It's official: DC announces Before Watchmen

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After years of rumors, DC has confirmed that they will publish BEFORE WATCHMEN, a series of seven interconnected prequels to the Alan Moore/Dave GIbbons classic. As absurd as the idea may seem on the surface, they have rounded up a bunch of A-listers for the project which will consist of six mini series, a wrap-up and an ongoing pirate-themed “featurette”. Here’s the line-up:
 
-       RORSCHACH (4 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: Lee Bermejo
-       MINUTEMEN (6 issues) – Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
-       COMEDIAN (6 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: J.G. Jones
-       DR. MANHATTAN (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artist:  Adam Hughes
-       NITE OWL (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artists: Andy and Joe Kubert
-       OZYMANDIAS (6 issues) – Writer: Len Wein. Artist: Jae Lee
-       SILK SPECTRE (4 issues) – Writer: Darwyn Cooke. Artist: Amanda Conner
 
The issues will be released weekly, each featuring a two-page back-up story called CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR, written by Wein wih art by original series colorist John Higgins. Everything wraps up with a group effort in a one-shot BEFORE WATCHMEN: EPILOGUE.

And then everyone sits down for tea.
 
Perhaps anticipating that the reaction would veer between excitement and revulsion, DC’s official statements were not triumphal:

“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant,” said DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. “After twenty five years, the Watchmen are classic characters whose time has come for new stories to be told. We sought out the best writers and artists in the industry to build on the complex mythology of the original.”

“Comic books are perhaps the largest and longest running form of collaborative fiction,” said DiDio and Lee. “Collaborative storytelling is what keeps these fictional universes current and relevant.”


Original creator Dave Gibbons statement is also lacking in triumphalism:

“The original series of WATCHMEN is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire,” said Dave Gibbons, WATCHMEN co-creator and original series artist.


It was left to the NY Times to deliver Alan Moore’s statement:

Mr. Moore, who has disassociated himself from DC Comics and the industry at large, called the new venture “completely shameless.”

Speaking by telephone from his home in Northampton, England, Mr. Moore said, “I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago.”

… Still, Mr. Moore said he was unlikely to stand in the way of Before Watchmen or to fight the project in court, where he said DC Comics would meet him with an “infinite battery of lawyers.”

“I don’t want money,” he said. “What I want is for this not to happen.”

“As far as I know,” he said, “there weren’t that many prequels or sequels to ‘Moby-Dick.’ ”


The Times piece does manage to capture the mixed feelings over the project. Azzarello shrewdly predicts that people will be initially scornful because “a lot of comic readers don’t like new things,” hich misses the point that this isn’t exactly new.

“I think the gut reaction is going to be, ‘Why?’ ” Mr. Azzarello said in a telephone interview. “But then when the actual books come out, the answer will be, ‘Oh, that’s why.’ ”


Yet novelist Jonathem Lethem, who says the projects is “inviting a disgrace,” admits that the original itself is a mash-up of Charlton, Brecht/Weil and Shelley.

Even as the news rolled out, the interviews and exclusive sneaks are also rolling out. Your scorecard, Via The Source

USA Today: RORSCHACH – Interview with writer Brian Azzarello
LA Times Hero Complex: MINUTEMEN – Interview with writer/artist Darwyn Cooke
The New York Times: THE COMEDIAN – Interview with writer Brian Azzarello
Entertainment Weekly: SILK SPECTRE – Interview with writer Darwyn Cooke
The Hollywood Reporter: NITE OWL – Interview with writer J. Michael Straczynski
Wired: OZYMANDIAS – Interview with writer Len Wein
Comic Book Resources: DR. MANHATTAN – Interview with writer J. Michael Straczynski
• Associated Press: CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR – Interview with writer Len Wein and artist John Higgins


And here’s the art:
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WATCHMEN_2012_OZY_Cvr.jpg

before_watchmen_nite_owl.jpg

before_watchmen_silk_spectre.jpg

before_watchmen_minutemen.jpg

WATCHMEN_2012_ROR.jpg

WATCHMEN_before_crimson_corsair_2012.jpg

before watchmen_drmanhattan.jpg

Comments

  1. simon cooper says:

    Moore really is a massive hypocrite. Most of his career has consisted of writing comics with other people’s characters without their permission and without any consideration of whether they’d approve of not.

    And of course the Watchmen characters themselves are just thinly veiled versions of the Charlton characters used without their creators approval.

  2. brandon says:

    I’ve been waiting for this for 20 years. This pleases me.

  3. William Burns says:

    Interesting that Moore picked Moby Dick as an example, rather than, for example, “20000 Leagues Under the Sea,” “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” or “Alice in Wonderland.”

  4. It is an impressive line up. It’s not like Rorschach’s Case Files written and drawn as if it was a 90′s wildstorm book. In fact, this line has that classy 90′s DC feel (vertigo, starman) that got crapped away by the extreming of the line during the nu52.

  5. john layman says:

    I wonder what the price point on these books will be.

  6. Interested in the lack of British creators on these books. I wouldn’t touch it either.

    I hope the writers/artists realize their output will inevitably be compared to the original. It’s like the Star Wars prequels all over again.

  7. I call dibs on writing the Professor Moriarty prequel series for BEFORE THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN.

  8. Shawn Kane says:

    Watchmen is a brilliant story. But it blows my mind how sacred it’s become over the years…”Inviting a disgrace”??!!! Seriously? I’m glad that Time and Entertainment Weekly and famous Hollywood types hold it in such high regard but it’s not like they’re giving some unknown a chance to shine, DC is using some of the best in the business to produce (hopefully) more great comics. Sort of like they did with Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons back in the 80′s…

  9. Marilyn Merlot says:

    I hope this is as shameless as possible, with Rorschach meeting Batman and them fighting THE RIDDLER together!

  10. Joe Lawler says:

    If there’s one thing Star Wars taught me it’s that prequels are a creatively rich canvas certain to live up to decades of expectations.

  11. The bigger question is are DC comic books allowed to show wangs these days?

  12. Christopher says:

    Gotta say those are some solid creative teams and the cover art presented looks amazing. This will certainly sell bucket-loads of comics and trades, especially since it appears DC has put a lot of time, thought, and effort into this. I do not believe that any title or property should be sacrosanct — there is always room for a fresh interpretation or unique perspective. Watchmen is a complete enough work to stand on its own, free and clear from whatever turns out with these prequels but should they elucidate or add resonance to the original text, well, that’s great. And if not, they are easy to ignore.

    Honestly, with the cultural primacy of Occupy and Anonymous, I expect a V For Vendetta sequel to be proposed at some point as well.

  13. Ugh. This looks painful. Oh well. Comics haven’t given me a reason to buy them for years now. I’ll give this a try for the same reason I vote – just to buy the license to b*tch about it later..

  14. blacaucasian says:

    “And of course the Watchmen characters themselves are just thinly veiled versions of the Charlton characters used without their creators approval.”

    Not all that thinly veiled. I believe they were originally going to be the actual Charlton characters before DC realized the story would likely not allow them to used the characters in the future and asked him the change them.

  15. Torsten Adair says:

    I will wait for the trades.

    The roster is excellent. We’ll see how it works.

    No vertical white leading between the logo and the cover image? Also, the original covers used just the company logo, no text, centered. Since it looks like the price and barcode will be on the back cover, the full logo can be used there.

    Hey, if this is successful, could they spin it off into an Earth-4 line of comics?

  16. I’m still mystified by the Dr. Manhattan pairing: J. Michael Straczynski and Adam Hughes. Is it too soon to start asking for the over/under on the day this book is complete and on the shelves?

    From the CBR interview:
    The scripts I’ve turned in so far on this project (all on deadline) are the hardest things I’ve ever written, because I want so much for them to be right.

    I’d rather it be good than right, but I’m not that interested in the line extension, really. If it satisfies the consumers of this transmedia property brand extension, then it is a net-positive for the property owning corporation.

  17. Wow the reaction from the Beat’s peanut gallery is way more positive than saw, that of EW’s!

    IAN: Actually this prequel takes place WHEN MANHATTAN WORE BRIEFS – that’s the alternate title.

  18. Scott Rowland says:

    novelist Jonathem Lethem, who says the projects is “inviting a disgrace,”
    **************
    Would that be the same Lethem who claimed to love Steve Gerber’s Omega the Unknown but still wrote an Omega series against Gerber’s wishes? I guess he would know about inviting disgrace.

  19. dan smith says:

    So DC Comics believes that innovation lies in strip mining a 20+ year old idea instead of focusing its energy and resources into creating a new paradigm for comics.

  20. I’ve often read that the mainstream comic book industry often tries or wishes to be like the motion picture industry.

    Well, it’s official. Much like their brethren in the movies, Marvel & DC have run out of new ideas.

  21. Watchmen is a classic, but as others have already pointed out, it’s a very derivative classic, and it (like ALL of Moore’s major works) trades on the characters and ideas of others. He is a great writer, but his complaining about these A-listers playing in “his” sandbox is pure egotism: it assumes that someone else can’t possibly create a derivative work as good as his derivative work, no matter how talented they are. Seriously, can anyone but the most slavish Moore fanboy actually believe that Darwyn “New Frontier” Cooke isn’t up to the challenge of a Minutemen series? Ridiculous.

  22. Jon_in_Austin says:

    Tempest in a teapot. Worst thing that happens is that the story and art suck. Best thing that could happen is that we get some good, memorable stories out of it.

    With few exceptions, DC of late tends to land squarely in the middle. That seems to be why people get animated about their business decisions and not about the comics themselves.

  23. simon cooper says:

    “So DC Comics believes that innovation lies in strip mining a 20+ year old idea instead of focusing its energy and resources into creating a new paradigm for comics.”

    Much like Moore belived that innovation lay in ripping off Philip Jose Farmer’s 27 year old Wold Newton idea for LOEG instead of focusing his energy and resources into creating a new paradigm for comics, you mean?

  24. blacaucasian says:

    “Much like their brethren in the movies, Marvel & DC have run out of new ideas.”

    I think it’s more akin to “much like their brethren in the movies, their audience has proven for the most part they won’t consume any new ideas”

  25. Brad Ricca says:

    I think there are a lot of stories inside of this one, mostly that it is all hands on deck for DC Comics. No rules apply.

    What Watchmen did is basically legitimize the medium. That’s a big statement for a comment post, but it’s mostly true. Comic fans liked it so much that it became talked about as literature and non-comics people bought it and read it. It got taught in college classrooms and made fiction lists. The list of comics that have done this is tiny; the list of super-hero comics — almost microscopic. The movie did ok (did it?) but sold tons of copies of the book. The Muggles know of Watchmen.

    You can argue that Moore sppropriated things, but it was his story. I respect all of these fantastic creators, but you know — you know — that we will be seeing Nite Owl starting to doubt himself, Laurie doubting her relationship, and Rorschach eating beans. So it snot all about contracts or ethics, but about artistic originality and the long worth that has. See: Sandman. I know DC needs to make money, and they should(!), but the original made them a lot of money because it was just that: original. It creeped in slowly and grew over time. Is this doing the same?

    I thought of Star Wars too, but that’s different. Like them or not, they are still Lucas’ unmistakable voice that no one has really been able to duplicate. The difference is they are his. But then again, they have made him an enormous amount of money.

  26. I wish Matt Groening was doing a Watchmen Babies comic to top this announcement! Actually, I’m on board with this, with all ofmthe great creative teams involved!

  27. simon cooper says:

    “What Watchmen did is basically legitimize the medium.”

    Only if you assume that comics begin and end in America.

  28. And as Paul Storrie has said on Facebook today, even the Constitution has been amended.

  29. Alan Moore’s justified anger and not getting proper credit for his classic work has long since curdled into simple grouchiness and irascibility. That said, it’s extremely unlikely that these comics will be anything of particular note. I have yet to see Azzarello do good work on a superhero comic, and Straczynski is spotty at best. Darwyn Cooke is more consistent, and Len Wein is a comics legend, but neither is close to Moore’s class, no offense to the great work they’ve done. The art will be beautiful, but come on.

    I’d rather live in a world where absolutely anyone was allowed to write a story featuring characters once they were 25 years old, personally, so we didn’t have to worry about whether we were tinkering with something sacred just because someone decided to tell another story about a Captain Atom knockoff who happened to be in a great story way back when.

  30. MBunge says:

    My question is…will any of these books attempt to be as dense and structurally complex as the original? WATCHMEN was not at all cinematic in the way modern comics are. Rather than lamely imitating the storyboards of a film, Moore and Gibbons made an honest to goodness comic book. Do these creators understand how intrinsic the 9 panel grid was to everything in WATCHMEN?

    Mike

  31. “Sequels are whores” -William Goldman.

  32. blacaucasian says:

    “Do these creators understand how intrinsic the 9 panel grid was to everything in WATCHMEN?”

    I’m sure rookies like Brian Azzarello and Darwyn Cooke have some sort of idea how to effectively use sequential story telling to tell a story.

  33. Irwin Schwab says:

    “Do these creators understand how intrinsic the 9 panel grid was to everything in WATCHMEN?”

    No.

  34. simon cooper says:

    “Sequels are whores” -William Goldman.

    Like ‘Lost Girls’ you mean?

  35. Shawn Kane says:

    “So DC Comics believes that innovation lies in strip mining a 20+ year old idea instead of focusing its energy and resources into creating a new paradigm for comics.”

    They’ve been strip mining old ideas for their entire existence, it’s what they do to sell monthly comic books.

  36. “Like ‘Lost Girls’ you mean?”

    Ha-ha! I actually would like to read that book someday. And as shameless and needless these books seem to be in their existence, I will probably pick some of them up. I love the roster of artists and writers on these comics. So I guess I’m part of the problem, not the solution.

  37. I’m actually more excited by this than I thought I would be. I have no qualms whatsoever about different creators exploring the world of The Watchmen, especially the (mostly) top-notch talent DC has brought in to pull it off. Nothing can equal (much less surpass) the original Watchmen…and, to be fair, I don’t think that’s even the goal here. Outside of making DC gobs of money, it’s also a valid continuation of the reinterpretive pastiche Alan Moore himself has built his own career upon (i.e. playing with other people’s toys).

    Of course, there are a thousand ways DC can royally screw this up (chief among them a Watchmen *sequel*), but for now, the prospect of revisiting the Pre-1985 world of these fascinating characters is an exciting one. Please, please DC…do it right!

  38. Seriously, where were half of these names in September?

  39. Probably working on the Watchmen prequel books.

  40. I have no problem with Wein, Jones,Cooke & Conner. Not thrilled with the rest of the lineups. Azzarello is very hit & miss with me, while I think JMS is an overrated hack who hasn’t done anyhing good except Supreme Power. Not sure if I ‘ll be picking most of these up.

  41. simon cooper says:

    “Seriously, where were half of these names in September?”

    Not drawing monthly books.

    I hope Adam Hughes has had pleanty of lead time for his series…

  42. My initial comments:

    1. Maybe it’s my becoming a father or just my mellowing with age, but my main attitude towards the news is this: Moore and Gibbons Watchmen will always be there, as is. It’s not like DC is going to say, “Alright, everyone, pull out your trades. We’re replacing the second panel of page six of issue ten because JMS has come up with something even better!” If you think these sequels are an affront to God and all that is holy, you have it in your power to ignore them and pretend they do not exist. I’m not sure yet if that’s the avenue I’m going to take–it will probably depend on my comic book bill the month they come out to see if I have room for them–but the only way these prequels will ruin the sanctity of the original work is if you let it.

    2. That being said, there is a reason why these creators are not creating a brand new group of characters for DC or doing a Mooresque deconstruction on say, Superman or the Quality or Red Circle or Thunder Agents characters. And that’s because Watchmen is the more famous property both inside and out of the comic reading world. Alan Moore does have a bit of a point. DC is shameless in mining its past instead of reaching out in new directions. And that’s because its a safer bet saleswise. And this is nothing new. And one look at the press this announcement is getting tells you that this policy works, depressing though it may be.

    3. I do find it quite ironic that Len Wein is, going by the DC statement, one of “the best writers…in the industry,” yet outside of boutique projects like DC Legacies of DC Retroactive, he doesn’t really get much work from the company. Granted, this might be by his choice, but if it’s not, well, that’s one of my pet peeves. It seems comic companies often ignore great creators from the past who could still contribute unless they can get some promotional buzz from their inclusion on a project.

  43. Garbage.

  44. There’s a difference between a writer’s decision to transform or appropriate another creator’s work, whether it’s Moore appropriating Ditko and Doyle, the Cohen brothers riffing on Homer, or Warhol screen printing a soup can and a company attempting to goose sales through an editorially directed expansion parasitic on the quality of the original. The original Watchmen sold on its merits as a text and not because of an abiding fondness for Blue Beetle. These prequels will be selling in large part on fans’ love of the original. And as others have noted, I’d much rather see DC give the same creators the same paycheck and chance to add something new to its corporate universe than squeeze the golden goose for more eggs.

  45. DC should change their name to Ungoliant Publishing. Or maybe mainstream comics as a whole should. No matter how much a creator has enriched publishers, retailers, readers, and fellow creators enough is never enough. Why respect Moore’s wishes? DC has a “responsibility” to unrestrained corporate crassness.

  46. Nick Jones says:

    “Wow the reaction from the Beat’s peanut gallery is way more positive than saw, that of EW’s!”

    Here, let me take a crack at being negative:

    DC and Marvel are parasites that have been feeding off of the rare good ideas of a handful of creative people since before World War II thanks to the work for hire system. Watchmen was a self-contained story that is rightfully seen as one of the best comic stories ever told, and trying to mine it for a little more cash instead of producing actually original content just proves that DC doesn’t have any of those “new,” “fresh,” “new,” and “new” ideas they were touting a few months ago.

  47. Cole Moore Odell says:

    Invoking Moore’s use of public domain characters is a non sequitur rationalization to help people justify their personal desire to consume these new books. It’s apples and oranges. Different intentions, different execution, different everything. The public domain *encourages* the recontextualization of texts. If/when Watchmen falls into the public domain (aka never) it would be fine for projects like this to exist.

    For me, the tell on why this is horribly misguided, and that DC knows it, is their insistence on sticking to the language of their mainstream serial comics to describe Watchmen. So we see it called a “fictional universe” rather than a novel. It has a “complex mythology” rather than a plot, theme and characters. To justify all this, DC needs to aggressively redefine Watchmen as just another one of their ongoing serial properties, rather than what it truly is, a deliberately finite commentary on those properties. It’s wrong, all the way up and down the line, it’s creatively bankrupt, it goes against the express wishes of the guy who invented it, and it’s being pimped by people whose egos tell them Moore’s desires as an artist or person don’t matter, and whose paydays make it very hard to care either way. And as always, it’s drizzled in cynical corporate marketing-speak about undefined “controversy” designed to turn their own shamelessly unethical behavior into a sales tool. A pox on all their houses.

  48. DC also PUBLISHED that “self-contained story that is rightfully seen as one of the best comic stories ever told”….so even in their desire to do All Evil, All The Time, they can occasionally do something right. Let’s hope “Before Watchmen” is one of those happy accidents.

  49. The Dr. Manhattan cover is strange… I’m Doc Manhatten and hey, look at the Silk Spectre’s rack!

  50. “The Dr. Manhattan cover is strange… I’m Doc Manhatten and hey, look at the Silk Spectre’s rack!”

    Well, it *is* an Adam Hughes cover, after all.

  51. Cole Moore Odell says:

    Yes, Mark, they published Watchmen in the first place, which is why it’s pathetic to see them build a time machine to travel back 25 years to bask in the reflected light of a time when they were braver and smarter–rather than putting their energy into the next big original thing. This is the point that Moore himself consistently makes. “Before Watchmen” is DC sucking on fumes, officially dead as a forward-moving creative company and reduced to nothing more than maximum exploitation of its existing IP. Unfortunately, WB, with tighter reins, is probably leaning on them hard to generate profits, and this project was as obvious as it is wrong.

  52. Brad Ricca says:

    Jeff = such a good point

    once you think about it, by summer the New52 might have dropped off even more (if present trends continue) so what better way to get another six-month hold on the market than with 30+ issues of Watchmen? DC is thinking. My point was that artistic originality also has an economic reward over time because it makes people respect comics more as an art form. But 1985/86 was a very different time and was obviously an easier time to experiment.

    my question: a reboot, Superman in jeans and a Comedian mini-series — what could possibly be next???

    and my bad, I meant super-hero comics. They did start here.

  53. blacaucasian says:

    I don’t understand this supposition that DC doesn’t try to introduce new concepts to readers. Azzarello just released Spaceman via Vertigo, which is entirely new concept. Vertigo also has Sweet Tooth, Saucer Country, Scalped, etc. All original concepts or ideas. Vertigo seems to have OGN’s at least every other month released that not only have nothing to do with superheroes or supernatural concepts, but even seem to venture outside usual Vertigo fare (Dark Rain, Incognegro, Marzi, Cuba: My Revolution, Gone To Amerikay)

    1. Maybe the creators involved in this have no interest in working on original ideas. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, quite honestly.

    2.Watchmen prequel are going to sell and allow the opportunity for DC as a whole to green light these projects that quite frankly aren’t going to sell what a Watchmen project will.

    3.Look at the books just cancelled by DC from the new 52. They are all newer characters that didn’t sell. Multiple Batman, Superman, X-Men and Avengers books are published by the big two at the end of the day because they are the books people by in large en mass buy, at least from these publishers. Getting angry at them for not specializing in something that doesn’t perform for them is like getting angry at Burger King for not offering tacos.

    Seems to me they are a this and that company at the end of the day, not a either or company. And the original content they attempt to put out there (granted it’s limited and purely seems to be from Karen Berger’s office these days) is better than having no original content from a major publisher at all.

  54. Justin H. says:

    Throwing the budget for this at these same creators and investing them with the task to create new content would seem to be a better investment than this, but whatever. This initiative (if it can be called that) won’t be seeing any of my money.

  55. I think the “Why doesn’t DC do something original?” question is a very complex one to answer….and it’s an answer that doesn’t entirely involve DC itself (as convenient a piñata as they are).

    First of all, what percentage of comic-buying consumers are even *looking* for originality? Right or wrong, we’re constantly lapping up the latest mega-crossover “Things Will Never Be The Same” sameness, which only encourages DC and Marvel to keep hitting the same panic buttons in lieu of something truly new and original. It’s not so much a “blame the victim” defense as questioning what the consumer’s role is in a publisher (or movie/television studio) continuing to avoid more original (and riskier) projects.

    Second, the comics market really HAS changed since the mid-1980′s and there ARE places to find truly original, creatively challenging work. Maybe not ENOUGH of them, but there are creators and publishers out there making the original work that mysteriously seems to have disappeared since DC’s “Before Watchmen” announcement.

    Third, in a still-dreadful economy, producers and consumers alike tend to stick with the familiar over the riskier or more experimental “new”. Despite the “NEW 52″ hullaballoo, it’s all really still the same.

    So, yeah…to me it’s a more complex discussion than just dragging out the familiar “DC is a Rapacious Corporation Forever & Even Amen” screeds. We know it. We get it. DC’s in the business to make money…but is it necessarily their business/mission/moral imperative to create purely original entertainment (if such a thing exists)?

  56. Joseph says:

    I kind of think that sequels like this do actually tend to tarnish the original, in a sense. Sure, the original work remains as is, but now the sequels/prequels will always be associated with it, which kind of destroys Watchmen as this perfect self contained series. It’s similar to how you can’t read about the original SW trilogy without also seeing at least a mention of the crappy prequels, or read DKR without remembering how bad DK Strikes Back was. So I can watch the original Star Wars films and enjoy them, and never watch Ep 1-3 again, but at the same time I know they exist and suck and that still makes me a little sad.

  57. Chris Hero says:

    I don’t understand anyone who would be even the slightest way positive over this.

    No, just no…for ethical reasons.

  58. Sad to see a lot of allegedly “A-list” comics people becoming overt scabs. Not surprised with some of them but I am with others…pathetic.

  59. blacaucasian says:

    “for ethical reasons.”

    Explain please?

  60. DC doesn’t own Spaceman. Or 100 Bullets. They own Watchmen in a big way.

    Watchmen Begins or whatever, is preemptively garbage and unfit to even be torn and used as a dust jacket for the original.

    Catcher in the Rye 2: Return to the Rye.
    The Sun Continues to Rise
    Mona Lisa’s twin sister
    The 9.1st Synphony

    Fuck comic books, people deserve what they have.

  61. blacaucasian says:

    “Watchmen Begins or whatever, is preemptively garbage and unfit to even be torn and used as a dust jacket for the original.”

    So you must be an editor who has already previewed it then?

  62. Torsten Adair says:

    “What?! Julie Schwartz is revamping The Flash? And it’s not Jay Garrick?! That’s it! I’m done with National!”

  63. moohoohoohahahahahah-ha says:

    it will float and slowly sink to the bottom just like the rest of dc in 2012

  64. BWAHAHAHA says:

    I just hope Mr. Azzarello will have BEFORE 100 BULLETS done by some corporate ants in 25 years time against his wishes…

  65. blacaucasian says:

    “I just hope Mr. Azzarello will have BEFORE 100 BULLETS done by some corporate ants in 25 years time against his wishes…”

    Apples and oranges.

  66. I’m sorry. I just had to comment on this:

    Look at the books just cancelled by DC from the new 52. They are all newer characters that didn’t sell.

    Blackhawks: Based on concepts created in 1941.
    Hawk and Dove: Based on concepts created in 1968.
    Men at War/Sgt Rock:Based on concepts created in 1959.
    Mister Terrific: Based on a character created in 1942 and a new “legacy” version created in 1997.
    O.M.A.C.: Based on concepts created in 1974.
    Static Shock: Based on concepts created in 1993.

    Granted, they were all new INTERPRETATIONS, but they are far from being brand spanking new characters. Even “newer” is an exaggeration. Four of those concepts are older than I am, and I’m OLD.

  67. MBunge says:

    “I’m sure rookies like Brian Azzarello and Darwyn Cooke have some sort of idea how to effectively use sequential story telling to tell a story.”

    I’m not so sure. Narrative density seems to be the one and only thing about WATCHMEN that other creators decline to mimic. I mean, do people realize that if WATCHMEN had a panel-per-page count like the average comic today, it would have needed to be at least 24 to 30 issues long and probably longer? Do people ever think about what that would have meant to pacing, impact and reader investment?

    Mike

  68. chris7crows says:

    I have no idea who the target market for these initiative is. Non-comics readers who saw the Zack Snyder movie? Diehard Charlton fans? People who want more Alan Moore but without, you know, all that Alan Moore stuff?

    My guess, this is all just setup for the upcoming Watchmen vs Justice League crossover event. Summer 2013!

  69. Patrick Meaney says:

    DC is producing original works, a bunch of them in the Vertigo line every month. It’s pretty clear the reason they’re doing this is because a lot fewer people want to buy them than would want to buy Watchmen prequels.

    When people get as excited about Azzarello doing Spaceman as they do about Azzarello doing Comedian (even if that excitement is just complaining about it), then they’ll do more original works. Both the New 52 and these Watchmen prequels are great business because they get people talking and make it so you have to read the comic to be part of the cultural dialogue.

    When people talk more about original books and ideas than sequels to a 25 year old comic, then DC will make and sell those.

  70. DJ Coffman says:

    When I first heard about the behind the scenes on this a few months ago, I was like “fuck this shit!” – they shouldn’t touch a masterpiece….But now i totally wanna see Darwyn Cooke’s Minutemen. Too bad he wasn’t drawing all of the books! Looking forward to that greatly.

    I’m really feeling pretty torn because I have a lot of respect for Moore. When I hear a creator saying he wishes this wouldn’t happen, then it really turns me off from the product. :/ I wish things could be different between DC and Moore, but that’s just a fan fantasy at this point. He does make a very valid point about these companies relying on old ideas. They should make NEW things!!!!

  71. No, blacausian, I’m a reader of books and a fucking PSYCHIC who can see bullshit a year or more in advance.

  72. Torsten Adair says:

    Grendel

    Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

    A Thousand Acres (lots of Shakespeare derivatives out there…)

    The Mists of Avalon

    Snow, Glass, Apples

    West Side Story (3 Tonys, 10 Oscars, 1 Grammy for a jazz record derived from Bernstein’s orchestrations! Another Grammy for the 2010 bilingual production!)

    Wicked (3 Tonys, 1 Grammy)

    Rent

    (And, yes, there are a lot of derivative novels out there… It’s a fine line between “published author” and “fanfiction”. Just look at “Pride & Prejudice”…)

  73. blacaucasian says:

    “No, blacausian, I’m a reader of books and a fucking PSYCHIC who can see bullshit a year or more in advance.”

    Good to know there are people with that precognitive ability out there looking out for the rest of us. I think I’m still going to go ahead and make my decision about the works after I read them though, as I am also a reader of books but lack the psychic ability you have.

  74. “He does make a very valid point about these companies relying on old ideas. They should make NEW things!”

    Just as Alan Moore has, time and again, relied on old ideas/characters/concepts to create a large chunk of his comics work. Despite Cole Moore Odell’s “it was public domain so it’s okay” absolution of Moore, he still incorporated someone else’s work into his own. In the case of “Lost Girls”, he not only incorporated several characters, but had them behave in ways their original creators may have been no less disgusted by than Alan Moore is disgusted by the Watchmen prequels.

    Even Alan Moore isn’t immune to rank hypocrisy.

  75. All about money. If it’s good and well received, the property will be sold as a movie script.

    DC gets to give Moore the middle finger and a big pat on their own backs if they get to take this to the next level…on the small or big screen.

    (I can’t wait to see what the promotional tie-in kids pajamas and bed linens look like with The Comedian shooting someone in the face.)

    Pass.

  76. Xenos says:

    You know what? Forget that Watchmen is a lone story that should be left alone. Forget even Alan More complaining. Though look at one a good point he makes. Just look at how DC is going back to a dense 20 year old book it never knew how to deal with instead of dealing with their current characters.

    DC already had flooded the market with 52 titles a month plus. Now they’re tossing seven more on. Why not include these artists in their reboot? They’re not even done with the first year of that. They’re already swapping writers and canceling books! Why didn’t they plant out the relaunch tighter and with better creative teams than whoever Bob Harras has in his Rolodex? These are the people what should have been launching the new DC number ones, not digging up Watchmen for new material.

    And it does seem for DC, the future is the past, specifically 1986 for Watchmen and 1996 Wildstorm for the regular DCU. Maybe they should wake up and make books for 2012. Maybe they should heaven forbid try making books for new and different audiences instead of trying to sink into the grim and gritty trend and try to appeal to fanboys. Actually, forget 1986. DC is stuck in the early 1990s Image mindset. The 1990s were all about trying to recapture Watchmen’s grim and gritty tone.. and it failed miserably. It wasn’t the grim and gritty tone that made Watchmen good. It was the damn good and layered storytelling. Many comics creators in the 1990s didn’t get this and just made everything dark and ‘edgy’. DC in 2011 still hasn’t learned this. Geez. The bastards even named their Wildstorm lite and Vertigo lite DC lines DC Dark and DC Edge. That’s how freaking transparent they are.

    So are these Watchmen books getting tossed into DC Dark or DC Edge? Cause those books already have two Comedian-esue soldier of fortune titles. And they just put Rob Liefeld on both of those, Deathstroke and Grifter. Maybe they should have put Rob Liefeld on the Comedian too.

    DC obviously thinks fans want Rob Liefeld. They put him on three freaking titles. Why not Watchmen? Obviously, based on this image, fans have been clamoring for that for years.

    http://img688.imageshack.us/img688/9334/watchmen2.jpg

    Though kidding aside. Again, why the hell aren’t any of these wonderful creators on the DC relaunch. DC hasn’t even finished the first year of that and they’re already tossing a boat load of Watchmen prequels into the already crowded market. To put it in their soulless market speak, the brand recognition for the trademarked character of their DC New 52 line and marketing push hasn’t been given time to utilize itself with the consumer base. Really, DC hadn’t even rooted their new 52 with fans new or old. Now they’re dropping so many Watchmen books onto the market? Aren’t there freshmen year marketing and business classes to teach you not to do things like this?

    Even if DC hadn’t done a half assed job relaunching all their DC Universe brand name characters, lobbing seven Watchmen titles into the fray might be overkill even then. Yet if DC can’t even get consistent artists and never really made an honest attempt to sell their DC books to actual mainstream audiences, why the hell are they wasting such talent on a damn spin off book to a title from 1986? Again, this kind of organization and effort and talent should have been put into the DC Universe reboot in the first place!

  77. Xenos says:

    And the trick is, I love some of these creators. Love them. Yet I’m so disgusted by DC’s corporate and editorial thinking, I can’t bring myself to buy them. Now I can’t fault the authors for such a creative exercise with favorite characters of theirs. I can’t begrudge them for that. I will gladly buy whatever else they buy. I just won’t buy this. I can begrudge the company for offering them in the first place by not buying these.

    Meanwhile, I have similar thoughts on the New 52. I haaaaaaaate some titles and what has been mandated or allowed in some books. Yet others, like Batwoman, are as fantastic now as when they came out before and I can’t bring myself to punish those wonderful creators on good books for what was done by the parent company in other books.

    Yet Wathcmen Babies here? Yeah. No thanks. I’ll pass, no matter how tempting the fruit Eve was given was, it was given to her from a snake in the grass with no good intentions. Don’t fall for it, no matter how delicious that fruit looks or how beautiful the person who was given the apple is.

    So.. yes.. what I’m saying is..

    Dan Didio is the devil.

    What? You know he loves to play the villain! He eats fan rage like that up. (You know, like all those babies he eats on his altar in his office.)

  78. Richard Watson says:

    “Invoking Moore’s use of public domain characters is a non sequitur rationalization to help people justify their personal desire to consume these new books.”

    What about all the non-Public Domain characters then? Did he get permission form JK Rowling to use Voldermort in the most recent LOEG?

    He’s a hypocrite pure and simple. One rule for him, one for everybody else.

  79. Cole Moore Odell says:

    But Mark, when it is public domain, it *is* okay. That’s the benefit of public domain. Everybody gets a crack at it. It makes possible all of those wonderful works listed above by Torsten. But note how old the sources of all those derivative works are. If all the Disneys and Warner Brothers hadn’t completely warped the world we live in to perpetually protect their financial interests in ideas under their control, our conversation would have a very different context. You really can’t hoist Moore on the petard of hypocrisy here, no matter how easy it seems. It’s a facile and incorrect comparison.

    I freely admit that Moore has no legal claim here–just as Steve Bissette has taken pains to explain the same thing about his boycott of Marvel over their treatment of Kirby. This is a moral argument. The writer has explicitly made his wishes known. The company and its hired guns have decided to ignore him. Any one of these superstars could have chosen to say no. None of them did. They can, and have come up with all kinds of reasons why their decision is justified. None of them so far are convincing to me. They’ve all taken the side of management against a fellow creator. They’re all getting paid handsomely, I’m sure. It’s perfectly within the rights of DC and all of these comics makers. It’s also a disgrace.

  80. And there it is: DC admits before God and everybody that they don’t have a single fucking original idea left.

    As if the 52nd reboot didn’t already convey that.

  81. Cole Moore Odell says:

    I knew the Voldemort thing would come up. He is never named, (He Who Must Not Be, after all) many readers would miss it if it wasn’t explained to them, and neither Moore nor Top Shelf ever marketed the book with any mention of him whatsoever. If you’re comparing a brief, disguised allusion with a summerlong publishing project, you’re really grasping at straws.

  82. Chris Hero says:

    @blacaucasian

    Explain my ethical reasons for no? I don’t know how to on a site with a large audience of people who are such great fans of IPs they’ll rationalize anything done to bring them more of those IPs. Any analogy or explanation I give will be rationalized away, so there’s no point. Enjoy your Watchmen prequel books.

  83. Regardless, I’d best get back to work on DANIEL: AGENT OF D.R.E.A.M.

    Rob’s getting itchy to blow another deadline.

  84. blacaucasian says:

    @Chris Hero – I could honestly care either way for these books. I’m in the minority who thinks Watchman is underrated. I think Alan Moore thinking a multimedia corporation wouldn’t stick to the word of their contract when things turned out to benefit them is foolish to sign the contract he signed. For him to lash out at that company for not renegotiating a contract he signed when the book did something no one else had seen to that point is sour grapes, nothing more, nothing less. He easily could have put a clause in that contract giving him rights back after a mutual expected time was an option he could have chosen and didn’t. There was more of a reason to leave that in his contract with DC then not.

    You get into bed with a very large corporation, you have to expect that they are going to stick to the word and law of the contract. He had every opportunity to NOT work with DC as he had every opportunity to not work on the properties that got him to the point he got once Watchmen was written. I’ve never read anything where he wasn’t compensated for this work, just that he’s chosen to given the money for these projects to his collaborators (which, if some stories are to be believed, he then gets incensed when these collaborators don’t bend over and praise him like a god for doing so.)

    Ethics and Alan Moore are a slippery slope. People excuse his writing every time these arguments are brought up for the same exact reasons people seem to excuse DC for their actions, whether you see them as despicable or not.

    I wish I could walk into a casino and change my bet after I’ve already won, but unfortunately, that’s not the way the system works.

  85. blacaucasian says:

    “And there it is: DC admits before God and everybody that they don’t have a single fucking original idea left.”

    Except for the original ideas they do publish through things like Vertigo.

  86. Shawn Kane says:

    DC should really try to stop making money I guess.

  87. Matthew Southworth says:

    Alan Moore took a piece of property with a bunch of old, disused houses on it and built a beautifully-designed mansion on it.

    Now DC is taking that mansion and breaking it into smaller apartments so it can get some rental money from it.

    How would you feel if you’d put so much sweat and personal investment into a house you built only to see it broken up like that?

    That said, I’m a big fan of several of these people and will be interested to see what they do with the properties. I think given their intention to make the WATCHMEN prequels regardless, DC has done the right thing by choosing excellent talent and apparently aiming for quality. At least there’s that.

    But for anyone to think that Alan Moore shouldn’t have an opinion on this is silly.

  88. Xenos says:

    Someone over at Bleeding Cool responded to Leah Moore’s comment that DC should try something new by saying that DC is better banking on a known brand name than gambling on something new.

    Geez. That brand of thinking is a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Creative people and a creative company would figure out a way to sell new characters. Companies are doing that every day. And unless DC finds a way to do that with the main properties they have milked for seventy odd years, they will die. Digging up a singular book like Watchmen and trying to get blood from a stone on a title that was so nicely self contained as a singular novel / collected series is not.

    Tons of new characters are built all the time. Shit. The whole comics industry in Japan is built on new manga characters catching on, not rebooting and dragging out 70 year old characters. They make a good series and they sell enough of that damn series that they don’t need a shared universe or constant reboots. They sell enough series to a diverse enough audience, from ten year old boys to fourty year old women to fifty year old men to sixteen year old girls. Meanwhile, DC is continually focused on selling nostalgia to thirty plus year old guys. Now they’re trying to sell nostalgia to kids that grew up in the 90s. My generation has turned or is nearing thirty and that’s where DC is focusing their nostalgia bombardment. Even if it’s targeted at me, I wish they would stop. We are not enough. DC need to reach a new audience. New characters or at least new ways of selling these old ones to new and wider audiences. They say they were trying new things and aiming at new audience , but they seem to be just aiming at aging fanboys of the 90s instead of aging fanboys of the 70s and 80s. That’s not quite a new audience.

    And yes, I know AOL isn’t a part of them anymore. I just still love saying that.

    Just remember. There was a time when Time Warner thought AOL was indispensable to their company. Then they flicked them aside when they found everyone else in the industry had moved on and AOL was still stuck in 1996 mentality. AOL had ruined their brand name by sticking to the past way of doing business. So if DC devalues its brand so much by sticking to the mentality of 1996 as well, I don’t think it’s impossible for Warners to do away with them. Sure they may keep brands like Superman and Batman, of course, but they may just not want to deal with the money pit that is DC Comics if they don’t get with the times and start producing media for the 21st century.

  89. Well, they stopped trying to earn MY money.

  90. Xenos says:

    @ Shawn Kane
    “DC should really try to stop making money I guess.”

    Well, they sure the hell seem to be trying. Sure they’re primed for the quick buck here and now. Yet do they ever think of the long run of the publishing game? Or the bigger picture of the publishing field outside their little guys in tights fights with Marvel? I think stunts like this don’t pan out in the long run. The DC Reboot might have had it not been so half assed and short sighted.

  91. Shawn Kane says:

    I believe Alan Moore should have an opinion and I don’t begrudge him if he badmouths the project but to act like DC is desecrating something that is so sacred as a wonderful 12 issue mini-series from 1986-1987 is just silly.

  92. Scott Rowland says:

    @Xenos: “book it never knew how to deal with”? Sure looks to me that DC knew exactly how to deal with it, given that it’s been a perennial seller for them. Or are you suggesting they should have exploited it with a sequel and other spin-offs earlier?

    @Cole Moore Odell: “when it is public domain, it *is* okay. That’s the benefit of public domain. Everybody gets a crack at it.” is a a legal argument, and is a bit askew with your later comment that “I freely admit that Moore has no legal claim here . . . . This is a moral argument. The writer has explicitly made his wishes known. The company and its hired guns have decided to ignore him.”

    If in the second quote you are saying the moral argument should take precedence over what someone can legally do, then why does “public domain” override the moral argument of the writers whose wishes Moore ignored in the first quote?

    Legally, Moore and DC are on the same grounds: They both have the legal right to do what they please with the characters they are choosing to write about. Morally, they are also on the same grounds: They both ignoring what the original author wants in favor of following their own desires. The quality or lack thereof of the resulting works does not change that one bit.

    (I suppose one could argue that DC getting acquiescence from one of the two co-creators of Watchmen actually puts them in a marginally better moral position than Moore.)

    @everyone: Ultimately, I expect these books to not be very good, because they focus on the least original parts of Watchmen: The characters, who were basically retooled versions of other characters.

    The genius of Watchmen was in the structure and attention to detail. It is a triumph of craft, not of plot, character or even themes. And I do seriously doubt that the very talented creators involved will go to the lengths that Moore and Gibbons did to construct such a finely detailed and internally consistent piece of work.

  93. Richard Watson says:

    “But for anyone to think that Alan Moore shouldn’t have an opinion on this is silly.”

    He can have all the opinions he wants; doesn’t make him right.

    He has made a career of doing exactly what he complains about other people doing.

    Nobody forced him to work for DC. Or Marvel. Or 2000AD. Or anybody else he’s complained about over the years and he should really stop acting like he had no idea what he was letting himself in for by doing so.

  94. Kevin says:

    One of the reasons that Watchmen is an evergreen seller in DC’s backlist (besides its reputation and history) is because it’s a well done superhero story that is entirely self-contained. Not “Vol 1 of 50″. Not “one of many possibly stand-alone stories featuring these characters”. One book. One complete story with a start and finish.

    Expanding the back story of these characters, broadening the Watchmen brand… All it does is dilute that. Moore and Gibbons struck gold with Watchmen and gave DC something that stands out from the pack. Before Watchmen looks to infect it with the sameness that you find across all the comic racks.

    For the past 25 years, people have been asking when we would see the “the next Watchmen”, but in the sense of whether we would see another book that impacted the entire industry to as great a degree as the original. Creators have banged their heads against the wall, struggling to produce this generation’s comparably great work. To be the next one to raise the bar in mainstream Anglophone comics.

    There are many excellent creators working on this project, but rather than raising the bar as Watchmen did, I suspect this will only serve to lower the bar of the original.

  95. Brad Ricca says:

    I agree, this has little to do with PD or copyright. Look at all the awful mystery/romance sequels to Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights. Just because they’re legal doesn’t make them masterpieces. The same goes for original comics.

    The bar is high and old. Watchmen came out twenty-five years ago. Has there been a masterpiece in the super-hero genre since then? It’s time.

  96. Will Naslund says:

    “Invoking Moore’s use of public domain characters is a non sequitur rationalization to help people justify their personal desire to consume these new books.”

    With regard to the LOEG books, maybe — but your counterargument here has no merit. The Charlton characters were not in the public domain, they were IP purchased lock, stock, and barrel by DC/WB.

    If Marvel had published Watchmen, DC could (and most likely would) have sued them for ripping off Blue Beetle, Peacemaker, Captain Atom, etc. — see the DC vs. Fawcett (Superman vs. Shazam/Captain Marvel) or Marvel vs. Image (Captain America vs. ‘Agent America’) for earlier precedents.

  97. Jon_in_Austin says:

    “The genius of Watchmen was in the structure and attention to detail. It is a triumph of craft, not of plot, character or even themes. And I do seriously doubt that the very talented creators involved will go to the lengths that Moore and Gibbons did to construct such a finely detailed and internally consistent piece of work.”

    +1

  98. Cole Moore Odell says:

    Scott, how can you talk about Moore ignoring the wishes of writers whose work is in the public domain? They’re all gone. There’s a difference between what we might think L. Frank Baum might have wanted and what Alan Moore has explicitly said at recently as today.

    Either way, I maintain that Moore’s supposed or actual hypocrisy is a diversionary rabbit hole. Let’s assume for a moment that like Harper Lee he had never written another book than Watchmen. Or fine, I’ll even admit that he’s an imperfect vessel to argue respect from other comics makers. Would that change anything? He’s not threatening legal action. He’s simply asking DC and other creators to let his book rest–animated in part by decades of resentment over the way he feels he’s been mistreated by the company. I won’t try to deny that Moore is a difficult person–Bissette’s interviews about the abrupt, strange end of of their relationship, and its continuing ramifications spell that much out–but I have a hard time swallowing the idea that the clear wishes of one of the field’s most celebrated writers have been met with such indifference, cloaked in such insincere corporate PR blather. The mixed but generally negative reactions from so many creators who *don’t* have a vested interest in the project are telling, I think. In the Newsarama roundup, (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/the-q-creators-on-before-watchmen-120201.html) you get objections based on artistic merit, basic decency, and more. And on the other side you have people like Gerry Conway expressing resigned cynicism about the ugly nature of comics. That’s what’s being defended here, regardless of whether Alan Moore is a crabby old coot who wrote a book where Tik Tok the Mechanical Man stuck his wind-up key in Tinkerbell.

  99. Matthew Southworth says:

    “And I do seriously doubt that the very talented creators involved will go to the lengths that Moore and Gibbons did to construct such a finely detailed and internally consistent piece of work.”

    More to the point–that’s not what they’re being hired to do. They’re being hired to spin off into a collection of miniseries, to exploit various characters. Which is fine, it’s just not the same intention as creating a cohesive, intricately designed puzzle.

  100. Cole Moore Odell says:

    Will, I would say that the constant invocation of the Charlton characters also has no merit. Watchmen isn’t about the Charlton characters. Moore may have initially been inspired by them, but the characters in the finished book are something else entirely. And I’m doubtful about your legal assertion re: Marvel doing Watchmen, given the existence of Squadron Supreme and the small army of indie publishers’ Superman knock-offs that blossomed in the 90s without legal action from DC.

  101. MBunge says:

    “Either way, I maintain that Moore’s supposed or actual hypocrisy is a diversionary rabbit hole.”

    Except it’s not because WATCHMEN is not an original work. This isn’t like Moore created a completely independent comic that had nothing to do with anything else and DC is now trampling all over his wishes. DC has the same legal and moral right to do these WATCHMEN prequels as Moore did for LOEG or LOST GIRLS.

    Mike

  102. What a terrible rip-off of…

    Well, I signed up today when I picked up my comics. They may be just as terrible as some people fear. If they are, I’ll stop buying them. The truth is DC owns this property lock, stock, and barrel and the only surprise here is that it didn’t happen years ago. Much as I love Moore’s curmudgeonly comments, and a lot of his writing, the only major work he’s done that didn’t involve capitalizing on other peoples’ work is V for Vendetta.

  103. Xenos says:

    @ Scott Rowland
    “Sure looks to me that DC knew exactly how to deal with it, given that it’s been a perennial seller for them. Or are you suggesting they should have exploited it with a sequel and other spin-offs earlier? ”

    I guess I should have said “learn from” or “deal with its success and duplicate it”. Sure DC knew how to keep publishing Watchmen, but it didn’t know how to publish a new one. And, yeah, I don’t mean a sequel or spin off. I mean a new book in the spirit of Watchmen. Maybe Kingdom Come comes close? That was Waid deconstructing the actual DC Universe, yet also moreso looking at the aftermath of Wathcmen in all the grim 90s books. It rather showed how they were mimicking the dark and extreme tone of Watchmen, not its intelligence and complexity and leaving behind the heroics that made DC Comics so good and live for all those decades.

    And it seems with all these DC Dark and DC Edge dark and edgy books, and even other parts of the DC relaunch as well as this Watchmen relaunch, DC hasn’t learned a damn thing from either what made Watchmen good or the commentary of Kingdom Come that just making something ‘dark and edgy’ doesn’t make it good or intelligent.

  104. alistair says:

    AAAAAAANNNNDDDDD …the sharkk has officially been jumped.

  105. Monster Comics Lover says:

    DC or Marvel or any corporation has never generated sequels to characters they own out of respect for the original source material. It’s all about making money. An executive somewhere at WB demands money be made from them. And WB owns the rights to the WATCHMEN characters and so they are going to go make money. We all knew this was coming. But always remember, there is no respect involved here. The Big Teams involved with this are being paid a lot of dough to do this. A LOT OF DOUGH. Which might buy them some time for their own original works in development (or a new car or house). None of these creative teams beat on a WB executive’s door and pleaded, “Please! Let me do a Watchmen story! I have the greatest idea in the world and am inspired by the original! I must do it! I’ll even do it for free!” The original WATCHMEN series was and still remains classic on all levels right down to the last detail but more than anything it made a lot of money for DC and that’s why we’re getting these new books. And you know, maybe we’ll get one or two good books out of it. My money is on Cooke.

  106. Scott Rowland says:

    @Cole “Scott, how can you talk about Moore ignoring the wishes of writers whose work is in the public domain? They’re all gone. There’s a difference between what we might think L. Frank Baum might have wanted and what Alan Moore has explicitly said at recently as today.”

    Are you drawing the distinction from the fact that Moore is still alive? I suppose I can see that, but it’s a bit of parsing that I don’t accept as valid. (That’s the same reasoning Marvel uses to not pay Jack Kirby’s family royalties when they reprint his work.) An author and his work either deserve respect or not, right?

    “Either way, I maintain that Moore’s supposed or actual hypocrisy is a diversionary rabbit hole. Let’s assume for a moment that like Harper Lee he had never written another book than Watchmen. Or fine, I’ll even admit that he’s an imperfect vessel to argue respect from other comics makers. Would that change anything? He’s not threatening legal action. He’s simply asking DC and other creators to let his book rest–animated in part by decades of resentment over the way he feels he’s been mistreated by the company. I won’t try to deny that Moore is a difficult person–Bissette’s interviews about the abrupt, strange end of of their relationship, and its continuing ramifications spell that much out–but I have a hard time swallowing the idea that the clear wishes of one of the field’s most celebrated writers have been met with such indifference, cloaked in such insincere corporate PR blather. The mixed but generally negative reactions from so many creators who *don’t* have a vested interest in the project are telling, I think. In the Newsarama roundup, (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/the-q-creators-on-before-watchmen-120201.html) you get objections based on artistic merit, basic decency, and more. And on the other side you have people like Gerry Conway expressing resigned cynicism about the ugly nature of comics. That’s what’s being defended here, regardless of whether Alan Moore is a crabby old coot who wrote a book where Tik Tok the Mechanical Man stuck his wind-up key in Tinkerbell.”

    I think it is worth recognizing that Alan Moore is being a hypocrite. I don’t think that is a diversionary rabbit hole, I think it’s something that needs to be recognized about the situation that Alan Moore is expecting consideration that he does not extend to others. The fact that he is one of the medium’s most celebrated writers shouldn’t win him special treatment where he gets to complain about how he was mistreated and then gets a free pass on his own misdeeds.

    That being said, I am generally in favor of respecting an author’s wishes, and think DC is taking a short-sighted view here. I expect that it will prove very profitable for them in that short term, and will continue to drive talented folks to other publishers (or at least to more iron-clad contracts) in the long-term.

  107. “Except for the original ideas they do publish through things like Vertigo.”

    Oh. Like…uh… Joe the Barbarian, perhaps? THAT was certainly ground-breaking.

    Vertigo has Fables and The Unwritten – not so much original, either one of them, but obviously done by creative teams that still give a shit. Beyond that, Vertigo’s heyday has been over for a long, long, long time.

    Scott Snyder is probably the most talented writer that DC has in its current stable, as witness to both his Vertigo & mainstream DC work – however, Snyder’s prose is good for COMICS – not unlike Steve Englehart used to be – and while there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, and while the industry could certainly use a dozen more like him, if you’re looking for the next Watchmen, the mainstream publishers are going to have to cast their nets out far & wide to coax that kind of talent. AND make it attractive enough for them to want to do it (besides just doling out fistfuls of cash).

    Unfortunately, DC has made it quite clear that they’re far more interested in taking the easy road for short term gain. And history has proven, time & time again, that going down such a road never ends well.

  108. Don L. says:

    Who is going to finish the Nite Owl and Dr. Manhattan series when J. Michael Straczynski quits them?

  109. Xenos says:

    If you think Alan Moore is a hypocrite and DC is all right, then you must be voting for Mitt Romney. He believes corporations are people too.

    Alan Moore feels he is free to take other characters as he does as he is a person creating a book. He is against a giant company like DC AOL Time Warner creating a book in the same way he is because he feels the cold machine of a corporation cannot do the same things as a human being and they should not be given the same rights.

    Honestly? I don’t quite agree with Moore. Not fully. Yet I sure the hell would side with him instead of DC or Mitt Romney.

  110. Xenos says:

    @ MHF
    Yeah. Exactly. Why doesn’t DC promote their wonderful Vertigo books like this? Certainly something like Joe the Barbarian could be the next Watchmen for them.

    DC should be pushing American Vampire or Joe the Barbarian in mainstream news outlets like they are doing to this series of Watchmen books.

    Actually, we all know why they don’t do that. They’re too wrapped up in old brand names an keeping old copyrights instead of even trying to interest people in something new. So they’re ignoring the actual and amazing “new Watchmen” series they’ve already published in favor of forcing an actual new Watchmen series on the public.

  111. Will Naslund says:

    “Watchmen isn’t about the Charlton characters. Moore may have initially been inspired by them, but the characters in the finished book are something else entirely.”

    ‘Inspired’ seems a little weasel-wordy to me given the almost identical nature of the characters — in fact, haven’t some folks in the know explicitly stated that Moore was all set to use the actual Charlton characters before DC got cold feet and ordered him to disguise them?

    I’d have a lot more sympathy for Moore if we were talking about the likes of Promethea or Top 10 — but without the Charlton heroes to provide character archetypes specifically and an overall starting point, Watchmen would not exist in anything resembling its present form. That’s not to say Moore shouldn’t profit from these prequels, but I can’t agree that he should have sole creative control/ownership over a work with such obviously derivative elements to it.

  112. Scott Rowland says:

    @Xenos: Sounds like you’re doing a bit of projecting there. I would think that Alan Moore is against the individuals working on the books doing so, also, even though they aren’t corporations. But, he has some extraordinary views, so you may be right. (It would be interesting to see what he’d do if Steve Bissette just up and reprinted all of 1963 and wrote a sequel without Moore. Not that I ever see Bissette doing that, of course).

    For the record, while I think Moore is a hypocrite, I don’t think DC is all right. I think they are short-sighted and often disrespectful of the talented individuals who have created the works they publish.

    As for the “Next Watchmen” that folks talk about, I’d say that Sandman was it — and DC has, at least so far (important caveat), tried to retain good relations with Neil Gaiman. That would be my example of a win/win: DC has exploited the property in lots of ways that have (IMO) fostered creativity (Carey’s Lucifer spin-off series being a good example) and they have refrained from giving the core characters to someone else to write without Gaiman’s permission. Gaiman has been enticed a couple of times to return to the franchise, and write new works, and at other times when they couldn’t reach agreement, the project didn’t happen.

    Pragmatically, though, there is zero chance of Moore returning to DC, so Didio and Lee probably figured someone is eventually going to get the credit from Warners for the great idea of exploiting Watchmen, so why shouldn’t it be them? Oh well, it gives us lots to talk about. . . .

  113. blacaucasian says:

    @MHF – Vertigo also has American Vampire,iZombie, Spaceman and Saucer Country, Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child, and The New Deadwardians coming for new series. None of which to my knowledge are based on existing concepts. Within a year they have or will release OGN’s like Marzi, Gone To Amerikay, Get Jiro, A.D.D., Aaron and Ahmed, The Prince Of Cats, How To Understand Israel in 60 Days Or Less, Dark Rain, My Cuba etc. many of which are outside the usual horror/sci fi/crime wheel house of normal Vertigo books. You can rail against DC and Vertigo all you want, but you certainly can’t claim they aren’t trying to put new material out there for people to see. Many of which are creator owned, so their impetus to do so could arguably be even less then one would expect for their own trademarked product.

  114. Stop talking about Charlton. Watchmen /= Charlton. This is so dishonest. So brutally, cynically, evily dishonest.

    Shame on all of you

  115. Richard Watson says:

    “Stop talking about Charlton. Watchmen /= Charlton. This is so dishonest. So brutally, cynically, evily dishonest.”

    Truth hurts, does it?

    Take away all the work Moore has done with other people’s characters and ideas; whether with permission or without and what do you have left?

    Not a lot.

  116. I’m not sure if I should be angry or happy or unsure. When I was 14, Watchmen was pretty amazing stuff. Ground breaking. Maybe its that initial splash that created the ripples that are still propagating today.

    The reality is that you can’t go back in time. You can’t re-create the necessary “fog of war” or perfect storm of creation. They are throwing highly respected industry talent at this project so they don’t embarrass themselves but the flip side of that coin is that they will get exactly what they expect; A better than average but ultimately average comic book.

    How many of you feel that The Dark Knight 2 detracted from the original? How many feel it ruined the original’s legacy? If DC thinks they can make a buck, they’ll give it a try. But lets all be completely clear, this is about making a buck and nothing moore.

  117. blacaucasian says:

    “Watchmen /= Charlton.”

    http://www.twomorrows.com/comicbookartist/articles/09moore.html

    From Alan Moore himself:

    “So, Dick had purchased the Charlton characters for DC, and he was looking for some way to use them, and Dave and I put forth this proposal which originally was designed around a number of the Charlton characters. “

  118. horatio weisfeld says:

    Rich
    02/01/2012 AT 9:47 AM
    Interested in the lack of British creators on these books.

    >>

    No mystery: Brits still have some class.

  119. Ah, well, as much as I wish the Star Wars prequels had never been made, they were, and while they may have hurt the franchise on some aesthetic level, they make the original movie look even better by comparison.

    All other issues aside, it feels like forever since we’ve had a new Amanda Conner book, so I’m glad to see her name in the list. Amanda Conner, Amanda Conner, Amanda Conner — yay!

  120. 25 years is an awfully long time for DC to sit on this goldmine,after all the transition to the goldenage to the silverage was just 7 years(think Jay Garrick Flash in 1949 to Barry Allen Flash in 1956). Rorschach could end up becoming one of the most popular DC characters of all-time. It is about time somebody at DC had balls to make this business decision. Anybody who doesn`t think DC is in the business to make money is a buffoon. I applaud DC for this move,as this will be their savior and not the new DC 52 reboot.
    respectfully “stam”

  121. For Richard Watson and anyone else who repeat that Alan Moore only works on other people’s creations, here’s a brief incomplete list of original creations: Halo Jones, D.R. & Quinch, V for Vendetta, Promethea, Big Numbers. He’s also done many works with original characters based on archetypes or nonfiction; an incomplete list would include: From Hell, Tom Strong, Top 10, 1963, Tomorrow Stories.

    It’s easy and funny to say that all Alan Moore does is take existing characters (corporate owned, public domain or otherwise) and make them have sex. But that is dismissive and false. Nearly all the work he’s done has had lasting and defining effect. It’s hard to think about Swamp Thing, Captain Britain, Wildcats (TAO & Ladytron) or Supreme without including his additions.

    Moore was recently criticized for pointing out how much of recent Green Lantern comics were built on the backs of his three short stories and he was right. Mogo came from one story but Sodam Yat, the Children of the White Lobe, The Five Inversions, Ysmault, the Prophecy of the Blackest Night were all ideas from 8 pages he did with Kevin O’Neill to explain why Abin Sur was in a space ship when John Broome and Gil Kane restarted Green Lantern.

    It’s also easy to say that the characters in Watchmen are just Charleston characters, but they were made into much more than that. The reason this is news, the reason we’re discussing it, the reason this is a trending topic on twitter, the reason there was a movie and toys and merchandise, is because these are the Watchmen characters and not the Charleston ones.

    As part of the New52, DC launched a new Captain Atom comic which made him more like Doctor Manhattan than ever before. The first issue sold 44,110 copies to direct market retailers and the fourth issue sold only 19,908.

    In 2009 Marvel bought the rights to Marvelman all anyone cared about was: if they could reprint the comics written by Alan and Neil Gaiman, and Neil and Mark Buckingham to finish their story. Since then nothing has come from it but a few reprints of the old comics from the ’50s which no one demanded.

    You can disagree with Moore’s attitude or his opinion, but to try and devalue his accomplishments is petty and dishonest.

  122. Mario Boon says:

    @Blackaucasian. Note the word “originally”. What became Watchmen happened because Dick Giordano feared that DC wouldn’t be able to spin off monthly series of these Charlton superheroes after Watchmen.
    So, Alan Moore created NEW characters and the story became something other what originally was proposed.

  123. Mario Boon says:

    @ Richard Watson, oh, I wouldn’t call D.R.& Quinch, From Hell, V for Vendetta, Big Numbers, Top Ten, Promethea,… not much, would you?
    For most creators that’s more than a career

  124. Earth-2 Chad says:

    So first Jim Lee contributed to screwing up any possibility of the 1963 Annual happening, then he inadvertently (or not so) reunited Alan Moore with DC when he sold Wildstorm, and now he’s part of the brain trust approving Watchmen prequels.

    What a pal.

  125. Jim Lee has been exacting revenge against Alan Moore ever since Moore wrote the best stories that Lee’s WildC.A.T.S would ever get.

  126. “Stop talking about Charlton. Watchmen /= Charlton. This is so dishonest. So brutally, cynically, evily dishonest.”

    “Truth hurts, does it?”

    As noted above, “Watchmen” sold in spite of it being based on Charlton characters. How’s “Blue Beetle” selling? What about “The Question?” The notion that these creators are simply riffing on disused characters is dishonest, mistaken, or dim (though I’m not sure it’s evil).
    These comics will sell because of what Moore and Gibbons did.
    And by the way, DC hedged its bets when “Watchmen” came out, giving Moore a chance to go wild while preserving the Charlton properties for their corporate universe. It looks like this was a smart decision on their part, as now they have double the revenue generating work for hire creations to recycle for an aging fan base. Nicely played DC!

  127. I love the Watchmen = Charlton characters argument.

    Because Charlton’s Blue Beetle was overweight, middle aged and needed to wear a costume to get it up.

    Captain Atom was blue and naked, grew distant from humanity and decided to leave Earth to go create some life.

    The Peacemaker was a scarred, pregnant woman murdering rapist.

    etc…

    While originally based on the Charlton heroes, The Watchmen characters are clearly original.

    And I seem to recall Alan saying the reason he works on public domain characters today is so that DC won’t be able to buy them at some point in the future and exploit them like they did with the America’s Best Comics line.

  128. blacaucasian says:

    “While originally based on the Charlton heroes, The Watchmen characters are clearly original.”

    This is a completely paradoxical statement.

  129. blacaucasian says:

    Also, the idea that Watchman would have existed as it was without the Charlton characters inspiring them is disingenuous at best. Just look at Ditko’s work on and after creating The Question and clearly the core of Rorschach is exactly what is at the core of Ditko’s Question.

  130. Al™ says:

    I’ll flip through each first issue at the comic shop and decide then and there whether they are worth purchasing.
    But yes, the idea of prequels is a bit disturbing, as there are many ways to muck them up.

  131. Is anybody arguing that “Watchmen” would have existed as is without the Charlton characters? It’s a given that it was based on those characters. What’s at issue is whether an argument for simple equivalence between what Moore did and what DC is doing is intellectually honest. It’s not. This is because Watchmen didn’t sell on the merits of Ditko’s “Question.” It didn’t poach on a lingering nostalgia for third tier characters and poor color registration. Nor does a reader need to have any familiarity with those characters for it to work as a story. Based on the press release it looks like the opposite is true for these prequels.

  132. Richard Starkings says:
  133. Matthew Southworth says:

    @blacaucasian–” Just look at Ditko’s work on and after creating The Question and clearly the core of Rorschach is exactly what is at the core of Ditko’s Question.”

    That’s exactly the point. Rorshach is an extrapolation on the Question, a comment on exactly what sort of personality would enact Ditko’s Ayn Randian views through physical violence.

  134. Wayne Beamer says:

    Dear DC Comics: Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD (see Neil Gaiman’s Sandman)…

  135. morganagrom says:

    Let’s all hope and pray that Before Watchmen does phenomenally well and maybe, if we’re really, really lucky, we’ll get to see Before Sandman.

  136. simon cooper says:

    “For Richard Watson and anyone else who repeat that Alan Moore only works on other people’s creations, here’s a brief incomplete list of original creations: Halo Jones, D.R. & Quinch, V for Vendetta, Promethea, Big Numbers”

    Um, DR & Quinch were are rip-off of National Lampoon’s OC & Stiggs. Setting a pattern that dominates his career right from the begining.

  137. simon cooper says:

    “Rorshach is an extrapolation on the Question, a comment on exactly what sort of personality would enact Ditko’s Ayn Randian views through physical violence.”

    And back when Watchmen did feature the Charlton characters did Moore ask Ditko if he could use The Question in it?

  138. Will Naslund says:

    “Stop talking about Charlton. Watchmen /= Charlton. This is so dishonest. So brutally, cynically, evily dishonest.”

    Cynical, possibly. Realistic, more likely. But dishonest, no — see the Moore quote upthread where he cops to riffing of the Charlton characters in so many words.

    And personally, I’d rather be cynical than naive (or in the case of some of Moore’s more ardent sycophants in this thread, hysterical and infantile).

    I really don’t think most of the folks in this thread arguing that the Watchmen are derivations of the Charlton characters are trying to denigrate the *quality* of Moore’s writing (at least I’m not). Watchmen is a watershed work for a reason.

    But ownership of intellectual property isn’t based on the literary merit of the work in question, it’s based on who holds the copyrights and trademarks, and if those rights/marks are distinctive or if they’re derivative of another party’s IP. One is certainly entitled to think that the Watchmen characters are cooler, more three-dimensional, etc. than their Charlton antecedents — but that’s utterly beside the point. The Watchmen are clearly, obviously, and by Moore’s own account explicitly based on the Charlton heroes. End of.

    Now, the ‘can vs. should’ argument is another matter entirely. There is a chance that these prequels will devalue the Watchmen property somewhat (as the Star Wars prequels arguably did to the initial trilogy of films) — but with the likes of Darwyn Cooke at the helm, that seems rather unlikely.

  139. Saber Tooth Tiger Mike says:

    “Both the New 52 and these Watchmen prequels are great business because they get people talking and make it so you have to read the comic to be part of the cultural dialogue.”
    This may come as a surprise to you but I’m not so sheepish that I need to check out every hyped comic book event from Marvel and DC in order to have something to discuss with other comic book fans. If these prequels are part of kind of diologue within a “culture”, that culture is a culture of people scraping at the bottom of the barrel, because there’s very little left in terms of intellectual vitality.

    I’m not even remotely curious about this so I won’t even look at interior previews or Byrne-steal them.
    I won’t do these things, not because of Alan Moore’s wishes, but because he has nothing to do with it and based on the creators involved, whose work I know of well, I don’t think this is going to be very good. Brain Azzarello, The Kuberts, and Amanda Conner are good creators, just not good for Watchemen. They’re not good enough.

    I think Alex summed it up perfectly.

    “hey are throwing highly respected industry talent at this project so they don’t embarrass themselves but the flip side of that coin is that they will get exactly what they expect; A better than average but ultimately average comic book.”

    None of the writers involved can write as well as Alan Moore. Not even close. The artwork displayed so far is so unimaginative.

    If this is the best these group of creators can come up with as prequels to one of the best comics they’ve ever published, I’m extremely underwhelmed.

    Watchman was an intellectual piece of work. DC will release a prequel by hiring creators mostly who have done straightforward or unsophisticated work. Lame. It would take a comic creator that is most likely working for Fantagraphics to even come close to the layered storytelling Alan Moore provided. Can you imagine a sequel to an art film being done as a cgi laced action flick? No, you couldn’t because the differences in sensibilites would be jarring for people who liked the original who would show up to see the sequel.

    If they’re reinterpeting Watchmen for a (non-existent) new generation, they’re sticking incredibly close to the old branding of the original series.

    As far as I know these prequels have no hook

    The art is boring.

    Pass.

  140. Hands up who’s too thick to know the difference between pastiche and slavish imitation?

    I was going to type something new but I think I’ll just QFT this:

    “For me, the tell on why this is horribly misguided, and that DC knows it, is their insistence on sticking to the language of their mainstream serial comics to describe Watchmen. So we see it called a “fictional universe” rather than a novel. It has a “complex mythology” rather than a plot, theme and characters. To justify all this, DC needs to aggressively redefine Watchmen as just another one of their ongoing serial properties, rather than what it truly is, a deliberately finite commentary on those properties. It’s wrong, all the way up and down the line, it’s creatively bankrupt, it goes against the express wishes of the guy who invented it, and it’s being pimped by people whose egos tell them Moore’s desires as an artist or person don’t matter, and whose paydays make it very hard to care either way. And as always, it’s drizzled in cynical corporate marketing-speak about undefined “controversy” designed to turn their own shamelessly unethical behavior into a sales tool. A pox on all their houses.”

  141. Matthewwave says:

    Now that it’s been resolved conclusively that DC will do absolutely anything for money, there are four or five people I’d like them to bump off for me, and I’d like a nice, long blowjob.

    Matthew

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