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February 1, 2012 7:24 AM   Subscribe

DC announced this morning that it would publish a series of prequels to Watchmen. Watchmen writer Alan Moore: “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.” The talent working on the new series has been quick to issue a defense and to outline their plans. The would-be Watchmen sequel was recently on the blue.

Possibly unrelated: The Simpsons' Watchmen Babies.
posted by ricochet biscuit (275 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
This announcement puts me in the entirely unfamiliar position of being annoyed about the existence of something written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke. Just saying that is strange.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:26 AM on February 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


BTW, there is a dead link in the FPP. Sorry, all. I have let the mods know and maybe some of you will never notice it...
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:27 AM on February 1, 2012


I'm having two simultaneous reactions to A SILK SPECTER PREQUEL BOOK THAT'S AN AWFUL IDEA wait it's by DARWYN COOKE I - I DON'T KNOW HOW TO FEEL ABOUT THAT
posted by The Whelk at 7:28 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've really drifted from Big Two comics in the past years; now I can retcon that (or at least the DC half) to an intentional protest of this stupidity.

The thing is, I'm not even angry. Just annoyed. DC (and Marvel) is like a puppy that I know is going to shit on the rug, and I just vaguely hope that maybe it's grown out of it, and then I walk into the room and find another steaming pile.
posted by COBRA! at 7:29 AM on February 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yeah, it's hard to get angry when they have this habit of doing stuff like this every other year. At least Marvel was decent to deal with and I really like how they're handling their "cinematic universe" so to speak
posted by The Whelk at 7:32 AM on February 1, 2012


Saturday Morning Watchmen
posted by stinkycheese at 7:32 AM on February 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


Doesn't Watchmen already contain "prequels" in, you know, Watchmen?
posted by nathancaswell at 7:32 AM on February 1, 2012 [25 favorites]


Is it me, or does the Dr. Manhattan cover image (from the "issue a defense" link) basically look like he's screwing Laurie from behind?

(also: this seems like a terrible idea, and a shameless money grab)
posted by tocts at 7:32 AM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Considering both how much editorial power DC have bestowed begged him to take and the relative success of Seven Soldiers, I'm surprised Morrison isn't in on this.

Okay, after writing that I had to Google it and apparently they did and he said 'no':
No, they asked me to do that, and I said, “Why would you want a sequel to Watchmen?” [Laughs] No, I mean, c’mon. Watchmen is actually perfect in its construction. I mean, not necessarily in other areas, obviously, but as a story it’s complete, it’s utterly circular, and there’s absolutely no need for anything else in it.
posted by griphus at 7:35 AM on February 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


"They are still apparently dependent on ideas [from] 25 years ago.”

This neatly sums up a lot of what's wrong with mainstream American superhero comics.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:36 AM on February 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is the dumbest fucking thing.
posted by penduluum at 7:37 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey let's all not buy this so they feel dumb for making it.

Also I'm going to flag this since I think telling people about it runs the danger of someone buying it.
posted by fartron at 7:37 AM on February 1, 2012


As much as I respect the Grand Wizard of Northampton (skeevy misogynistic narratives aside), I've never really liked how much certain parts of comics fandom idolise Watchmen. I mean, sure, it was ahead of its time and said some interesting stuff about how superheroes are just reflections of society's unquenchable greed for violence/justice/money etc etc, but it's not the Be All and End All of comic book literature. Why not let someone else take a run at the world?
posted by fight or flight at 7:38 AM on February 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is excellent news for the "Interview with Alan Moore" industry.

Q: "Mr. Moore, care to give us some comments about how DC is horrible? I'll just leave this tape recorder here and go get a sandwich."

A: "ARGLE BARGLE FROTH SPITTLE BLARF GRARG..." (continues on for 90 more minutes)
posted by Legomancer at 7:39 AM on February 1, 2012 [14 favorites]


I'm actually really curious what the people who disliked other authors using titles of existing famous works think of this. Is it a matter of the artistic integrity of the original work even when it's the owner of the series who is making extra texts?
posted by jaduncan at 7:39 AM on February 1, 2012


Why not let someone else take a run at the world?
Because it's 25 years old. This is why copyright is supposed to expire.
posted by fartron at 7:41 AM on February 1, 2012


Personally I'd say that this is far worse. It's like the way Police Academy 4 screwed the artistic legacy of the first three Police Academy films.
posted by jaduncan at 7:41 AM on February 1, 2012


WE ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE ALLOWED TO MAKE HORRIBLE FAN FICTION OF THIS ANCIENT WORK BECAUSE OUR FORE-FATHERS SCAMMED IT OUT OF SOME BRIT.
posted by fartron at 7:42 AM on February 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


A: "ARGLE BARGLE FROTH SPITTLE BLARF GRARG..." (continues on for 90 more minutes)

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by griphus at 7:44 AM on February 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


What do you think the chance is that none of these stories will be self-enclosed? Knowing DC, we'll have to buy all of the series to even know what's going on.

At least they're not doing Watchmen Zombies or something.
posted by sleeping bear at 7:44 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yet!
posted by The Whelk at 7:45 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


George Lucas completely destroyed the entire concept of "prequels" for me. Add in Alan Moore's non-involvement and you can be sure I won't be buying any of this. Ever.
posted by tommasz at 7:46 AM on February 1, 2012


I'm actually really curious what the people who disliked other authors using titles of existing famous works think of this. Is it a matter of the artistic integrity of the original work even when it's the owner of the series who is making extra texts?

I think attitudes about ownership are, for better or for worse, drastically different in comic books, where you often sell your rights to the characters away when you sell the book. There's an expectation that they'll be seen reimagined eventually, at least on the part of the comic book companies. The fact that the Watchmen characters had their origins with pre-existing Charlton Comics characters feels relevant, too--though honestly, I feel that Moore's work has a certain sort of artistic integrity that makes it feel like it should exist outside this kind of fundamental remix culture that exists in comics. Not to say that good things haven't come from those remixes, but I suspect his interaction with his characters is closer to most literary writers, who would likewise find the idea of prequels featuring their character appalling.

(Not to say that good things can't come of these reimaginings, and they're very much part of intrinsic comic book culture. But it weirded me out when they rebooted Star Trek, so.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:47 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


For whatever reason, thinking about this made me realize what my personal worst-case scenario for the comics world would be: DC or Marvel getting their hands on the Venture Bros. license and making a mountain of shitty, fun-sucking comics set in that universe.
posted by COBRA! at 7:48 AM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


What do you think the chance is that none of these stories will be self-enclosed?

The worst part will be when Stephen King gets written in as God at the end.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:50 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been collecting DC Comics for about three decades, and the only comic I can imagine being more desperately repugnant than a Watchmen prequel would be a Watchmen sequel.

Maybe Warner Brothers could do Citizen Kane 2: Return of Rosebud, then cross-promote it on the Winter X-Games.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:52 AM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


The confusing thing for me is what the upside is for the creators. I mean, work is work, sure, but when DC phone and ask if you'd like to do something which is going to get you pilloried at every convention and fan site it feels like the perfect time to be busy writing your self-published graphic novel about Athanasius Kircher.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:54 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fact that the Watchmen characters had their origins with pre-existing Charlton Comics characters feels relevant, too...

The funny thing is that he had to re-work the Charlton characters because the DC editors didn't want him messing with the originals. So they should just stick to their original plan and put out "Before Lookdudes" featuring Sky Bird, Satinatrix, Inkstain, Laughterman, Amenhotep, Professor Trinity.
posted by griphus at 7:55 AM on February 1, 2012 [19 favorites]


J. Michael Straczynski:
Ever since Dan DiDio was handed the reins (along with Jim Lee) over at DC, he’s been making bold, innovative moves that might have scared the hell out of anyone else. At a time in the industry when big events tend to be ‘Okay, we had Team A fight Team B last year, so this year we’re gonna have Team B fight team C!’ Dan has chosen to revitalize lines, reinvent worlds and come at Watchmen head-on.
If expanding the well-wrapped up story that is Watchmen is gutsy, I wonder what creating wholly new characters would be. And it's weird to me that the Hollywood Reporter is following events in the world of comics now.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:55 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm having trouble being sympathetic to someone who's based a large part of his career working with characters other people created, like Swamp Thing and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
posted by bobo123 at 7:56 AM on February 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Like a lot of Watchmen fanboys, I've anticipated this possibility with some dread. Now that it's here... eh, whatever. The comics might be good in their own right, or not. If I hear they're good, maybe I'll even try them when they come out in library-has-the-collection.

And much as I love Moore, the "don't have any new ideas and have to reuse my old ones" thing is getting tired. In his recent work, he's been reusing the ideas of Stoker, Conan Doyle, Wells, Verne, Poe, Lovecraft, Burroughs and just about everyone.
posted by Zed at 7:57 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ever since Dan DiDio was handed the reins (along with Jim Lee) over at DC

I read that as Don DeLillo and it sounded sort of fantastic.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:57 AM on February 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


I guess this is the wrong time to pitch my prequel/alternative universe concept for Gravity's Rainbow?
posted by KokuRyu at 7:58 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


This discussion has had an unexpected effect on me.

I am now completely in favor of remixes, revisions, re-imaginings, etc. Let's make all art like the fashion industry. Everyone can, copy, re-appropriate, repurpose everything.

It works in fashion.
It works in music.
It should damn well work in literature (and, of course, there are plenty of examples of this already, e.g. Grendel.)

Like in those fields the bad stuff will be ignored and forgotten while the good stuff will enrich society and add depth to the original.

As long as the original is kept available (I'm looking at you Lucas), I think this is a good thing.
posted by oddman at 7:59 AM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


And it's weird to me that the Hollywood Reporter is following events in the world of comics now.

Well, Marvel vs DC is now basically Disney vs Time Warner - and the value is in creating and promoting properties which might become TV series or movies. So, I imagine they are looking at this through the lens of X-Men: First Class. Sharp-suited retro Mad (Watch) Men, anyone?
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:00 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who botches the Watchmen?
posted by defenestration at 8:02 AM on February 1, 2012 [54 favorites]


I guess this is the wrong time to pitch my prequel/alternative universe concept for Gravity's Rainbow?

Set it in the universe of PKD's Valis and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer and I would buy the fuck out of that comic book.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:03 AM on February 1, 2012


Who Watches the Watchducks?
posted by griphus at 8:04 AM on February 1, 2012


I guess this is the wrong time to pitch my prequel/alternative universe concept for Gravity's Rainbow?
posted by KokuRyu


You'll have to get in line, you can talk to them when I'm done pitching my Hamlet prequel, Spring Break from Wittenburg: Something Is Awesome in the State of Denmark.
posted by COBRA! at 8:05 AM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Make it Gravity's Rainbow Dash and I guarantee it will sell.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:05 AM on February 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Watchpeanuts
posted by jquinby at 8:06 AM on February 1, 2012


I read that as Don DeLillo and it sounded sort of fantastic.

Better yet, Dom DeMillo.

"Watchmens sequel, heh? SEND IN THE GOILS!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:06 AM on February 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


I wonder if there's any way for them to work in a mini arc about determining once and for all that Hobbes is an actual live tiger with the magical ability to turn into a stuffed animal when adults are around.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:07 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Set it in the universe of PKD's Valis

Wait, that was fiction?
posted by theodolite at 8:07 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Aw hell yes! Because after this, we're going to get "Watchman Babies".

Watch FingerPaints, Nighty-Nite Owl, and Cotton Specter come out of nap time to figure out who tripped The Giggler in line for the water fountain, with the back story of how OzyCandyas and Intern Manhattan dealt with rising tension on the playground.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:08 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear.

God.

No.

If you have any mercy, no.
posted by Samizdata at 8:09 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's make all art like the fashion industry.

haha yes let's do that
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:12 AM on February 1, 2012


Sharp-suited retro Mad (Watch) Men, anyone?

Oh man, I would give my proverbial left nut for a decent post-war US superhero drama. Kids in tights and silk capes smoking cigarettes between pitches for commercials selling canned beans and soap. Catching a dame in distress as she falls from a window fifty stories up. Pictures of women in suits of golden armor sitting on the noses of fighter planes. The politics! The intrigue!

Basically I want a movie of the opening credits of Watchmen. Basically just that.
posted by fight or flight at 8:15 AM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Or maybe a TV series of DC's New Frontier. Jon Hamm could play Supes. WHY IS THIS NOT A THING.
posted by fight or flight at 8:17 AM on February 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Tinker Tailor Solider Superhero
posted by The Whelk at 8:17 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh man, I would give my proverbial left nut for a decent post-war US superhero drama. Kids in tights and silk capes smoking cigarettes between pitches for commercials selling canned beans and soap. Catching a dame in distress as she falls from a window fifty stories up. Pictures of women in suits of golden armor sitting on the noses of fighter planes. The politics! The intrigue!

Basically I want a movie of the opening credits of Watchmen. Basically just that.


I've been saying for years that I want a movie about the courtship of Ralph and Sue Dibny, done in the style of a Rock Hudson/Doris Day movie. Down With Love, with superheroes. It would be glorious.
posted by nonasuch at 8:19 AM on February 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


Or maybe a TV series of DC's New Frontier. Jon Hamm could play Supes. WHY IS THIS NOT A THING.

GOD DAMMIT DC DO THIS. Even the ridiculously cut-down 60-minute version they released to DVD a few years ago was basically the best thing in the world.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:22 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Down With Love, with superheroes. It would be glorious.

Think of the musical numbers!
posted by The Whelk at 8:23 AM on February 1, 2012


I've been saying for years that I want a movie about the courtship of Ralph and Sue Dibny, done in the style of a Rock Hudson/Doris Day movie.

Or Nick and Nora Charles! Oh my word, this would be amazing.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:23 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


But what about Chip Zdarsky’s WATCHMEN 2? (Via Warren Ellis.)
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:24 AM on February 1, 2012


Best comment from all the linked material so far:

The adventures of Before Watchmen will take place on Earth-$.
posted by Minus215Cee at 8:25 AM on February 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


Basically I want a movie of the opening credits of Watchmen. Basically just that.

I have faith that will be what Cooke delivers.

I also have faith that JMS will have Ozymandias give up his intelligence and be stupid for a year, possibly hassling people in the process.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:30 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


The upside is that a book written by JMS with interior art by Adam Hughes is virtually guaranteed to come out on the fifth of Never Fucking Happening.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:31 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can't think of the last time I wanted to be super wrong about my initial reaction on something. I will gladly eat my hat if this turns out to be spectacular. Gladly. Until then, fingers crossed.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:31 AM on February 1, 2012


I'd like to see a From Hell 2
posted by Ad hominem at 8:32 AM on February 1, 2012


"...and I would do anything for the blood..."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:33 AM on February 1, 2012


"They are still apparently dependent on ideas [from] 25 years ago.”

This neatly sums up a lot of what's wrong with mainstream American superhero comics.


Drop the last two words.
posted by eriko at 8:33 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see a From Hell 2

Only if it follows Spectral Gull's travels through space time
posted by The Whelk at 8:33 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was angry about this thirty-five minute ago.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:34 AM on February 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


Basically I want a movie of the opening credits of Watchmen.

I'd rather a movie version of the Forty-niners myself.
posted by bonehead at 8:34 AM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also our Theoretical post-war Superhero Romantic Comedy has to have a 6 minute sequence where the movie stops dead for a fashion show.
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 AM on February 1, 2012


I can't decide whether I'm disappointed or relieved that Jeph Loeb is nowhere near this.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:35 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do you all think that the extant book of the Watchmen will be ruined? DC isn't having them re-write the thing while destroying all previous copies. The original will still be just as good, it will still be just as self-contained. Did the abomination that was the late 90's Celtics ruin the Bird-led teams? Did the post Magic Lakers ruing Showtime?

Seriously, get over it.
posted by oddman at 8:38 AM on February 1, 2012


I'd like to see a From Hell 2

2 From 2 Hell?
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:39 AM on February 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Even the ridiculously cut-down 60-minute version they released to DVD a few years ago was basically the best thing in the world.

I refuse to believe that King fucking Faraday jumped into a Tyrannosaur mouth in any of the DC multiverses. The Losers never win.
posted by bonehead at 8:40 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Watchmen was revolutionary because of technique more than because of content. The content was mostly pulp trash, and it was derived from pulp trash. There's no reason not to make more pulp trash based on the original pulp trash.
posted by empath at 8:40 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


a series of prequels to Watchmen

Say what? Between the end-of-chapter material and Alan moore's famous time-jumping style, Watchmen already contained its own prequels.

Moore's comment on DC still being dependent on his 25 year old ideas -- though I'd throw in Miller's Dark Knight -- is spot on.
posted by Gelatin at 8:41 AM on February 1, 2012


tocts: Is it me, or does the Dr. Manhattan cover image (from the "issue a defense" link) basically look like he's screwing Laurie from behind?

Superhero comics are often aimed at pre-teen and teenage boys, and tend to use safely suggestive images on their covers to attract their audiences.

The More You Know!(tm)
posted by IAmBroom at 8:46 AM on February 1, 2012


I refuse to believe that King fucking Faraday jumped into a Tyrannosaur mouth in any of the DC multiverses. The Losers never win.

By the same token, I refuse to live in a world where there isn't a laser-shooting psychic island of Lovecraftian dinosaurs that speaks with Keith David's voice.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:49 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's an expectation that they'll be seen reimagined eventually

Already happened years ago, when The Question -- on whose original Charlton incarnation Rorshach was based, but in whose then-current DC incarnation was explicitly moving from the character's original conception to a more Zen-like posture -- was taking a trip by airplane and grabbed Watchmen from an airport book stand.

He dreamt of being Rorshach on the plane and then, outside the bad guy's lair, asked himself what Rorshach would do. "He'd kick ass," was the answer, and so he burst in and promptly got his own ass handed to him (complete with saying "hurm" when hit in the head). About to be killed, he was asked if he had any last words, and said "Yeah -- Rorshach sucks." (Spoiler alert: His bacon was saved at the last minute.)
posted by Gelatin at 8:50 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


From Hell 2: The Helllier by Don Delillo

Gull rises from the grave, only to be stuck in traffic while traveling cross town to get a haircut. During his journey he encounters Mycroft Holmes, The Swamp Thing, John Constantin, Dr. Manhattan and many more. Gull delivers a stunning exegesis on life in the form of extended soliloquies and conversations with his notable traveling companions.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:56 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Watch FingerPaints, Nighty-Nite Owl, and Cotton Specter come out of nap time to figure out who tripped The Giggler in line for the water fountain, with the back story of how OzyCandyas and Intern Manhattan dealt with rising tension on the playground.

I'm geneuinely surprised this concept wasn't among the proposals for toy lines on Adrian Viedt's desk featured in the end-of-chapter material.

While watching his zillions of TV screens, Veidt himself commented on "infantile imagery." But if memory serves me right, he nixed the idea of action figures based on his fellow masks.
posted by Gelatin at 9:01 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


So... they didn't learn anything from 'The Dark Knight Strikes Back' did they?
posted by PenDevil at 9:02 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'M THE GODDAMN WATCHMAN
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:05 AM on February 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


You know, there was a time I would have been indignant about this. Around the same time when I would get into a froth about an adaptation - probably a movie - that made major changes to the nature of a character. By grod, it's Critically Important that Peter Parker made his own webshooters, it shows how important his brains are not just what he has lucked into argle bargle OIOH)292**(_)!!!!1

Thankfully I was over that by the time Raimi's movies came out and I could enjoy them for what they are.

Later I came to see the value in adaptation, remixing, paring down a story and picking the key elements for the story you're looking to tell. Not every detail needs to be in there. Infodumps suck. Fan service that harms a quality tale is a sin. Most radically (for my wee brain), the idea that significant elements of good storytelling are completely independent from medium.

If they'd done this before the movie I might even have been interested. I'm inclined to agree with the assessment that the existing story is self-contained, but what the hell. There are stories to tell that could fit within the structure and the message.

But after that movie, which managed to be true to the source material in all the wrong places? Which most critically completely missed the point of criticizing the inherent fascism and dangers of being a vigilante and asked "what kind of freaking nutter puts on underwear and goes out to kick 'bad guy' ass?" And which, sadly, sucked in so many people who I would have through would know better?

I'm not offended at the idea of doing this but I expect it'll glamorize these characters in a totally inappropriate way. A shame that they aren't doing the one book they might have done that could have easily fit in the mythos and not subverted the series - The Comedian and his corruption (or always-there wrongness) could make for a good The Shield-like story of moral ambiguity.
posted by phearlez at 9:08 AM on February 1, 2012


Basically I want a movie of the opening credits of Watchmen.

Funny, because the opening credits -- including the fact that they used the wrong damn Bob Dylan song, when they had their choice of two right ones -- was when I started hating the film (and never stopped).

By the way, I agree it's a little ironic that Moore is griping that DC keeps returning to the well when a lot of his prominent work was reimagining of other characters, but Moore often made his mark by completely reimagining established but then-obscure characters like Swampy and Miracleman/Marvelman. And while it isn't necessarily a bad thing when his characters get reimagined -- John Constantine, for example, has been taken in different directions from Moore's original Sting expy, but with good writers has remained an interesting creation, i strongly doubt DC is willing to try a complete reboot. And the self-enclosed nature of the Watchmen universe is going to make pulling off something compellingly original that doesn't mess with the original continuity a neat trick indeed.

Also, Moore's own creation Halo Jones, though obscure, remains one of my favorite comics.
posted by Gelatin at 9:15 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nothing is holy in comics (Unless it was published by Spire), but if one chooses to make the original Watchmen the only Watchmen in their mind for ethical or aesthetic reasons, there's no reason it cannot be so. Sort of like Moore's attitude that the film adaptations of his comics are separate beasts entirely which simply share a name.

Moore is absolutely entitled to his position, though at the same time, his attitude towards the reversion clause, pre- and post-publication success (In my understanding, DC owns the thing as long as it's making money) has always struck me as naive at best. I do kind of wish he'd stop it with the 'There's nothing going on in comics' thing, though. I don't dislike it in a Jason Aaron sort of way, but to me it feels like Moore's missing the comics forest for the superhero trees.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:21 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, get over it.

Sir yes sir!

Now that you've snapped me out of the tears I was crying with your words of manly rebuke, I will choke back my sobs and point out that while this won't ruin, or even touch, the original work, it is still an embarrassing, cynical and powerfully lame idea. If we aren't allowed to complain about bullshit prequels on Metafilter I know an awful lot of people who need to write a nice note of apology to a Mr G Lucas.

And much as I love Moore, the "don't have any new ideas and have to reuse my old ones" thing is getting tired

Getting tired, but remaining true. And what do you expect from Alan pigging Moore, humility? Great artists may steal, but only a pathetic copyist returns to the same empty vault year after year, hoping to find one more speck of gold in the corner.
posted by howfar at 9:23 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gull rises from the grave, only to be stuck in traffic while traveling cross town to get a haircut. During his journey he encounters Mycroft Holmes Il Palazzo

...sorry, never mind.
posted by Gelatin at 9:23 AM on February 1, 2012


I wonder if there's any way for them to work in a mini arc about determining once and for all that Hobbes is an actual live tiger with the magical ability to turn into a stuffed animal when adults are around.

You mean like Toy Story?
posted by Billiken at 9:25 AM on February 1, 2012


CAN I WRITE THE NITEOWL NOW
posted by Artw at 9:26 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is just disgusting and shameful.

*Sigh*

OK, let me go pre-order it on Amazon...
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:26 AM on February 1, 2012


By the way, I agree it's a little ironic that Moore is griping that DC keeps returning to the well when a lot of his prominent work was reimagining of other characters

Because taking a turd and transforming it into gold is awesome. Sweeping up the crumbs of someone else's gold (to borrow howfar's image) and sprinkling them on your own turd is pathetic.
posted by straight at 9:27 AM on February 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


Pathetic, and also a terrible dinner party recipe.
posted by howfar at 9:28 AM on February 1, 2012


"Believe it or not, there was a time when Watchmen wasn’t the pinnacle of comic book achievement. Back in 1987 it was simply a comic book being published by DC and was subject to the same exploitation as all other mid-80s comic books. To be specific, it was the subject of three role-playing supplements from Mayfair Games. The most shocking fact about this is that Alan Moore actually approved these RPG supplements, making them the only Watchmen spin-offs to be endorsed by Alan Moore himself."
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:30 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


It goes without saying, but nobody buy this please. not even out of grim curiosity.
posted by Artw at 9:31 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


"If we aren't allowed to complain about bullshit prequels on Metafilter "

Oh, you're certainly allowed. (I wrote that you shouldn't, not that you couldn't.) Of course, I'm amused that you take umbrage with my disdain for your disdain, but you're entitled to defend your disdain (and then defend your umbrage) by complaining about my complaint as much as you'd like.


Metafilter: a never ending complaint spiral.
posted by oddman at 9:31 AM on February 1, 2012


So remind me why you're here again. Apart from your sense of smug superiority, ahem, I mean "amusement".
posted by howfar at 9:34 AM on February 1, 2012


Haters gonna hate. I'm gonna at least buy the No. 1 of all of these.

Look, we can all agree that the Beatles were great. Does this mean no one should cover a Beatles tune? No one should make music that is musically similar? George, Paul, John and Ringo shouldn't have made any more music that might besmirch the original? This movie was fun. Hell, I think this is quite fun in a totally dippy way.

Love is all you need.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:35 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm having trouble being sympathetic to someone who's based a large part of his career working with characters other people created, like Swamp Thing and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Alan Moore's bibliography looks significantly larger than work on those two character sets.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:35 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It doesn't even have to be a turd -- the Wein / Wrightson Swamp Things are awesome, for example, though Moore completely reimagined the character. And as I mentioned, plenty of good writers have done good work with John Constantine. And Superman and Batman were both rebooted -- by John (Man of Steel) Byrne and Frank (Year One) Miller -- to great effect.

The work will stand on its own, but making something great out of a Watchman prequel has a seriously -- I'd say dauntingly -- high bar.
posted by Gelatin at 9:36 AM on February 1, 2012


Why not let someone else take a run at the world?

This is a good question - and at least from my perspective, it is also the answer to itself.

Watchmen is good. It's a good story, told well. It's a comic book about a lot of things. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Its structure is tied inextricably to its narrative.

This is not true in the case of, say, Iron Man, or Spider-Man, or Batman, who are basically just origin stories and then a mix-and-match series of adventures; they can be adapted painlessly because what's being adapted is not a story, but a character. And yeah, they exist in worlds. They have team-ups. They are constantly being rebooted and retconned, because they're very long-running characters and sooner or later you have to shake things up.

Here is the problem: I don't think that needs to be a universal standard. A story should be able to just be a story, even if it's a comic book. It doesn't need to be placed on a specific parallel Earth in DC's continuity. It doesn't need to be a world. It can just be a story.

This, I think, is what's causing such a visceral reaction in so many people: Watchmen was a self-contained story with all its parts working together. It left nothing unsaid; there was nothing Watchmen needed to say that it didn't. It made its point. And DC is taking a story and treating it like it's just another world, just another franchise. DC is doing this because this is what is done with comics.

I don't know. It feels symptomatic of a mindset which believes that everything must be couched in familiar terms. Everything needs to be somewhere in an overarching continuity. Every place in a story must be a place that Lex Luthor or Reed Richards can build a machine and visit. I understand that their reasoning is money, and that especially in the current age, comics companies really need to do whatever they can to stay profitable, but conceptually it feels like a step backwards. Now, of course, nothing is actually changing about the original Watchmen - I don't feel like it's being defiled or any dumb crap like that. I just think that this treatment is another example of the tendency to keep comics in a box that I think they don't need to be in, and that this box hinders the growth of a medium I love.

And that's all I really feel about it. I don't really side with the people who think the resultant books are necessarily going to suck. Maybe they'll be great! I have no idea. My disagreements are with the idea of the prequels and not the execution.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:36 AM on February 1, 2012 [20 favorites]


The Plinkett Review of the 2009 Star Trek reboot made me more accepting of a lot of these sorts of things, at least in terms of understanding WHY it seems that the entertainment industries are completely barren of creativity and just reanimating the corpses of earlier artworks. From a financial point of view, it is pretty much inevitable given the fracturing of the pop culture market.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:39 AM on February 1, 2012


The only way it would be OK is if the entire thing was just pirate comics.
posted by delmoi at 9:41 AM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


You know what i would buy the hell out of? Darwyn Cooke doing something with the Charlton chracaters in the vein of Watchmen.
posted by Artw at 9:45 AM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


The only way it would be okay is if the entire thing was page after page after page of lovingly-detailed illustrations of Dr. Manhattan's penis.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:47 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not that Moore is unreimaginable (for example, look at Neil Gaiman's issues of Miracleman, which are wonderful meditations on the world Moore left at the end of his run), but that this won't be a reimagining. It will be a pastiche. Look at the pictures - they all faithfully reproduce the look of the original book (how many other striking designs from the mid-1980s can you think of that can be transferred to the second decade of the twenty-first century and not look dated? All I can think of is Peter Saville, and he was quoting classic design to begin with).

Every film adaptation of Moore has successfully latched onto the formal characteristics of his books while completely missing the point of them, and that is why they fail.

So a series of pastiches of Watchmen, which will either trot out stories we already know and were sufficiently represented as asides in the original book or make up stories that are not quite as good (and certainly not interesting enough to have been mentioned in the original narrative), because DC have this property that's burning a hole in their pocket and a hankering to make as much money as possible out of it. What could possibly be wrong with that?
posted by Grangousier at 9:49 AM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Maybe next, we'll see Uncle Ben come back as a zombie supervillain who torments Spider-man with a continuous, "Why didn't you trip that burglar?"
posted by MegoSteve at 9:53 AM on February 1, 2012


I'm looking forward to the inevitable Watchmen / Sandman crossover series. Maybe with a guest appearance from Constantine, for the inevitable movie tie-in.
posted by Nelson at 9:56 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just here for the popcorn. (And also to suggest that believing that new stories featuring old characters are not a threat to old stories and that those of you reacting negatively to this news have failed to appreciate the value of re-appropriation, which, even in this case, can lead to many wonderful new things. Thought that was clear already.)

Well, the popcorn and fine whine, but mostly the popcorn.

To me, complaining about this is like complaining that Nirvana shouldn't have re-appropriated elements of punk (or that the Stones/Zeppelin shouldn't have borrowed from blues, or that Elvis shouldn't have repackaged a bunch of stuff for his take on rockabilly, or that Moore shouldn't have co-opted pulp and noir, or that a million different works should have left well enough alone and not blatantly ripped off Homer). You can think that, but then by thinking that way we miss out on some awesome stuff. By pre-judging the value and validity of these comics you lock yourself into a mindset that precludes a whole range of excellent works.

Or let me put it this way, does anyone really think "The Warriors" makes "Anabasis" somehow worse? That it's an affront to Xenophon, or that Hill and Yorick should have come up with their own work?
posted by oddman at 10:00 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Look, we can all agree that the Beatles were great. Does this mean no one should cover a Beatles tune?

The analogy, for me, is more that Columbia buys the rights to the Apple catalogue, gets Train to record a series of "early Beatles" albums, puts "THE BEATLES" in a 100-point font on every release, and has "by Train" in microscript in the liner notes.

At their moment of release, people will know that these aren't the real Beatles, and these faux-early recordings are basically mercantile bullshit.

But down the road, they will de facto become part of the Beatles "canon" by corporate edict, and people getting into (arguably) the greatest rock n' roll band of all time will be so soured by the bullshit "early albums" that their experience with the real deal will be inevitably tainted.

Maybe these new Watchmen "prequels" will be fantastic! Hope springs eternal.

I doubt they'll be bad.

My fear is that they'll be adequate. Just workmanlike enough to pass muster, enough that they don't immediately get burned en masse, and that they loiter around the periphery of a Perfect Thing enough to diminish future experiences of the original series.
posted by Shepherd at 10:01 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


"America just keeps eating itself. Pretty soon we're all going to get mad cow American disease."
-Keanu Reeves
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:05 AM on February 1, 2012


To be specific, it was the subject of three role-playing supplements from Mayfair Games. The most shocking fact about this is that Alan Moore actually approved these RPG supplements, making them the only Watchmen spin-offs to be endorsed by Alan Moore himself."

I actually own these. They are very strange indeed, and possibly the oddest RPG supplements I have ever run across. I just pulled one off the shelf to refresh myself on what was in it -- new art by Dave Gibbons, an essay credited to Ray Winninger (who wrote that adventure) and Alan Moore about the world of Watchmen, a detailed chronology which runs from the day Hooded Justice is born (July 11, 1905, for what it's worth) to the day Ozymandias' plan is executed, all couched in the form of a manuscript for an adventure for the Ozymandias Role-Playing Game. The manuscript also includes a cover exchange of memos between Adrian Veidt and the president of Marketing and Development for Veidt Industries.

And whatever inherent silliness there is into trying to patch the heroes from Watchmen into an RPG adventure set in 1968, I have to say that Winninger actually managed to remove the functionally omniscient and omnipotent member of the group from involvement fairly gracefully. When Major Banner, the NPC who introduces the players to the scenario delivers their mission, Manhattan recuses himself:

"I'm sorry, I cannot be of any assistance," Osterman tells him calmly.

Banner asks, "I thought you heroes did anything you could to save lives. You realize that we are talking about human lives here?"

Dr. Manhattan replies: "Three seconds ago a Mrs. Ethel Clark was stabbed to death by a mugger in an alley off of Eighth Avenue. As I speak, Mr. Robert Lincoln of Cold Falls, New Jersey is in a car which is spinning over an embankment into the river. Thirty seconds from now Thomas Newcomb will die in a Cleveland hospital of kidney failure. People die every second of every hour of every day, Mr Banner; I have the power to save many. I do not, however, have either the power to save all or the conscience to choose which should live and which should die. Because I cannot make this choice, I help no one. I leave all to destiny. I am afraid my destiny for the next three days is to begin my gluino experiments and plan my invasion of North Vietnam so I am ready when the president calls upon me in three years.

"Farewell Major. I will see you in seventy-six hours and thirty-seven minutes, Laurie."

posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:09 AM on February 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


I love Alan Moore, and he can complain about this all he wants, and I will have his back.

That said, if this garbage eventually gets put into a trade paperback, I can't guarantee that I won't buy it.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:39 AM on February 1, 2012


This is where we finally find out that Dr. Manhattan was able to reassemble himself thanks to the high levels of midichlorians in his bloodstream. Now it can be told--Moore was just holding out on us!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:44 AM on February 1, 2012


The analogy, for me, is more that Columbia buys the rights to the Apple catalogue, gets Train to record a series of "early Beatles" albums, puts "THE BEATLES" in a 100-point font on every release, and has "by Train" in microscript in the liner notes.

I get the point, believe me. I just don't think it organically ruins the Beatles because of this. I can still enjoy the Beatles. This doesn't harm the Beatles.

There were five sequels, one animated series and one (monstrously crappy) reboot of Planet of the Apes. I haven't seen them all, and I hear the 1973 version is barely on the quality level of 1970s TV. But it doesn't really matter. But I still get a thrill whenever the original is on, and I look forward to the next one.

The other argument -- if you do this, you're not doing something else that's completely original and fresh -- is a better argument, IMO.

But that's more of a cold business decision and risk assessment. You want to spend $100 million on a brand-new sci-fi franchise? OK, but if Option B is having Ridley Scott come back to the Alien universe, I think you can see where this is going. It's not show friends, it's show business.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:45 AM on February 1, 2012


J. Michael Straczynski reimagining ANYTHING always results in awful point missing garbage, so in a way he's perfect for this project.
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm having trouble being sympathetic to someone who's based a large part of his career working with characters other people created, like Swamp Thing and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

I will defend his work on Swamp thing to the death. I was a fan of Swamp Thing before his run, and his run frankly turned a decent lower tier horror comic into a great book that still reads great today. If you don't agree, then you probably weren't around then or haven't read it and seen the influence it had on comics afterwards. Paved the way for Vertigo, Neil Gaiman and his Sandman and other books, etc. Swamp Thing was basically a story of a guy who got caught in a science experiment, and fought monsters of the week. He changed it into something deeper and way more thought provoking. None of the follow up writers could come close, they gave an honest try, but he did such a good job that they all pale in comparison.

I'll draw a parallel. You know the reboot of Doctor Who, how it changed a bit and made it more "cool"? It's not even close to how changed Swamp Thing was. It would be closer to if the Doctor was no longer a time lord, no longer even slightly human seeming, no longer traveled through time in the tardis because he was now time itself. Or something. Oh yeah, and the companions traveled through time by eating fruit that grows on him. ;)

I will say this too, while it's interesting that Neil Gaiman wrote an episode of Who (sadly not that good of one, didn't feel natural, more forced into the show, imo), i'd love to see a Morrison or Moore do a Doctor Who, heck, they wrote stories for the comics back in the day.
posted by usagizero at 11:00 AM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, poor old Len Wein has been roped into this, so there's a certain symetry there. I'm actually rather fond of some of his stuff.
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm having two simultaneous reactions to A SILK SPECTER PREQUEL BOOK THAT'S AN AWFUL IDEA wait it's by DARWYN COOKE I - I DON'T KNOW HOW TO FEEL ABOUT THAT

I do! It's going to be retro and funny and only tangentially related to Watchmen, and the "retro" part will include some ironic commentary on sexism and the depiction of women in Golden Age comics, and Sally Jupiter will be witty and kickass and actually get to have some fun for once in her life, and Amanda Conner's art will be awesome-on-a-stick.

I make no excuses for how stupid the prequel idea was, but this one title has potential. (Well, maybe this and Crimson Corsair.) Who knows, it could grow legs of its own and not even need "Watchmen" on the cover.
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:05 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


he's screwing Laurie from behind?

Drawn by Adam Hughes? Not possible...
posted by Chuckles at 11:05 AM on February 1, 2012


I'm getting tired of prequels and origin stories. There are some worlds that merit more exploration, and stories and characters whose history lend themselves to such endeavors, but it feels less and less like it's borne of the creator's need to shed light on the motivations behind the events in his/her work, and more caving to an ever lazier public's need to have any ambiguity or mystery chased away like an unwelcome spider. I don't like to imagine that people's minds are so simple that they cannot root for Han Solo unless Greedo shot first, or that the only way to understand why Hannibal Lecter is the way he is because his sister was eaten by fucking Nazi's, but this more and more often seems to be the case.

What's even more worrisome, moreso than the trend of prequels (but in a similar vein, in my opinion), is the regarding of basic deductive logic as a kind of superpower. Remember when the detective on a cop show could walk into a seemingly ordinary room, look around pensively, maybe wipe his finger on a table and look at it and go "Yep, we've got a murder", and everyone present (audience included) was left to either try and figure out what it is he saw that was out of place, or wait until he (or the story) explained it, the detective being not necessarily "special", but just good at his job?

Movies and shows nowadays (Psych, the new Sherlock Holmes films, Green Hornet, others I'm certain) demand that the familiar detective not merely think about what he sees and come to a conclusion, but have some MTV style quick-cut montage, beginning with a quick zoom on his eyes (Zounds, he sees something!), then cut to what he's looking at (something on the table, dust?? blood???) which is often times highlighted by a sound or a color cycle or something, then zip to a flashback of the murder taking place (oh no! a ruckus! I hope everyone's ok!) then reverse-zoom out from the detective's gaze, who then proceeds to explain in plain English the very thing the previous sequence just illustrated.

I get that Sean Spencer, Sherlock Holmes, House, and whomever else are supposed to be practically savants of on the spot deduction, hence their special nature, but the message this trend seems to be sending is that independent thought and drawing one's own conclusions based on the information as it is presented is a kind of superpower, beyond the reach of common folk. I'm not sure what it says about the public, or who would be behind nurturing such a message, but I'm sure it isn't good. Even without some shadowy cabal behind it, it makes for less enjoyable works for those of us who can actually take a second to think about what we see, rather than need it spelled out for us.

Then again, I ran into a distressingly high number of people who found Inception too difficult to follow, so maybe I'm one of those "intellectual elites" that is ruining the country, or whatever.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:07 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Or let me put it this way, does anyone really think "The Warriors" makes "Anabasis" somehow worse? That it's an affront to Xenophon, or that Hill and Yorick should have come up with their own work?

But that's not what pisses people off. It's the difference between going to a funeral and selling tickets to one.
posted by howfar at 11:10 AM on February 1, 2012


The analogy that comes to my mind is that remixes and covers are perfectly okay, but writing a rock song with the refrain “all in all, you're just another brick in the wall” and releasing it as “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 4” is a dick move. Getting EMI to add it to a re-release of The Wall would be extra dickish.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:18 AM on February 1, 2012


I don't thinbk it's worth getting angry at, it's just utterly unnesecary, nakedly commercially driven and unlikely to produce anything of value, and a poster child for everything wrong with comics.

So I'd just say:

1) Don't buy it - that's wasted money and encourages them to continue this nonsense.
2) Use the money to buy something good!

I'm sure all of you that care about this sort of thing have a suggestion for good comics that aren't backed by marketing behemoths, let's hear what they are!
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


All of this having been said, this law of diminishing returns stuff is pretty characteristic of the way the big two operate with their properties - which is not wholly surprising. The same thing happened to The Dark Knight Returns, where they got in a strange, badly-programmed AI designed to replicate Frank Miller to do the sequel, and to Kingdom Come - what was structured as a complete work got opened up into a sandbox world for a series of follow-ups, characters being introduced into the mainstream universe and so on. Possibly to compare the sublime to the ridiculous, Marvel is currently bringing in and back lots of elements from the Age of Apocalypse, a four-issue crossover across the X-Books from the 90s.

Maybe one thing about these is the absence of possibility; it's fairly unlikely, admittedly, but every time you pick up an issue of a Batman comic or a Superman comic you might be about to read the greatest Batman/Superman story ever told. Every creative team basically gets a shot at the title, editorial fiat notwithstanding. Whereas the greatest Watchmen story ever told has already been told. That's what Watchmen was built to be. The status of these books as derivative works is clear from the start. Then again, that's a very romantic viewpoint.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:27 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


There were five sequels, one animated series and one (monstrously crappy) reboot of Planet of the Apes.

Also a live-action series and a second reboot. And the Marvel comics series (which I liked even when, in the UK, the stories were actually Killraven stories, renamed to Apeslayer with Gorilla faces pasted on to the martians. No, really).

I was obsessed with that particular Universe in the mid-seventies, as it was really all we had apart from Dr Who (which was a bit big and unwieldy for a mythos, with too many serials that no one could remember seeing and no one would see again). Star Wars saved us.

(The Doug Moench original stories were very good, though.)
posted by Grangousier at 11:27 AM on February 1, 2012


THE Q: Creators On WATCHMEN 2 - Should or Shouldn't They?
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on February 1, 2012


I was obsessed with that particular Universe in the mid-seventies

This documentary was great ... one of its points was that Planet of the Apes paved the way for Star Wars, by showing the movie industry that potential sales of toys, merch and sequels could make Star Wars a risk worth taking.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:35 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think there are a lot of folks like me who are fine with (sigh) "remix culture" and changing/rejiggering/building on familiar things to make new art. Just because we'd like people to make good stuff rather than lame-ass retreads doesn't mean we agree with the "don't touch my old memories, ever" folks.

I'd be willing to think this could be that except that it simply feels fake and opportunistic to take characters from a complete and self-contained story and then use them to tell open-ended stuff. I don't think there's a firm answer to "why shouldn't we let other people muck about in this world" but I think it's very reasonable to say "you shouldn't much about in this world unless you have something specific to do with it... other than sell books."

As described it seems like it's fulfilling the worst aspects of the lazy familiarity aspects of sequel stories that Harlan Ellison has railed about in the past.
posted by phearlez at 11:53 AM on February 1, 2012


"Whereas the greatest Watchmen story ever told has already been told."

Really? I suppose this must be true so long as Moore's work is the only Watchmen story. (Of course, that also makes it the worst Watchmen story ever told.) But, without rigging the game in that way, you can't say another, better, story isn't itching to get out. You can't simply declare, by fiat, that no better story is possible. (A lot of people like Sammy Hagar-Van Halen more than David Lee Roth-Van Halen. (Of course these projects could very well be Gary Cherone-Van Halen.) We won't know which they are if we never let them be printed.))
posted by oddman at 11:58 AM on February 1, 2012


(Of course, that also makes it the worst Watchmen story ever told.)

Oh you need to spend some time with fanfiction my friend.
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's structured to be pretty tightly self contained and self referential. That's almost it's defining quality. You're never going to get anything good out of bolting anything on to it.
posted by Artw at 12:01 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


How about Hull getting stuck in the future cube farm office? Eh? Eh?

And then he has to pawn his old money to get new money, and he buys some fly duds, and then he's JACK THE RIPPER IN 1979 SAN FRANCISCO.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:02 PM on February 1, 2012


And then he has to pawn his old money to get new money, and he buys some fly duds, and then he's JACK THE RIPPER IN 1979 SAN FRANCISCO.


That is a cool idea actually.

Time After Time sort of does that. Jack The Ripper uses H.G Wells' time machine to travel to the future and Wells has to catch him. It has been many years since I have seen it so I can't say much more than it exists.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:23 PM on February 1, 2012


Oh you need to spend some time with fanfiction my friend.

Protip: Don't. Spare yourself.

The comments in this thread are weird. The "defenders" of this seem to be arguing against points no, at all, has made: that this won't "destroy the original", that the concept of remixing/covering/whatever is valid, or that Moore's work is too perfect to touch.

No one has said a new project like this destroys the old. No one has said that the practice of remixing or repurposing or whatever is not valid or useful or creative.

All we're saying is, to quote Artw above is that this is "just utterly unnesecary, nakedly commercially driven and unlikely to produce anything of value, and a poster child for everything wrong with comics." It just stinks and is lazy. Moore's work isn't divine, but it was a perfectly fine self-contained work for which there is zero need for sequels or prequels. It's not an inherently open-ended project like Batman.

It stinks because this is just a plan to milk some more cash out of the name, and almost zero good ever comes out of such things.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:28 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Really? I suppose this must be true so long as Moore's work is the only Watchmen story. (Of course, that also makes it the worst Watchmen story ever told.) But, without rigging the game in that way, you can't say another, better, story isn't itching to get out. You can't simply declare, by fiat, that no better story is possible.

I pretty much can, really - because the characters and setting of Watchmen are designed to tell a particular story, and all the elements within it serve that story. It's a self-contained work. Of course, writers will want to play with the toys, and publishers will want to monetize the work further - just as YA publishers generally want to know they can sell a trilogy on the back of the first book. That's what's happening here, and it's perfectly natural, but comparing it with Van Halen is not really getting the point.

Put another way: there are a bunch of sequels to Pride and Prejudice. There is a reason none of them are as good as the original. It isn't to say that they shouldn't exist, but their existence was never built into the original work. Whereas the existence of the next Superman story (and the next, and the next) is built into every Superman comic.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:37 PM on February 1, 2012


Also it stinks because these are in many cases tremendously talented creators who will be devoting their time and energy to a cash-grab project unlikely to be worth anyone's time.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:37 PM on February 1, 2012


Watching that Plinkett Star Trek: The Star Trek thing has me thinking.. What was the original motivation behind The Dark Knight Returns?

It came on the heels of Crisis, but it doesn't retcon the Batman myth in any useful way (that came a little later with the Year One thing). It was printed in an all new format, so presumably corporate was really pushing the thing. Yet it seems kind of random by comparison to today's banal cash grabs. It seems like that randomness is what allowed something worthwhile to come out.
posted by Chuckles at 1:07 PM on February 1, 2012


Both Alan Moore and Watchmen are absurdly overrated. There, I said it.

*ducks*
posted by zardoz at 1:08 PM on February 1, 2012


While I'm among those who failed to condemn this, I'll note that I'm completely in agreement that it's unnecessary and lazy, and I'd vastly prefer to see what might happen if DC published original works by the creators involved. But there are a lot of things in this world I'd prefer to what we get, and I can't work up any damnitall over this one.

It has been many years since I have seen it [Time After Time] so I can't say much more than it exists.

Some good fish-out-of-water moments, but mostly forgettable.
posted by Zed at 1:13 PM on February 1, 2012


What was the original motivation behind The Dark Knight Returns?

Dick Giordano had taken the reins at DC and deliberately recruited Frank Miller away from Marvel, where he had big success with Daredevil. Miller had already done Ronin for DC, and had been pitching DC on doing reboots of the major characters in a series of spin-offs that would lie outside of the continuity. Giordano finally pulled the trigger on Dark Knight after several re-writes of the pitch, and an agreement that Miller could basically set his own deadline.

So, yeah, it was kind of random, a confluence of a few passionate people really pushing for it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:21 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


It came on the heels of Crisis, but it doesn't retcon the Batman myth in any useful way (that came a little later with the Year One thing). It was printed in an all new format, so presumably corporate was really pushing the thing. Yet it seems kind of random by comparison to today's banal cash grabs.

DC was trying a bunch of new things back then, some good (Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns), some not so good (crossover crossover crossover.) They were already owned by Warner, but I'm not sure corporate cared much about them (in those days before comics companies were identified as valuable sources of IP to be strip-mined.)
posted by Zed at 1:24 PM on February 1, 2012


Time After Time sort of does that. Jack The Ripper uses H.G Wells' time machine to travel to the future and Wells has to catch him. It has been many years since I have seen it so I can't say much more than it exists.

I actually watched that recently, because I thought the premise was great. So I can report that, in addition to existing, it's kind of a piece of shit. But sort of charmingly so? I can't remember the details and it wasn't that long ago, so probably the key idea here is that it was not striking, all else aside, despite having Malcolm McDowell and David Warner as the principals.
posted by cortex at 1:34 PM on February 1, 2012


Other commenters have touched on this to some degree--FAMOUS MONSTER best, I think--but I want to write it out myself so that I feel more free to copy-n-paste it every time someone trots out the old "Alan Moore has used others' characters and situations, therefore he has absolutely no grounds to object whenever anyone uses his, no matter what they actually do with it", or words to that effect.

I think that Moore's objections to projects like this--and, in a way, the objections that fans, pros and others have in response to Alan's statements--are based on his belief that not only has he already done everything that should be done with those characters and situations, but that he's done exactly what should be done with those characters and situations. He's famous in comics circles--if not infamous or notorious--for his extremely detailed scripts that leave almost no details, no matter how minor, to chance. The "Marvel Method" for creating comics, in which Stan Lee would give Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko a bare plot outline, the artist would do the storytelling heavy lifting, and Lee would slap some word balloons on top of the pencils, has no room in Moore's workflow. If he thinks that a story warrants twelve chapters of incredibly dense, symmetrical complexity, then that's just what's required, and if he thinks that it doesn't require more than eight pages in the back of Green Lantern, then that's what it gets; so, when he finds out that DC wants to take those Green Lantern Corps vignettes and turn them into an epic megacrossover (as they've already done) or tease out a few characters or concepts from a graphic novel which is not only as tightly written as any in history but may be as tightly written as it's possible to write one, he sincerely believes that they're awful ideas.

And, I believe, he's probably right. Oh, sure, the Green Lantern epic was popular among mainstream superhero comics fans, but that's an ever-shrinking group; don't try holding your breath until Geoff Johns is taken seriously by literary, non-comics-site critics. And it's difficult to see how anything would be added to the Watchmen characters by doing stand-alone stories outside of the structure of the graphic novel. I want to emphasize that it's not impossible for someone else--particularly one of the good, established writers or artists announced as part of this project--to do so; it's just really, really unlikely. After all, no one was really dying to do a story with a third-string superhero that was heavily derivative of Captain Marvel (and was created solely because Captain Marvel's owners lost a lawsuit brought on the basis that he was too derivative, in turn, of Superman), or a largely-uninspired British Captain America knockoff, or an imitation Man-Thing (who was in turn derived from The Heap), or for that matter a group of bog-standard superhero tropes from an all-but-forgotten defunct comics publisher that didn't have much going for them except that Steve Ditko drew some of them. Moore managed it, while the rest of the company was starting the first of several efforts to revitalize its decades-old legacy characters by furiously rearranging the deck chairs, because he was able to look beyond the obvious in a way that most of the rest of the company didn't seem able to do.

Moore has said before that he thinks that there are any number of characters that have at least a few unplumbed depths that have yet to be explored, but no one's really trying to do that (well, a few people have with DC's "New 52" company-wide reboot, but quite a few of the titles are already getting the axe just a few months into the experiment); they're trying to squeeze a few more bucks out of the graphic novel that's been in print for a quarter-century or so. I don't begrudge any of the creators involved doing work for hire, any more than I begrudged Moore doing so (and, in fact, his reworking of the Rob Liefeld Superman knockoff, Supreme, remains my favorite version of Superman since Crisis on Infinite Earths, save for Morrison and Quitely's All-Star Superman), but if I do get any of these books (and I probably will--it's hard to turn down new Cooke or Conner work), it's in spite of the subject, not because of it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:40 PM on February 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


Another way of putting what various people have said about the coherence of Watchmen is that Superman, Spider-Man, and Batman are storytelling engines (that is, they are premises for good stories), but Watchmen is a story.
posted by straight at 1:57 PM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


So far the only people enthused by this comic seem to be people who really don't like Alan Moore. That's kind of a weird market.
posted by Artw at 2:00 PM on February 1, 2012


any number of characters that have at least a few unplumbed depths that have yet to be explored, but no one's really trying to do that (well, a few people have with DC's "New 52" company-wide reboot, but quite a few of the titles are already getting the axe just a few months into the experiment);

Talk about a great example of the level of strip re-mining. I ended up with a copy of the new 52 Blue Beetle because the name was still in my pull list after its last run ended.

I'd really enjoyed that run a few years back, when they decided to dredge up the scarab and spun a new backstory around it. Jamie Reyes was an interesting new character and they even managed to make something useful out of the year disappearance whackyness mandated by their odd... I don't even know what the hell that was. Crisis v9.2 Lite? Whatever.

It even wrapped in a pretty satisfying way. The new Beetle had an interesting character arc over the run of the series and so did a number of his compatriots.

So when I get this New 52 rebooted thing in my box I figure what the hell, I'll buy it.

I get it home and discover it's a rehash of the just-run stuff, all of, what, 6 years old at this point? Nothing new is added to it, it's clearly the same evolution and basis, sets up the same early Big Bad, etc etc. The only difference is that it's got that plodding we'll-be-telling-this-origin-for-the-next-six-months feel that always comes when they retool a character they think will be successful. From what I recall of the 2006 minting it hit the ground running a little better, presumably out of some sense of "shit-shit-shit we may not be here long."

I get it - DC makes money from the issues they sell now, not the ones they sold in 2005. But this reboot and re-run seems to have all the downsides and none of the payoff of nostalgic re-watching.
posted by phearlez at 2:08 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Halloween Jack elaborately and eloquently said what I was going to say: there's a difference between complete storylines and open-ended universes. Watchmen was created as a complete thing, while the ongoing, multiverse-type comics are often designed to be open-ended.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:21 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry I wasn't (even) more obvious there. Time After Time takes place in 1979 San Francisco; I was explicitly alluding to a possible tie-in there between it and From Hell.

I watched the film again recently and thought it held up alright; you've got Malcolm McDowell and David Warner in the leads and it's a good story, pretty compelling. As the Time Machine is traveling from 1888 to the then-present, a rather cheesy effort is made to convey the years advancing by having radio broadcasters voices come in over some colourful swirls and say things like "WORLD WAR TWO IS FINALLY OVER". One of these announcements is the formation of Israel as a state, which I found rather interesting.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:25 PM on February 1, 2012


My initial response was against this, but my considered response is that I'm for it.

I thought JMS (of all people!) had the best quote on the matter: "Leaving aside the fact that the Watchmen characters were variations on pre-existing characters created for the Charleton Comics universe, it should be pointed out that Alan has spent most of the last decade writing very good stories about characters created by other writers, including Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), Dorothy (from Wizard of Oz), Wendy (from Peter Pan), as well as Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Jeyll and Hyde, and Professor Moriarty (used in the successful League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). I think one loses a little of the moral high ground to say, "I can write characters created by Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle and Frank Baum, but it's wrong for anyone else to write my characters.""

I can't really think of any other stories or properties that I would strongly oppose being made into a comic book prequel. Make a comic book prequel to The Tempest or Breaking Bad or Doctor Who or The Inferno or Blood Meridian. It's fine by me. Who knows? It could be good. I dont really see why this one particular property should raise my hackles when none others do. I don't seem to have the feeling that some of you do that there is an important difference between works that are designed to be closed stories and works designed to be storytelling engines.

Issues about canon might be partly driving resentment here---if we consider these books canon, then they alter the overarching story that Moore created. But if you don't care much about canon, then they don't do much harm. Canon seems to be a concept that is dying anyway, with all sorts of comic lines struggling to explain how 70 years of backstory can make sense. I wonder whether DiDio or any of these guys will answer questions about the books' canonicity or will just dodge the topic altogether.

Of course, the comics just might not be very good. I think I'll probably feel about them like I felt about the last Tom Strong issues. The Moore ones were just so good that the ones not written by him were disappointing by comparison. I have high hopes for the Azzarello and the Cooke issues though.
posted by painquale at 3:04 PM on February 1, 2012


I guess this is the wrong time to pitch my prequel/alternative universe concept for Gravity's Rainbow?

I've got an outline for The Crying of Lot 50, if you want to collaborate.
posted by dhartung at 3:11 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


A Watchmen prequel mini-series by Brian Azzarello? First of all, if he had an ounce of credibility he would have said "Well, y'know, if it's cool with you I'll give that a miss, I'm already stretched pretty thin...LIKE MY BOOKS!" (he doesn't add). As if Brian Azzarello has the wherewithal to make a "mini-series". It's taken him six issues of Wonder Woman to do...uhh...well there was a sort of kraken thing, in the Thames, apparently it's Poseidon? I think Diana is somebody's daughter? And that annoying girl is pregnant? SIX ISSUES. If it wasn't for Cliff Chiang's absolutely exquisite art I wouldn't have even got that far. Except, oh, Chiang didn't pencil issue 6. And also, wasn't this meant to be a reboot? Issue 1 was like we got dropped into the middle of an ongoing series. Fifty-eleven pages in it's suddenly all "Oh and also this is Wonder Woman, who this book is about."

It's okay though. New Swamp Thing and Animal Man today. There's still hope.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:19 PM on February 1, 2012


J. Michael Straczynski, who’s working with Adam Hughes on Dr. Manhattan, and Andy and Joe Kubert on Nite Owl:

Okay, look, I'll admit Supreme Power was an extremely guilty pleasure, but I don't want three pages of Nite Owl's pubes. Nobody wants that :(
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:23 PM on February 1, 2012


Of course the true master of extreme slo-mo origin stories is Bendis - I want to like his Ultimate Spiderman, but Jesus... How many issues and things have barely moved.
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on February 1, 2012


As if Brian Azzarello has the wherewithal to make a "mini-series". It's taken him six issues of Wonder Woman to do...uhh...well there was a sort of kraken thing, in the Thames, apparently it's Poseidon? I think Diana is somebody's daughter? And that annoying girl is pregnant? SIX ISSUES.

His Flashpoint Batman series was good, as was the short arc he had on Batman some years back, and Spaceman seems like it will be good too.

Anyway, I haven't found WW that slow-moving at all. In every issue we get to meet a new child of Zeus and learn how they're positioning themselves, and in every issue at least a few cool things happen, like Hera's visit to the island of the Amazons. I'm not sure what you're waiting for... a big battle? I'm digging the series. Besides, no new 52 series is really progressing that fast. Animal Man sure isn't. Six issues is not that many.
posted by painquale at 3:40 PM on February 1, 2012


Both Alan Moore and Watchmen are absurdly overrated. There, I said it.

Flagged for making Alan Moore sad.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:47 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


FYI
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:48 PM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


kittens for breakfast, your link is ALSO flagged for making Alan Moore sad.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:51 PM on February 1, 2012


I'm not sure what you're waiting for... a big battle?

A Superman cameo obviously.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:10 PM on February 1, 2012


This is a bad idea and its going in the 'Pretend it doesn't exist' pile with Cars and Cars 2
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 4:18 PM on February 1, 2012


If this project is only as "bad" as Cars, I'll be amazed. And as I promised upthread, be dining on my cap.

Sorry but Cars to me is like the last season of The Wire and (maybe) seasons 2 and 3 of Veronica Mars. If they weren't surrounded by the rest of the subject to which they are being compared, not nearly as many people would call him "bad.".

Further apology because this is part of the comment I didn't leave in the earlier Kristen Bell post so it may seem far more grar invested than it actually is

posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:43 PM on February 1, 2012


Cars 2 is a horror.
posted by Artw at 5:05 PM on February 1, 2012


Cars was fine. Cars 2 appears to have been everything I was afraid Cars would be, but with more Larry The Cable Guy.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:08 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


painquale, JMS' comment misses the point entirely: Moore, as a rule, doesn't object to people using characters of his; despite DC having done John Constantine stories for over a quarter-century, I don't recall him ever particularly objecting to anything that's been done with the character (although he has claimed to have actually met Constantine, twice). As filthy light thief pointed out above, Watchmen is a story, not a set of characters and situations meant to be endlessly serialized.

Put it another way: imagine the shitstorm that JMS would raise if he somehow lost the rights to Babylon 5 and someone else decided to make prequels without either his permission or consultation.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:10 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


despite DC having done John Constantine stories for over a quarter-century, I don't recall him ever particularly objecting to anything that's been done with the character

Well, he did pretty aggressively dissociate himself from the film version, but that seemed like it was more to do with the film turning out to be point-missingly awful as any kind of meaningful riff on the source material than with Moore having an issue with the basic notion of exercising existing characters, yeah.
posted by cortex at 5:20 PM on February 1, 2012


But if you don't care much about canon, then they don't do much harm

THIS! ThisthisthisthisTHIS! Were the literary merits of Gone With The Wind ruined by The Wind Done Gone? Is Pride & Prejudice ruined by all those modern sequels? For that matter, is The Dark Knight Returns ruined by The Dark Knight Strikes Back or All Star Batman & Robin? I would argue no. Moore's Watchmen legacy will be fine, no matter how much DC/Warners try to add on to it with unnecessary prequels/sequels/movies/toys.
posted by KingEdRa at 5:40 PM on February 1, 2012


Cars 2 appears to have been everything I was afraid Cars would be, but with more Larry The Cable Guy.

Basically if you thought Larry The Cable Guy's presence was the one downside to an overwise enjoyable viewing expereince in Cars, and were expecting a similar amount of him and were prepared to put up with that, then boy are you in for a shock. Cars 2 is all Larry The Cable Guy all the time, and the moral of the movie is that we should all be Larry The Cable Guy.
posted by Artw at 5:44 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Were the literary merits of Gone With The Wind ruined by The Wind Done Gone? Is Pride & Prejudice ruined by all those modern sequels? For that matter, is The Dark Knight Returns ruined by The Dark Knight Strikes Back or All Star Batman & Robin? I would argue no. Moore's Watchmen legacy will be fine, no matter how much DC/Warners try to add on to it with unnecessary prequels/sequels/movies/toys.

Moore's made the same point - asked if the movies damaged his books, he showed the interviewer into his library to show him that they were still there, safe and sound.

However, I think this is something of a straw man. Not many people are saying that Watchmen will be ruined. They are saying that this is pointless, or that it lacks imagination, or that it would have been better to have commissioned the talented creative teams to create new properties or apply their talents to ongoing characters.

The complaint is not that it's going to ruin Watchmen. It's that it shows a lack of imagination and a willingness to damage the brand in pursuit of relatively short-term profit, producing work that will likely not be up to par. Moore didn't say that these sequels would ruin his work - he said that it was a sign that the modern comics industry was short on innovation.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:54 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Honestly, I'd already pretty much decided to consider everything DC does for the next little while to be some Elseworlds type of thing in the first place.
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:16 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Halloween Jack: Watchmen is a story, not a set of characters and situations meant to be endlessly serialized. Put it another way: imagine the shitstorm that JMS would raise if he somehow lost the rights to Babylon 5 and someone else decided to make prequels without either his permission or consultation.

Most of the characters Moore uses in LoEG were not originally meant to be endlessly serialized, so I think the comparison is apt. I don't really think it matters whether a story was meant to be self-contained. If someone else has an idea to extend the story's universe, then that universe immediately become a storytelling engine. You can't say it isn't an engine because it was intended to be just a story.

Maybe the problem here really just is one of rights, and people think that DC is illegitimately using characters that Moore "really" owns but got legally screwed out of. Would people object to a bunch of fanfiction webcomic prequels that were independently produced? I bet not. Then what's the difference? I can think of three reasons: either that they think these new stories are official and hence canon, or they think that DC does not have the moral right to use these characters because they stole them from Moore in a duplicitous way, or they think that because this is a naked cash grab and not a labor of love, the quality will be low. But I don't care about canonicity and I'm not tremendously moved by the IP concerns and the creative teams involved make me think the comics might be good. I bet bringing back Watchmen has been in planning for a long time, and they've let the creative teams have a long while to think about whether they have stories that they want to tell.

rosf: The complaint is not that it's going to ruin Watchmen. It's that it shows a lack of imagination and a willingness to damage the brand in pursuit of relatively short-term profit, producing work that will likely not be up to par. Moore didn't say that these sequels would ruin his work - he said that it was a sign that the modern comics industry was short on innovation.

I don't really get the charge that this shows a lack of imagination. If that is the main complaint, it can be levied at any property reuse, and we should be as upset with a new Avengers book (or Lost Girls!) as we are with these prequels. If anything, because the Watchmen universe has been untapped for so long, there are a lot of original stories in there that could still be mined. Also, I note that although your comment was about how the original series wouldn't be damaged, you still slipped back into the rhetoric that poor prequels might "damage the brand." Who cares if they damage the brand? Who cares if the new stories are poor? It'd be bad for DC's bottom line, but I do not think that's what people are worried about.
posted by painquale at 6:18 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I note that although your comment was about how the original series wouldn't be damaged, you still slipped back into the rhetoric that poor prequels might "damage the brand."

Yes. There is a difference between the original series and the brand.

The original series will not be damaged artistically. The brand is not the original series. It represents a number of past, present and future benefits to DC and Warner Bros, including but not limited to graphic novel sales, reissues, collectables, movies, motion comics, video game licenses and so on.

It's nice that you are looking forward to these books, but I have a feeling that imagining what people who are not might be unhappy about and then refuting the arguments you have imagined and ascribed to them is not going to affect the enjoyment you get out of them. Perhaps I'm wrong, though.

Incidentally, you say "rhetoric". Could you explain the rhetorical device or devices you believe that I am using?
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:34 PM on February 1, 2012


(Not a huge deal, but rhetoric is an interest of mine, and I'd be interested to see what devices you think I'm deploying that I haven't noticed.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:53 PM on February 1, 2012


Most of the characters Moore uses in LoEG were not originally meant to be endlessly serialized, yes, and that's one of the reasons the series has gotten so much worse the longer it's gone on.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:53 PM on February 1, 2012


Most of the characters Moore uses in LoEG were not originally meant to be endlessly serialized, yes, and that's one of the reasons the series has gotten so much worse the longer it's gone on.


Arguably true - but LoEG is also not the same as Dracula, or the Quartermain books, or even Rupert the Bear. It's a work which is creating an entirely new fictional universe, with its own history and set of narrative rules, which is repurposing certain familiar properties.

This is where one of painquale's arguments - or refutations, more precisely - runs aground through lack of applicability. The Avengers is clearly not the same as Watchmen as a work - it is designed for endless serialization with a broad forward continuity. Lost Girls, likewise, is clearly not the same as Before Watchmen - the characters of Dorothy Gale, Alice and Wendy Darling are used, but they are not the characters from The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan - they are fictionalized hybrids of more or less shadowy or ill-defined historical personages, the characters in out-of-copyright books, a range of derivative works and Moore and Gebbie's own interpretations and narrative requirements. You can draw a line between Alice Fairchild, Alice Liddell and Alice in Wonderland, but it's a significantly less straight line than you would find between Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Alice and Alice in Wonderland Alice Burton Alice, or Jabberwocky Alice, or American McGee's Alice Alice, for that matter, the last two of which are more or less revisionist Alices in themselves. It precisely isn't writing new adventures in the world and with the characters of these works.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:14 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The complaint is not that it's going to ruin Watchmen. It's that it shows a lack of imagination and a willingness to damage the brand in pursuit of relatively short-term profit, producing work that will likely not be up to par. Moore didn't say that these sequels would ruin his work - he said that it was a sign that the modern comics industry was short on innovation. (emphasis mine)

None of this shouldn't be shocking news to anyone over the age of 12 who reads comic books or follows the comic book industry. It has been part and parcel of the funnybook businees since its inception. Truth is, there has always been, is now and always will be a lot more dross than gold.
posted by KingEdRa at 7:21 PM on February 1, 2012


I bet bringing back Watchmen has been in planning for a long time

Planning? Probably not. I'm sure that there have been people who have been thinking about doing it for some time, but in terms of real planning, the actions of the company in the "new 52" recently tend to argue against that. And, sorry, but I've seen too many good artists do bad work, in every sort of media; just look at JMS and the "Grounded" debacle, for example.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:25 PM on February 1, 2012


Well, he did pretty aggressively dissociate himself from the film version, but that seemed like it was more to do with the film turning out to be point-missingly awful as any kind of meaningful riff on the source material than with Moore having an issue with the basic notion of exercising existing characters, yeah.

John Constantine is my favorite comics character, and I'm still deeply annoyed by the film Constantine because my favorite Hellblazer arc is "Dangerous Habits", and the film basically takes a big old shit all over it.

That said, had it not been branded as a Constantine movie (and that would have required nothing whatsoever but changing the title and the name of its protagonist, so completely divorced from its "source" material it was), it would've been a fun little thing that bore some resemblances to that one Hellblazer story. I mean, come on, Peter Stormare as Satan? He was great!
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:25 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even better, no human protagonist at all, no Constantine plot and instead a road movie/odd-couple romance between Tilda Swinton and Peter Stormare.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:51 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's nice that you are looking forward to these books, but I have a feeling that imagining what people who are not might be unhappy about and then refuting the arguments you have imagined and ascribed to them is not going to affect the enjoyment you get out of them.

Hey, I'm not trying to sweeten my experience of the books by being a contrarian and shooting down other people. I originally thought these books were a terrible idea too, but I changed my mind when I realized that I couldn't summon up any good reasons for my initial reaction. Now I'm curious about the backlash and why everyone else dislikes the books. Maybe I'm missing out on a reason I haven't considered. That's why I'm imagining and discussing possible con arguments with you guys, not because I like knocking the stuffing out of straw men.

Incidentally, you say "rhetoric". Could you explain the rhetorical device or devices you believe that I am using?

I wasn't using the word in a classical sense, and I wasn't referring to a particular rhetorical trope. I just meant that you were using the language of marketing for persuasive purposes.

It precisely isn't writing new adventures in the world and with the characters of these works.

I'm still not sure that's an important distinction: although The Avengers and Lost Girls might not be works of that type, there are plenty of others that fit that description and don't deserve denunciation. There's Wide Sargasso Sea, John Gardner's Grendel, Wicked, Kazantzakis's Odyssey, pretty much any piece of fan fiction, and so on.
posted by painquale at 8:20 PM on February 1, 2012


Peter Stormare in just about anything is great. I don't think that I've voluntarily watched any ad or set of ads (as in, actually sought them out on YT as opposed to seeing them on TV) as much as the ones that he did for VW.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:44 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The primary argument against Before Watchmen isn't that this will somehow destroy or ruin the original. Quite a few people are arguing against that point, because of the way DC set the tone their pre-emptive defense, which focused on whether or not using old characters is okay, while neatly skirting the question about whether there are any good stories to tell here.

I don't think there's anything inherently untouchable about Watchmen; I'd bet that most people in this thread don't. But I haven't seen any evidence that these prequels have anything interesting in them. Look at that link again; there's almost no discussion about what the writer's would actually want to write about, except for Cooke's comment on the Silk Spectre (which I think is a worthwhile critique, though I'm not sure how to interpret "the brief period of time when she becomes an adult" comment, which seems kind of awkwardly put) and Wein's passing comment about Veidt. Bizarrely, the overriding theme that there's something inherently interesting and awesome and original (?!) about taking characters from a one-off piece and "rebooting", which is a party line that doesn't give me a lot of hope for the results.

Reusing characters isn't, on its own, a sign of creative bankruptcy, but quotes like "The challenge is to make the stories modern and relevant to 2012," and "I think reboots are almost mandatory in an industry that has existed for over three-fourths of a century now," and “The harder, and riskier path is to reconsider and relaunch every major title in your library," don't engender confidence in me.

So my problem isn't that I don't think anyone should do anything with the Watchmen characters ever again; my problem is that the primary concern doesn't seem to be, "Hey, this writer has an interesting idea that involves the Watchmen characters/universe, can we make this happen?", but "Hey, people like Watchmen a lot, I bet we could release a new line of Watchmen comics!" There's no there there.

And, well, this part isn't actually a serious argument, but this is going to hit the same summer as Marvel's Avengers vs. X-Men, and man, if you were to go back 2 years and ask comics fans to write a parody about Big Summer Comic Events, Before Watchmen and Avengers vs. X-Men would probably be exactly what they'd come up with. The two biggest comics publishers managed to simultaneously trip Poe's Law.

(I do really like most of the cover art they've released, though.)
posted by kagredon at 2:12 AM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


that new stories featuring old characters are not a threat to old stories

This is only true for stories you only have a shallow, facile attachment to.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:45 AM on February 2, 2012


I wasn't using the word in a classical sense, and I wasn't referring to a particular rhetorical trope. I just meant that you were using the language of marketing for persuasive purposes.

Ah - so you were using the word "rhertoric" for rhetorical effect? I like.

I'm still not sure that's an important distinction: although The Avengers and Lost Girls might not be works of that type, there are plenty of others that fit that description and don't deserve denunciation. There's Wide Sargasso Sea, John Gardner's Grendel, Wicked, Kazantzakis's Odyssey, pretty much any piece of fan fiction, and so on.

Interestingly, I think you've moved there from things which are like Watchmen in terms of media - drawn, sequential art, speech balloons and so on - to things which are unlike it. These are different media products, although there are interesting things to say about them. For example, it's worth noting that most of these examples involve long-dead writers, quote-unquote canonical works and also radical deviations from the focus and scope of the original work. So, Kazantzakis' Odysseus becomes an ascetic and meets Don Quixote and Jesus. Grendel is made the narrator, to create a radical reperception of the world of Beowulf. Wide Sargasso Sea teases out race and gender questions and problematizes the western romantic tradition.

These are works with an artistic and creative agenda diverse from the original. They have different publishers, are largely written in different centuries, and use the background of a work in the public domain to tell stories with a radically different focus.

Fan fiction is an interesting case, of course - arguably, this is what Before Watchmen is, as a project - endorsed fan fiction. If so, that does create some different expectations.

I already provided some examples which actually did fit quite closely - The Dark Knight Returns and Kingdom Come. Those aren't perfect examples, not least because they are connected to the narrative engines of a number of ongoing serials in a way that Watchmen was not - but they were works intended to stand as single and complete pieces. When in the wake of their success sequels and spin-offs were created, the law of diminishing returns hit hard, and their cases were significantly more user-friendly than that of Watchmen: the characters in them were largely not created for the specific purpose of telling a single story.

I'm certainly not denouncing these works - that's a curious choice of words. I just don't think they are likely to be very interesting, and I think that some of these creators would be better served, and DC would be better advised in terms of creating good work, not to constrain them by trying to fit them into the cracks in the mortar of a very tight and self-contained narrative.

In that respect it's like the movie, or Watchmen: The End is Nigh, or Watchmen: Justice is Coming - but the shared medium does probably make it feel a bit different.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:47 AM on February 2, 2012


Much of what Moore writes is metafiction - fiction about fiction and fictionmaking; LOEG plays the world of fantastical literature off against the historical world we know about by making all fantastical literature congruent, occupying the same universe: in a sense what it's actually about is the space between that world and this world; From Hell isn't so much a book about Jack the Ripper as a book about the mythology of Jack the Ripper; Lost Girls is about immediately post-Freudian female sexuality through the eyes of characters from children's books who fit most neatly into a Freudian frame. He doesn't just take characters and write stories about them or (pace fanfic) take them and project his fantasies onto them - they are taken as repositories of signification and meaning to be juxtaposed with unexpected contexts so as to tease critical or subversive or just new meanings out of them. It's not always original - look at Lost Girls in light of D. M. Thomas' The White Hotel or Dennis Potter's Dreamchild for example - but usually interesting.

That's where the adaptations missed the point - the books are not about the plots of the the books, not about what happens in the books. The plots are there to provide a context for what the books are about. From Hell is a book about our fascination with the horror of particularly bloody killings, shown by juxtaposing a straightforward telling of one of the more fanciful Ripper myths with the footnotes (an act of personalised, rambling scholarship which makes clear that it could just as easily have been any other of the stories about Jack the Ripper). It gets to the heart of the horror by unflinchingly representing it both in graphic illustrations and straightforward description, but refuses to show it in any way that horror is normally shown. That's why it's so disturbing. On the other hand, From Hell is another Jack the Ripper movie about the things that happen in the movie. Murder By Decree is a much better version of the same story, and has Christopher Plummer as Sherlock Holmes, too.
posted by Grangousier at 6:22 AM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kagredon has saved me a bunch of typing. If there was some clear point to this, story-wise, that made sense in the Watchman structure that would be one thing. Instead it seems to be an effort to play on the lowest value of serial storytelling - purely appealing to audience familiarity and affection to make sales.

There's nothing inherently wrong with that familiarity; one of the advantages of writing a Star Trek episode is that you have a set of characters who everyone knows within a universe with basic rules and constraints that the audience is more or less familiar with. It frees up time you spend getting your pieces set up with a whole new structure.

One inherent danger is that you have to leave the puzzle pieces more or less in the same place you found them. If Kirk realizes he fucks everything that moves because he's in desperate denial about his homosexuality, well, then you have now put a pin in that and you have to allow for it in future episodes. So you accept certain character development trade-offs in exchange for this other freedom.

Another is that if you're going to work within the structure you need to honor the structure. Nothing turns me off a television show faster than having the characters do what needs to be done to advance the story of the week even if it's in complete defiance of their established nature. Glee is a great example of what's on the air doing that now. Lost is an example of a show that, whatever its faults, honored the characters' personalities.

This Watchman thing is hard to respect because you can't imagine what the point is of using these characters to tell the stories. It's not like when Moore used the neglected Charlton characters to tell something new. Now these characters have a lot of baggage attached to them - not just the structure of the personalities and the universe, but also things we know about them that wouldn't be obvious at the time and what their eventual fate will be.

If you tell me an Ozymandias story now you need to allow for the fact that, if it happens after the Comedian sets that map on fire, he's got his scheme wheels turning. After Vietnam's conclusion we know that Dr Manhattan has watched the Comedian gun down a pregnant woman and done nothing to stop it. Etc and so on.

So what are you going to do? Fill in some lines here and there, show me Dan building the Owl ship? The remaining spaces are so small and constrained it's hard to imagine what stories someone really wants to tell that don't work in just as well within the standard DC universe. What's there that isn't just another Batman story? What's unique in that team book that doesn't just work as a JLA story?

The answer seems to be that the only unique thing is that people might buy one of these books AND their Batman issue, our of curiosity about what little details we'll learn about Silk Spectre's life that we didn't already know. DC can make it and people can buy it, fine, but it feels more like Matthew Broderick doing a Ferris Bueler sthick to sell a Honda than it does new art and storytelling.
posted by phearlez at 6:54 AM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not against remixes, remakes and reimaginings: some of them are great. Alan Moore's own "Swamp Thing" is a great example, taking the series into new and more complex territory. Another good one is "The Seven Percent Solution", reimagining Shylock Holmes as a deluded drug addict.

But the best ones are when they take the original into new territory or take a radical new slant. When people try to write just another Sherlock Holmes mystery as close to the original as they can, the result tends to be pretty dull. If you try to imitate someone too slavishly, you're never quite as good at being that person as the original was at being himself.

So I think to be good, these prequels would have to take a new slant on the original Watchmen somehow.

Maybe they will and it'll be great.

But I find it hard to see how. The original Watchmen characters were complex, tragic, flawed figures: psychopaths, emotionally distant or fantasists. What kind of new angle are you going to take? That they weren't tragic figures, they were simple ass-kicking heroes after all? The Watchmen were already reimaginings of standard comics figures, it seems to me exponentially harder to re-reimagine them in a creative new way.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:45 AM on February 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


What kind of new angle are you going to take? That they weren't tragic figures, they were simple ass-kicking heroes after all?

Thank you for explaining why I have trouble with this sort of thing. Remixes and reimaginings can be interesting because they add complexity or commentary or insight. Additional stories about the characters in Watchmen can't-- I imagine-- do anything but simplify their extant complexity.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:56 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, the worry that these won't be any good is a fair worry, and warranted. My hope is that the editors and DC mucketymucks are the ones saying garbage like "The challenge is to make the stories modern and relevant to 2012," but that the creators who have been charged with coming up with good stories come up with good stories. I certainly don't think that they'll be as creative as Moore was with LoEG.

The movie is probably a good example of the sort of quality I expect. Everyone thought it'd be a pointless exercise and probably awful, but it was pretty good, and had some great bits like the opening sequence. I am happy it exists.
posted by painquale at 8:17 AM on February 2, 2012


Moore has commented on the League series creating a sort of meta-fictional universe. In his own words:

"And of course in the future, we've got the whole of time to play with – to still do stories based around the Prospero group or the Gulliver group. We could do stories potentially with Orlando that go back to ancient Thebes 3,000 years ago. So we have hopefully charted our connected world of fictions and we've got it so thoroughly mapped that we do really have the entire universe of fiction to play with. So there's no reason other than me and Kevin getting increasingly old and feeble why League should ever end."

Now that's a very interesting idea, but it does present a problem of how to incorporate Moore's own fictitious creations into that universe, does it not? This is something I'd like to see the man himself address.

Would the League ever encounter The Watchmen, for instance? And, if not, why not? There is already ample precedent; the League stories already published have taken character elements from novels, plays, poetry, myth, advertisements, as well as of course Real Life.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:32 AM on February 2, 2012


Another good one is "The Seven Percent Solution", reimagining Shylock Holmes as a deluded drug addict.

The drug addict part isn't a reimagining; the canonical Holmes had a cocaine habit.
posted by Zed at 9:09 AM on February 2, 2012


Would the League ever encounter The Watchmen, for instance? And, if not, why not?

Guess we'll find out in 6 months or a year or whenever it is the final one comes out. Though already with the 60s one he's had to dance around copyright's so much the whole reference game thing has become a little unfun.
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on February 2, 2012


This kind of somes up how i feel about a lot of the weirder, more gloaty reactions:
I'm still kind of gnashing my teeth over the "Before Watchmen" news, mainly because of how dismissive people are of Alan Moore's rights as a creator.

Also, I wonder: If Watchmen isn't work for hire, and DC somehow slips up, fails to keep it in print and lets the rights revert back to Moore, then does he then own all these crappy spin-offs as well?
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on February 2, 2012


Though already with the 60s one he's had to dance around copyright's so much the whole reference game thing has become a little unfun.

One of the most charming things about LoEG was how it could just casually spin off a story about someone just tangentially related and it was completely engaging and you got the sense of this huge, rich world going on and as the series has progressed it's become more the Alan and Mina Show and the dancing around names is a bit tiresome.

I would read the FUCK out of a Prospero's Men book. Or even the German and French leagues glossed over in Black Dossier.
posted by The Whelk at 10:47 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel like the Paris Opera house adventure in the Black Dossier was an abandoned outline for a story that, TBH, would be a lot more fun than some of the ones he has told.
posted by Artw at 10:48 AM on February 2, 2012


Watchbabies -

Teddy carcass in hall this morning, footprint on burst stomach. This nursery is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The changing pails are extended gutters and the gutters are full of poopie and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their diapers will foam up about their waists and all the babies and un-toilet trained will look up and shout "Change us!"

... and I'll whisper "Nuh uh!"

I hope that was nearly as amusing as it seemed at work last night.
posted by Samizdata at 10:53 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey samizdata, we both missed it. Look at the whole post again. Tucked in as the only item below the line — Simpsons did it!
posted by benito.strauss at 10:57 AM on February 2, 2012


Yeah I kinda felt the end of black dossier was a good end for the series, they retreat into the world of pure imagination, lovecraftian secrets safely returned. If nothing else the Wodehouse pastiche was about the only wodehouse pastiche I actually enjoyed.
posted by The Whelk at 11:00 AM on February 2, 2012


Does anyone else think the real triumph in LoEG was the travelogue at the end of the first collection? Pages and pages and pages of completely extra material that was completely in character and readable and fun.
posted by The Whelk at 11:02 AM on February 2, 2012


The Watchmen not being work for hire link should go here.
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on February 2, 2012


More of that.
posted by Artw at 11:11 AM on February 2, 2012


benito.strauss: "Hey samizdata, we both missed it. Look at the whole post again. Tucked in as the only item below the line — Simpsons did it!"

I had seen that. I just found the juxtaposition of Rorschach's focused savagery with a nursery so amusing whilst toiling at work, that I really ran with the idea (to a terrifying extent). Thank your deity of choice I am no good at music, as I started a theme song in my head based on the Muppet Babies theme.
posted by Samizdata at 11:13 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Waaaatchman babies they make your fascist dreams come true!
posted by The Whelk at 11:14 AM on February 2, 2012


Nanny! Mahaa...Manhate...M is not wearing his diaper again!
posted by Samizdata at 11:28 AM on February 2, 2012


So far the only people enthused by this comic seem to be people who really don't like Alan Moore. That's kind of a weird market.

And in fact Lucas Siegel of Newsarama came out and said it:

Some will point to Alan Moore’s lack of “approval” or involvement as a bad thing, but that’s one of the best parts in my eyes.

That is a very weird and bitter attitude.
posted by Artw at 11:59 AM on February 2, 2012


Saturday Morning Watchmen.

Artw's kinda convincing me that I should take the IP issues (which I guess I was only vaguely informed about) more seriously.
posted by painquale at 12:13 PM on February 2, 2012


I really enjoyed the 1969 LoEG.

One of the problems with the newer books is that Moore is trying to incorporate music as the series progresses to mirror the popularization of other media in history. 1910 had all those Kurt Weill musical numbers, and 1969 had all the Rolling Stones bits. But I think Moore is too familiar with the music that he alludes to, and isn't able to imagine how the issues read to someone who wasn't writing the issue with the music in mind. If you're not familiar with the music---or even if you are, but haven't slowly gone through Moore's lyrics and matched them up to the music---the comics don't read so well. I made a playlist for 1969 that could play in the background, filling it with songs referred to in the text (mostly copied from the annotations of Jess Nevins and The Mindless Ones). It vastly improved the issue. The climax of the book is awesome when Sympathy for the Devil plays in the background. The whole scene across as frenetic and psychedelic and evil. The comic has really improved that song for me, and vice versa. I kinda want to go back and match up music with 1910 (the weakest LoEG) and see what happens. I'm not sure it'll work though... I don't think Moore recognizes that comics and music go together pretty poorly when you're not the creator and know which musical cues fit the action at which points. He's trying for a multimedia experience that I think is fundamentally flawed, but it is neat to see him try.

I'll be surprised if Moore doesn't do something in the final book related to television or the internet. I wonder how he'll pull it off?
posted by painquale at 12:34 PM on February 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Before Watchmen’s Straczynski addresses Babylon 5 comparisons - Again, a lot of contempt there, and this kind of weird assertion that in all cases creators should shut up and take the money.

Also, Babylon 5, being a TV show, had a lot of people involved and a lot of livelihoods depending on it, so I'll not begrudge him making a 5th seasons of it when he unexpectedly had the opportunity to do so, but the was no reason whatsoever for that 5th season to exist except to milk the cow.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on February 2, 2012


Comics Alliance expand on that

Mark Waid, in comments:

To be fair:

I find it absolutely impossible to believe that DC, at any point, offered Alan “anything he wanted” as financial compensation, much less “complete creative freedom.” I’m sure they offered him boatloads of cash and I’m sure they offered him “creative freedom within reason,” but JMS is overstating in order to make a better case for his side. Also, in trying to “balance” the comparisons, JMS forgot to add the qualifier, “Let’s also say that, without getting into whether I was right to believe so or just crazy, I believed to my absolute core that the company who was trying to woo me back to Babylon 5 was a corporation who had (in my opinion) already screwed me repeatedly and who I could never in a million years bring myself to trust to deal fairly and morally with me despite contractual language in my favor.”

None of what I have just said is intended to take sides or to especially bolster Alan’s side or to snipe at JMS…but as someone who was on staff during Watchmen’s original publication and first-hand witness to the many growing problems between Alan and DC, I can tell you that it’s a very thorny, very complex situation in which (IMO) both sides have valid reasons to believe that the other doesn’t always deal fairly or sanely. I bring this up only because I bristle at JMS’s assertion that what he offers is a “more accurate” analysis of the overall mess instead of an equally flawed restacking of the deck.

posted by Artw at 3:39 PM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Regarding the comments to that CA article, I would like to say that I don't like this new species of fanboy that pops up to play amateur corporate lawyer anytime a creators' rights issue threatens their access to those sweet, sweet, work-for-hire comics. At the end of the day, they value companies more than they do artists. I wish they would find a new hobby; they're bad for this one, which has enough problems.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:50 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I think they are 1 inch from beleiving that bit in the Watchmen 2 pitch story about "vessels".
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on February 2, 2012


I hate to say it, because you know this is a writer whose work I generally love, but I'm pretty sure the "vessels" thing is a goof on some stuff Grant Morrison said in Supergods.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:06 PM on February 2, 2012


Mindless Ones discussion.

I gotta say that I'm digging all the literary and ethical debates that are spinning out of this thing.
posted by painquale at 4:23 PM on February 2, 2012


Oh I'm pretty sure it is.

Incidentally, this weeks Action Comics is a lovingly done and utterly INSANE tribute to silver age Superman comics which is of course only made possible due to DC's continued hold on the character.
posted by Artw at 4:27 PM on February 2, 2012


Alvy Ampersand: In my understanding, DC owns the thing as long as it's making money.

Artw: If Watchmen isn't work for hire, and DC somehow slips up, fails to keep it in print and lets the rights revert back to Moore, then does he then own all these crappy spin-offs as well?

Before the movie, I'd read in an Alan Moore interview that "They offered me the rights to Watchmen back, if I would agree to some dopey prequels and sequels," which also made me wonder if they really do have their legal rights properly lined up, or if they're just betting that Moore can't be bothered to sue.

And my guess is that there would be a sort of joint copyright ownership, where if the original rights ever properly revert to Moore, then the spin-offs couldn't be reprinted without both his & DC's permission.

posted by Pronoiac at 4:41 PM on February 2, 2012


Belated </i> - also, the interview was after the movie. My bad!
posted by Pronoiac at 4:47 PM on February 2, 2012


Image Comics Publisher Calls Watchmen Prequels 'A Dirty Deal'
posted by Artw at 5:30 PM on February 2, 2012


Ed Brubaker and some other comics types are having a pretty interesting exchange about this on twitter right now. I've tried adding them to this list, but you'll probably have to scroll to get to the meat of it.
posted by Artw at 5:43 PM on February 2, 2012


From Brubaker:

I was at the SDCC when Watchmen was announced, and it was presented a triumph of creators right.
Alan Moore talked proudly of how the work would be owned by him and Gibbons one year after issue 12.
It was explained as the first deal where everyone had learned from Seigel and Shuster and Kirby's mistakes.

From Chris Roberson:
Instead, we'd managed to find a whole NEW raft of mistakes to make.
posted by Artw at 5:47 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also aparently there exist early pitches of the story without the Charlton characters, and they got quite far down the line that way. I did not know that.
posted by Artw at 5:48 PM on February 2, 2012


Another interesting comment from Waid, who makes a good point Regarding Digital: Nothing will be going "out of print" ever again.

To answer your other questions--yes, absolutely, I too believe in standing by the contracts you sign, always have, always will. But I have learned the hard way--over the past two years in particular, with more than one previously trusted company--that even with the sharpest lawyers on your side, sometimes contracts get exploited in ways no one could ever have logically foreseen, and all the precautionary thought and advice in the world doesn't always cover both parties against unpredicted circumstances...especially with regards to emerging media, which "trade paperbacks" certainly were in 1985, every bit as much as "digital comics" are today--no one in the mid-'80s DC Editorial office ever dreamed any comic would stay in print 25 years.

In fact, digital is a great comparison. I myself, like hundreds of others, signed creator-owned deals ten years ago that included rights-reversion after material goes out of print--at a time when neither I nor the publisher could have foreseen that, in a digital-comics world, the phrase "out of print" as we defined it then has a far different meaning now. Back then, "out of print" essentially meant, "Hey, we, the publisher, have exhausted the market for now and aren't receiving enough orders to make newer printings profitable, so here, take your kid back." Now, by the letter of those contracts, a publisher can throw your book on the web at almost zero cost and certainly at no financial risk in order to maintain the rights in perpetuity without selling even a single copy. Not many creators OR lawyers could have foreseen that world in, say, 1999-2000.

posted by Artw at 9:02 PM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh, that's an interesting observation. Waid's a savvy commentator.

I didn't realize that the Watchmen deal was considered a step forward for creators' rights at the time. No wonder Moore is so embittered!

I wonder what would have happened to the Watchmen universe if Moore had gotten hold of it? He planned a prequel of his own, apparently. Maybe it would have become the foundation of a bizarro version of America's Best Comics and a competitor to the Marvel and DC universes. That would have been awesome.
posted by painquale at 9:28 PM on February 2, 2012


As an aside, yesterday I read a bunch of 1602 comics. That is to say, I read Neil Gaiman's 1602 and then looked through some other books that superficially seemed to be the same thing, but weren't, really. It was interesting in light of this discussion.

Largely because it shows up the distinction between Inspiration and The Workmanlike. There, I put them in caps, so they must be weighty theoretical ideas. All Inspiration means, though, is that one individual had a bright idea and went to run with it, and the pleasure of the book is largely Gaiman's enthusiastic running with his marvellous bright idea. If he'd been hired to write a sequel, no doubt he'd have been able to dust off his idea and run some more. The sequels as actually made, though, are people who have been hired to do some more books that look like (and carry the brand of) that book that was so successful. So they do x number of pages that superficially resemble the original book, containing a bunch of things that look like things that people enjoyed the first time round. The need to stay close to the concept (which the originator of the concept would not have been bound by) limits the possibilities available - mere translations (where the elements are rearranged) rather than transformations (where the elements are recombined to make something new).

But it was the bright idea that was the thing, which in a book like this is intimately related to the person who had the idea..

If Moore had done another story in the Watchmenverse, it would at least have been interesting, because he would have been having another run with his bright idea. It wouldn't necessarily have worked - cf Dark Knight Strikes Again - but it would have been more than an exercise in generating Watchmen product. That wouldn't make it sacred or culturally higher. It would just make it interesting. Which is enough.

If Moore had done a sequel to 1602 (which would have necessitated a parallel universe so strange it makes the world of 1602 look everyday), it's fair to say that it wouldn't have begun with Nicholas Fury or Peter Parquagh or any of the familiar tropes of the first book, but would have kicked off with something that would make the reader familiar with the first book say "Wait a minute! What the fuck is going on?" And that's why he's Alan Moore and Peter David isn't.
posted by Grangousier at 5:35 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Artw, thanks for the link to the robot6 post. Waid's completely correct, of course. JMS' solipsism on the subject of whether DC ever offered Moore "complete creative freedom" on Watchmen is utterly bizarre; even if he hadn't been aware of the problems that led Moore to leave DC back in the eighties (and if he weren't, a quick phone call to someone with a decent back issue collection of The Comics Journal, say, could have brought him up to speed on that), the more recent issues with DC censoring content that Moore created for America's Best Comics after DC bought Wildstorm (something that Jim Lee, former Wildstorm publisher and current DC co-publisher, assured Moore that they would never, ever do) should have kept JMS from saying anything like that. But, then again, this is JMS, whose comics work has been wildly uneven and has shown a tendency to walk out in the middle of storylines (Squadron Supreme, Superman:Grounded) in a John Byrne-esque manner.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:46 AM on February 3, 2012


JMS' solipsism

I stopped expecting any better from him after the B5 season 5 Claudia Christensen brouhaha.
posted by phearlez at 11:25 AM on February 3, 2012


The B5 Season 5 what now?
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:30 AM on February 3, 2012


CC wanted to be able to take time to do movies and wished to have a written commitment to that effect. Her request was refused and that's why she didn't return for season 5. All of which is fine, but JMS's statements on the matter were so wriggly and douchey that it forever colored my opinion of him as a good-faith actor.
posted by phearlez at 12:41 PM on February 3, 2012


Yeah, but at least it got them to kill off fucking Marcus.
posted by cortex at 12:55 PM on February 3, 2012


So, Kevin Smith, who, let's not forget, recently retconed Batman: Year One so that Batman pisses himself, had more class than to get involved in thsi project. I think that says something.
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on February 4, 2012


Man. I wasn't really bothered before, just bored and irritated by the idea, the fact that this forces me to feel some tiny degree of respect for Kevin Smith means this shit just got personal.
posted by howfar at 10:43 AM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It says more that DC asked Smith in the first place.

Is there any other writer* less suited to the material? Cooke and Azzarello are the only plausible fits in this.

(*That is, one currently working with DC that has some name recognition to non-comics fans. Still, the number of potentially good writers not working on this project is huge.)
posted by ipe at 1:07 PM on February 4, 2012


Now I'm thinking that the other creatives signed on not because they want to do it, but mostly because DC is throwing gobs of money at them. Kevin Smith already has gobs and isn't motivated by more gobs.
posted by painquale at 1:13 PM on February 4, 2012


I'd kind of like to see Andi Watson, Faith Erin Hicks and Kate Beaton's take, on reflection. But I suspect that wouldn't happen.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:44 PM on February 4, 2012


Artw: So far the only people enthused by this comic seem to be people who really don't like Alan Moore. That's kind of a weird market.

Truth. Although now I feel all conflicted, because reading Straczynski's response has inspired in me a kind of spiteful delight that Star Trek: Deep Space 9 has finally overtaken (the good but often overrated, IMO) Babylon 5 as the "90s grim space sci-fi series" of choice.*

(*Might just be my perception, but it seems like in the last 5 years or so, DS9 has received a lot more retrospective attention and acclaim, while B5 has faded into the background.)
posted by kagredon at 11:21 PM on February 4, 2012


Babylon 5 has a great, self contained story arc within it, one that was planned out from the beginning and made it into filming relatively intact, only to be marred with the addition of a bunch of crap when it should have been done with because JMS got the opportunity to spin it out some more. Something that should be familiar...

DS9, on the other hand, had the fortune to be cancelled at a point after some longrunning storylines had been wrapped up nicely, and had more slack for telling other stories anyway.
posted by Artw at 3:42 AM on February 5, 2012


I'm all about the Farscape now anyway. Yes! I have embraced the puppets!
posted by Artw at 3:43 AM on February 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


(the good but often overrated, IMO) Babylon 5

Or as Tim Bisley would put it...
posted by howfar at 4:29 AM on February 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


And they didn't use Amigas for the CG, the big liars.
posted by Artw at 7:25 AM on February 5, 2012


Babylon 5 has a great, self contained story arc within it, one that was planned out from the beginning and made it into filming relatively intact, only to be marred with the addition of a bunch of crap when it should have been done with because JMS got the opportunity to spin it out some more.

In JMS's defense, it was a great, self-contained five-season story arc that he'd planned out from the beginning, and then executive tomfoolery kept twitching it around and it became absolutely, no-questions clear that they'd only have the fourth season to end the five-season arc, and everything got scrambled and compressed, and then they got a fifth season after all after it'd all been fucked up pretty well. Is my understanding of the general play of things.

Which, give JMS the eye for not walking away maybe, or more realistically be disappointed that the improvised fifth season wasn't better than it was, but a lot of this mess had to do with folks who weren't JMS and weren't doing B5 any sort of favors in general. You give someone 500 pages to finish a story, and then tell them around page 325 that they have to finish it in 400 after all, and then tell them around 395 that, oops, no, 500 it is, you get a weird dramatic curve.
posted by cortex at 7:44 AM on February 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


That is also my understanding cortex. Never looked into it myself, but my big sister is a B5 freak and that's pretty much the account she gave. I presume she wasn't just fucking with me for laffs, but she is my big sister, so...
posted by howfar at 8:47 AM on February 5, 2012


Yup, and TBH most of the time I make those allowances, but it's kind of telling that the guy has such a hard-on for dissing Moore's lack of compromise with Watchmen when such compromises account for the worst bits of his own big work. Of course he'd okay with someone doing Babylon 6, that's entirely consistant with what he's done previously.

(Then there's the fact that he used his TV work as leverage to do a really shitty job on multiple comics titles, but that's a digression...)
posted by Artw at 9:27 AM on February 5, 2012


There's also the "we'll give you your five seasons, but only if you fire the lead actor" bit they pulled after the first year, although they rolled with that punch pretty damned well.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:39 AM on February 5, 2012


Quite. Moore is doing what we're supposed to expect of artists. He's defending his idea of how his work should be treated, without reference to how much money he could make from compromising. He might be wrong in this case (very unlikely, but who knows?) but bitching about the opinions of a man who chose his opinion of what's right over being a multimillionaire seems pretty fucking small.
posted by howfar at 10:11 AM on February 5, 2012


Alan Moore chats with Harvey Pekar statue contributors
posted by Artw at 10:11 AM on February 5, 2012


Bleeding Cool have written some of that up, it's pretty interesting stuff.

On not betraying fellow comic creators…

Moore confirmed a long-standing rumor that he was at one point asked to write a JUDGE DREDD/BATMAN cross-over that was to be illustrated by Brian Bolland. Upon learning that John Wagner (a man Moore credited during the discussion as not being the creator of Judge Dredd, but clearly one of the character’s most influential writers) was not happy about this arrangement – specifically, for being passed-over to write it – he dropped the project and credits the as being what “soured” him on work other creators properties in comics.

On the difference between his use of established/pre-existing characters in THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN versus the use of his characters from WATCHMEN in the recently-confirmed BEFORE WATCHMEN projects…

As can be expected, Moore has a rather long and involved answer when this question was presented to him. To the surprise of many of the people present, though, Moore was very calm, composed and rational with his answer.

As he sees it, the difference between what he does with THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN versus what DC is doing with BEFORE WATCHMEN rests heavily on what Moore sees as the former work honoring a long-standing literary tradition of “irresistible fictional mash-ups” while the latter is an exploitation of a specific piece of work that was, in his words, “meant to only to go a finite time and have a finite end.”

He closed his answer stating, in part, the following:

“There is a tradition of discarded characters from the past – from literature – meeting-up together…

In literature, I would say that it’s different. I would say, and it might be splitting hairs, but I’m not adapting these characters. I’m not doing an adaptation of DRACULA or KING’S SOLOMON’S MINES. What I am doing is stealing them. There is a difference between doing an adaptation, which is evil, and actually stealing the characters, which, as long as everybody’s dead or you don’t mention the names, is perfectly alright by me. I’m not trying to be glib here, I genuinely do feel that in literature you’ve got a tradition that goes back to JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS of combining literary characters…

It’s just irresistible to do these fictional mash-ups. They’ve been going on for hundreds of years and I feel I’m a part of a proud literary tradition in doing that. With taking comic characters that have been created by cheated old men, I feel that that is different… and that’s my take on the subject.”

posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on February 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Batman/Judge Dredd crossover by Grant and Wagner that did see the light of day came out in 1991. Assuming the project was kicking around for a few years that would put his involvement in the project and disenchantment with working on other peoples properties towards the end of his DC years, when he was falling out with them.

Oh, a thing I did not know: Moore was initially hired by Len Wein over at DC.
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on February 5, 2012


I think Alan Moore is completely incoherently ethically on this. Which is fine, it's his baby, you can't expect him to be rational about it. But he's made a career out of 'stealing' other people's work. (However you want to phrase it). Fair play for anybody else to do the same to him. Though you can't blame him for being cranky about it. He's cranky about everything.
posted by empath at 11:32 AM on February 5, 2012


I think Alan Moore is completely incoherently ethically on this.

I found that argument a big disingenous heap of false analogies when people started using it and find it more so themore I know about it.
posted by Artw at 12:02 PM on February 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't buy the "Watchmen was meant to be a closed story" argument, nor do I buy the "the new stories are guaranteed not to be any good" argument. But I think those argument can be divorced from the ones about creators' rights. Moore has a right to be pissed that he got screwed out of ownership of his characters and that DC treated him so poorly. Moore's not treating Bram Stoker as poorly as DC treated him, and therein lies the difference.

Moore and his supporters should drop this line about there being a difference between adapting stories and stealing them. That's splitting hairs arbitrarily, and it seems like Moore recognizes this. As long as he keeps basing his argument on the premise that there's a narrative difference between adapting a finished story (Watchmen) and stealing characters for LoEG, he is going to invite criticism. The real argument in his favor is premised on the fact that DC stole his characters through legalistic machinations, when Watchmen was actually supposed to be a triumph for creators' rights. Let's say DC and Moore had both agreed to up ownership of Watchmen back in the 80s, open sourcing them, and now 25 years later, DC wanted to create Before Watchmen. Moore wouldn't have an argument anymore, I don't think. It doesn't matter that Watchmen was originally a closed story... our counterfactual Moore and DC agreed to let the world do with the stories whatever they would.

So, the argument against Before Watchmen can't be based on anything pertaining to the type of narrative that is being made. Before Watchmen is shitty because DC's original deal was shitty. And I don't think Moore is ethically inconsistent on this point. His opting out of the Dredd project is admirable.

Looking forward to watching this interview, but jeez, two and a half hours.... I hope someone makes a full transcript. I liked his musings about putting sound effects in digital comics. It fits well with the focus on music in the new LoEG books, which I wrote about above. I'm also stoked about the Nemo meets Cthulhu book... it's the first I've heard of it.
posted by painquale at 12:22 PM on February 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


But he's made a career out of 'stealing' other people's work.

He's made a career out of being better at writing comic books than anyone else.
posted by howfar at 12:33 PM on February 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


...which people are now arguing are directly equivalent to some cheesy cash-in comics done at the behest of accountants.
posted by Artw at 12:41 PM on February 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Watchmen was conceived as a way to get some quick cash out of the Charlton characters that DC just bought.
posted by empath at 1:06 PM on February 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


...and if any of us owned the enormous weed farm that Alan has in Wales, we'd be as stoned as he is.
posted by howfar at 1:08 PM on February 5, 2012


There's apretty good intview about how Watchmen came to be and its relationship to the Charlton characters here.From Moore's point of view it started with a completely different set of characters, the Charlton ones were suggested one the story was pretty well formed, and then the nature of the story meant that DC didn't want him using them anyway so it ended up as a pretty distinctive set of characters in their own rights.
posted by Artw at 1:43 PM on February 5, 2012


Clearly, though, the Watchmen characters are exactly the same as the Charlton ones, which is why DC has spent an untold fortune making a series of minis starring Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Question, Nightshade, The Peacemaker and Thunderbolt the centerpiece of their publishing plans for 2012. You might have seen this coming if you'd noticed how you see these characters, which DC has owned for a quarter of a century, constantly in print.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:20 PM on February 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The dam has burst...
posted by Artw at 4:40 PM on February 5, 2012


Alan Moore announces new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic, featuring the Mountains of Madness
posted by homunculus at 9:41 AM on February 6, 2012


The dam has burst...

Didn't KW Jeter write sequels to Blade Runner? Or is that one of those things that just sort of seems like it should have happened? Like a fist fight between Tom Berenger and Richard Gere in a fountain...
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:44 PM on February 6, 2012


I believe he wrote a couple of them, all safely forgotten.
posted by Artw at 12:45 PM on February 6, 2012


Moore has already brought up the Lovecraft mythos in the Black Dossier short story where Jeeves and Wooster and the Gatsby socialites and other rich gadflies all team up to defeat an Elder One (or something like that... my memory isn't perfect). That was a great conceit, so I hope they show up in the new Nemo story.

I'm also happy Moore's going back to previous eras. It made me sad when I thought we'd seen the last of Nemo. This also means he might get around to writing about the French version of the League and Mina's days as a superhero.
posted by painquale at 11:27 PM on February 6, 2012


As We Watch the Watchmen, Ghost Rider's Creator Faces Ruin
posted by Artw at 11:13 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Twenty-One Not Exactly Original Notes On More Watchmen, Written At A Slight Remove

Ten days or so past the official announcement, I'm thinking More Watchmen may be best understood as a blow to comics' dignity. It's product, not art. It's a limited, small series of ideas derived from a bigger, grander one. It's sad. One thing that Watchmen did a quarter century ago was to underline certain values of craft and intent and creative freedom that have helped to yield enough equivalent expressions -- to my mind even grander expressions -- that we may now see this follow-up project for what it is: nothing special. Not Moore. More.
posted by Artw at 8:24 PM on February 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mark Waid Kept Away From Justice League Doom Premiere
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on February 14, 2012


I guess the silver lining in all this is that any guilt I might feel about downloading Marvel or DC stuff without forking over great sums for the privilege is utterly wiped out by the amorality of these greedy corporations.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:27 AM on February 14, 2012


Alan Moore On Watchmen’s “Toxic Cloud” And Creativity V. Big Business
There’s been a growing dissatisfaction and distrust with the conventional publishing industry, in that you tend to have a lot of formerly reputable imprints now owned by big conglomerates,” he says. “As a result, there’s a growing number of professional writers now going to small presses, self-publishing, or trying other kinds of [distribution] strategies.

“The same is true of music and cinema,” he adds. “It seems that every movie is a remake of something that was better when it was first released in a foreign language, as a 1960s TV show, or even as a comic book. Now you’ve got theme park rides as the source material of movies. The only things left are breakfast cereal mascots. In our lifetime, we will see Johnny Depp playing Captain Crunch.”
posted by bonehead at 11:42 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like to think Moore was right about it being a doomed effort, but if there's one thing the interwebs have taught me over the last few horrible weeks it's that there's a legion of comicbook fans out there who don't give a shit about creators and will lap up any derivative shite,.
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on February 14, 2012


After Watchmen
posted by Artw at 8:52 AM on February 16, 2012


I'd like to think Moore was right about it being a doomed effort, but if there's one thing the interwebs have taught me over the last few horrible weeks it's that there's a legion of comicbook fans out there who don't give a shit about creators and will lap up any derivative shite.

There are, to be fair, also a lot of fans who absolutely don't want the books to be produced, and who are aligned with Alan Moore, but who will, once the books are produced, feel compelled to get them That completist/compulsive urge feels like a great boycott-proofer - much like the "boycott" of Left 4 Dead 2, which suffered from being made up entirely of people who were really passionate about the Left 4 Dead franchise - once it came out, they folded like a roadmap.

For balance: Alan Moore is wrong about "Before Watchmen". Some interesting arguments in the comments.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:05 AM on February 16, 2012


Is it the usual tiresome false equivalency bollocks?

/looks

Yup. Snore.
posted by Artw at 9:09 AM on February 16, 2012


As mentioned in the comments, Kieron Gillen said that he could understand why DC wants to do this, but it's kind of strange that anyone has agreed to write or draw it. Whats actually in it for them, apart from a freelancing fee, especially when comic book fans have such long memories? That's interesting me as well - is the money particularly good, or are times particularly hard out there?
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:01 AM on February 16, 2012


There's a rather snarky tumblr FULL of Darwyn Cooke quotes on why he probably shouldn't be doing it.

He's the odd one of the pack: Probably the one with the most chance of producing something good out of it, while simultaneously the one with the least reason to do it, as if he just did his own thing it would most likely be better and he actually appears to give a crap about that.
posted by Artw at 10:07 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, that's cruel. Although Cooke does show, somewhat, that you can do fun stuff with other people's characters - New Frontier and The Spirit, of course, but also I think one of my favorite single issues of the last decade was Cooke's Slam Bradley-themed issue of Solo. However, that's not an equivalence either... and whether or not these comics are in themselves enjoyable to read is not really the issue that is compelling much of the negative feedback.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:20 AM on February 16, 2012


I will submit that if Cooke manages to produce anything good it would have been BETTER for not being Watchmen.
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on February 16, 2012


(Like the Charlton characters everyone thinks were such solid gold that Alan Moore was just piggybacking on, for instance)
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on February 16, 2012


There's a rather snarky tumblr FULL of Darwyn Cooke quotes on why he probably shouldn't be doing it.

Wow. That was a labor of love.

Whats actually in it for them, apart from a freelancing fee, especially when comic book fans have such long memories? That's interesting me as well - is the money particularly good, or are times particularly hard out there?

In hindsight, more Watchmen comics have been inevitable since the movie. It's something for which they'll even be able to get some mainstream entertainment news coverage. The marketers probably figure Moore's oppobrium and all the resultant talk is a feature.

I'd guess the money's probably no better or worse than a high-profile Superman or Batman project would be... but there are only so many projects like that in a year, and faced with taking that money or watching someone else take it, they chose the former.

Some plurality of us might prefer to see Cooke do something original and riskier, but that's the thing with riskier things: they're riskier.
posted by Zed at 10:58 AM on February 16, 2012


Darwyn Cooke "Before Watchmen" artwork emerges.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:33 AM on February 18, 2012


Dammit, Cooke, stop being awesome. It's extremely inconvenient for my consumer integrity.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:45 AM on February 18, 2012


c'mon, we knew Cooke was the only one that was going to be even halfway decent (and having it be a Silk Spectre story it can be completely self contained)
posted by The Whelk at 9:46 AM on February 18, 2012


While I love Cooke's pencils in the link I posted above, I have a hard time reconciling them to Watchmen. Part of the whole point of Watchmen is that super-heroes are real flesh and blood people (and Gibbon's pencils reflected that in the original). Cooke's pencils are too cartoon-like to convey that realism. While I'm reasonably sure that it's going to be an entertaining and well done story (based on Cooke's body of work), it's definately NOT going to be Watchmen.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:03 AM on February 18, 2012


is the money particularly good, or are times particularly hard out there?

I don't suppose the money has to be that amazing to be pretty irresistible. I don't know what any of the creators signed up make in an average year, but I'll bet it's generally not enough to ignore the gaping hole where most freelancer's pension plans ought to be. It's incredibly hard to turn down well-paid work if you're not sure you're going to be commissioned again next year. Not to mention the nagging doubt, "if I say 'no' to this, is such-and-such going to be offended?"

Artistic integrity is important, and fan opinion is a factor in any artist's career. But in the end, pragmatically, it's the opinion of the people who make the commissioning decisions that matters. I'm not going to criticise people trying to make a living.

JMS can still go fuck himself.
posted by howfar at 4:16 PM on February 18, 2012


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