Opinion – Before Watchmen

Posted by David On February 4, 2012 ADD COMMENTS

That’s right Fight Fans – DC have announced a series of prequel comics focusing on the Watchmen, Alan Moore’s seminal classic from the 80’s, and the interwebs have exploded.

In the blue corner we have DC Comics. the owners of the Watchmen and the creative team behind the new stories:

Rorschach by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo, Comedian by Azzarello and artist J.G. Jones, Minutemen by writer/artist Darwyn Cooke, Silk Spectre by Cooke and artist Amanda Conner, Nite Owl by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artists Joe and Andy Kubert, Dr. Manhattan by Straczynski and artist Adam Hughes, and Ozymandias by writer and original Watchmen editor Len Wein with art by Jae Lee.

They also have the blessing of Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons.

In the red corner we have the many people who believe that the Watchmen is the greatest comic story of all time and that it is a) almost blasphemous for anyone other than Alan Moore to continue the story in any way, or b) it is perfect the way it is and shouldn’t be continued at all.

This group also have the unofficial backing of Watchmen creator Alan Moore with his statement describing the prequels as “completely shameless.” “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.”

Lets get ready to rumble!

Blue Corner – It is common knowledge in the comic community that DC screwed over Alan Moore with the rights to the Watchmen, and they have been screwing with him for many years after. But, although I am totally on Mr Moore’s side regarding this, the simple fact is that DC would be insane not to consider a project like this. They are a business and a project like this is almost a license to print money. Even the people that are nerdraging over this are going to buy it, if only to have the ammo to continue their assault. And the creative teams are interesting – Darwyn Cooke is a legend and I’m always welcome to some Joe & Andy Kubert, J.G Jones and Adam Hughes art, but Straczynski is average at best (Rising Stars was a cool idea that went nowhere, Superman: Grounded was one of the worst Superman stories ever), and I don’t think Jae Lee is a good choice for Ozymandias. I trust Darwyn Cooke to show this project the respect it deserves.

Red Corner – I agree that it isn’t necessary to have Watchmen spin offs. It is a complete story and doesn’t need to be expanded on. But I don’t see a problem with doing so. Alan Moore himself had plans for spin offs and only stopped due to his falling out with DC. Watchmen is brilliant, but it isn’t sacrosanct. The story is so rich and detailed that ideas for spin offs would almost write themselves.

I’m not afraid to say that I’m looking forward to this project. I love Watchmen, I read it every year, and I’m excited to be able to read more adventures in that world. Would I prefer Alan Moore to be writing it? Of course, but not because of any sense of ‘blasphemy’. I would prefer he be working on it because he is my favourite comic writer of all time, and having him back on his greatest achievement would be too exciting to describe. But, as I said earlier, I trust Darwyn Cooke, he hasn’t let me down yet. And besides, even if they are crap, that doesn’t affect my love for the original story. They are separate entities and can be enjoyed or dismissed as such. This series is one of the most obvious money grabbing exercises I have ever seen (second only to the Star Wars prequels), but so what. The Comic Industry is in trouble and just like Avengers vs X-Men this event is bringing attention to the industry,

And that’s good for comics.

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