The New Watchmen Comics

Before WatchmenWhose side do you take with respect to the new Before Watchmen prequels: Alan Moore (against) or Dave Gibbons (for)? From Wired:

Everything old at DC Comics is new again, again. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ canonical miniseries about superheroes and power — and their horrific abuses — is being predictably rebooted as a prequel franchise.

Just don’t call it a reboot, said Before Watchmen series editor and Wolverine and Swamp Thing co-creator Len Wein, who also served as Moore and Gibbons’ original Watchmen editor in the 1980s.

“To me, a reboot is what DC is essentially doing with the New 52, which is changing costumes, origins, relationships, essentially looking at old characters through new eyes,” Wein said in an e-mail to Wired. “What we’re doing is filling in a lot of the blank spaces in a story that has already, to some degree, been told. There were still a lot of gaps in the histories of Watchmen‘s characters, and events only mentioned in passing or touched on briefly in the original story. We’re filling in those gaps in the most creative and inventive ways we can.”

Those gaps, however, will have to be filled without the help of the outspoken and influential Moore, who told Wired.com in 2010 that DC Comics offered Watchmen back to him if he “would agree to some dopey prequels and sequels.”

“I don’t believe anyone at DC has spoken to Alan at all, which seems to be the way he prefers it.”
“So I just told them that if they said that 10 years ago, when I asked them for that, then yeah it might have worked,” Moore added. “Certainly, I don’t want it back under those kinds of terms. I don’t even have a copy of Watchmen in the house anymore.”

Gibbons has, however, given his stamp of approval to the sprawling project, which includes seven prequel miniseries based on Watchmen‘s violently unhinged superheroes, who alongside Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns rebooted the entire comics industry in the ’80s, and Hollywood film franchises shortly thereafter…

[continues at Wired]

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  • JohnFrancisBittrich

    Nope. Against. Aghast, even.

  • Sebjamar

    I don’t get the fuss about Watchmen. I’ve read the graphic novel and left the experience feeling underwhelmed. It all seemed so pointless. The fact that they’re “real-life superheroes” doesn’t matter in the end. They don’t stop or start anything. They’re just there witnessing what Ozymandias does. Feel free to disagree, but I personally didn’t get much out of it. Although it’s been a while since I’ve read it so I may be forgetting a lot of details.

    • Butter Knife

      Part of the point of the books is that the “superheroes” are largely a waste of time. Dr. Manhattan could save the world, but he doesn’t care enough to bother, and Ozymandias is only able to save it by committing the single greatest atrocity ever perpetuated by one man… which might not even work.

      They do just witness Ozymandias, because that’s the best they can do: they were good at doing the things superheroes do, but beating up muggers in alleyways doesn’t really involve the same skill set as saving the world.

      If you were reading it because you thought it would be the exciting adventures of “realistic” superheroes who are really cool and get stuff done, you would be very disappointed. Watchmen is about dysfunctional assholes who get into silly costumes and ruin their lives.

  • ZombieSlapper

    Who. Gives. A. Flying. Fuck. About. Comic. Books?

    • Ali

      Did you go through the entire article to post this? I mean, seriously, if you don’t like comics what are you doing reading an article about them? Or is this just a trololololo….

  • DeepCough

    I’m not a fan of burning books, but burning these “prequels” will elicit no opposition from me.

  • wildcardcomics

     I don’t see this as an issue of whether it’s right or wrong, since the characters belong to DC and were based on pre existing Charleston Comics to begin with. Why would I be against something that has really good creators before I even read them? That’s fanaticism at it’s zenith, I will reserve judgment until I can analyze the final product. Gibbons and Moore contributed greatly to DC and the medium of Comics, just like the great creators of past. Moore doesn’t seems to care one way or the other and Gibbons actually greets his Watchmen fans with respect and DC has Gibbons approval so the only creator who cares said yes. After all, Moore borrowed Literature from other creators in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and we love the outcome, so really it’s just a matter of how the material is handled. And Gibbons was nice enough to sign my copy of Watchmen, so I’m there. 

  • http://lifevelocity.blogspot.com/ Zoe

    Oh hell no… Really?? Why piss on a good thing?

  • Gregory Wyrdmaven

    These Watchmen prequels raise interesting questions for me.  One of these questions is…shall I completely boycott DC comics (including movies) in protest?  Shall I instead read only Marvel comics even though their comics appear to still be written for 12 year olds?

    It is rare that a work of art is so completely misunderstood by the people who should have the most understanding.  And we wonder why Alan Moore has distanced himself from the comic industry.  I wonder now how a book like Watchmen ever got made in the first place.

    And I wonder why someone like Len Wein would have anything at all to do with this.  Is this his way of getting back at Alan Moore for making Swamp Thing relevant?

    I’m serious…I’ve been reading comics since I could read and I’m seriously having to have a big-think about washing my hands of DC comics and only pick up a few stray books here or there now.

    The core theme of Watchmen is that the idea of superheroes is ridiculous, that the people who would be superheroes are the very same people who we wouldn’t want to be superheroes and that if these people think to elevate themselves over us, they can become threats, not protectors.  Today we talk about soldiers being heroes, which means we haven’t learned any lessons.  Yes, the Comedian fought in Vietnam and did cruel things because he was sanctioned to do so…no, we never saw a panel showing him pissing on a dead body.  When you give a superhero this sanction, the idea that you can trust that hero should be dismissed.  This happens only in myths and comic books.

    But when you give a group, or a group thinks it has, power over “civilians” then bad things happen.  Because these people are just people.  We elevated the financial sector and the corporate sector and gave power to Congress and because of lack of regulation and corruption, because no one was watching the watchmen, we almost slipped into another great depression.  We know there were never any WMDs in Iraq, that the administration at that time lied to us and they’re all guilty guilty guilty of war crimes and yet nothing has been done.  No…you can’t give someone in power that power and expect them to use it wisely, which is why the idea of monarchy is behind our heels.

    Watchmen helps define comic book superhero stories as not realistic stories, but as new myths where some people with powers are good and some people with powers are bad and that there is a balance and some people are able to be trusted and some aren’t, but they oppose each other in what is pretty much a stalemate, an endless continuity of back-and-forth.   After Watchmen we had an era of “grim and gritty” anti-heroes who blurred that line, which shows that Moore’s message was completely lost on that generation.  Someone who has some power over us would be much more like the character of John Constantine, a character who, while having good intentions is also pretty much a coward who is also an adrenaline junkie and so gathers friends to him to basically trip when they are being chased by zombies.  No, there is no one on this planet that could be Batman, it would be too hard and such a character now, with a moral code against killing seems very old-fashioned, because the people who we send overseas to kill people often for no good reason…we call these people our heroes now.

    Superheroes are how a modern culture, separated from the traditions of their ancestors and therefore the myths and stories of that culture, seeks to create new myths that echo back to the ancient traditions while being relevant to us today.  This is the gospel according to St. Stan.  And we can use these characters as metaphors for what we might become if we can elevate ourselves to our Higher Selves, these ideas of these demigods walking the earth suggests that we are the alter-egos of a higher self, a better self, who is capable of great deeds and who can know and demonstrate truth.  And maybe it is just as easy as pulling back the shirtfront of who we pretend to be to reveal who we really are underneath.

    DC would only want to do more Watchmen books if it seeks to undermine its traditional superhero books and reduce their total sales because examining these characters some more would only build a distaste for superheroes.  But then, the readership would have to “get it” and it doesn’t look like they got it the first time.  It speaks to the short-sightedness of a company that is really just out to make a buck, regardless of the consequences to its own company or the economy as a whole.  It’s depressing that something I’ve loved for a while time can be shat upon by the people who should be the “watchmen” of it.  First George Lucas destroyed Star Wars and now this.  Meanwhile Alan Moore is smoking a doobie the width of his forearm saying, “ah tol’ you sooo.” 

    Excelsior. 

    • Butter Knife

      By your own reckoning, you seem to not only “get” Watchmen, but to really enjoy superhero comics. If your logic was correct, that deconstructing the genre to discredit it would cause readers to lose interest in the subject matter, then wouldn’t *you* dislike superhero books?

      Everyone is too clever to fall for the manipulations they know everyone else is too stupid not to fall for.

      What if, by showing us how silly the concept is, it makes us embrace that silliness and strengthen our suspension of disbelief? What if better seeing and better understanding the world and everything wrong with it causes us to also better appreciate it? What if knowledge is good for you? What if sadness reminds us what happiness means, and without it we simply forget?

      Watchmen didn’t collapse the industry because it never could, would or should have. In pointing out the patent absurdity of it, the blind idealism, the cognitive dissonance, it freed writers and readers from needing to worry about that so they could get back to just enjoying the work. All of the “gritty, real” comics that followed were, in essence, a cheap knockoff; an attempt to get that same high of disappointment, but we all know it’s never as good as the first time.

      As to what you do re: DC comics… maybe you wait to see how this goes, first? There is an outside chance that they’ll be halfway decent, and also a decent chance that if they’re terrible they will get canned post haste. Why not wait to see what happens, then make up your mind like a rational, thinking person?

  • Butter Knife

    I expect them to be terrible, but I hope they are not. I will likely read a couple, or at least see some reviews, before I decide how they turned out. Seems silly not to do that.

  • Nameless

    Ok firstly, Watchmen is without a doubt one of the greatest works of comics if not popular modern fiction, this isn’t just my opinion but the majority of conscious living human beings who like to read. If you don’t agree, it then it just means you need to get around more or live  a few more years, open yourself up to ideas, get more education, read more books make new friends etc.. Watchmen is great because you can tell if some one is a dickhead just because they have read it and don’t like it. 

    The only reason why there was a Watchmen movie was because Dave Gibbon’s needed the cash so Alan Moore signed over the rights for his friend. 

    People need to stop reading comic universe comics anyway on the grounds that it treats its audience for fools.Every time they do a stinking reboot it means they’ve run out of investment in new ideas and talents and corporate middle management have lost their faith in the creative process. 

    Its like a shitty my first story in kindergarden when at the end you just  write “..and then just as the big dinosaur was about to land on the earth, they woke up because it was all a dream.”

  • NIrvanasteve

    New Watchmen comics without Alan Moore? No thank you. 

  • Lolllama

    Well something like this happened with Star Wars. 
    First lemme talk about the prequels. Something like this may happen with Watchmen. Even if the prequels were based on original things from the original trilogy [Lucas said he had everything on his mind but I can’t trust that man], people didn’t like it that much. 
    Also a lot of authors did comics based on the movies. Stories before, during and after the movies. Some of them are nice, but some of them just ruin the SW story. 
    Anyway everything we can do is wait, read and judge after.

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