, and movie world is not just filled, but STUFFED with continuations of stories that seemed “complete”. The first “Alien” was a masterpiece. I remember when it was announced that James Cameron was doing a sequel that there was all the same whining and moaning about “Why not just leave the original like it is? There’s nothing more that needs to be said. Anything new will just tarnish the original.” Whine, whine, whine. But then… “Aliens” came out, and everyone shut up. Now we had “Alien” and “Aliens”. TWO masterpieces based on the same initial premise and using the same characters. Now, we WERE looking forward to “Alien3″, and then that was a disaster. The film was terrible from a story standpoint and effectively ruined the franchise. That said, I learned a valuable lesson that day. I don’t HAVE to acknowledge a story if I don’t want to. That’s MY right. For me, the “Alien” franchise begins and ends with the first two movies. “Alien3″ doesn’t matter to me. As far as I’m concerned, Newt and Hicks are still fine and good.

So ultimately, the only thing that matters is if the story is good. I’ll evaluate “Before Watchmen” entirely on if the stories are well-told. If I choose to acknowledge them as ‘official’, then I’ll do so.

Of course, no story NEEDS to be continued. Are we lacking enough Batman or X-men stories that you don’t feel like they should stop making them?

We didn’t need ANY more Marvelman/Miracleman stories. But Alan Moore had a great idea for some, and set about completely re-imagining the character from the ground up. I could be wrong, but I doubt he called Mick Anglo to ask his permission, or to consult with him on what he was doing. But he forged ahead and created (or re-created) a masterpiece. Same with Swamp Thing. And if he’d been allowed to, all the Watchmen characters would have instead been the Charlton characters, which last I checked I don’t believe Alan Moore had a hand in creating. But that wasn’t going to stop him. And we’re all the better for it.

So all I’m saying is that either the comics will be good, or they won’t. They will be abominations or they won’t. They’ll have an impact, or they won’t. Judge them (and the creators) on that.

Leslie Fontenelle

June 15, 2012 at 10:41 am

Very well said, Steven.

Leslie Fontenelle

June 15, 2012 at 11:00 am

Vic: one of the many differences between what Moore did to Miracleman and what is being done in “Before Watchmen” is that while Moore re-imagined the character from the ground up, that is not what we’re seeing here. This is just regurgitation, not the same thing as Miracleman at ALL. In the case of Silk Spectre it’s very competently-done regurgitation, due to the talent they threw at the project, but it’s still very thin pap. These books are just expanding on a superior story that did not require expansions. These are not new stories, they are background references being expanded.

And since “Before Watchmen” is very clearly NOT a new concept but merely a subproduct of another superior story, it’s impossible and even unfair to judge it in its own terms. There characters are all the same, the stories are doing nothing more than flesh out details that were implied in the original, and none of the characters are being played differently from what they were in Watchmen – so when judging these books, we can’t really pretend that they are new ideas that should be judged by their own merits; they are not, and they shouldn’t.

@Vic

A fair point. But I don’t think you can compare Watchmen to just any story or movie. Some stories, perhaps by nature, or by their own author’s intent, are made to be continuous. Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan come to mind. Some exist in the limited time frame of their own movie or comic. I would not want to see The Early Adventures of Travis Bickle. Taxi Driver was a story that gave you all you needed to know about the characters. I’ll agree that many stories can be expounded upon – but Watchmen is not one of that group. Besides, even in the examples you gave (Aliens and so on), you must admit that many of those sequel were motivated by movie studios wanting to make a buck, and not by some artful calling-out by the source material to be continued and expanded

Furthermore, what in Minutemen or Silk Spectre has even demonstrated that they are stories that needed to be told. So far all I’ve heard is “It was a good read” and “Amanda’s art is pretty”. These prequels need to justify their own existence and accomplish something special of their own if they are to be defended as necessary. Are the authors even trying to reach beyond the pale, as Moore did. Or are they just reaching for the brass ring (ie. $$$$)

I also agree that any comic should be judged on its own. But in the case of Before Watchmen, there are also creator’s rights issues surrounding the project. I can’t condone turning a blind eye to that fact, even in the name of impartial judgement

In the end, the story is the story. Either it will stand on it’s own, or it won’t. I agree that the first issues of these two Before Watchmen mini-series are largely expository and judged purely in a vacuum, they are both shrug-worthy issues. But the creators involved have earned more than dismissive shrugs. They are having to walk a super-fine line in the presentation of these first forays into new Watchmen content and have a lot of masters to serve. Both issues have wonderful moments and images in them that already resonate with me and I can’t wait to see where they go. In six (or four) months time, we’ll know if they succeeded.

The REAL debate will be in about a year’s time when “After Watchmen” is announced. Personally, I can’t wait for “The New Minutemen” #1.

Regarding Moore’s arguments on creator rights, Moore initially wanted to use the Charlton characters for Watchmen, only to create “new” characters based on the Charlton heroes (ie Blue Beetle becomes Nite-Owl, The Question becomes Rorschach, CPT Atom becomes Dr. Manhattan, etc) when it became clear his story would render those characters mostly unusable for future stories.

That being the case, has Moore ever offered to share any of his royalties for Watchmen with Joe Gill or Steve Ditko (creators of Captain Atom and The Question)? Probably not. Did DC offer them a share? Probably not. That’s because DC owned the rights to the Charlton characters and could do whatever they wanted with them, including letting Moore make characters based on them for Watchmen.

Now DC is using characters for whom they own the rights and letting other writers use them. Isn’t this a very similar principle to Moore using the Charlton characters?

I’m not trying to attack the man, but he rails on about creator rights and how he has been violated. But Moore reused concepts created by others, and none of those Charlton creators got any money or credit for the adoption of their original ideas. Watchmen has provided Moore a pretty decent income over the last couple of decades (splitting 8% of the earnings of a comic in print since 1986 must be worth something, plus he admitted to receiving substantial money for the rights to the characters, I assume far more than Ditko ever got). Not a dime of that was shared with any Charlton creator.

Why is it a violation of “creator’s rights” for DC to use Moore’s ideas in their own way in Before Watchmen, but it’s not violating “creator’s rights” for Moore to reuse Ditko’s ideas in Watchmen?

I loved Watchmen. I personally don’t think Before Watchmen is a great idea, and I will likely not read any of it; but DC is a business and their purpose is to make money where it can and Moore’s arguments about creator’s rights have a touch of hypocrisy to them. Moore may be speaking the truth about the need for DC to make money off what it can these days, and Before Watchmen might be artistically offensive to Moore, but give the creator’s rights argument a break already.

@Josh

When has Moore ever “railed on” about creators’ rights? I’d love to see a quote.

I’ve heard him calmly and logically answer questions about his Watchmen contract – but that’s about it

Also, as usual, and as has been pointed out about a million times – you’re confusing work-for-hire creators’ rights, which is a valid issue in itself, with the contract that Moore and Gibbons singed for Watchmen. As much as I care for the plight of Gary Friedrich – show me a contract that Friedrich singed that said the rights to Ghost Rider would revert back to him. See, the kind of stuff Friedrich got screwed on, and the bait-and-switch job that was pulled on Moore, are apples and oranges – stop trying to make them equal issues please

I’d put Watchmen in a murky gray area regarding work-for-hire. Moore didn’t come to DC with the idea for Watchmen as something he’d been developing. If I’m not mistaken, DC went to Moore with the task of doing something with the Charlton characters. He developed it for a while with those characters, but when DC decided they didn’t want to do anything permanent with those characters, they asked him to come up with new versions of the characters. If I’m DC, I can rightfully say that I was involved as a co-creator every step of the way, and if not for the initial work-for-hire it would have been with the Charlton characters, there never would have been a Watchmen.

Something like V for Vendetta that was entirely birthed by Alan Moore and brought to DC? Totally different.

While it’s not fair, I don’t think DC went into the agreement with Moore and Gibbons with the intent of screwing them over by keeping the graphic novel perpetually in print. Until Watchmen, I don’t think there had been ANY graphic novels so successful that they thought it would remain so. Granted, the non-douchey thing to do on DC’s part would have been to negotiate some sort of gentlemen’s agreement once they realized that Watchmen had more legs than any other graphic novel, but that didn’t happen. That sucks, but in every industry, there’s someone you can point to as the “don’t be like THAT guy” person who didn’t pay attention to what they were doing, or who was unfortunate enough to be at the center of a legal loophole.

Are the comments on every one of these reviews going to devolve into an argument about the ethics of “Before Watchmen”? That’s a discussion worth having, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with Chad and Brian’s reviews.

Connor’s art is great. If nothing else, I hope this project moves her to the superstar status she deserves.

keep making noise people , all it is doing is helping sales, added 14 more holds today for this , do you realize all you are doing is drawing more attention to the project? You are making more people curious for something they had no intention of buying. I thank you and i am sure DC does too!

LOL. So you don’t care what the success of an artistically bankrupt cash-grab like this means for the comic industry? Who cares if it leads to more desperate gimmicks and the strip-mining of any creative equity that comic creators have built – as long as you can sell 14 more issues of a comic. What a joke

we now have sold 120 + ( guaranteed ) 38 more holds and climbing hourly –All i was saying , we are going to sell 200+ of this comic , and if it was not for the vocal minority on the internet , making so much noise , we probably have sold a bit more then half of that.

So i am thanking you and i am sure DC is thanking you for drawing extra attention to the project.

And i sell comic books (and sell them well ) and all of my best selling comics are all Characters that someone has an issue with one way or another. Superman , Batman and related , Avengers etc all dominated my top 20 this past year. Sorry , this is the way it is in the comic book industry and the way it will remain. And complaining on the internet about this and that just draws attention to the comics.

Controversy sells ! and more so with comic books as they do not need that much of a push to really move the needle.

And artistically i am fine with the BW titles , i read both , and really enjoyed both (so much that i re-read both , something i never do )

DC is on f-ing roll right now . BW , Bat titles , E2 stuff , Animal Man / Swamp Thing / Dial H , Supes , GL bks , we can not keep the stuff in stock , we have never done such huge re-orders each week like we are doing now. I re-ordered 100 E2 this past week , E2 !! Who would have thought . Just had another guy add , he wants 20 of each BW title, he re-sells at Flea Markets for a small mark up. THIS IS A DAMN GOOD TIME TO BE IN THE COMIC BIZ! I LOVE WHAT WE ARE SELLING!

200+ of this comic , and if it was not for the vocal minority on the internet , making so much noise , we probably have sold a bit more then half of that.

So i am thanking you and i am sure DC is thanking you for drawing extra attention to the project.

Nice try, but no.

This is a prequel to Watchmen. The BEST SELLING GRAPHIC NOVEL OF ALL TIME. It was going to sell regardless. Anyone who bought this was going to buy it anyway, backlash or no. They didn’t buy it because of what a handful of people on the internet said. I can understand if this was some quiet, underground project at a small company and the uproar happened. THEN maybe you can say it wouldn’t have sold so much if not for people online. But this is the bestselling graphic novel of all time, one of the few graphic novels that’s a success even among indie comic readers who hate superheroes and among readers who don’t really like comics at all. And it had a major blockbuster movie adaptation, plus coverage in every major media outlet.

The idea that the online backlash spurred significant amounts of people to buy this who previously weren’t is simply ridiculous.

DC is on f-ing roll right now . BW , Bat titles , E2 stuff , Animal Man / Swamp Thing / Dial H , Supes , GL bks , we can not keep the stuff in stock , we have never done such huge re-orders each week like we are doing now. I re-ordered 100 E2 this past week , E2 !! Who would have thought . Just had another guy add , he wants 20 of each BW title, he re-sells at Flea Markets for a small mark up. THIS IS A DAMN GOOD TIME TO BE IN THE COMIC BIZ! I LOVE WHAT WE ARE SELLING!

History will regard the new DC era as a smaller scale version of the 90s bubble. The short term sales spike has already worn off according to the beat and it’s only been a year.

Imma gonna let you finish, but the Beatles version of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ was the best. History will regard all the ripoffs as the beginning of the end of the music industry.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/the-10-most-covered-songs-1052165.html

“History will regard the new DC era as a smaller scale version of the 90s bubble. The short term sales spike has already worn off according to the beat and it’s only been a year.”

sorry far from the truth

, and why should you be concerned , you are probably just one of the noisemakers who never buys comic books anyway

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=39164

excerpt:
The aggregate sales for new issues set in the DC Universe in May totaled up to an estimated 2,582,063 units. That total is about 80% of the total units sold for the DC Universe titles back in September 2011 during the first full month of sales after Flashpoint. Granted, it is taking 57 comics to generate those sales including a few annuals and the first issue of the second wave of titles. This aggregate total is remarkably close to the 2,600,000 units I originally expected the second issues to sell based on the first issue sales and the typical second issue drop of around 20%. Obviously some titles like “Batman” and “Justice League” are holding strong while other have already been swapped out for newer ones. Prior to the relaunch, the DC Universe titles were averaging around 2,283,613 estimated units a month during the final order era. It isn’t significantly higher, but it is higher after nine months, which is impressive. The comics are coming out on time and the reboot is looking to be a continued success.

Bottom line for our store and other retailers , we are selling more comic books then we were a year ago , add in the TPB sales $$ , stores are up , i would estimate 30% from last year.

Bottom line on BW , DC is adding aprx $3200 to my cash flow this month , THANK YOU , DC!

While spirited debates like this one are probably not directly responsible for significant sales, what I DO think it indicates is the amount of discussion that’s going on out in the world, and when there is discussion, there are potential readers who will hear about it that would never have had it on any of their radars.

While buzz will get them in and buying these issues, it will always ultimately fall on the quality of the comics themselves. And even then, there is continuing debate, which will continue to inspire readers to check it out and get in on the conversation.

Like it or no, people are talking. And buying.

Well I’ve read both issues and they were both incredibly dull. Cooke’s art was nice on Minutemen but that was about it. Silk Spectre was a terrible, terrible comic (the art was ok). I mean, her mother attacking her like an assassin? Embarrassingly stupid.

According to DC these two series were supposed to be the best of the bunch and I thought they were dull,dull, dull. I can only imagine how crap stuff like Ozymyndias is gonna be (Rorschach and Comedian I might check out, will wait and see what the word of mouth is on those now though)

Expect BIG drops in sales for later issues, I’d guess!

truthfully , more people like these then do not , we have about 75% aprx signing up after trying the 1st issues. Our average rate on people trying 1st issues , and adding to there reserve is a little under 50%.

BW seems to be getting good word of mouth with our customer base, though i would estimate that SS is getting more “very likes” then MM.

Its funny when you read stuff on the ‘net (esp. on “hipster” sites like the Beat ) , you would think people hate AVX , DC Nu52 , BW , etc

Yet in the actual stores , this is what people are actually buying , Heidi and her vocal minority are completely wrong , they remind me of the 1,000,000 million mom types , that yell and scream about TV show before they air

small typo above:

that yell and scream about a TV show before they air

@fancd —

If “Heidi” ever comes into your store, I hope you treat him or her with more respect than you do here — it would be hard to believe that a business owner would be so disparaging of a client simply because they don’t want to purchase what the mass market does.

I have no doubt that people are buying AvX, for example — that doesn’t make it a good book, any more than NCIS is a better program than say, Mad Men, just because more people watch it. Surely you’ve had people ask for something that you think is complete garbage; and, if you’re a good business owner, you’ll carry it. PT Barnum was right about underestimating the intelligence of the American people (or any people, for that matter).

A lot of the nu52 is wretched; but there are some very good books out there — some of them even happen to be good sellers. If I came into your store, I’d be asking for Demon Knights and Frankenstein, not Wonder Woman or Batman, simply because I like the way the former books are heading and am not so fond of never-ending Owls and murderous sex pirates. I’m sure you’ve sold a lot more Batman than any of those three, and I would guess than you’ve sold more WW than either of the two I request. Maybe not, but I have a hard time thinking you’d turn down my money. Maybe we could come by your store and see — where is it?

And, by the way, I love the Dylan reference in the blog title — very apropos for the characters and books involved. There certainly seem to be a lot of people “arrested” in this endless wrangling — but they all think they know more than we do!

While spirited debates like this one are probably not directly responsible for significant sales, what I DO think it indicates is the amount of discussion that’s going on out in the world, and when there is discussion, there are potential readers who will hear about it that would never have had it on any of their radars.

I’m confused, are you saying spirited discussion online reflects and is a microcosm of what’s happening in the real world. or do you think it’s helping spur a larger worldwide phenomenon? Because I agree with the former but not the latter. The discussion and debate whether online or in the mainstream media will not drag in any potential new readers by putting it on their radar, because no one cares about this debate except people who already have at least a passing interest in the original Watchmen story.

To BeccaBlast.

1st thing : i apologize to Heidi , i was not referring to her directly , i was referring to the people who tend to comment on her blog.
2nd thing: Of course you could buy what you like at our store , and no worry of any “snark” with any purchase , it is one thing i do not put up with my employees. And i think you would be surprised with what sells for us Animal Man, Swamp Thing , Dial H are just barely trailing Batman and related in our store , with the exception of AVX and tie-ins, they are outselling every Marvel book.

You are correct though WW is doing really well , Top 30 each month or near , never thought i would see that.
Demon Knights and Frankenstein (which i love) are doing well in our store , about Spider-Man level , may be a wee bit less.

I would not like to post my store location for the simple reason, it allows me to freely discuss sales figures , and most importantly , allows me to express opinions on subjects , i would never share in my store , for fear of offending a customer. People tend to take comic book buying very personally , we pick up many customers , simply for not making a comment about what they choose to purchase.

I recall the relatively unknown Alan Moore taking someone else’s Swamp Thing character, Abigail Arcane, and having her suffer a nervous breakdown after being the victim of incestuous necrophilia. I’d say that, in concept, is pretty damn disrespectful to the original creators of the Swamp Thing characters. And yet, surprisingly enough, Moore’s run on Swamp Thing was fantastic.

Before Watchmen won’t even dare to do anything as drastic. So far it’s been pretty good.

Not to belabor the point, but I find it ironic that several commenters here and last week trying to play up the “Moore is a hypocrite” angle are mentioning how Moore changed Swamp Thing as an example of him disrespecting someone else’s characters. Since some of you obviously don’t know, Len Wein, the creator of Swamp Thing (with Bernie Wrightson) and the writer of Swampy’s first dozen or so issues, is who hired Moore to write Swamp Thing in 1983. In fact, Len Wein was the editor of Swamp Thing #21, the famous Anatomy Lesson issue, so surely he was in support of the issue’s content or it wouldn’t have happened.

And WEin was the editor of Watchmen as well, so even after he handed Swamp Thing over to Karen Berger, he clearly must not have been too pissed by anything Moore did to “his” characters or he likely wouldn’t have agreed to work with Moore again on a new project.

Wasn’t trying to Wein was mad about it, just pointing out that Alan was allowed to go in bold new directions with a character someone else created. From what you say, Wein seems very gracious about it….Moore could stand to learn from that. Look up his reaction to hearing people were still using Mogo the Green Lantern.

The “hypocrite” contingents point is that Alan Moore can’t have it both ways. He can’t go on and on about the sanctity of his creation and that no one should continue or expand upon his story while at the same time, building a career that except for Watchmen (and as has been discussed earlier, even that’s debatable), has significantly come from adapting and drastically altering other creator’s characters. While Len Wein might have signed off on what Moore did to Swamp Thing, I don’t know what opinion Mick Anglo had about what he did with Miracleman, especially Kid Miracleman. Or in the case of stand-alone “completed” works, Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz. I doubt either of those creators would approve of what Moore has done with their characters. Or Alan Quartermain, Mr. Hyde, Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, et al. He looked at those characters as great material for new ideas and he ran with it. You just can’t say “don’t touch my characters” while constantly doing the same thing with dozens of other creators’ works.

Whether we like it or not, this is the first salvo of comics in the “Watchmen Universe”. We’re going to get tons of these things over the next forever. Some (maybe even most) of them will be crap. But at some point, the next Alan Moore is going to come along and create something in this universe that is astounding and original. It’s gonna happen.

As to the response to my earlier comment about the conversation leading to sales, I’m merely arguing that this one conversation here is indicative of the level of buzz and conversation and awareness that’s out in the ‘real’ world. This has people talking, from an ethical standpoint as well as a pure story standpoint. By osmosis, casual fans of comics and/or people who have heard of or read Watchmen as their only foray into comics are going to pick up on this buzz and perhaps head to a comic shop for the first time since they went looking for Watchmen.

Before the controversy around Kanye West and Taylor Swift, I don’t know that I’d heard about either one of them. But they burst onto the radar where even my 80 year old mother had heard about it and had an opinion. Now, that conversation didn’t make me go out and buy either of their albums, but I’m sure it contributed to tons of people discovering and possibly sampling either or both of their works for the first time and out of those, some new fans were born. People are talking about Before Watchmen. In our debate, we are constantly bringing up Swamp Thing and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Lost Girls, which many people, maybe even comics fans, might not have been aware of, or aware that Alan Moore wrote those, and I wouldn’t be surprised if now all of those comics are on people’s radars. Or I guess, if they have an ethical bone in their bodies, they’ll start boycotting these comics on the basis of standing up for the original creators of those characters…

Steven R. Stahl

June 16, 2012 at 7:28 am

Or in the case of stand-alone “completed” works, Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz. I doubt either of those creators would approve of what Moore has done with their characters.

Why assume that they’d react at all to what Moore did with their characters? They’d react to a story he wrote as a whole. Your frame of reference is off. When a writer has an idea for a story, whether it’s to argue a political viewpoint, touch on current affairs, explore a philosophical, moral, or ethical issue, examine the evolving relationship between two people, etc., the characters are parts he uses in the construction of the story. When he’s done constructing the story. . .

The idea that the simple existence of a comics character justifies using him or her in a story is based far more on the profit potential and reader psychology–comics readers reacting to how the character looks on the printed page–than it is on the art of storytelling. Moore’s “use of other characters” is a non-issue.

SRS

@Vic said

“people are talking. And buying”

Not really. The one Minutemen thread on CBR came and quickly died, with about 2 pages worth of comments. Compare that with any Avengers Versus X-Men thread for any issue

Nope. Despite DC running television commercials for Before Watchmen – people aren’t talking much about the comic. These threads about the controversy and creators rights have FAR more comments in them than any discussion I’ve seen about the content of the books

As far as sales – have they sold a million copies each?? Because that is what the Watchmen TPB did right after the movie came out. So yeah, as T said, these books have a built-in audience and are going to sell. But early returns indicate that the content is so boring and bland that it is hardly worth discussing

@SRS So to understand your argument, do the wishes of the heirs and the estate get any say? Or are you saying that you believe the Kirby, Siegel or Schuster estates would be able to consciously differentiate between the derivative uses of their characters and the artist’s work itself, and not have a negative reaction? And on what basis should comic artists be exempt from the same creative licenses being applied worldwide in prose, music, video and other forms of art?

Quite frankly, we live in a remix culture where any cultural icon is likely to be reused in places you’d least expect, where artistic potential and commercial viability have been uneasy bedfellows for decades. Some touchpoints resonate more with some people than others. In this review, we saw how the use of a song was appreciated by one and basically overlooked by the other. Just because you feel one way about an issue and the way it was resolved doesn’t mean that the way Moore used characters is a non-issue…it just means you and others may have differing opinions that might be perceived as equally valid to an objective third party.

@heb

Moore’s use of literary characters, and people using comic book characters are not analogs. Please stop trying to make them equal – they are not

Moore already addressed that comparison here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAfXSgRxQEc

In literature, writers long before Moore used characters from other novels. It has been a tradition in literature for a long time. Moore’s use of Alice from Wonderland or Wendy from Peter Pan is a continuation of this tradition. Please stop shouting “hypocrite” while using a false equivalency. Thanks

To paraphrase Alan Moore himself, “Was Alan Moore so bankrupt for ideas that he couldn’t come up with new characters or stories and had to raid the works of other creators?”

Why did Moore have to use Alice, Wendy and Dorothy? Why didn’t he just make up three new characters like a real author would? Why did he have to use Captain Nemo, Nina Harker, Invisible Man, and basically every other literary character created in the 1800′s? Why didn’t he just make up his own characters that fulfilled the same roles? It’s because each of those characters comes with a built-in history and sense of place in the reader’s mind, allowing the author to dive in and explore aspects of the characters that the original author never considered or intended. We celebrate Alan Moore for doing this, and for doing it so deftly.

That said, he IS raiding the works of other creators, without permission or compensation to the author’s heirs. Because it’s “public domain” doesn’t absolve Moore of the tomb raiding he’s doing. If the law suddenly changed tomorrow to make works go into public domain after five years, then would it suddenly be okay for not just DC, but for anyone to use Watchmen in whatever story they want?

Either it’s okay to use another creator’s characters in your own works, even to the point of twisting them so far out of shape that the original author would probably be horrified, or it’s NOT okay. If Moore (or anyone else) is all about showing respect for other authors or creators, then he wouldn’t dare touch their creations, much less feature them in an x-rated fantasy (in the case of Lost Girls).

You can’t give Moore a pass because HIS raiding of, and profiting from, previously-created characters resulted in good stories that you like and want to defend. By using this logic, we have to wait to see if any of these Before Watchmen mini-series turns out to be a masterpiece, THEN it can be declared that it was okay for DC and the individual creators involved to have raided Alan Moore’s characters for more stories.

Either it’s okay to use other creator’s characters without permission…or it’s not. Alan Moore has to pick a side and be consistent with it, as does everyone else rising up in moral outrage.

No Vic. You don’t get it. Also, I just asked you to stop making false equivalencies – and you immediately typed-up 6 long-winded and logically bankrupt paragraphs on those false equivalencies. Good job

@abcdefg

That interview only undermines everything Alan Moore is railing against. The interviewer concisely pointed out the hypocrisy in Moore’s statements over and over. Just because Moore had rationalized it in his head doesn’t make it right or true. The example he gave of Jules Verne using Poe characters is preposterous because that was entirely, I’m certain, without Poe’s knowledge or permission. I’m too lazy right now to look it up, but I’m pretty sure several decades separated the living years of Poe and Verne.

Moore had stories to tell, and decided to tell them. Period.

And his rationale of going into the movie deals with the EXPECTATION that they wouldn’t get made and that he’d be paid for it anyway shows the CRASSEST form of crass commercialism. He just wanted to get PAID.

I love Alan Moore as a creator, but his greatest creations are the justifications he gives for why it’s okay to raid other creators’ works for his own monetary gain.

Vic – I hear you, but I’m unclear. What is the difference between Verne using Poe’s character when Poe was dead, and Moore using Alice from Wonderland??

Also, what has Moore done that is hypocritical? You saying that he is a hypocrite doesn’t make it so. You have to provide an example of his hypocrisy

Also, as an aside, I love how people on the Internet, over and over, questions Moore’s morals, yet they give the creators involved with Before Watchman a free pass. If anything, I think this reveals that people really just want to attack Moore – and don’t really care about the issues

@abcdef – Please stop misquoting my direct comments to @SRS.

What I said was, I believe Moore’s decision to consciously disregard the rights of a hospital for sick children is structurally identical to DC’s decision to disregard Moore’s rights. Both exploited the idea that derivative uses could be contrived to deprive the proper rights holder of fair compensation. Both circumstances were based on loopholes that perverted the intent of those that originally drafted the agreements. The original comment is here:

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2012/06/07/and-the-superhuman-review-before-watchmen-minutemen-1/#comment-902937

It’s somewhat telling that most of the people taking the high road are the ones that are here to talk about the quality of the book and how it is good for LCS sales, while the ones with the most vitriol are the ones that openly hope for failure, as if that event would somehow make their lives a little bit better.

I apologize if it seems like I somehow disrespect Alan Moore…as I’ve stated repeatedly on these boards, there are many reasons why I admire Moore and what he has done. I am unhappy with the way his contract was perverted, period. What I take exception to, however, are mischaracterizations of events. History shows that much unhappiness comes from witch hunts based on flawed premises.

@abcdef lol, since you apparently didn’t read any of my long-winded paragraphs, I’ll give you a short-winded one.

Disregarding all the legal public domain minutiae, either it’s ethical to use someone’s characters without their express permission, or it’s not. If Alan Moore is going to rail against people using his characters (legally, I might add), then he can’t turn around and make an exception for himself using other people’s characters (legally). The minute Moore starts making justifications for why it’s okay for him to do it, then it opens it up for anyone else to justify using his characters.

It’s a binary equation.

@Vic, poor @abc is getting so upset, he’s not even bothering to read what he’s typing. He’s so eager to accuse you of “typing up 6 long-winded and logically bankrupt paragraphs” that he didn’t realize the person he had asked to “stop making false equivalencies” was me, not you.

If a person can’t be bothered to read something, how can you expect them to engage in a civil debate?

Good job, @abc!!

@Heb Now you’re downgrading my long-winded paragraphs. I clearly had six paragraphs of blathering on and on two posts back. Granted, a couple of those paragraphs were single sentences, but if you’re going to defend me/take a bullet for an attack against me, please at least acknowledge that my paragraphs are paragraphs.

LOL

These days, even a word counts as a paragraph. So yeah, your paragraphs are paragraphs. (But word on the street is you’re slacking in the blather department.)

And in other news, Santa Claus is a capitalist tool, the movie ‘Prometheus’ is a ripoff because I expected more ‘Alien’ in my prequel, and I’m wondering why they didn’t bring back last year’s Comic-Con panel, “Is the Comic Book Doomed?”

@josh Earlier you had asked if “…(Alan) Moore (has) ever offered to share any of his royalties for Watchmen with Joe Gill or Steve Ditko.” I don’t know about those two, but Moore is on record as having offered to pay Miracleman creator Mick Anglo part of any royalties he gets from Marvel sales of his Miracleman stories.

Noticed you ignored both of these questions

“What is the difference between Verne using Poe’s character when Poe was dead, and Moore using Alice from Wonderland??

Also, what has Moore done that is hypocritical? You saying that he is a hypocrite doesn’t make it so. You have to provide an example of his hypocrisy”

Also, defending Moore now equals vitriol?? LOL – okay

@Vic, wait, maybe I can translate what you said into plain English. It’s not Moore you have a problem with, it’s the entire literary tradition that you dislike – of which Moore is just one of many participants.

But again, since that is related to literary tradition, and not comic books – it is utterly irrelevant to the Before Watchman conversation. Although, I understand, it is just one thing against Moore among many that you are throwing up against the wall to see if it will stick

for all of the complaining from the non-buyers of BW
this book sure is getting good reviews (most importantly from my customer base) and the comic press

http://www.newsarama.com/comics/best-shots-extra-massive-1-silk-spectre-1.html

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #1
Written by Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner
Art by Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts
Lettering by Carlos M. Mangual
Published by DC Comics
Review by David Pepose
‘Rama Rating: 10 out of 10

Forget the headiness, forget the apocalyptic themes, forget the overwhelming darkness that made the original Watchmen the masterpiece it was.

Because besides the protagonist of the book, Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #1 isn’t like its predecessor. Not hardly. This is a story about mothers and daughters — and that’s all it needs

@abcdefgh

No, you got my opinion of this exactly opposite. I’m 100% in favor of taking previous creations and putting a new spin on them. All of Moore’s stuff is basically that. I think Alan Moore is THE greatest of all time. Kirby is probably #2 (though not at all for his pure writing ability, obviously).

This is why I have ZERO problem with Before Watchmen. It’s just continuing the long-standing literary and comics tradition of re-examining a character or world from a fresh perspective and mining it for new stories.

I just think, (sigh.. can’t believe I’m having to explain this to you yet again) that it’s totally hypocritical of Moore to get all up in arms when someone wants to re-examine his characters and worlds he’s created to look for more stories. It’s actually an insult to say that there’s NOTHING more than can be said about the Watchmen universe. It’s a rich world, with tons of stories waiting to be told. Just like with each new Batman story, or Daredevil story or Sherlock Holmes story, or Trojan War story, I’ll evaluate the Before (and After) Watchmen stories on the basis of how well the story was told. Some will be good, some will be bad.

The dumb contract Moore signed, and the sanctity of the Watchmen graphic novel are two entirely different things. If you want to rail against DC for being sleazy about it, I have NO beef with you. Yes, what they did was wrong and if you want to boycott Before Watchmen (and if you do that, you really need to boycott ALL DC and Marvel comics), then all the more power to you. Fight on, brother!

But if you, or Moore, are going to take a stand and say that no one should touch Watchmen on some sort of creative moral grounds, then you have zero legs to stand on. Works of literary or comic art are either sacred or their not. You just can’t pick and choose which creators you’re going to say it’s okay to mine their works for your own new stories.

Either you’re FOR the sanctity of creator’s works of art, or you’re for being able to use characters and ideas and worlds in whatever way you want, even to the point of warping children’s beloved literary characters into proudly-proclaimed (by Moore himself) pornography.

How are you not seeing the hypocrisy in this? Moore wants to have it both ways. “Leave my characters alone, but don’t dare prevent me from doing whatever I want with other creator’s characters.”

@abcgef

How about this? Just answer this question with a yes or no.

Is it okay for a writer/filmmaker/artist/comic creator to use another creator’s character or world WITHOUT their express permission?

“How are you not seeing the hypocrisy in this? Moore wants to have it both ways. “Leave my characters alone, but don’t dare prevent me from doing whatever I want with other creator’s characters.””

Because that’s not what Moore has been saying. There’s a lot of confusion in this thread and I think it’s primarily down to the fact that people are not seeing the difference between two separate arguments against Watchmen.

The one a lot of you are arguing about is a relative side issue: the use of characters/story by other writers/artists and whether that’s right or wrong. The MAIN issue that people like myself have is the ethical issue i.e. DC reneging/reinterpreting the original contract – specific to Watchmen – in order to unfairly hold on to the rights and exploit them in any way they see fit without the consent of both original creators, as had always been originally agreed.

I’ll start by saying one thing: JOHN CONSTANTINE. Moore (along with Totleban/Bissette) created John Constantine and many other creators have gone on to do stories with him and about him. They have expanded on the character and his world, made him go through various changes and styles. Nowhere have I seen Moore talk about how wrong this is. There’s actually a quote from Alan Moore on the trade for Brian Azzarello and Richard Corben’s run on the character (Hard Time?). Moore has no problem, in general, with other writers/artists working on his past creations. Yes, he said that Geoff Johns seemingly basing his entire 5+ year run on Green Lantern based on two 5 page comics he did in the 80s is a sign of creative bankrupty but ultimately he doesn’t have a problem with it on ethical groungs. He’d be fine with DC doing Before Mogo.

Because that was the deal he signed up for when he created those characters and wrote those stories.

That is NOT the Watchmen deal. His problem – and the ethical issue at the heart of all this – is that the original deal that he and Gibbons understood and which DC assured them was correct (and promoted this interpretation of the deal to the public at the time of Watchmen’s original release!), this deal was then re-interpreted by DC after the success of Watchmen and also, according to Moore, that DC went out of their way to break the deal by screwing the duo over merchandising and various other offshoots.

Moore created John Constantine with full knowledge of what the creative deal was and accepted the trade-off. Moore and Gibbons created Watchmen on the understanding that they would have creative control of it in any future iterations and a say in any future deals re: films or what have you.

The ethical issue here is that DC reneged on their contract and screwed the original creators out of this original deal. Even Jim Lee, co-publihser of DC Comics, has said that DC are not honouring 100% of the Watchmen contract. Therefore some people feel it is UNETHICAL for other comic creators to participate in this event.

Now there is a SEPARATE argument whereby some people feel there is no NARRATIVE need for BW (as an aside: has anyone ever created a direct prequel that satisfied anyone?) and that there should be no more stories done with those particular characters within that particular story. By all means, do a gay Tijuana Bible with Rorschach and Nite Owl but, like with Moore’s Lost Girls or LOEXG, he has at least had the decency to remove them from their original context and into a new one through which he can better explore his own themes and story ideas.

There are a lot of arguments above which are confusing these two separate points and attempting to dismess the ethical issue with arguments in favour narrative necessity of BW.

Also the constant moral equivalance is incredibly annoying. The ethical issues behind Seigel/Shuster with Superman, Steve Ditko with Spider-Man, Bill Finger with Batman (oh, how the list goes on!) are not equivalent to the ethical issues behind Moore and Watchmen other than they’re in the same medium. All those I mentioned before KNEW they were creating characters who would later be worked on by other people – just as Moore knew this when introducing Constantine to Swamp Thing – but that WAS NOT THE CASE with Watchmen.

@fancd “for all of the complaining from the non-buyers of BW
this book sure is getting good reviews (most importantly from my customer base) and the comic press”

Actually a lot of the reviews for Silk Spectre have been average to poor. Other than this one we’re commenting on and the Newsarama one you linked to (which is laughable, Newsarama are hardly an objective source for reviews on Marvel/DC comics!) there’s;

The official review from this website we’re on (hello, CBR!) gave it two stars :: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=4854
IGN sounds like a ‘meh’ : http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/06/13/before-watchmen-silk-spectre-1-review
Digital Spy ‘meh’: http://www.digitalspy.com/comics/news/a387162/before-watchmen-silk-spectre-1-review.html

etc. etc. Admittedly it has gotten better reviews than Minutemen which I personally thought would have been the biggest critical hit of the lot. I’m looking forward to seeing what the word of mouth is on something like Dr. Manhattan, a character whose entire origin and every important moment of his past, present and future has pretty much been covered already in the source material..

“All those I mentioned before KNEW they were creating characters who would later be worked on by other people – just as Moore knew this when introducing Constantine to Swamp Thing – but that WAS NOT THE CASE with Watchmen.”

So what you’re saying is that Frank L Baum, J.M. Barrie and Lewis Carroll KNEW their works would one day be used for a pornographic comic book? Those books were work-for-hire?

Of course not.

As an author/creator, you have view other artists work in black and white, or grey. When it serves Moore’s point, he goes the black and white route, saying that to use HIS creations is the equivalent of creative bankruptcy. At other times, he’s very grey about the whole thing, saying that it was a “literary tradition” to incorporate previous creator’s works into one’s stories, such as Verne and Poe and that he’s just following in that tradition.

If anyone wants to accuse Darwyn Cooke, Amanda Connor, the Kuberts, Brian Azzarello and the rest of letting dollar signs dictate their creative output, then by all means, lay into them. Alan Moore of course never did any of his work with the notion of being paid for it. Any money he was given was just a surprising byproduct of his artistic integrity. (this is a silly argument of course, as EVERY comic creator except for maybe a couple is only able to work on their comics and have them published if both they and the publisher can make a living doing so.)

But once you get into the gray area of if it’s ETHICAL that comics creators work for DC or Marvel because of what has been done to Moore, Kirby, et al? That’s between each creator and their own conscience. If anyone has an ethical problem with creators working on Before Watchmen, then it’s hypocrisy on their part if they are selective about what they are boycotting. As some are doing, you have to boycott ALL of DC and Marvel properties– comics, movies, cartoons, toys. All of it. If you’re one of those people, and are planning on going DC/Marvel cold turkey until they restore the rights to the disenfranchised creators, then YOU guys I’ll listen to and have respect for. But if you’re going to turn your nose up at Before Watchmen and lambast their creators, but then go see Avengers, or Dark Knight Rises, or Amazing Spiderman, or let your kid watch Brave and the Bold on Cartoon Network, or buy ANYthing with a Superman logo on it, then you’re definitely a hipster contrarian who’s only jumping on the “Let’s Bash Before Watchmen” bandwagon you seem to believe is forming.

Before Watchmen is only ONE aspect of a gigantic story and to single it out (or to single Alan Moore out) is just being selective about your moral outrage.

I have no problem with the existence of Before Watchmen, or with the creators who are participating in it. It’s in the long-standing literary tradition of re-interpreting or expanding upon the works of other authors, both with and without their express permission.

Oh, and I’m sure that this will open up a whole other can of worms, while Moore is still ranting, the co-creator of Watchmen has NO problem with Before Watchmen and has given it his blessing. Is he a sell-out? Or accepting the palm branch that DC/Time Warner is offering to him along with whatever other compensation?

@PreacherCain Thank you for the well-written summary of the issues, and for being so even-handed in your analysis of exactly how Moore got screwed over.

My opinion, Moore got rogered because none of the signing parties to the agreement could possibly guess that Watchmen was going to be as huge as it was, and because higher-ups at Warner made it their business to create and exploit loopholes that would screw Moore and Gibbons out of what was rightfully theirs. No attorney could have known the precise line to strike out, and even if they did, is there any doubt that the evil lawyers would have found some other recourse?

This legal calculus blows to the high heavens but it is the same type of maneuvering done ALL THE TIME between artists who wish to pay every possible homage to those that have come before, save writing the royalty check. The psychic damage from litigation is a toxic mess that has a way of turning you against your friends. My feeling is that at some point, it is best to stop railing about things you have no control over and instead find ways to do things that make you happy…like reviewing good comics, or finding ways to keep the comic business afloat.

As far as the creation of a direct prequel that satisfied anyone: what did you think of Prometheus and the way Ridley Scott went about his business?

“So what you’re saying is that Frank L Baum, J.M. Barrie and Lewis Carroll KNEW their works would one day be used for a pornographic comic book? Those books were work-for-hire?

Of course not.”

Well actually I’m sure they were aware of what the public domain was and how it worked. At a guess, I think Moore would similarly take no issue with Watchmen being public domain; his problem is that his co-copyright has been stolen by DC to exploit as they see fit, which is contrary to the original contract he signed. Would Moore take issue with a gay Tijuana Bible featuring Rorschach and Nite Owl? Probably not! Because THAT’S the literary tradition he uses. Lost Girls is not a sequel or prequel to Alice in Wonderland. It takes the character out of her original context, places her in a wholly new one and uses this familiarity with the character to explore NEW themes and NEW ideas, primarily about the loss of innocence (which childhood fairytales like Alice in Wonderland represent), pornography and the inhumanity of an oncoming war.

You can repeatedly attempt to turn this issue into something else so you can easily dismiss it with arguments that have little to nothing to do with it it but the facts remain: Moore has no issue with people doing more John Constantine stories or stories featuring Mogo or any other characters he created for DC. Because that was the deal. DC are free to do Before Mogo and pornographic comics about John Constantine all they want. Go crazy.

That was not the deal with Watchmen. He knows it, DC knows it, everyone knows it. I believe it is unethical to break that contract and I believe it is also unethical for other “creators” (an increasingly loose term) to contribute to the breaking of that contract and endorsing the behaviour of those unprincipled thieves.

But hey, that’s just like, my opinion maaan.

Primarily I just wanted to post because people were confusing the ethical issue at play in this specific case with completely separate issues. YOU may have a problem with people using public domain characters and placing them in wholly new contexts devoid of their original intent and meaning, which is fine.

But that’s not why Moore has an issue with DC over Watchmen. And it doesn’t make him a hypocrite, no matter how much you want it to.

@heb
Excellently put. It sucks, but you live in and learn. My first business, I went into it naively and didn’t read every part of the contract with my partner (I was the minority owner), and when a major difference of opinion about the usage of profits came up, I discovered that I truly had no say in the matter. Verbal promises were dismissed with a “Sorry, but my lawyer says I never should have made that promise, but that it isn’t legally binding, so this is how it’s going to be.”

I got royally screwed over, ended my partnership with him a few months later and moved to another city to start a new business.

It sucked, but it was all on ME for not doing my due diligence. What were Moore’s lawyers doing the whole time he was negotiating? If he didn’t have lawyers looking at the contract, than’s on Moore.

You live and learn by your own mistakes and by others. It sucks, but I’m sure the next generations of comics creators were more cognizant of the deals they were making and hopefully avoided Moore and Gibbon’s mistakes.

At some point, you move on with life.

As to Prometheus, I thought it was a great movie until it started tying into Alien. It could have been the “2001″ for this century, but as has been well documented, Ridley Scott knew he’d never be given the budget to make a pure sci-fi movie and had to tie it into an existing money-making franchise. The result is a stunningly beautiful, but ultimately pointless exercise in franchise continuation.

“So what you’re saying is that Frank L Baum, J.M. Barrie and Lewis Carroll KNEW their works would one day be used for a pornographic comic book? Those books were work-for-hire?

Of course not.”

Oh and just as a quicik aside: they actually did sign a contract saying they would own the works and their copyright for a certain period of time, upon which they could either be renewed (presumably? That’s more standard today, admittedly, not sure about back then) or they go into the public domain. So presumably those writers knew that one day their works and characters would be used by other people as that’s how copyright law worked. But up until that point, they WOULD have say in any ancillary material feat. those characters and worlds as would, presumably, the publisher. Which was pretty much the original deal Moore and Gibbons had with DC, funnily enough.

Whether or not they thought about their characters in pornographic situations from time to time… well, we can only guess.

And finally, for me personally, it’s not so much about Moore as it is about the wellbeing of the medium. I don’t think comics can thrive if the creators are repeatedly treated unfairly by the likes of DC and Marvel and then hounded out of doing any future work. Ultimately, there’s been a long line of really talented people who contributed hugely to these corporations – creatively, financially, culturally – and they’ve been severly punished for this. I mean, Watchmen still sells a huge amount of copies. Superman and Batman are incredibly popular characters. Infinite Crisis is still massively important to DC and its stable of characters. Yet a hell of a lot of people involved in these things have been punished for their success. It’s not just unethical, it’s stupid. Can that business model realistically survive much longer?

Moore is just another example of this, sadly. I think Moore has actually moved on in terms of his career… but DC have not. They’re still here, screwing over creators and favouring short-term profit over long-term success. And that’s bad for comics and us, as readers. And I think that Moore would like DC to move on from Watchmen too and create new works that excite their readership and inspire a whole new generation.

When I hear him give out about the state of modern comics, he always comes across to me as more disappointed than angry.

All righty. Thanks for the lively discussion everyone! Always edifying to really dig into an interesting topic and hear other people’s views (flawed though they may be, lol!). I’m going to just have to agree to disagree with some of those views. No hard feelings! Good luck with your boycott of DC and Marvel (and their associated parent corporations). I’ll check back in in a few months to see if the discussion has changed any.

Take care!

“Good luck with your boycott of DC and Marvel (and their associated parent corporations). I’ll check back in in a few months to see if the discussion has changed any.”

Why would people boycott Marvel because DC screwed Moore and Gibbons over a specific contract and stole the rights of their story from them? Oh, it’s that whole false equivalency thing again… :)

It was an interesting discussion though the majority of it was off-subject and more about discussing the morality of a specific type of literary technique and its theory (use of characters in out-of-context stories) rather than, you know, the actual ethical issue of the Watchmen contract and why it’s morally dubious for these “creators” to twist the knife in support of a massive corporation that will also happily screw them over one day given the opportunity. Divided we fall.

And apparently, this whole thing started out as a review for some comic, believe it or not!

Looking forward to Before Sandman next summer.

@PreacherCain Unfortunately, that mode of doing business isn’t limited to the world of comic books — look at what just happened to Dan Harmon, the guy who created the Community television show for NBC. But the unfortunate reality is this: the comic business is just about a year into the biggest growth spurt it has seen in a looooong time, and right now the local LCS still needs all the help it can get. So if you’re one of those people that would prefer to see the whole shebang burn to the ground, then I guess my initial impression of you was wrong.

I’m just flat-out tired of people saying that the sole raison d’etre at Marvel and DC is to screw people, when there are an awful lot of good people still working within those organizations, and a lack of leadership elsewhere that has not been a quarter as effective at putting more money into the LCS. If there’s a good comic that comes out, then let’s celebrate the goddamn thing for what it is, instead of snarky little whispers and innuendos that suggest the creators have somehow committed a terrible sin for transgressing against one of their own. It’s a tough bleeping world out there, and for as badly as Moore got savaged, at least he made enough money from his dealings that he’s able to choose what he wants to do next, whether it’s building a memorial for Harvey Pekar in Ohio or giving away royalties to Mick Anglo. But I guess that’s what being part of the 1% does for you — it gives you the ability to make better choices.

You think Moore is part of the 1%? He’s really not. Particularly when he keeps giving away all that bloody Hollywood money!

“that mode of doing business isn’t limited to the world of comic books — look at what just happened to Dan Harmon, the guy who created the Community television show for NBC. ”

But again it’s not really comparable, is it? Harmon knew that was a possibility from day one. Sure, it’s similar, but again it’s false equivalency. NBC didn’t break any contract agreement with Harmon; they chose not to renew his contract (in a shitty and rude way, yeah). If NBC had agreed with him that when he leaves the show it will be finished and at any point after that he would still have a say in whether they make Community toasters or a movie or anything else, then the situations would be comparable.

“I’m just flat-out tired of people saying that the sole raison d’etre at Marvel and DC is to screw people, when there are an awful lot of good people still working within those organizations, ”

Absolutely. But I think you have to call them out when they DO screw people over. Let’s be fair here: Moore has gotten more online hate for pointing out facts that aren’t even disputed by DC, than DC have gotten for essentially breaking a contract with their most successful and profitable employee in decades. It’s not just the unethical nature of it, it’s how unbelievably dumb they are as a profit-seeking company.
In the mid-80s when Moore and Gibbons naively trusted DC and signed that contract; one of the biggest controversies in the mediums history was happening with Marvel and Jack Kirby. And their contract was supposed to represent a new way forward. And it did. For a little while. I think it’s fair to say it likely led to the formation of Vertigo and other successes like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Until DC decided that it wasn’t to their liking all of a sudden and went back on their agreement. My opinion of that is that they acted in a fraudulent and dishonest manner. Which is a far sight worse than being a verbose and sometimes cranky, disillusioned comic-book writer.

In the end, speaking out against these kinds of actions and yes – refusing to buy specific products related to it – will do more to help the good people within those organisations than anything else. I won’t be buying Before Watchmen for this reason (and also because, well, I have no real interest in it. Why do I need a four-issue synopsis of all the things I already know happened to Dr. Manhattan?)

To those who are buying them, I hope you do enjoy them. Because you’re sure as hell not going to be getting anything better from the likes of DC anytime soon. There’ll never be another Watchmen or Sandman at DC Comics. They don’t have the public incentive, creative ability or outlet for it.

Right, I’m off. What’s most important here is that nobody’s mind has been changed one bit by any of this discussion. Good luck to you all!

@PreacherCain We’re here to discuss Silk Spectre, and while nobody is yet claiming it’s on the level of Watchmen or Sandman, I think its pretty trollish to incite boycotts and make crass comments about a comic without either reading it or being transparent about your true motivations for visiting. Me, I’d like to think that DC is doing a better job by its creators these days, instead of condemning an entire organization and its up-and-coming artists based on something that happened more than two decades ago.

@hebitudinous I’d just like to clarify one or two things.

1. We WERE here to Silk Spectre but I think you’ll agree thread evolved well beyond that. When I first posted, people were in an argumentative tailspin about the ethics or a particular literary device. I posted simply to represent the side of those who were not buying BW on ethical grounds, as I feel the ethical view against BW was not being properly defined here.

2. I wasn’t trying to incite a boycott against all of DC, not sure where you got that idea. Please take note that when I say ‘specific’, I really do mean it. I expressed that I didn’t wish to purchase BW because of the aforementioned ethical issues and because I’m personally just not very interested in it; or in the very notion of prequels which, by their nature, can never really transcend the source material:- see all prequels ever. They’re just playing connect the dots.
In fact, if one were to boycott a company, choosing one aspect or product over another (rather than tarring everything with the same brush) is often a more effective method. But that’s another issue.
I’ll happily buy more Darwyn Cooke Parker books or other work from Amanda Connor or Jae Lee or some of the others involved in this project. I just won’t buy BW.

3. I have been more than transparent with my motivations for being here: see point 1 above. I noted that the reviews I’ve seen online – which I’m happy to read because I’m curious to see if DC’s boast that justifies their supposed reasons for doing this has paid off – have been middling, at best.
I concede many of these reviews may be coloured by the reviewers dislike of the project or indeed, they’re rampant dislike of Moore.

4. “Me, I’d like to think that DC is doing a better job by its creators these days, instead of condemning an entire organization and its up-and-coming artists based on something that happened more than two decades ago.”

This is happening now. They broke the contract (again!) just last year. The DC publishers have completely evaded and outright lied about the Watchmen contract (calling it ‘work-for-hire’ when for the last twenty years they’ve called it anything but that!). They have fired employees/freelancers for speaking out about it, which in turn is a passive threat to their other employess to keep their mouths shut. They have changed the Vertigo contract to be much less creator-friendly. Some of the BW people have attacked Moore personally for daring to speak up and using some of the same ill-informed, hollow and irrelevant arguments as seen throughout this thread. Most of their biggest names are in the process of jumping ship to Marvel and, more specifically it would seem, to Image.

Aaaaand I’m out (again!)

@PreacherCain Obviously you must be closer to the situation than I am, because you’re talking about situations which are not covered in the public press.

The only DC employee that might resemble your example is Chris Roberson, but that can’t be, because he quit all his assignments save ‘Fairest’ before getting axed on that piece. (And, if memory serves, Roberson said that he didn’t quit his assignments because of the way he was being treated or because of speaking out against DC, but because he didn’t feel good about working for a company that treated Alan Moore in such a dishonest manner.) So clearly you must be aware of other DC employees who have been fired for speaking out about it, and have firsthand experience of the resultant repressive culture at 1700 Broadway.

As for the Vertigo contract, you talk about it as if the contract was specifically reconstructed to attack creators. I realize I must be stupid for not knowing all of these things. The only issue I’m aware of was two years ago, when Vertigo lowered their page rate to be lower than work for hire, and it was treated as an advance against monthly royalties – even if those royalties never paid out. I understand that the policy had a negative effect on a number of creatives who have budgets and needs. But that seems like it might have been a logical (yet short-sighted) reaction to a bad economy, rather than yet another example of how DC is screwing artists over in a fraudulent and dishonest manner.

And finally, you mention a climate of hate where BW people have attacked Moore personally for daring to speak up. Again, perhaps you have a different opinion of hate speech. The most-discussed example I’ve been able to find is a quote by J Michael Straczynski, which David Brothers likens to “The Exploitation Olympics”. The fatal conceit of Brothers’ argument is his claim that Straczynski is essentially saying “that’s just the way things go” and that somehow Straczynski is saying that he should get a “gold medal” for getting screwed over while maybe Moore’s situation only merits a silver one.

That’s just all kinds of wrong. If you’ve ever been screwed over in a truly major way, you would know exactly what Straczynski is talking about…and you would instantly grok the wrongness of thinking of his comment as a personal attack against Moore.

I do not dispute that Moore got fucked in the worst way possible. I admire Moore for having the courage to speak up and call a spade a spade. But if you’ve ever been screwed over in a way that only a few people really have, then you know that you have two choices: become a hermit like Brigitte Bardot and let that screwing define your life, or refuse to let the pure evil of some people into your soul and fuck them in the worst way imaginable: by doing something so unbelievably awesome that the bad guys piss themselves for ever letting you go.

Sorry if you still reject all of my ill-informed, hollow and irrelevant arguments, but you know, being right isn’t a bulletproof vest.

@hebitudinous With respect, that’s the second time, you put words in my mouth! “A climate of hate”? Hate speech? I feel that you’re being a tad facetious and somewhat exaggerating my points. Perhaps my clarifications weren’t very clarifying.

I did not call for a boycott of DC (which you classified as ‘trolling behaviour’); I stated that my belief was that the current editorial and corporate environment at DC is not conducive to creating works like Watchmen and Sandman again. I used a number of examples to show the logic of my reasoning. Not once did I refer to this as a climate of hate or DC actively being aggressive towards all their creators; you chose to read it that way. DC DID fire Roberson (and honestly, I don’t want to get into this argumentative dead-end either) after he publicly stated he wasn’t going to work for thm. You may see it differently, but I do see that as an aggressive move on their part and one aimed not so much at Roberson as their other freelancers and employees. If I were working for DC, I’d be thinking twice now whenever anyone asked me about BW. DC DO have a history of this kind of thing.

“Sorry if you still reject all of my ill-informed, hollow and irrelevant arguments,”

I aploogise hebitudinous, I should have been clearer. That was not a reference to you or indeed any of the posters I’ve directly conversed with here but was a more general statement focused on some of the wrong-headed views that some anti-Moore folk have provided earlier in this thread for why people like myself find this unethical. Views which have been repeated by DC to deflect from the ACTUAL issue and also some of the writers/artists working on BW, including Straczynski (though not the one you reference; he also used the ‘it’s the same as Moore working on Swamp Thing’ nonsensical argument). These same arguments are rampant towards the beginning of this thread which resulted in the whole ‘morality over use of other characters’ arising and my initial comment.

Perhaps I’ve come across as more extreme than I intended, though I have repeatedly stated I do not wish to boycott everything DC have done ever and they’re all evil. I think we both agree on the essentials here. As I said, I do believe Moore himself has moved on but my view of this, as someone who STILL loves comics, is that moves like this by one of the big two is ultimatly damaging to the industry as a whole. He may have moved on but DC clearly have not. Otherwise they wouldn’t be doing BW, would they? Perhaps this is what we disagree on. For me, it’s an artistic dead-end as well as sign of an unhealthy business model which can’t or won’t generate new ideas.

This is not, in my opinion, a conducive means of creating good morale in a business which relies on creativity, nor is it proving a legitimite means of creating further long-term successes like Watchmen, Sandman etc.

I’m just amazed at the fact that both sides of this debate seem to think “evolve” and “hijack” are synonyms.

They are not, except in the minds of the self-righteous complainers on both sides who think they have the right to shove this in our face on any discussion remotely connected to Watchmen or creator rights.

[...] CBR – Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #1 [...]

As a hardcore Watchmen fan, I must say I’m enjoying these comics so far… And they are just the first issues, so this being Watchmen universe, chances are of things taking a turn for the bizarre.

Things I liked:

1) You can recognize every character by their faces, even young Laurie
2) They are going for a Gibbons-like layout and lack of onomatopoeias, at least in the ones involving Cooke.
3) The Kuberts,
4) The Comedian issue ends marvellously. So far the most intriguing series.
5) The fleshed-out Nite Owl’s childhood, something I think is completely new aside from how Dan got his fortune.

Things I don’t:

1) I dig that thing about mixing two sets of word balloons into something meaningful, but not that much with songs, I prefer when they (Moore and Gibbons) link two completely different tableaux through dialogue.

2) They need to come up with their own meta-devices instead of just transplant the original ones. That being said, I’m dying to see the narrative of the Dr. Manhattan series.

3) I remember Laurie not being aware of what a Tijuana Bible is until Sally shows her one in the original series.

Also, I did not get the Facial thing until reading it here XD I just thought “she’s implying that the Jupiters are dirty by messing Laurie’s face”.

By the way… It’s just me or Dr. Manhattan willingly set himself to patrol with Silk Spectre by cheating Captain Metropolis’ results? XD

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