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Before Watchmen’s Straczynski addresses Babylon 5 comparisons

Addressing one of the more frequent reactions to his involvement in DC Comics’ newly announced Before Watchmen project, J. Michael Straczynski has tackled the question, “How would you feel if Babylon 5 was being done without your permission?” His answer is, well, a little complicated.

The writer, who’s penning Dr. Manhattan and Nite Owl for the sprawling prequel to the acclaimed 1986 miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, drew some criticism yesterday when he told Comic Book Resources, “A lot of folks feel that these characters shouldn’t be touched by anyone other than Alan, and while that’s absolutely understandable on an emotional level, it’s deeply flawed on a logical level. Based on durability and recognition, one could make the argument that Superman is the greatest comics character ever created. But neither Alan nor anyone else has ever suggested that no one other than Shuster and Siegel should ever be allowed to write Superman. Alan didn’t pass on being brought on to write Swamp Thing, a seminal comics character created by Len Wein, and he did a terrific job. He didn’t say ‘No, no, I can’t, that’s Len’s character.’ Nor should he have.”

That of course led more than a few people to ask how Straczynski, who created the 1990s space opera Babylon 5, would feel if someone else were to develop a sequel, or prequel — “Babylon 4″? — to the television series (a revival has been long hoped for by fans, but the writer denied rumors as recently as August that he’s in negotiations with Warner Bros.). To answer the question, which he characterizes as “How would you feel if Babylon 5 was being done without your permission?,” Straczynski took to his Facebook page last night, writing, “It’s a fair question, and it needs to be fairly answered … but it has to be an honest comparison, apples to apples, not apples to pomegranates.”

“First, we have to take the word ‘permission’ off the table. Warner Bros. owns Babylon 5 lock, stock and phased-plasma guns, just as DC owns the Watchmen characters. [...] But I get that we’re talking about the emotional aspect of all this, not the legal stuff, which is pretty cut and dry,” he wrote. “So again: apples to apples. How would I feel if Babylon 5 were being made and I were shut out of anything to do with it, despite my desire to be involved? I’d feel pretty crummy about it. But as it happens, that has absolutely nothing to do with this situation in any way, manner, shape or form.”

Referring to repeated unsuccessful attempts by DC to convince Moore to revisit Watchmenthe most recent was in 2010, when the publisher offered to relinquish the rights to the comic if the writer “would agree to some dopey prequels and sequels” — Straczynski said, “He declined at every point. Fair enough. It’s his choice, and it’s his right to make it.”

“So now – apples to apples – let’s make the B5 comparison,” he continued. “Let’s say Warner Bros. came to me and said, ‘we want to do more Babylon 5, and we want you to run the whole thing. We’ll pay you anything you want, give you a proper budget, and you will have complete creative freedom.’ [...] So let’s say that Warners makes that offer, and I said, ‘No, I don’t want it, take your accursed money, your big budget and your complete creative freedom and begone, get thee behind me Satan!’ Let’s say they came back and said ‘Okay, then how about we pay you vast sums of money just to consult? How about that?’ [...] ‘What if we sweeten the deal? What if we offer to give you full ownership of Babylon 5, legally and contractually, so you own it? How about that?’

“If Warners offered me creative freedom, money and a budget to do the show the way I wanted, up to and including my completely owning the show, and I said no to that deal, and if after Warners waited TWENTY FIVE YEARS for me to change my mind they finally decided to go ahead and make B5 without me … then I would have absolutely zero right to complain about it,” Straczynski wrote. “Because it was my choice to remove myself from the process, it wasn’t something foisted upon me by anybody else.”

He went on to address other related topics, such as the supposed “sacredness” and one-off nature of the characters, before concluding this morning in a separate post that, “At this point, quite honestly the work needs to stand on its own. So with equal appreciation for both the kind words and the hard questions, and having said pretty much everything I can think of to say on the subject, I think it’s appropriate for me to recede a bit now into the shadows. As the books come out I hope that everyone who spoke out here, pro and con, will reconvene to continue the conversation and express their thoughts with the same clarity and precision they have demonstrated today.”

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186 Comments

What JMS fails to mention is that Moore has felt DC has been duplicitous for a long time, and his experience with them via America’s Best Comics didn’t help their cause. He rejected their offers because Alan Moore does not trust DC to live up to it’s offers. Because they hadn’t before.

So it’s more like if JMS had been mistreated by Warner and then offered all this creative freedom and money and turned it down because he did not trust them to follow through.

Pretty good points. Glad that he took the time to answer the questions that everyone was asking too.

Apples to apples? Moore didn’t want to do a Watchmen sequel, saw no point to it; JMS is open to more B5. So Watchmen–once again!–was intended as a finite work, whereas B5 was not. Sounds like a pomegranate to me, meaning once again that JMS’ logic is “deeply flawed.”

Man, this makes me nostalgic for the days when there were space sci-fi shows on American TV.

I got to disagree DJ – what Moore feels on the matter is not relevant. He created the characters but he doesn’t own them and has no say in what is done to them. If I pay you to build me a house while you have created that house it is mine to do as I wish with it, be that live in it or burn it down. And how you feel about me has no relevance on my right to do with the house as I wish.

The only reason JMS is getting so much attention here is because everyone knows the books he’s involved with will be the absolute worst of the bunch.

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 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.

They did do Babylon 5 episodes without JMS’s input. It was called Deep Space 9. He handled that pretty well if I recall, so he seems pretty justified in his comments here.

You’re a millionaire, JMS. Enjoy your gold.

And that is yet another reason why Mark Waid rules.

duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

February 2, 2012 at 8:37 am

What moron JMS does not realize is that Watchmen was self-contained – it was done. It does not need prequels or sequels. That’s the whole fucking point – DC dangled the carrot ONLY if Moore would do more Watchmen stuff

Keep making excuses and offering new rationalizations JMS

If JMS had signed a contract with Warner Bros. that stated that all rights to Babylon 5 would revert to him a certain number of years after the last episode was aired, then they had kept the episodes playing occasionally just to prevent that from happening, then he might know how Alan Moore feels. He did not. He certainly was never screwed over by Warner Bros. the way Alan Moore was by DC.

Oh, and let’s not forget how terrible Babylon 5 is. It should not be mentioned in the same sentence as Watchmen.

The only reason JMS is getting so much attention here is because everyone knows the books he’s involved with will be the absolute worst of the bunch.

That’s okay, though, because he’ll probably only do the first issue or two before losing interest and then have to be replaced.

And while we’re discussing Straczynski and Mark Waid, I miss that Brave and the Bold series. That was some good stuff.

Erm, WB don’t want to do any more B5 because it pisses away more money than a celebrity footballer, DC DO want to do more Watchmen because they think after the movie and rediscovery of the comic by a wider audience it will make them money.

That’s what that boils down to because as has been said, the company not the creators own the rights and they can do what they want with them. If they happen to make really good and worthy stories then yay them.

There’s also this…

“I tend to take this latest development as confirmation that [DC] are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago,” he told the New York Times. “I don’t want money; I just want it not to happen.”

from here…http://web.orange.co.uk/article/film/dc-comics-confirms-watchmen-prequels-12288

that frankly makes Moore sound like a pissy idiot.

Because aren’t the characters in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen considerably older than 25 years and he rather needed them to to write that book…about other writers characters.

There is the argument that it’s a unique work and should stand alone but here’s the shot in that knee, IT STILL DOES. No one is forcing you to buy the prequels. No one pissed through Moores letterbox. You CAN still treat Watchmen and Moore as the sacred cows of comics.

You guys are getting way too emotionally invested in this. I get that these characters are important to all of us in varying degrees, but come on; if you want to read it, do it, and if you don’t, don’t. At least wait till the summer to pass judgement on the project.

First off let me state that I think Watchmen probably should have been left alone.

But in the end I can’t fault DC for going back to the well. I love Alan Moore. He’s the best comic book writer in my opinion, but the last few years he has become so embittered by everything in the field that he’s kind of forgotten the over reaching point of comics, which are basically to make money by selling continuing adventures. Comics can be an art, but art is also a business.
There is no Sistine Chapel is no one pays Michelangelo to paint it.
I feel bad that Moore has even had fallings out with his artistic collaborators, Like David Lloyd and even Dave Gibbons. Gibbons, however reluctantly, signed off on these things. Comics aren’t the work of the individual, but of the group. Everyone always complains Bill FInger doesn’t get credit with Bob Kane for Batman, and Kirby and Lee are synonymous with thier work.
I love Alan, but he is a bitter man living alone in England separated from the medium he used to work in. Sure he has reasons to be bitter, but he signed the contract for Watchmen, he knew this was a possibility, however remote, that DC could retain ownership.
Let’s also not forget that Moore himself planted the seeds of a prequel himself way back in ’87 with all the material he wrote for the Watchmen tabletop RPG too.

In the end, could this be a colossal mistake? Sure. But you can’t say DC isn’t putting some big guns behind this. Darywn Cooke’s Minute Men? Lee Bermejo, the Kuberts, Azzerello… Adam Hughes drawing Dr. Manhatten! (and the way that guy draws boobs imagine the size of the Doc’s lumber!)

I couldn’t agree more, Drew.

chadrichterdesigns

February 2, 2012 at 8:55 am

JMS fails to realize my protests aren’t about who helms the project. I’m miffed because THE STORY HAS BEEN TOLD. Beginning to end. Why drag it out and sourcemine it for more material when so many young creators spit ideas out everyday hoping for a chance. Needing that chance. The industry is stifled because of decisions like this, just like the movie industry seems to think the way to fill seats is to create another sequel/prequel from something that made them a boat load of cash twenty years ago. Sometimes the story is left hanging and needs to be resolved, but in the rare case of the Watchmen, we got it all. Just because you want to regurgitate it to me baby bird style for my hard earned cash, doesn’t mean I want it.

“They offered me the rights to Watchmen back, if I would agree to some dopey prequels and sequels. 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,” he said. “But these days I don’t want Watchmen back. Certainly, I don’t want it back under those kinds of terms.”

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2010/07/alan-moore-watchmen/

Both of these quotes seem to indicate that Alan felt the story would compromise his creative vision if prequels or sequels were added, but he was clearly offered the rights to the characters back.

@Lead Sharp–

The problem with the argument that “it still stands alone” is that context matters. For one, once you start adding to it, Watchmen goes from being a singular work to part of a series. That’s just by definition. Then, once it’s part of a series, it will be considered as part of a series, often by people who don’t know a lot about comics. Some of these people will be non-comics journalists. That will further affect how new readers view Watchmen, and whether they read it at all.

Context matters. You cannot look at an elementary school photo of Jeffrey Dahmer without thinking about what would come later.

I give JMS credit for not shying from this. I think his comparison isn’t entirely accurate, but I see what he’s saying.

But I like more that Mark Waid made his own comment in a way that is mature, calm, and useful. A good model to follow.

alekesam@hotmail.com

February 2, 2012 at 8:58 am

It seems to me that people who support this prequel are being willfully ignorant of the situation simply because they want more Watchmen. That, in turn, is why there’s a long history of creators who have been bent over by the companies because people will just buy their comic fix and move on, regardless of how the product landed in their hands.

DC didn’t even have the balls to make a sequel, where they could branch off into a story of their own set in the Watchmen universe (y’know, like making something new). No, they’re filling in the suposed “blanks”, despite the reader knowing all that they need to know from the original work.

The sooner comic companies act like real novel publishers (where the author has the rights to the things he creates in the contract) the better all creators will be.

Well like I said, my issue isn’t with another writer taking on an already established property, but rather that it’s quite unnecessary to readdress a story that was complete in and of itself.

Swamp Thing, prior to Moore, wasn’t a finished tale, nor was it when he left. There was still more to tell.

Watchmen had a distinct beginning, middle, and end, and I’ll never get the obsessed with constant needs for Year One type origins for everyone and everything. We know who they were. We don’t need to shoehorn backgrounds and motives and such.

That’s what, to me, killed the remake of Halloween. Part of the thing that made Michael Myers scary was that, until the stupid curse brought up in the later movies, he had no motive, no reason. He was just plain evil. His parents loved him, he wasn’t from the wrong side of town. He was evil.

But then Rob Zombie shit on that and gave him a background that made him into a walking cliche; mommy’s slutty and my step dad beats me and all the kids are mean, boo hoo now I’m going to snap. It ruins the whole effect of the character.

It’s one thing to go back to a story that was incomplete.

The only part Moore is wrong on is that he needs to remember he tinkered with books like Dracula, Moby Dick, etc with his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series which was all about the continuation of already finished characters with his own spin on them.

But JMS comparing it to Swamp Thing and Superman fails in as far as he comparing a 12 issue finite and complete series to something that was meant to be serialized and continued.

jms and many here are totally missing the point (which to me shows that jms and many here still dont get watchmen)

watchmen was meant as a stand alone project, in order to deconstruct the comic book mythos, and show what can be done with the genre in order to make it main stream art/literature

as moore points out, you dont see anyone running to make a prequel/sequel to moby dick

making prequel books totally destroys the point of the novel

sad that 25 years later, no one in the industry can write anything more important than watchmen

I said above that that’s where Moore’s argument loses steam, with the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

I’m not against a new writer taking on an old property, and said as much; I just feel this is wholly unnecessary to revisit characters that were given distinct beginnings, middles, and end. We KNOW their origins. We don’t NEED to have some hidden Year One/Secret Origin backstory shoehorned in. Many of the characters Moore used were serialized characters that were meant to have other adventures; Allan Quatermain, for instance, starred in multiple books across at least three different authors before Moore used him.

I used the example of Halloween by Rob Zombie for why I fear it can tarnish the overall gravitas of the original story. Part of the thing that made Michael Myers scary was that, until the stupid curse brought up in the later movies, he had no motive, no reason. He was just plain evil. His parents loved him, he wasn’t from the wrong side of town. He was evil.

But then Rob Zombie shit on that and gave him a background that made him into a walking cliche; mommy’s slutty and my step dad beats me and all the kids are mean, boo hoo now I’m going to snap. It ruined the whole effect of the character.

JMS’s example of Swamp Thing is a poor one, a straw man bordering on reductio ad absurdum, since no one is saying a new writer can’t write someone else’s characters; even Moore’s Swamp Thing, which really cemented his fame, was a continuation of the volume. It wasn’t a new #1 and all that; he was just the next writer assigned when the original writer of Volume II couldn’t do it anymore and Wein put Moore on it. It’s no different than Claremont taking over the X-Men, then giving way to the next and to the next, etc. That’s the serialization of the comics, and even that said, a lot of the Year One/Secret Origins HAVE been met with consternation for having a propensity to randomly change histories of characters, a la Green Lantern or the 85 Superman reboot origins we’ve had in the last 20 years.

Again, I’m not saying no writer CAN touch Watchmen; I just don’t think it NEEDS to be revisited, that by taking a work that is on Time Magazine’s prestigious list of top 100 books in the English Language–just think for a second how many books have been published over the years–and tinkering with it, in the hopes you can catch lightning in a bottle again leaves too much chance you’ll be like Miller going back to his Dark Knight Returns and coming up with a bomb.

When people talk about the Batman movies before Nolan took over, what’s the most frequently mentioned thing? Bat Nipples, or something Shumacher. The bad of the franchise is where the attention goes to, not the Burton films, nine in ten times. And that’s what I’m afraid will happen with Watchmen as you have writers that are talented, but may try too hard to emulate the feeling and voice of the original characters and fail at it, or create a backstory that is at odds with what we know about the characters. Could some of the stories be good? Sure. But I’m of the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it mindset with this particular work. It might be fantastic. That’d be great.

This is a wholly unnecessary project, and DC should be spending less time trying to capitalize on a gimmick and more on trying to address than 1/4 of the DCnU has been canceled or is close to cancellation numbers already, and keeping creative teams on books longer half a year. Focus on the shit you’ve got going now that’s supposedly the future of your company, not using your top talents to revisit a story from decades ago that doesn’t need a secret origin.

“No one pissed through Moores letterbox.”

Best quote of week!

Or “the” week if you prefer…

This all reminds me of when Alan Moore started whining when Blackest Night was coming out that people were “after his garbage bin like raccoons” or something. I am not even that big of a Geoff Johns fan, but Alan Moore couldn’t have written Blackest Night better than Geoff Johns. That story was excellent in its construction. Yes, the nugget of an idea may have come from Moore, but it became something else entirely under Johns’ vision.

I don’t think any of these opinions matter (ours, JMS’s or Alan Moore’s). Is it interesting to see where things lay on the emotional spectrum? Yes but at the end of the day DC is going to do what they are going to do. For anyone to even think that opinions are going to sway their chance at see some extra green is a bit ludicrous. What matters is whether they make money off of it which they will. Even if every angry Watchmen purist refuses to buy them they will still be a financial success. So I say come what may and stop wasting your breath.

alekesam@hotmail.com

February 2, 2012 at 9:02 am

Or better yet, the sooner the big two leave the comic industry to do what they really want, which is to make movies/etc off of their properties, the better the comic book world will be overall. They clearly don’t want to make comics as opossed to keeping their property in play. So I say, take your properties and shove ‘em.

Keep bringing on the indy comics and stay classy San Diego.

Couldn’t agree more with Shaun M.

The prequels will add context to Watchmen- one of the things that is supposed to be covered in the Doctor Manhattan arc is some sort revelation about the circumstances leading up to his transformation. Later, when reading Watchmen, readers will not be able to ignore these added details- it will inevitably effect the reading experience that is Alan Moore’s Watchmen, for better or worse.

thank you mr waid for telling it as it was

Jms made some very valid points and I appreciate him for that.

alekesam@hotmail.com

February 2, 2012 at 9:11 am

Jack W: The circumstances leading up to Doc’s transformation is useless. As JMS put it in his interview (seriously paraphrasing) “I find it hard to believe that someone so smart could blithely walk into the chamber that’s about to be time locked.”

Evidently, human error doesn’t factor into JMS’s world. He left his coat in there. What’s to wonder about that?

Jack W

if you need added context, then you shouldnt be attempting to read watchmen in the first place

see spot run is more your speed

Where does JMS address his complete lack of talent? On Friendster? Ask Jeeves?

I think there comes a point where we have to realize that Alan Moore has had problems with every company he has worked with. From multiple episodes with DC, to episodes with Marvel, even going back to issues he had at Eclipse. Sooner or later we just have to wonder if its poor ol’ Alan that is creating these issues.

@Tyler Gross
It usually happens when you don’t want to be screwed up by a company.

There is no question that DC has the right to do what they want with the Watchmen. But the fact that as much time as passed with them NOT doing it displays what bad form this is. Fans didn’t come to revere Watchmen as a sacred, untouchable work on their own. DC has encouraged it.

I am not making excuses for Alan Moore. I understand that he can be obstinate and intractable. But what DC needs to understand is that, legal issues aside, this strikes me as a very big breach of trust with their creators. Moore, I think, had no reason to expect that this could occur, because previous regimes of DC management were always seeking his blessing or participation. Any comic creator these with a worthwhile idea they’re shopping to DC needs to lock their rights down, or go elsewhere. It is unfortunate that Moore and Gibbons didn’t have that option 26 years ago.

As for JMS: You don’t need to split anymore hairs justifying yourself. We assume that the checks cleared.

Glad to see both JMS and Mark Waid commenting on the matter at hand in a mature, well-reasoned way. That aside, while I think Alan Moore is a fantastic writer, much of his work seems derivative to me. The Watchmen are, essentially, the classic Charlton heroes (Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, the Question, and so on) with different names that have been fleshed out in a modern (rather than Silver Age) style. If I remember correctly, Moore himself said he wanted to do it with those characters initially, but DC nixed that. So he created expy versions of these characters and continued on. It seems like Alan Moore is very good at taking pre-existing concepts and re-shuffling or re-imagining them. If he doesn’t want to go back and re-visit these characters after the story he told is done, that’s his prerogative. DC owns the rights to the characters and can do what they wish. So if JMS goes back and tells some additional stories, I don’t have any problem with that. If it isn’t good, the fans will vote with their wallets. Personally, I enjoy JMS’ writing and will give them a go.

Oh, and Babylon 5 absolutely should be mentioned in the same breath as the Watchmen!

Brian from Canada

February 2, 2012 at 9:26 am

lead:

Moore didn’t just use characters that are 25 years old, he built a new concept for them — it’s superhero team conventions with Victorian era characters, and it’s distinct from the original as a project of its own.

Lost Girls, too, follows an established tradition of going back to children’s material with an adult eye. Put “Tarzan” into iTunes, and you get a book about Jane’s interactions with Tarzan that’s not for children and contains stories of a sexual nature. PLUS, as an added bonus, Disney cleansed a lot of the source material when making them into cartoons, so going back to the source allows for equal interpretations.

The ONE Moore project that I can think of off the top of my head that uses established situations is From Hell, but even there it’s Moore’s narrative that’s unique, he defends it based on his analysis of the facts, and he creates his own characters to present the narrative for him.

Which is why I think Moore is right. It’s not as if these are characters and situations that are continuous: Watchmen has a definitive beginning and ending, and it’s up to DC to come up with something new with the genre. It didn’t. Instead, it wants to bloat an existing frame because they don’t have anything else.

Coming after Nu52, his point has even more relevance because the point of Nu52 was to make it easier to come up with new stories for modern audiences and put different spins on characters of the past — something DC is NOT doing with Watchmen and its sequels. If it made sense, Moore wouldn’t have so much a problem with it.

A DC documentary I saw recently mentioned Moore and Gaiman as the big innovators of DC, and that they were always looking for the next big change. It was supposed to be Morrison, Millar, etc. and never has because no one thinks enough out of the box as Gaiman and Moore did.

And the fact that WB screwed him over repeatedly — claiming he approved Watchmen the movie when Moore didn’t is a big nail in that coffin — he has every reason to be angry. t

“I am not even that big of a Geoff Johns fan, but Alan Moore couldn’t have written Blackest Night better than Geoff Johns”
Tyler you owe me a new keyboard since I just spit soda all over the one I am using right now due to that ludicrous statment. Blackest Night is directly lifted from stuff Moore wrote. And you don’t think either of the big two have screwed their creators royally? That it is all Moore’s fault? Try telling that to the heirs of Kirby or Seigel and Shuster. The Big Two are corporations. Thy screw everybody over for the bottom line.

This whole Watchmen thing has got to be the biggest display of fanboy entitlement I have ever seen in my life.

No one is forcing anyone to buy or read these.

People are acting like extremist religious zealots freaking out over some slight to their religous texts and it’s pretty damned sad. It’s just a stupid book.

Taking what, Waid said into consideration I understand now. Both parties do make points, regardless there’s nothing that can be done about it now.

There is a sequel to Moby Dick – Phillip Jose Farmer’s The Wind Whales of Ishmael. One might also argue that Moore added his own partial sequel by including Ishmael as part of Nemo’s crew.

In many ways, Moore, in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Series) has followed (if not ripped off) Farmer’s lead established in such books as Tarzan Alive! and Doc Savage, His Apocalyptic Life. In those 2 books, Farmer wrote as if the fictional characters were in fact real people descended from other fictional characters and intertwined their lives.

Since he took Wells’ Invisible Man and Stevenson’s Jekyle/Hyde, both of whose stories were completed in the original author’s books and included them in his league, he really loses the moral high ground in his argument complaining about the Watchmen characters. Maybe it is alright for Moore to use these characters since the authors are dead.

One can also make the argument that some of what Moore has done with his borrowed characters is much worse since he has shown a complete disregard for the original characters character in Lost Girls – Wendy Darling, Dorothy Gale, and Alice Liddle do not resemble their original presentation except in the superficial way and the recounting of their stories in Lost Girls would certainly not please their creators. One can make the argument that DC and the creators involved, at least. will be trying to be true to the characters that Moore adapted from the Charlton heroes.

Yes, writing Watchmen without Alan Moore’s consent is entirely comparable to Alan Moore writing Swamp Thing. Yeah, except for the little detail that Len Wein was the EDITOR of Swamp Thing and ASSIGNED Alan Moore to write the book and was his editor for a big chunk of his run and loved his work. Apples and pomegranates indeed.

Mark Waid checked everyone appropriately.

Kev From Atl brings up what I believe is the most compelling argument from/for Moore’s perspective. There was duplicitous, underhanded dealing for a long period of time.

Of course, you can say that DC is entitled to exploit “their” properties as they see fit. It’s not a horrible argument.

But, the fact is that Moore’s work was of such a caliber that there was a market for his work to stay in print, whereas -before V and Watchmen- this was not the case.

In effect, Moore was/is so good that he got penalized by DC (as regards the ownership of his works). This whole situation paved the way for many creators to broker better deals for themselves.

So, we’re left with Moore being an obstinate old man (who, by the way does NOT live alone as one poster mentioned. He has a wife). But here’s the rub – when you’ve been made a mrtyr by forces outside your control, you may find some identity and some empowerment in that. At this point, I would guess that Moore feels that dealing with DC at all would compromise his principles, and I don’t blame him one bit for taking that approach. If I’d ever been burned by one corporation as much as he’d been burned by DC, I would be spitting more venom than he has.

This is a thread about ‘Before Watchmen,’ but I think the even bigger robbery is/was V. Watchmen was, to whatever extent, commissioned by DC, as I understand things. V was Moore’s work, originally serialized in Warrior magazine in the UK. Then he brings it to DC (presumably for wider exposure), they reprint it up-to-date, then finish off its serialization, then steal it. That work was 100% thieved, near as I can tell. At least the profits from it were – and the publishing rights.

To be sure, I don’t know all of the contours. But it seems very much that -by sheer force of its quality- Moore’s work changed the game by being kept in print to meet demand. Then, he suffered for it in ways that were pretty much unforseeable at that time. I don’t blame the man for his grudge.

It’s dangerous to get all caught up in what was “meant to be.” We know that Moore considered related projects, we know he was involved in other storylines from the same “world;” we know that he had ideas in his scripts and pitch that were not ultimately used in the final project. The 12 issues were not, until relatively recently, all that was “meant to be.” However much this may seem Moore’s visionary project now, it didn’t start from a vacuum and it’s doubtful that anyone originally intended or expected it to remain in such a vacuum. It was “meant to be” a story; its perceived completeness comes from hindsight, from 25 years of being adored and relatively isolated. It’s hard to imagine that DC “meant it to be” anything more than a revenue stream.

People are completing missing what Moore’s comment was about. It had nothing to do with a new creator taking over the work. It had to do with these creations being finite. They were not meant to be continuing characters, like Superman. They were created for the purpose of this one story and nothing else. The story was complete, finished.

Moore basically meant “can’t DC come up with something new instead of trying to capitilize off something I created 25 years ago?”

Somewhat off-topic: Alan Moore doesn’t remember there being a sequel/prequel to “Moby Dick?” How about when he used Ishmael in LOEG?? Guess his memory is faulty. . .??

I agree with you Rikk Odinson you guys are getting out of hand with this stuff. if you dont want to read it dont buy the book its that simple so people get over it, I for one will be buying this books so stop all the crying for Alan Moore. Its just comic books!!!! Lol

MAJ C-K 13

wells and stevenson are long dead and their works are in the public domain. there is a diff

and farmer’s works are brilliant, and it was his doc savage book that brought that character back to life and exposed how much that pulp had an impact on the creation of superman, the challengers and the fantastic four

Chap your right did Alan Moore ask permission to use all of the characters in a LOEG??? I dont think so!!!!!!

duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

February 2, 2012 at 9:50 am

@walkinspanish – you’re an idiot

A man (Moore) who does not want to be forced or coerced into wiring prequels and sequels to a book that he wrote is not obstinate – he’s principled. Something a moron like you will never be and will probably never understand

Keep spouting your childish, ignorant opinions on the Internet

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

February 2, 2012 at 9:52 am

Do you really think normal people think LOEG is a sequel to Moby Dick? Like people read that and say “This is clearly a continuation of Moby Dick? LOEG wasn’t intended as that and nobody honestly reads it that way so it has nothing to do with the topic at hand. All the people saying that Moore has no right to talk because he used Mr. Hyde have no idea what Moore was doing with LOEG.

Chap and Gabriel–

Your straw man has already been dashed to pieces. Keep up!

@duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

Wow. Okay, I won’t defend Moore, because you think that makes me an idiot? Did you even read my post?

It seems you would agree with just about everything I said, since I defended Moore’s stance, saying that I would be more pissed off if I were in his shoes than he’s shown himself to be (at least in the public sphere).

I would suggest you take issue with people who are against Moore’s stance, rather than myself, who -like yourself- is clearly behind Moore.

It seems you didn’t like the adjective I used to characterize Moore.

“Obstinate” can be defined as : “Not easily controlled or overcome.”

Would you suggest that Moore is being easily manipulated at this point, @duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh?

Also – good work in calling someone by one of my nine-year-old’s favorite insults and then calling that same someone (me) childish. Well done.

I know exactly what Moore was doing with Hyde In LOEG – I enjoyed it. The issue is that he took a character created by someone else and told a new story about him. A character that the original author had told a story about that had a beginning, middle and end and viewed as complete. When Stevenson completed The Strange Case of Doctor Jeckyll and Mister Hyde, he felt the story was done and there was nothing left to be done with the character. The same case can be made for Mina Harker and the Invisible Man. I understand that they are in the public domain, but while it does not make their use by Moore or any other author illegal, it does make Moore’s argument seem flawed, since in this case he is talking about characters that he adapted from someone else’s creation and that are in the end owned by DC.

My, my what an indignant bunch. Mr Moore is a hypocrite. He signed the contracts on the comics, he signed away the film rights, he was compensated for both. Legally he has no say in the Watchmen any more. Saying that this work and others were stolen from him is laughable. Mr. Moore is an adult and should act like one. If he didn’t like the contracts he shouldn’t have signed them. He seems like a smart man, he should have learned from history and watched his a**.

Artistically? Well remember the characters in Watchmen are his interpretations of older characters. Come to think of it so are the characters in From Hell…and in Lost Girls…and in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen…Heck even in Swamp Thing. In all these examples Mr. Moore took existing characters and reinterpreted them. I know in some cases Mr. Moore has been generous to creators that he has borrowed ideas from, but really do you think he went to each one and got them to sign off on his ideas? No, he did not, and you don’t hear people talking smack about him, saying that he butchered Alan Quatermain. Comics, superhero ones for the most part, are all about reinterpretations of existing characters and we seem to like that. Just look at what sells, what is popular. Mostly the titles involve characters created years or decades ago, and few to none of those titles are written by the original creators.

As for JMS comments, I applaud how diplomatic he was. If I had been in his place I would have called a spade a spade and simply state that Mr. Moore is acting like a child.

What if I read all the prequels to Watchmen and they all suck and ruin my experience of the original series? Because let’s be honest, the creators the’ve brought are not as good as Alan Moore. And I don’t see them ever being, ever.

And If you at least can’t write something as good as the original work than don’t even bother. I like Azzarello and Cooke, but Azzarello needs to write several issues of a comicbook for it to actually be good. He won’t pull it of with 4 issues only.

Plus, Watchmen is already complete. It is THE BEST comicbook of all time. Nobody can improve on it, not even Alan Moore, least of all the prequal creators.

And just so you know, I am a fan of Mr. Moore’s work, that doesn’t mean I have to support his tantrums.

@Maj–

Yes, but LOEG Was not called “The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Hyde: The Aftermath.” He used existing characters, but that use was transformative. Those familiar characters allow commentary that would not be possible with mere stand-ins, but there’s no question of direct continuity—”Jekyll and Hyde” is what it is, and “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” is something else. That’s not the case with “Watchmen” and “Before Watchmen”–not only is it right in the title, but the stories are intended as direct continuity and receive legitimacy because they come from the original publisher. I understand your line of reasoning, but can’t agree with it.

@ TheGuyWhoSaysStuff

So its okay then for DC to use Watchmen characters in a issue of Justice League??

And after reading that whole post, the only the only question in my head is, “What are the chances JMS finishes this project?”

Why isn’t Alan Moore complaining about BOOM! doing new PEANUTS strips??? Charles Schultz didn’t want anyone else doing those characters!

Maybe Lucy and Marcie are going to turn up in the next volume of LOEG: Century. But I probably don’t “understand” what Moore is doing with LOEG.

@Alen
“Plus, Watchmen is already complete. It is THE BEST comicbook of all time. Nobody can improve on it, not even Alan Moore, least of all the prequal creators.”

Really, I wonder what the creator of Peacemaker or the Question think? Maybe they felt their characters were complete and Mr. Moore butchered them in his reinterpretation.

And as for Watchmen being “THE BEST comicbook of all time” …wow that’s a bold statement, I guess all those other artists and writers out there should just stop trying now. I’d say that Watchmen is ONE of the best comics of all time, but I still hold out hope that other artists can wow us with their work in the future.

Whether these books should be made or not is irrelevant now. Whether JMS is comparing apples to pomegranates is irrelevant now.

It’s a done deal. DC Entertainment will publish the books.

You want to let them know they shouldn’t do this, they shouldn’t touch so called “sacred” characters?

Don’t buy the books.

It’s as simple as that. I, for one, won’t be buying any of the books because, as far as I’m concerned, Watchmen was a limited series that ran in 1985-86, and that’s that. Its story was told. It’s over and done.

@Mordalo

I totally agree…great post

@Mordalo -

Amen. I won’t be buying them either.

laughing Man

moore never accepted any compensation for the film rights to any of his works…all monies were given to the aritsts

you are not a moore fan…for you wouldve known that

@Mordalo–

See my post about context. *I* won’t be buying them, but that doesn’t mean they’re ignorable.

Although, the great irony would be if the spinoffs so drastically damage the stature of the original that DC lets it go out of print and rights revert to Moore and Gibbons…

it’s still not apples to apples. Moore didn’t want prequels made whether he was involved or not. The proposed “do anything you want with vast amounts of money” still relies on the stipulation that something be done. In Moore’s mind, it was a self-enclosed story with no need for more. Therefore, JMS did not fairly answer his own apples to apples proposed comparison.

The question isn’t whether he has a right to complain. First of all, everyone always has a right to complain, whether they’re just being whiners or not. Second, how would JMS feel if he declined ultimate power because he didn’t want more to be made, with or without him, and then they did, anyway. I suspect the answer is that he would be pissed. He simply refuses to ask the properly formed question because he is being payed money to play with someone’s toys other than his own.

I wish I still had that Watchmen sourcebook that Alan Moore was involved in. Now THAT was prequel!!

laughing man:

If you can write a sequal or a prequal that’s better than the original then I think it’s ok. I don’t see these creators doing that with Before Watchmen and I think nobody else does that either. Alan Moore, however wrote sequels and prequels and made them actually better. He took already established characters and made masterpieces with them. He treated them respectably and honorably. Yeah, Lost Girls showed the three main girls having sex with pretty much everything, but it was a god damn brilliant story.

@walt kovacs

Sure Alan asked that his portion be given away, but still he did sign contracts for the film rights. Do your research. Dave Gibbons has spoken about it in interviews and said that neither of them signed away rights innocently.

And even if I didn’t know that does that make me not a fan of his work, I never said I was a fan of the man. Hey since you got all bristled I bet you consider yourself a Moore fan…do you know what he eats for breakfast?

Pause.

Why didn’t DC just use the Charlton characters for this, put these teams on the Charlton characters, sell it as “The characters that inspired Alan Moore’s Watchmen.”

None of these arguments would matter, they could use these properties that for the most part are nothing more than continual failures. How many iterations of Captain Atom have they tried? Make him Dr. Manhattan, call him Captain Atom, Moore couldn’t really object, no one would be bothered, Watchmen could stay unsullied.

It’s the crassness and almost deliberate ‘Fuck your moral objections Fuck Alan Moore! We own it we can piss all over it if we want to! Hahaha!” attitude at DC that bothers me. There’s no reason for this. No one asked for this shit. No one was clamoring for it. It’s like…DC just felt like doing something to spite Alan Moore.

There’s no respect for Watchmen in this. None at all. If you respect it you want it to be left alone. It’s all there. Just leave it the fuck alone.

It’s legal, maybe even kinda ethical, but it’s immoral, disrespectful, and beneath most of those involved.

I don’t blame the creative teams involved for making a living, but I gotta be dubious about the creative merits of a project that seems to have been rooted in Dan DiDio’s spite for Alan Moore because Moore wouldn’t kiss DiDio’s ring.

In the end, it just proves that Dan DiDio is a world class prick. The buck stops there.

I think you all miss the point: since Moore told a story with implied history, it was inherently the middle part of a series, not a standalone story.

I’ve read Watchmen and didn’t care for it. Quite frankly It’s massively overrated and if it were published today it would be ignored.

Moore is a psychotic hack who didn’t ask Nick Anglo if he could reimagine Marvel Man. He just did it.

@Alen

I agree with you. In almost every case I think Mr. Moore has done great work with characters. And I agree that if the sequels and prequels planned aren’t at least up to the standard set by the original they shouldn’t be done. But the fact of the matter is, they are being done. Mr Moore signed contracts on these works and was aware of the contents of the contracts. The characters right now belong to DC, plain and simple. They have the right to do with them what they want, we don’t have to like it…personally I don’t. But Mr. Moore’s continued ranting only makes him look silly in my opinion.

While I’m not a huge fan of Moore’s, I’d have to put Watchmen in my top five favorite comics of all time.

That said, though, Moore isn’t the end all be all of comic writing. Yeah, I get it that Watchmen was a stand alone (or was supposed to be…even though it’s been said Moore had written prequels, etc.), but this series isn’t going to do anything to diminish what Watchmen is/was.

They had me at ‘Darwyn Cooke-Minutemen’.

What’s wrong with getting a bit more background on some of the characters? I’ll probably pick up some of these and, if they suck, I’ll remember them the say way I remember “Highlander II”….I saw it, but it never happened :)

Context?

If you want the Watchmen to stand alone, then don’t read the prequels. There.

Roger–

Any story that does not begin at birth has an implied history. That doesn’t mean it’s not complete unto itself. The Watchmen characters–yes, while based on Charlton heroes–were created to tell the Watchmen story, beginning, middle, and end. The only reason the Comedian exists is to die in that story.

It’s only been a day, and all of this debate is making me tired already.

None of this really matters. They Watchmen is owned by DC. It’s theirs. They can do what they want, so Alan Moore’s input or feelings be damned. I really could care less whether the story was finite or infinite. It’s DC’s property to explore as they see fit.

Lead–

It’s pretty easy to over-simplify things, isn’t it? Especially when you don’t actually consider what the other person said? Glad you’ve sorted that for me, I won’t give this whole Watchmen debacle a second thought, because hey, the world is an incredibly simple place, or can be so long as I don’t pay attention to anything at all.

Yes, I’m sure this whole series came about because Dan Didio was wondering how many different ways he could bend Alan Moore over…..sheesh…come on.

First off, like others have said….it’s just comic books. At the end of the day, it matters very little in the grand scheme of things.

Also, like many others have said…if you don’t like ‘em, don’t buy ‘em.

saying “sacred” and Alan Moore in the same sentence is creepy….

would he really consider his work “s-a-c-r-e-d”?

How does Rob Liefeld feel about all of this?

THERE’S AN IMPLIED HISTORY SO EVERY FAN FICTION IS FAIR GAME?

YOU HAVE NEVER READ A BOOK IN YOUR LIFE

Initially I was annoyed with the fact that these series were coming out, but the more I thought about it I realized it could be a good idea. Yes the story Moore told was fully told, but that was not the beginning and middle to these characters (or the end in some cases). The teams they put together are top notch as well. A good point was made over on newsarama, if you don’t want to support the books, don’t. Go spend that money on some original indy books and support those original ideas everyone is complaining about not getting the attention.

And Moore’s complaining is expected, but I agree that he lost the right to do so when he published League of Extrordinary Gentlemen.

I think Moore, by making his statements, is pointing out the systemic flaw of the comic book industry-there has not been one seminal work that even compares to the scope and breadth of “Watchmen” over the last 25 years. When have either of the Big Two shown they can take creative risks with stories, creators, and artists? The answer is they haven’t. It’s truly disheartening when you compare it to other entertainment medias. The film industry, even with the numerous remakes and adaptations, has put out original, creatively abundant films. The same thing can be said for the book industry. Every comics related site has droned on about the shrinkage of the industry for years. Well, the diminishing of the industry can be attributed to the stagnation that has occurred over these last 25 years. Too much derivative material. I believe that’s Moore’s overarching point.

duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

February 2, 2012 at 11:15 am

Shaun M

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

But the birth of who?? If there is a father in the story – then you also need to go back to his birth, but what if the father has an uncle?? So every story must begin at the birth of mankind

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

Right you are Shaun M

@DrunkJack

And I think you fail to mention that Moore’s mistrust in the company doesn’t stem from maliciousness on DC’s part, and that the current company and executives are not that same that Moore has delt with over the last 25 years.

Read Watchmen as it came out, and it was the dogs bollocks. Read it several times since, and got something new from it each time. That is because two creators were working in complete harmony at the height of their careers (some may argue that both have done better work since, but that’s neither here nor there).
But it wasn’t about the characters, it was about the craft. I have no interest in reading someone else’s interpretation of the characters, no matter their skill, because it isn’t about anything. It may have some pretty pictures, there may be some poetry in the writing, but I don’t believe any of those comics will match the highs of the original or leave any lasting impression.
Or maybe I’m just too old to get excited. There’s always that.

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

February 2, 2012 at 11:27 am

“I know exactly what Moore was doing with Hyde In LOEG – I enjoyed it. The issue is that he took a character created by someone else and told a new story about him. A character that the original author had told a story about that had a beginning, middle and end and viewed as complete. When Stevenson completed The Strange Case of Doctor Jeckyll and Mister Hyde, he felt the story was done and there was nothing left to be done with the character. The same case can be made for Mina Harker and the Invisible Man. I understand that they are in the public domain, but while it does not make their use by Moore or any other author illegal, it does make Moore’s argument seem flawed, since in this case he is talking about characters that he adapted from someone else’s creation and that are in the end owned by DC.”

You’re wrong because nobody looks at LOEG as a continuation of the Strange Case of Doctor Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. Nobody thinks Moore is trying to continue the finite story created by Robert Louis Stevenson and if they do, I’d wonder about their sanity. It’s a completely different work, divorced from the original, published over a hundred years later. No English professor would look at Jeckyll and say “If you want to see what happens next, pick up Alan Moore’s ‘League of Extraordinary Gentleman.” Same with Dorothy, the Invisible Man, Wendy, and all the other characters used by Moore in those series of stories. It’s a silly comparison to make to a direct prequel, endorsed by the original publisher and meant to exist in the same universe as the original work. From the dawn of time, people have been using characters from other works in new, different ways that may comment on an original work, but are not meant to replace or expressly continue the original work. Moore’s work is no different. Before Watchmen is a completely different duck. If you are for it, you’re for it, but to compare the two for some sort of logical highground is absurd.

>> Any story that does not begin at birth has an implied history.>>

Even a story that begins at birth has an implied history, since there must have been events that led to that birth.

The idea that no story is self-contained because any implied history makes it just part of a series we don’t have the rest of is a little silly, I’d say.

No, dude named “dude.” The book WATCHMEN absolutely and fully IS the “beginning, middle and ending” of those characters. Have you ever read a book (no)

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

February 2, 2012 at 11:30 am

“So its okay then for DC to use Watchmen characters in a issue of Justice League??”

Depends on how they were used, obviously. Dennis O’Neal used Rorshach in an issue of the Question, but it obviously was a comment on the book itself and not meant as a continuation of the story itself. But it worries me that this is the first thing you’ve thought of.

Everyone realizes all this arguing is exactly what DC wants, right?

@Kurt Busiek –

I think the time is ripe for a Tristram Shandy prequel.

Moore is a extremely complicated person. He is a self-proclaimed anarchist. Yet, his entire livelihood is based on creating fictional works which are protected by intellectual property rights. He also wishes to use those intellectual property and legal moral rights to preclude others from using, amending, copying or building upon those works. This is the antithesis of anarchy. In fact, these actions are more like the Walt Disney Company than Guy Fawkes.

If Moore was true to his beliefs, he wouldn’t give a damn about what anyone else did with his work.

duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

February 2, 2012 at 11:45 am

Next, Cooke is gonna do a 100 Bullets prequel. But he’s going to make it more upbeat and hopeful – because the original series was too gritty for him

@Steve
“Moore is a extremely complicated person. He is a self-proclaimed anarchist. Yet, his entire livelihood is based on creating fictional works which are protected by intellectual property rights. He also wishes to use those intellectual property and legal moral rights to preclude others from using, amending, copying or building upon those works. This is the antithesis of anarchy. In fact, these actions are more like the Walt Disney Company than Guy Fawkes.

If Moore was true to his beliefs, he wouldn’t give a damn about what anyone else did with his work.”

Excellent post. Concise and to the point.

George Bush (not that one)

February 2, 2012 at 11:46 am

Mark Waid for president!!!

For a long time, Watchmen has evolved into arguably the one book where superheroes could be talked about in a context similar to a novel. It dealt with costumes, continuity, and all the other conventions of superhero comics, but in the context of a closed and complete form. It has remained as a kind of separate thing, about superheroes and their world, but apart from the demands of serial publication, etc. If it weren’t so well told, if it didn’t feel complete, its reputation wouldn’t have grown so much no matter how heavily it was marketed and discussed by critics. It wouldn’t be convincing.
But that leads to another problem of sorts: I would suggest, and some of the comments here so far might bear this out, that there is an anti-intellectual strain to some of the readership of superhero comics as well. This readership may be disturbed by having a comic considered with the best novels of the twentieth century. They may say “it’s just a stupid book” or “it’s just comics” and would like all the superheroes to be treated exactly the same: mired in continuity and rehashing their archetypal stories, not deconstructing them, recontextualizing them, or whatever. I suspect that this kind of fan uses the word “pretentious” a lot, and spends a lot more time considering and reconciling the contradictions in the characters than being similarly interested in the confusions surrounding the creators and their contracts. This isn’t surprising, we need our superhero fix, I know I do. But let’s not pretend that the reaction to “Before Watchmen” isn’t going to involve plenty of people happy to see Watchmen and Moore get knocked down a peg or two for daring to be more ambitious than any average issue of a DC or Marvel book.

duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

February 2, 2012 at 11:55 am

@jamie – interesting point

But what might happen, instead of the peg or two, is that these “cream of the crop” creators who are working on these prequels will be shown to be embarrassingly less creative than Moore when these prequel books come out

@ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

But LOEG and Lost Girls are continuations of the characters from other stories. LOEG is very much “the further adventures” of Mina Murray, Alan Quartermain, and others.

@Steve
Effin’ brilliant, sir.

duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

February 2, 2012 at 12:12 pm

OK – since people want to praise Steve’s comment

Steve and others – Moore doesn’t care about what they do with his work. He’s never even watched the crappy V for Vendetta and Watchmen movies.

Interviewers keep asking him questions about it and he gives them honest answers

Notice how the people in favor of these prequels can’t really articulate WHY they are in favor of the prequels – but instead fixate on and attack Moore – who has nothing to do with the prequels.

Hey guys, go buy your tickets for The Phantom Menace 3D

#WatchmenPhantomMenace it’s gonna be a summer to pre-remember!

It’s a bloody miracle that DC hasn’t messed with Alan Moore’s Watchmen before now! That DC waited all this time before succumbing to the inevitable — like a crackhead trying to go straight, while keeping a supply of crack stashed away in their drawer.

It’s tragic that, instead of inventing new characters, Marvel and DC are still surviving off characters that were created decades ago. When was the last major new character published by the big two? No wonder comic books are a ghetto.

And it’s very sad that JMS, Darwin Cooke, Adam Hughes, etc., have signed on to pee in Alan Moore’s chamberpot. Instead of actually creating something.

@duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

If Moore doesn’t care how come he’s always whining about it? If he didn’t care he would take the interviews about it and would simply say “no comment” the fact that he persists in posturing himself as some poor abused wretch who had his property stolen negates your comment entirely.

@duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

I probably will read “Before Watchmen” because of the talent involved. I like a lot of the creators doing them. Of course they could be utter crap. <——– Articulation (such as it is).

I haven't been pining for a Watchmen prequel/sequel/continuity implant. If it had never happened I wouldn't have shed any tears.

It is incorrect to say that "Moore doesn't care about what they do with his work." His comments in the past very much indicate that he is displeased that the those movies and the other movies adapted from his work exist.

What the hell does The Phantom Menace have to so with anything? Stay on target. . .

It’s all pretty moot to me, seeing as how there’s a huge chance JMS won’t even finish the damn thing.

If JMS does finish his book will his critics apologize?

“And I think you fail to mention that Moore’s mistrust in the company doesn’t stem from maliciousness on DC’s part, and that the current company and executives are not that same that Moore has delt with over the last 25 years.”

You’re right, the current crop of execs at DC are not the ones Moore dealt with, the current crop is worse.

So ‘this is how it’s always been done’ ignorance is not technically maliciousness, that doesn’t make it right.

@laughing Man

Ok, one more.

He’s not “always whining about it”. He answers questions about his early work because he gets asked about his early work all the time, as you would expect. If you read his interviews you’ll usually find him talking about several different things, often over a long period of time. He seems happy to talk about the things that interest him. The excerpts that we get on the comics sites tend to just focus on the material interesting to the person doing the excerpting, which is almost always Watchmen and other historically important properties, again as you would expect. If you’re asked about that time you think a corporation treated you unfairly, why would you say “no comment” unless under some sort of legal restriction? Are you obligated to censor yourself just because a certain amount of time has passed, or because you know you’re repeating a story you’ve already told to someone else? No, Of course not. You’re the one who is “posturing” him as some kind of cartoon.

@ Darryl Ayo

Yeah, it’s been a while since I read the Watchmen, but I don’t remember reading how/why Nite Owl put on his costume, any adventures of the Watchmen before their meeting to be a team, there are a lot of stories about these characters that could be told, and that could be good. But I guess you used your time machine to see the ones that are coming out and they are going to suck huh? Grow up. DC Comics is in the business of making money, this will do that. They own the characters, not Alan Moore. But you go ahead and keep bashing stories that aren’t even made so you can show off your moral highness.

@jamie
Yup you are right I am stating Mr. Moore is acting like a child, and that is my opinion of him. Yes he thinks he was treated unfairly, but in fact he wasn’t. He agreed to and singed contracts giving up, or suspending, his rights to his creations. In my opinion for him to cry foul after that is childish. I am not asking to censor himself, I hope he doesn’t, I find his tantrums entertaining actually. I just think he has a leg to stand on in most cases. I wholly support extending creator rights, but the fact is that is that Alan Moore knowing made his bed regarding rights to his creations when he signed contracts. I just think that for him to continue to whine about it makes him look like a hypocrite.

Sorry that should have read “he DOES NOT HAVE a leg to stand on in most cases”

@ Dude

Making money is a good reason to publish something. Legally controlling the trademarks is a good reason to publish something. All true. There are also reasons not to publish, such as the possibility that a prequel, by its very existence, and not its quality, might damage the original integrity of the brand. For example, perhaps it would be off-putting to some future fans who might have bought Watchmen if now they feel it is a conventional comic book franchise that requires them to purchase the other books to to get the “whole” story, or perhaps the prequel is so bad that it turns a future audience off. Suggesting this has nothing to do with a need to “grow up” and is also not a moral issue. Be cool.

@laughing Man

No worries man, that’s fine. If you’ve read all the relevant material and have access to enough material not in the public domain to know for sure “that in fact he wasn’t” treated unfairly then great. I hope you can share it with the rest of us someday, because if it were a simple issue we could all start talking about something else.

@jamie

I don’t have the DC contracts right in front of me, but Mr Moore himself has stated in interviews, well the interviews could be made up…I’ll have to call the fact checking department, that his contract with DC regarding the Watchmen gave DC control over the properties as long as DC continued to publish the work. And DC has done that. So in the case of the Watchmen I don’t see how he was treated unfairly. If you know of a source that disputes that I’d love to read it. Sorry I don’t mean to come across as an a**hole, I was just taught that you read something before you sign it and if you don’t like it you don’t sign it. If you do sign it you honor that contract.

@laughing Man

Ah, I follow you. The issue that some have raised is that Moore signed his contract before there was much of a collected edition market to speak of, and he had no reason to suspect what would happen, largely as a result of Watchmen itself. He had every reason to suspect that the copyright would revert back to the creators. Legally, DC is in the right. If that is “fair” to you, then okay, but legal doesn’t necessarily equal “fair” for some, particularly in light of Moore’s later relationship with DC. This doesn’t make Moore a child, any more than it does anyone else who might disagree with your view.
I don’t frequent any message boards (it’s just Watchmen day I guess), but I wonder if Kirby, Siegel and Shuster, Ditko, etc. are discussed in the same way, or if it’s just that Moore is around and giving interviews that gets under people’s skins?

@ jamie

Not sure if you are also Darryl Ayo, but the “grow up” comment was directed toward his “Phantom Menace” post. Your point about the possibility of these comics affecting the “franchise” is grasping, imo. It takes a very naive reading to consider it necessary to read stories about the same characters that were published 25 years apart.

For Alan Moore or any of you posters to say there has not been any significant work published by DC in the last 25 years is a joke. I guess none of you read Starman, or We3, or 100 Bullets, or Preacher, or Kingdom Come, or Sandman, or Batman: the Long Halloween, or The Wintermen, or The Kents…etc. Apparently only Alan Moore can write comics (even though his ABC stuff was crap), and in his and your world none of the characters should ever be used by anyone else, although he can do it with other characters, even turn some properties into characters for porn…?

On Newsarama Peter David has some great comments about DC doing these books.

What if they offered JMS the same deal as Alan moore but Joe Quesada was overseeing the Bablyon 5 project?

@jamie

I guess we have to agree to disagree. Legally I think the current situation is fair under the language of the contract. Are DC shady for how they’ve used that contract..that’s a different story. I guess the divide is that I see this as a business issue and often in business people get screwed by circumstance, while others see this as a moral issue.

I was never saying that anyone disagreed with me is being childish, and I apologize if I unintentionally offended some. I just get a laugh out of some of Mr Moore’s statements. It would be like someone selling you a house and then that person throwing a fit when you do a remodel or extension to the house they don’t agree with. I can see Mr. Moore’s points, but the simple fact is he has no say. Yes he created the comic, but he knowingly gave up/suspended his rights to it.

I see this all the time in the IT industry. Case in point, I write tons of software for my employer. When I joined that company I signed a contract stating that any intellectual property that I create while employed is property of my employer. If my employer takes that software and in turn further develops it and profits by that and offers me nothing in return I can feel bad about that, but I knew going in that was a possibility.

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

February 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm

@ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

But LOEG and Lost Girls are continuations of the characters from other stories. LOEG is very much “the further adventures” of Mina Murray, Alan Quartermain, and others.

Dude, ask an English professor if LOEG is considered a sequel to King Soloman’s Mines. He’d laugh in your face. They are completely different works, put together for an entirely different purpose. Compare that to these prequels. If you want them or like them, fine. But don’t act like a rock is a pillow.

@ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

“ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff
February 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm

@ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

But LOEG and Lost Girls are continuations of the characters from other stories. LOEG is very much “the further adventures” of Mina Murray, Alan Quartermain, and others.

Dude, ask an English professor if LOEG is considered a sequel to King Soloman’s Mines. He’d laugh in your face. They are completely different works, put together for an entirely different purpose. Compare that to these prequels. If you want them or like them, fine. But don’t act like a rock is a pillow.”

The professor might laugh but that doesn’t make him right. In using those characters, Mr. Moore was directly calling on their pasts. Do you think that the Alan Quartermain in LOEG is supposed to have no connection to the the character from “King Solomon’s Mines”? If so, why even use the names. LOEG might not be recognized by that professor as a continuation of those characters, but it is. Just like if I chose to write some Cowboy Bebop fan fiction. The world at large might not consider my works valid continuations, but that’s what they are.

And yes, a rock can be a pillow if you choose to use it as such.

@Dude

I wasn’t attempting to assume anyone’s identity or whatever, but, attempted comedic effect aside, his (or her?) use of the Phantom Menace in this context struck me as apt and not at all childish. If you want a test case for how a prequel can ruin the original series for some fans, that’s a pretty good one. I find it hard to care about Star Wars, but it’s even harder in light of the prequels. That won’t be true for all fans, but certainly for some. Why not make that reference when talking about the controversy surrounding prequels to a critically acclaimed fantasy story?
As far as other important work? There’s lot’s of it of course. I didn’t say there wasn’t and I’m not sure any other commentators here did either. Moore has said this, or a version of this, but his word isn’t law, and he can be just as narrow-minded at times as your average internet commentator. I suppose what’s most interesting to me about the current debate is figuring out who wants to draw attention to other stories, and who just wants to draw attention away from Watchmen and the cultural praise that it’s accumulated. (If anyone cares, I’d like to see Flex Mentallo get more love from the mainstream).
Also developing work that depends upon and interrogates the notion of appropriation of other characters and narratives does not preclude you from objecting to the idea that some narratives are designed to be closed, or semi-closed, and work better that way. There’s more than one type of story, and an author’s individual works can contradict each other.

@laughing Man

I see your point. Thanks for being fair and civil in response.

@jamie

I always try to be civil. And yes sometimes I do play the “Devil’s advocate”, but I like debate. I find discussing ideas and turning them around let’s us see things from all sides.

I was going to add my own two cents, but then all the asshole comments about ‘lack of talent’ and insults towards JMS (who I’m not really even much of a fan of) made me realise I’d be screaming at the wind. Carry on flaming…

duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

February 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

@paulski – don’t let the door hit you

duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

February 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm

re: Azzarello, JMS, Cooke, et al

The term “barnacles” comes to mind

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

February 2, 2012 at 2:31 pm

“The professor might laugh but that doesn’t make him right. In using those characters, Mr. Moore was directly calling on their pasts. Do you think that the Alan Quartermain in LOEG is supposed to have no connection to the the character from “King Solomon’s Mines”? If so, why even use the names. LOEG might not be recognized by that professor as a continuation of those characters, but it is. Just like if I chose to write some Cowboy Bebop fan fiction. The world at large might not consider my works valid continuations, but that’s what they are.”

No, they aren’t. It would be ridiculous after reading anything of the books starring the LOEG that anyone would think that their next adventure would be teaming up on a superhero adventure. This is Alan Moore using pre-existing characters in a way other than what they were created in order to comment on said characters. Like I said, if you gave somebody Peter Pan and Lost Girls, they are going to know that Lost Girls is not part of Peter Pan. And if you gave somebody Dracula and LOEG they are not going to say “Hey, this is the sequel to Dracula.” Because its not intended to be that and nobody reading those titles would think that the original books and LOEG exist in the same universe. Partly because of the time elapsed, partly because they are nothing alike.

@ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

“No, they aren’t. It would be ridiculous after reading anything of the books starring the LOEG that anyone would think that their next adventure would be teaming up on a superhero adventure. This is Alan Moore using pre-existing characters in a way other than what they were created in order to comment on said characters. Like I said, if you gave somebody Peter Pan and Lost Girls, they are going to know that Lost Girls is not part of Peter Pan. And if you gave somebody Dracula and LOEG they are not going to say “Hey, this is the sequel to Dracula.” Because its not intended to be that and nobody reading those titles would think that the original books and LOEG exist in the same universe. Partly because of the time elapsed, partly because they are nothing alike.”

Nothing alike? Then again my question why use the characters at all. Is Moore too lazy or not creative enough to simply create new characters? I think we all know that is not the case. He sepecifically uses existing characters and their pasts in other works for a reason. As such he is continuing the stories of those characters. Are these continuations cannon or not? That’s another debate. But Mr. Moore is clearly taking these characters and continuing with their stories.

Urgh. I get filled with Dread every time something ties back to ‘The works of Alan Moore’. Why? There is going to be a lot of point missing going on. Alan Moore totally lives life on his own terms in his way. He could have taken the cash. But he didn’t because he didn’t like the strings. And time has proved him right (from a certain point view). Lied to by corporations. Dragged into court to defend his works (The LoEG case). It’s all grief. So he dumped doing comics and went and did something else. But it doesn’t go away. They keep coming back, keep asking. So he tells them. And they miss the point. “Alan’s whinning!” they say, “Alan doesn’t want others to play with his toys!”.

That’s not the point. The point is the same every time. It gets spun a thousand different ways and paraphrased and ignored and missed but it’s always the same;
“Why don’t you have anything else? Why is this all you have? Why go back again instead of starting something new?”*
It’s not only aimed at DC, it’s cultural. Movies, TV, all recycling ‘that which went before’.

Alan Moore wants us all to be better. What a dreadful idea! Terrible man.

* I seem to recall an interview with Mark Evanier where Jack Kirby used to express a similar ethos of ‘Now do something new’. Funny that!

@ jamie

“Also developing work that depends upon and interrogates the notion of appropriation of other characters and narratives does not preclude you from objecting to the idea that some narratives are designed to be closed, or semi-closed, and work better that way. There’s more than one type of story, and an author’s individual works can contradict each other.”

I think you need to pay attention to what you are writing, this statement is a contradiction itself. How can one object to something that person is doing themselves? How does he know the authors who wrote the adventures of the TLEG characters did not consider their stories “closed, or semi-closed”. The only difference with TLEG and his other current stories is the creators whose characters he is using are not alive to defend themselves.

Despite the clarification, I remain unconvinced. As a matter of fact, I disagree with JMS’ assertion of the situation even more than before.
-Alan Moore was never offered mountains of gold. It is comics we are talking about, not movies. He was probably offered quite a lot of money for the industry’s standards, but that’s it.
-Creative freedom in the two big publishing houses does not exist. Simple as that. Just ask Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson that considered themselves lucky they were able to get The Boys away from DC intact. And of course Alan Moore, who after being promised that oh-so-treasured of gifts, creative freedom, got… what else, cencored on his ABC work.

But all of the above is not even that important. Moore is not exactly starving, so he isn’t hunting for money. What he wants is the assurance that he can work the way he chooses to, and deal with honest, and faithful to their word people, not snakes in thousand-dollar suits. To cooperate with people that share his love for comics, not people that try to juggle sales charts to always show to be going up.

Alan Moore has been betrayed, time and again, by DC. No matter what he may have been offered, to him a deal with them would be something like a deal with a crook. Even if everything is legitimate, you just can’t shake the feeling they won’t cheat. What is more, DC, with this exact move, prove that they haven’t changed. They are the same sales charts worshippers that have always been. Using people as “assets” and hardly paying attention to them as artists. And it’s not just Moore’s case. Look at what is happening with the next wave of the New 52, with the stories about editorial artistic strangulation arising all over.

So why would Moore trust DC now?

To compare apples with apples as JMS suggests. Imagine if Babylon 5 got a little brother, Babylon, The Dorky Stories. Which JMS would hate as an idea. But Warner gave him the choice: “Either you write it, or we will get other people to write it”. What would he do then? To write it would mean to sell out. To not write it would mean to watch it get ruined by others. This is the situation Moore is in right now.

The guy, once, seems to have had some plans for the world of the Watchmen. But corporate douchery ruined it for him, and the whole thing has left him now bitter towards the prospect. If DC actually wanted to do this right, for the art! as they claim, they should have attempted to move the earth, sky, and stars to apologize, in such a way, that he would have at least felt they were sincere, Then offer him and Dave Gibbons the rights, for no returning favours, and express an interest in being the publishers of anything he may come uo with concerning that world in the fture, if it ever happened. Then leave it at that. That is the right thing to do in my opinion. He and Gibbons are the sole reason Watchmen is the masterpiece that it is, the piece of literary magic that creates excitement in people’s heart. And they deserve an apology, and the rights, just because they performed an almost-miracle with their work. If they have any other stories to tell, let them narrate. Don’t dilute their story, not because there are no more good writers and pencillers out there, but that is their story, and no one else’s. All those wonderful creators assigned to the Before Watchmen line, could use the time they are using working on it to work on their own creations, their own “Watchmen”, and perhaps somewhere down the line come up with a story that will be as inspiring and as moving as Alan’s and Dave’s.

“Oh, and Babylon 5 absolutely should be mentioned in the same breath as the Watchmen!”

I wouldn’t even wipe Watchmen’s ass with Babylon 5. How’s that for one breath?

@Dude

You’re right. I think I might be suggesting a contradiction at the heart of it. What does pulp get to do? Is Moore suggesting something about where the limits of pulp are and are not in both Watchmen and LoEG? His interrogations of the characters in something like LoEG or Lost Girls, feel like he wants to make them figures in pulp adventure universes, but Watchmen seems to demand some closure, everything in it is about slowing down time, very fine clockwork symmetries, taking a big pulp narrative, as big and expansive as a superhero shared universe, and taking it to the brink of death. I think my opinion of that determines whether I have much interest in a further extension of the Watchmen universe. Can the Watchmen universe come alive again with the right talent, and is there great talent assembled for this “Before Watchmen” plan? Clearly. Some of these could be really good books and I’ll check them out at some point I’m sure, but will they feed the appetite for pulp that makes us care about a shared universe? Did Moore realize this before getting to the stories of LoEG? I mean the guy had written some Spawn for Christ’s sake, he must have had some mixed up views on what was happening. Is the answer after Watchmen anything but please no more Watchmen? It was one great experiment, it’s done, please lets just tell some adventure stories? Let’s let all the characters in literature have adventure stories, and positive sex…with squid creatures…or whatever? Is that what Moore is all about and is he right?

How many other creators can get me talking like this? Maybe a half dozen. That’s pretty good for someone who hardly ever writes comics anymore.

As few have mentioned so it is worth noting, “crazy” Alan Moore and “insane” Frank Miller truly started the entire graphic novel trend her in the states with Watchmen, V for Vendetta and Dark Knight. Alan had every right to expect he’d be getting his rights back, but he fell victim to his own success. You’d think that DC would have given him his rights back for creating this valuable and arguably life saving market for them.

This just proves what Alan has already stated about the lack of true creativity amongst todays creative and publishing communities. Now we are pissing in his pond and diluting his work. It doesn’t matter how good these prequels are, they won’t be as good and if commercial more will follow, standards will drop and soon we will have forgotten what made Watchmen so special.

I can understand how Siegel and Shuster felt hoodwinked out of Superman. However, in 1987, creators understood the value of creative properties. Trade paperbacks were in print for many years and newspaper strips were widely distributed in book form. I can’t feel too sorry for someone who made a deal that in retrospect years later he felt was bad. Especially as he had opportunities to amend that deal to his favor on his terms.

Oh, and I’ve got a great idea for a Dark Knight prequel set during WW2 that crosses over with Maus. It’s a killer concept. Any takers?

psychocommentor

February 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I would rather JMS working on a B5 sequel than a Watchmen prequel, but Watchmen is no sacred cow. If the prequels turn out to be good stories, i will buy and enjoy.

I’m sure the creators of the Charlton Characters felt a lack of creativity and originality back in the 80′s when they saw a series of facsimiles called ‘Watchmen’. How is the bulk of Moore’s work any different than everyone’s favorite target Liefeld. All his characters are non-subtle homages of other people’s creations.

I’ll feel bad for Alan Moore when he credits Joe Gill, Steve Ditko, Pete Morisi, Dick Giordano, Frank McLaughlin, Pat Boyette and the others who worked on the Charlton Action Heroes line that he basically just rewrote for WATCHMEN. I guess we could also include Will Eisner and others for the ABC line as well. There is no doubt that he deserves great credit for the amazing story that was written, one of the best comics ever perhaps, but he always seems to leave Dave Gibbons out of the equation when credit is presented. WATCHMEN was Alan doing what he does best – writing someone else’s characters and bringing them to new heights through original ideas.

I think that’s basically what DC is doing here as well, as is the case with most comic books released today that are not from independent publishers.

I guess we’re all just too shocked to see a big comics company use work created by other people as the springboard for new creations and ideas to recognize this fact. Christ, what did anyone expect here?

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

February 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm

“Nothing alike? Then again my question why use the characters at all. Is Moore too lazy or not creative enough to simply create new characters? I think we all know that is not the case. He sepecifically uses existing characters and their pasts in other works for a reason. As such he is continuing the stories of those characters. Are these continuations cannon or not? That’s another debate. But Mr. Moore is clearly taking these characters and continuing with their stories.”

Of course he is using those characters for a reason. But the reason is not to provide readers of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with the long-awaited sequel/prequel to Verne’s classic. If you saw Alan Moore on the streets and asked him if he intended The League of Extraordinary Gentleman to be a ‘cannon’ sequel to Wells’ “Invisible Man”, you’d probably get a puzzled look because I don’t think any human being actually has ever thought that.

JMS’s hypocritical arrogance really makes my blood boil..

I wish he would just get the hell out of comics back to tv land. Oh no, that’s right he can’t, and won’t do that because he was unhappy at how tv executives treated his Crusade/B5 spinoff attempts. (Which isn’t at all similar to how Alan Moore feels about any interaction he had with DC executives over the years..oh no..alike at all..Hah!)

As I remember it JMS walked away from all the various attempts he made to follow up that, and then cashed in on his ‘tv fame’ to get into writing big comic book characters. Where we were treated we treated to such gems as Sins Past just because he wanted to leave his mark on a character. And yeah I know Joe Queseda screwed it up further by not letting him pursue his original plan of having had gwen give birth to peters kids. As if that was such a great idea in the first place. But then JMS compounds it by complicitly going along with that insane idea to have Gwen cheat on Peter with Norman Osborne. (Sigh!) Y’know I’m pretty sure the original writers of Gwens character didn’t envision her doing that.

As much as I enjoyed most of B5 in the day..(the actors playing Londo & Sheridan were great..) there’s a part of me that almost wishes Warner Brothers would hire some hack who would start writing JMS’s characters with an equal amount of disdain and lack of respect to the character’s histories and original writer’s intentions. Because that would be perfect karma for JMS, so that he could have a good long look in the mirror at some of the damage he’s wrought upon other writers’s comic characters over the years.

Heck, even overlooking the mess he made of Spiderman, thanks to him we’re gonna have Thor in comics and movies forever stuck wearing that stupid looking armour that was JMS’s idea to put him in, because hey, I guess Jack Kirby got the design of the character wrong all those years ago!..(To paraphrase Captain Kirk-’What does God need with a suit of armour?’…I mean heck, it’s not like this is a guy who regularly takes punches from characters of Hulk like strength and comes out with nary a scratch?..oh wait..)

That was just another example of him getting to ‘leave his mark’ on other folks’s characters that I bet he’s really pleased with himself for. (The Wonder Woman pants debacle was another attempt at the same..)

God knows what he’ll come up with to mark ‘his’ territory on Watchman. (Though that remark about adding reasons for going back into the chamber fills me with dread..)

duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

February 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Yeah – the Dr Manhattan not going back in the chamber by accident is basically the same as the Spider Totem stuff. “They did not get their powers by accident”

Yeah, not to sound like a douche, but JMS really gets on my nerves …

As for the topic at hand, it’s impossible to look at this thing clearly. Noone at the time had the possibility to predict the way Watchmen would change the very market it was published in. Come on, a book staying in print for that long was unheard of. Not even DC, really, who I believe truly acted in good faith at first. That contract was made for a market that was revolutionized by its product. It’s a very weird thing to look at now, because we can’t imagine a system where this wouldn’t be obviously bad for the creators.

However, that DC refused to aknowledge this whenever a new discussion on the subject arises is ridiculous. That is a showing of bad faith, and Moore is right to feel wronged. When it became apparent that contract was not ready for the new market it created, they should have accepted to renegociate. But, yeah, of course they didn’t. They’re a corporation. They **** people over for money. It’s probably a chapter in their manuals.

As for the “supposed” offer? Pretty insulting to look at, honestly. “If you make us even more money, we’ll give you your **** back”. Lovely rhetoric right there.

At the end of the day, paying these guys to create a new “Watchmen” for them to sell would probably be a smarter idea. Hell, the complete 100Bullets has the potencial to surpass Watchmen in profit, for sheer size, alone. I remember there being something like 10 volumes. That’s some expensive and good comics right there, ripe for the taking. New Frontier is another good example. Wanted, too, though they don’t have the rights to that. Point is, wouldn’t it be more productive in the long term to let these creators loose on the market, so they could catch that Watchmen crowd? They don’t want Superman being sodomized and crying about it, goddamnit. They don’t even want more Watchmen material. They want Watchmen level material. Is that so hard to figure out? That people outside comics just find 80% of the New52 retarded? “But hey, it’s alright, they have two times the amount of readable books out, now.” I woudln’t make a party out of hitting something like 5 or 6 out of 52 balls…

@ Joe Shuster:

In YOUR opinion. Babylon 5 is, simply put, one of the greatest sci-fi epics of all time. In MY opinion. Just like all true fanboys, you think your opinion is the only one that counts. Hate to disillusion you, but that just ain’t so. Taste is subjective, not objective. Feel free to slag on B5 all you like, but just remember that others are free to like what you hate and vice-versa. Same goes for these new Watchmen comics.

I agree with the fellow posting as Joe Shuster. Babylon 5 was pitiful. Bad scripts, terrible acting.

Even if I thought this was a good idea – after 25 years, why now? If ever there was a time, it would have been when the film was out.

duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

February 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm

It will be a guaranteed money maker – especially in perpetuity in trade paperback form

Some people will buy the TPB just because it has the name Watchmen on it

Watchmen completist nerds, even those that think it is a bad idea, will buy every single issue – they’ll even buy the special hardcover and the omnibus

In other words, stop asking why now – the answer is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

This whole brouhaha about Before Watchmen reminds me of 10 years ago when Marvel released Wolverine: Origin. The reason they did that was the movie studio was planning to do an origin movie for Wolverine. Marvel felt that if an origin should be told, it needed to be told in comics form first.

I see this as kind of the same thing with Before Watchmen. The movie made a lot of money. Still making it, in my opinion if people are buying DVDs and Blu-Rays. Better to have these comics as a possible basis for a prequel movie than to have some hack Hollywood writer and director do a Watchmen 2.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ is right!

Did you see the guy who posted recently here at CBR’s Shelf Porn column? He had three copies of the collected Watchmen in paperback, one in hardback (at least one!) and also had the Absolute Watchmen. He probably has other versions I’m not aware of. And he will certainly be buying every one of these bastard sons of Watchmen.

But I won’t.

duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

February 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm

exactly Jake – some nerds have to have every different version of a comic – they’ll be buying the annotated edition, the recolored version, the director’s cut featuring JMS’ lame/flawed logic why this isn’t a cash grab

DC will be printing different versions of these, a la George Lucas Star Wars reissues

I don’t get it. He destroyed one iconic comicbook character, did a big number on the caped one, now they still give him this job. I know a lot there’s a lot of work based on relationships built within the industry, but did you read the stuff he did with Marvel’s big character? He ruined it. Yeah, he’s not the only one involved,but his stuff was clearly not the type of material you should see in that book. The last couple years you couldn’t even classify as stories, they were just new ideas thrown into the book every couple months and delayed and stretched out and nothing was ever to be made of these hyped-up moments. Really insulting, in my opinion.

Not sayin’ B5 was all bad, it wasn’t. Just not consistent which might not have been JMS fault. Loved his Brave n Bold work, couldn’t read his Spiderman run but I couldn’t read any body else’s either. All pretty crappy incoherent Pap.

If DC took these creative teams and used them on the DC relaunch it would have been a far better use of their collective efforts. DC should have left The Spirit alone as well, but they just couldn’t, could they?

Over at Marvel they want to bend over the corpse that is Marvelman and give that a good shagging next.

I truly do feel for Alan Moore and can understand why he’s a grump old bastard.

By the by, I fully expect Dave Gibbons to do variants covers for all of them before announcing he is going to write and draw the sequel to Watchmen.

Mark Waid was absolutely right when he said it was impossible to believe that DC offered Moore the rights to Watchmen back. You don’t have to be a professional in the comics industry to realize this. Watchmen is an evergreen property for them that will continue to sell for decades to come. No matter how much money DC might’ve made off of new Moore-penned Watchmen material, to hand him ownership of the property afterwards would be pointless. The whole point of getting new material from him isn’t altruistic, to give the world more Watchmen, or bury the hatchet in some way between DC and Moore. It’s to make money from it, both in the form of publishing sales and to have fodder to create one or more new films from. You don’t take something that is a guaranteed money maker, year after year, and gamble that against short term profits. If that deal went through, Moore could do anything he wanted with Watchmen, allow anyone he wanted to continue to publish the original — Image, Dark Horse, hell, even Marvel. You’re going to give one of the most revered properties in the history of the medium, one that continues to generate money some twenty-five years after it’s original publication, potentially to a rival just to have a couple of really good financial quarters?

Whether Moore was exaggerating, misquoted, or intentionally misleading with what he said about DC’s supposed offer to him, it seems foolish to try to defend your actions using that as an example. That’s almost as believable as him saying that once DC got the completed scripts for Watchmen, they’d dispatch Aquaman to England to help Alan locate and raise Atlantis from the depths.

Frankly, I don’t want to hear any sort of crying foul from any of the creators involved in this because they’re being judged unfairly now before the work comes out — or at any point after. You took the job, you should’ve been well aware of the reaction you’d get, and how nasty it would be. Messing with sacred cows does indeed leave one open to getting the horns. Hopefully you got compensated well. You wanted this — as the saying goes, you made your bed, now crawl under the sheets with the licensed blood-splattered smiley face printed all over them, and lie in it.

I honestly don’t care whether or not Before Watchmen is amazing or garbage. The original work is still going to be there, on my bookshelf, either way. What irritates me is the attitude that those of us who are ‘con’ are going to go out and purchase it just so we can ” express thoughts with the same clarity and precision “: no thanks. I’m not going to be the mindless fanboy you and DC think I am, I’m not going to give you the benefit of the doubt, hand over my money and hope that it’s absolutely horrible so I can complain to the ends of cyberspace about it and speak with some sort of authority on that topic because I’ve read it. I don’t need to have Watchmen continued in any way, shape or form. It was a brilliant piece of work that should be left alone, and not just because the creator has expressed his wishes that be so.

There’s no defense for this, and a fellow creator should ultimately realize that all these excuses ring hollow. You can come up with all the eloquent analogies and metaphors you want concerning whether or not other people besides Shuster and Siegel should’ve written and drawn Superman stories, or if Alan was ‘wrong’ in wanting to write Swamp Thing, continue the adventures of a character he didn’t create. There’s a world of difference between something that was intended as a serial and something that was intended as a very personal, finite sort of work. There’s a big difference between ‘ to be continued . . .’ and ‘the end’. Watchmen had the latter, and if anyone should make it the former, it should be the original writer, not a work-for-hire freelancer.

Those who can write highly revered works that end up on the 100 best NOVELS of all time do, and those who can’t . . . well, there’s always the literary bottom feeders who write ‘authorized’ sequels to Gone With The Wind and Dracula.

Whatever shadows you’re receding into . . . you might want to make sure there’s a fallout shelter back there, because this is, after all, a work that is a quarter-century old that’s causing this debate, something that people feel that passionate about after all this time to sling all this mud. The half-life on this decision of yours, which wasn’t something that was ‘foisted’ on you, might be a really, really long time. This isn’t the typical sort of controversy that’s likely to blow over as soon as the next guy takes the baton and does a worse job than you, because there aren’t a whole lot of people who have the hubris to be in that line in the first place.

Mike Leonard and Mark Waid. Thank you.

I find it sad that some of the comics industries top “talents” have so readily lined up to line their pockets rather than support one of their own. To say that without Alan Moore Darwyn Cooke would never have had the chance to do Parker is not too far fetched, yet he seems quite happy to line up at the trough knowing Alan would prefer they left his characters alone. Using the Charlton comparison people are just trying to create some sort of justification for this. Why not have these teams work on the Charlton characters themselves? God knows Captain Atom is almost there.

Does any of this matter? JMS is only going to put out like two issues anyway…

The first time someone uses one of these prequels to debate a point from Watchmen, and it will happen, is the exact moment I fully despair of my fellow comic book readers.

I’m going to get every one of those issues, preferably in HC.

I expect JMS and the other creators to do their usual top notch work, and there is nothing the internet fans can do to prevent that. You are a dying breed, and thank the gods for that!

There is a reason JMS is being given work, and that is his work is considered good from a wide audience (Earth 1 anyone?), fortunately this audience does not include the comic nerds and fans that frequent the internet forums and blogs.

It’s so funny, ’cause if you only read those forums and blogs you would expect completely different titles to sell, with completely different creators pmsl!

This guy says “thank the gods” and then calls us nerds.

I love it.

I don’t think it’s a matter of can they or even should they.

My big question is where did the stories come from that will form these prequels? Where teams picked and handed a character and told “go forth and prequelise”? If so this is doomed from the start.

On the other hand, if writers went to DC and said “hey, I’ve had this great idea, I’ve fleshed it out and I think it’s a great story told in the Watchmen universe” and the Powers That Be heard the pitch and said “wow, we have to do this”, then it could work. Sadly I don’t think this is the case.

A sequel/prequel told just to tell a sequel/prequel isn’t going to ever live up to the standard of the original work.

This whole thing has me concerned in the same way when Hollywood announces something like an Americanized Akira movie.

I also don’t think characters like Owlman are compelling enough in their own right to tell a story. Owlman worked for what he was in Watchmen. I don’t see him working in his own book without changing the fundamental basis of what he was presented as in the original and that’s a problem.

But I must admit to being intrigued by an Azzarello Rorschach story.

PS @ GLJeremy

Deep Space Nine preceded Babylon 5.

Well, JMS might want to hope he’s got a loyal non-nerd fanbase, because he’s made the proverbial deal with the devil here. We’ll see what happens with his first post-Watchmen project, or how many editors will want talent on board a project where there’s consistently going to be a “he RUINED Watchmen” cry from the audience – whether or not that’s even objectively true, that will be the perception. I think it’s kinda telling that even Dave Gibbons has stayed clear of this, and not just because he’s afraid of hurting Moore’s feelings . . .

This is no fooling around, it’s not like the usual sort of nerdfight controversy where it’s a character being killed off or replaced, a costume change, etc. This sort of thing can’t be retconned or fixed. These folks are either going to have to deal with, from this point on, being known as the people who actually managed to do Watchmen and pulled it off, or that they had the hubris to try and failed.

There’s not going to be a whole lot of objectivity involved – to some people, whether you think it’s foolish or not, it’s the equivalent of adding books to the Bible. You may have some good ideas of what should be canon, but you’re also liable to get burned at the stake. Most writers have to deal with that at some point or the other, but this is a whole different level of magnitude.

But that’s JMS’ and the others’ problem, really. My completely selfish concern is will DC be able to stop with just one Before Watchmen? Why not do an updated version of Watchmen with new pages to tie in some of the ‘new’ revelations? Exactly where does that particular train stop, as long as so called ‘fans’ keep buying them and supporting the idea? And if we’re going to do that, why stop with Watchmen? There’s a lot to be gained with bringing in a new, contemporary perspective to, say, Dark Knight Returns, or Sandman . . . hey, wouldn’t it be neat if there were .5 volumes of Preacher, or Y: The Last Man? As long as it sells, right? The fans always want more, and there’s always some work-for-hire willing to pony up, for the right price.

For a few dollars more, and thats all there is to it. Pathatic how these wonderful creators sold themselves and most of them will regret they have taken part in this. Not because of the fierce reactions on the internet, but simply because they too will realise: this is wrong.
Cora

@ Mike Leonard

So you are saying these creators will only be known for these stories for the rest of their lives?! Ridiculous. You people are putting way too much into these stories. Can’t you just wait and judge them for what they actually are-oh wait, that’s not what you people do. You love judging and condemning everything before it happens.

Blechael?

You accuse those of us that stand up for a creators rights as being “nerds”and “Internet fans”. Then what are you doing here? I am fine about being called a nerd or geek by someone like you who clearly has no regard for the rights and wishes of a creator for his work. Watchmen isn’t Batman and was never destined to be. Remember the TV show Casablanca? I do. David Soul as Rick in a prequel to the classic film? Fortunately time has erased most of those memories from my mind.

Sure Alan has riffed off of material in public domain, but he has created material that in turn is different and unique in doing so. I don’t blame DC for doing this, they are part of a corporation and as such they do not consider such things as rights or wishes of a creator as any true meaning. Bottom line is all that matters and when you have a line item that consistently makes money, you question why that part of the company isn’t making more of it. Pump it out. Sell sausages as though they were steak.

It is the American way after all.

Talk all u want about ethics, but Moore doesnt have a leg to stand on. I’m not up in arms about this, hypocrisy is part of the human condition, but ppl defending Moore’s stance like he was infallible is getting grating.

On 23 June 2006, officials for Great Ormond Street Hospital—which was given the copyright to Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie in 1929—asserted that Moore would need their permission to publish the book in the UK and Europe. Moore indicated that he would not be seeking their licence, claiming that he had not expected his work to be “banned” and that the hospital only holds the rights to performances of the original play, not to the individual characters.[6] On 11 October 2006, Top Shelf signed an agreement with GOSH that did not concede copyright infringement, but delayed publication of Lost Girls in the UK until after the copyright lapsed at the end of 2007.[7]

Oh, and the great Ormond street hospital is a famous childrens hsopice in the UK.

And I wasn’t kidding when I expect DC to announce that Dave Gibbons is writing and draw the sequel to Watchmen. Dave won’t be able to resist that much money.

“I love Alan, but he is a bitter man living alone in England separated from the medium he used to work in.”

I can assure you there are quite a number of us living in England. I just did a head count from outside my window and spotted half a dozen at least.

duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

February 3, 2012 at 7:15 am

@Dude – yes, yes they will be known for this forevermore. Just as George Lucas is now known for ruining his own creation

It’s comics people. Fricking relax.
Watchmen isn’t the Bible or the Quran.

Don’t read it if you don’t like the idea. It is easy a pie to pretend it doesn’t exist.

I love the idea myself!

Woo hoo! Go JMS!

And Joe… I love the idea of Gibbons writing the sequel!

This is one of those times where i can not, agree to disagree. it’s not a matter of if you like it read it if your don’t then don’t. its simply a matter of this. there is no reason other then MONEY to write anything new for these characters. That is the only reason at all. There is no board room full of people sitting around pining for the days when everyone loved watchman and now those days are gone and everyone has forgotten our dear beloved characters. They don’t give a crap about the characters or the stories or the impact. They only care about money. This is truly an I’d sell my mom if she was worth three bucks scenario. they see the characters as a property that has made them money in the past and they Must do something with them or they will become forgotten. The reason this is a huge mistake is because night owl and Dr Manhattan are NOT batman and superman. they are enjoyed by intelligent adults, not by children. They are not children’s characters but DC and Warner do not see them that way, they only see them as something people know and will pay for. That is all. It is simply BAD TASTE, its being done in bad taste and in a disrespectful manner to the persons who created this property for them in the first place. but hey they own the things and can do whatever they want with them. But it doesn’t stop it from being a bad idea done in POOR TASTE. BOOOOOO

David,

The Bible IS a work of fiction. You seriously believe God came down and dictated it to us mere mortals? Lol!

Your comments are not unexpected and like many fellow Americans you feel that no one deserves any rights or treatment that hasn’t been spelled out in your own personal understanding of the constitution. Yup, just checked it and Lo and behold, our Founding Fathers didn’t mention Alan Moore or Watchmen so he’s fair game.

Fortunate for you that you will never be in the position to ever create anything worthy of consideration so you’ll never know what it feels like, but I’m sure your little cubicle has a nice view of the women’s restroom. What more could you want?

Yes these are JUST comics, like Shakespeare wrote JUST plays, like Orson Welles JUST directed films.

You lack morals, but that’s not a dirty word here in the 21st century. Embrace your ignorance and selfishness. We see it everyday in politics.

Tsk, Tsk, naughty Alan Moore. How dare he not take too kindly to being bent over and having his chimney cleaned so frequently by Marvel and DC.

Now if Dave Gibbons wants to do something with it himself, without his former friend, then as its co creator, I say good luck to him.

“sad that 25 years later, no one in the industry can write anything more important than watchmen”

This is the point. Who cares about whether a story features Nite Owl, or Jim Kirk, or Superman? That’s not why we love Watchmen and it’s not why anyone would want a sequel. What we want is a work of art as strong, and a piece of story-telling as compelling. I enjoy JMS’s work, but I don’t believe in his career he has created anything which compares to Watchmen. I mean no disrespect, but Babylon 5 was never in Watchmen’s class.

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether DC makes any more stories with these characters. What matters is whether they can tell any stories as good as Watchmen. You can point to Sandman, Kingdom Come, Technopriests, but precious little else. This debate argues around the real problem which Moore points out.

All comparisons to LOEG are invalid, because it’s not presented as a sequel to any of the other works.

AnalogousGumdropDecoder

February 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I don’t want to get involved again in the argument over whether the prequels should happen, because people have made up their minds and aren’t going to change their opinions based on what anyone says on a forum. “Before Watchmen” is also obviously going to happen no matter what anyone says, so there’s no point in arguing over it. Here’s what you can do: If you disagree with it, don’t reward DC with your money. If you agree with it, buy whichever ones you want.

I would like to say though that some of the people who want more Watchmen seem to have a strange contempt for its creator. I read a lot of people talking about Moore constantly whining, moaning, groaning, etc. I just want to say that I’ve never gotten any vibe like that from Moore at all. From my perspective, what seems to happen is that Moore is interviewed, the interviewer asks him a question about this topic, and he answers honestly – oftentimes he’s even a bit tongue-in-cheek and jocular about it, though its clear he’s attached to his creations and his negative business deals have caused him emotional distress. To me he usually seems much more keen to talk about positive things and other projects he’s working on, and he doesn’t just bring up his difficulties with publishers out of nowhere so he can bitch about them.

Also his supposed “contempt” for other creators has always struck me more as just disinterest, which makes total sense to me. Moore is one of the artists who (in the 1980s) really pushed the boundaries of the comics medium away from simply being a conduit for re-hased superhero adventures, and that’s really the only thing going on in mainstream comics these days. I have a blast reading X-Men comics and such, but Moore and some of his peers worked really hard to make sure comics could be about more than just that. In the meantime mainstream books have regressed back to the way they were before the 1980s, and given what he contributed to the medium I completely understand what Moore just wouldn’t care about keeping abreast of what Aquaman is up to this month (or whatever). He’s said some very positive things about underground and alternative comics recently as well. He’s endorsed Craig Thompson and Solipsistic Pop, at least.

Disagree with him if you want, but let’s not mischaracterize the guy’s statements.

At first, with these creative teams, I was willing to at least have a look at the first few issues in the comic store, but Straczynski’s cheap rationalizations has killed any interest I may have had.
And what he said about his pitch for Dr Manhattan (why has Jon entered the intrinsec field room) doesn’t interest me at all. Does Watchmen really need a cheap retcon (a “Blue Dick Totem”, I guess ?) to complicate a very simple origin story ?
That’s strange, last week he was one of my favotite creator and I was thrilled by reading the new issue of The Twelve. Now, I don’t know what to think of him…

You know what I would love to see in Before Watchmen? Dr. Manhattan not quite under control of his powers yet, shrink the Watchmen, and teleport them into Alan Moore’s mane. Think of all the adventures they could have in there! Battling tick and mites and the occasional squirrel. Maybe there is a whole world of dermnymphs living in there kind of like Avitar meets Secret of Nimh. Wow what a book that would be!

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