Robot 6

Watchmen: The premiere is nigh

Watchmen

Watchmen

• Slate.com’s Grady Hendrix argues that the Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons miniseries is a failure in that its “most meaningless and shallow aspects were mistakenly hailed as its virtues and then widely imitated.”

• At The Walrus, Sean Rogers offers a “corrective to Watchmenmania” — a list of “funniest, most thoughtful, and often most searing entries in the masked hero genre.” You’ll find Herbie, 1963, “The Death Ray” and more.

• Marvel.com breaks out a new feature, the “Marvel Watch List,” which spotlights five stories that helped to define the Marvel Universe.

• The Isotope Lounge has all the recipes you’ll need for your after-Watchmen cocktail party.

• A nostalgic Gawker travels back in time to mid-’80s New York City.

• The movie already has grossed $4.6 million from its midnight showings.

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3 Comments

I don’t think Moore or Gibbons failed at all in Watchmen.

The readership failed. Those creators that followed it failed. Publishers failed to understand it. Moore himself seemed to spend much of the 90s trying to rectify what had been done in the name of Watchmen. Tom Strong, Top Ten, those were super hero books that existed post-Watchmen and didn’t need to be “grim and gritty”. And Top Ten had every right to be darker than it was since it was about cops.

I love Watchmen, so I refuse to blame Moore and Gibbons for the failings of others. I didn’t come out of Watchmen wanting to read or write dark super hero comics, I came out wanting to read smart super hero comics that were well crafted, and while obviously not everyone would be as fastidious as Moore and honestly didn’t need to be, you could tell a story that meant something beyond wish fulfillment.

What should have followed Watchmen were more super heroes that were less about wish fulfillment and more about telling a story, instead super heroes became even more about revenge fantasies and eventually about being as dark as you could.

Writers like Mark Millar and Warren Ellis have made careers on crapping on the genre. And people eat it up. So much so that Marvel let Millar crap on their characters. And people STILL eat it up. The culture of the comic shop is so degraded that few are bothered by Millar turning the Ultimates into an ongoing series of atrocities and complete destruction of characters for his own sick self gratification. And those who didn’t like it were/are shouted down and insulted every time they say so.

That’s not to say Marvel is as bad as DC, where the worst has been mainstreamed and the writers seem to be doing everything they can despite editorial mandates to denigrate the characters. Dan Didio seems hellbent on making the DCU even darker and less welcoming than the Marvel Universe. Heck, Marvel’s mainstream changes have been smart, if poorly handled [registration of super heroes makes sense, Mark Millar's attempt to write it failed miserably, the current attempt to reset it is somehow not as bad, despite some truly bizarre turns], compared to DiDio’s ham handed attempts to make the DCU darker.

Also, the true spiritual sequel to Watchmen can be found in Kurt Busiek’s Astro City. Super hero stories that are well crafted and meaningful beyond the surface and that have the creators’ own stamp upon them.

It doesn’t have to read like What Alan Moore Would Write, it should feel like What The Writer Really Wants To Write.

Instead everyone’s trying to half ass be Moore when they should be themselves, especially since they obviously didn’t understand what Moore was trying to do with Watchmen in the first place.

He was saying “Here, look this is lowest of the low genre and format, look at what can be done if you just try. Look at how we do this, look at how I can say things with this genre everyone has written off.” and too many people heard “We can make people in tights swear, get naked, f*ck and kill. WHEE!”

DrunkJack: Couldn’t have said it better myself. Kudos on an accurate rant.

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