Robot 6

Watchmen prequels announced, with Gibbons’ blessing, Moore’s scorn

Following years of rumors, DC Comics announced this morning it’s revisiting the characters introduced by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in the seminal 1986 miniseries Watchmen with seven inter-connected prequels collectively titled … Before Watchmen. What’s more, the project now has the blessing of Gibbons, who as recently as last summer seemed resistant to the idea.

“The original series of Watchmen is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell,” the artist said in a statement. “However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire.”

Moore, however, isn’t as generous, describing the prequels as “completely shameless.” “I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago,” he told The New York Times.

The writer, who stopped working for DC in 1989 following disputes about Watchmen royalties and a proposed age-rating system, revealed in July 2010 that the publisher had at last offered to return the rights to his most famous creation, if he “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 at the time. “But these days I don’t want Watchmen back. Certainly, I don’t want it back under those kinds of terms.”

Moore echoed those sentiments to The Times, insisting he likely won’t try to block Before Watchmen or face DC’s “infinite battery of lawyers” in a legal battle. “I don’t want money,” he said. “What I want is for this not to happen.”

J. Michael Straczynski, who’s teaming with Adam Hughes on the Dr. Manhattan miniseries, shrugged off the notion that only Moore should write the Watchmen characters.

“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,” he said in an exclusive interview with Comic Book Resources. “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.”

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48 Comments

JMS makes a good point.

“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.”

Yes he should have. Yes you all f*cking should have, for the last 75 years.

*sigh* This is still a terrible, terrible idea. They did a great job of picking a lot of “hard to say no to” creative teams, though…at the very least, the promise of Adam Hughes drawing interiors for the first time in way too effing long will make me snag “Dr. Manhattan.”

JMS is the one with the flawed logic–the Watchmen was not like Superman. It was a complete story, with a beginning, middle, and end and was never intended to be continued, whereas Superman was not like that and was meant to be serialized.

As much as I love Darwyn Cooke this is is a horrible idea. Also, what will DC do when JMS leaves his series halfway through, as he wlll inevitable do?

Sorry, “inevitably”.

Of course, anyone wanting to accuse Moore of hypocrisy would probably be better pointing to LOEG than any of his DC WFH.

Mmm, acronyms.

Tom Fitzpatrick

February 1, 2012 at 5:15 am

At any rate, I’ll be picking this series up.
I’m far too invested in Watchmen, not to oass this over.

Tom Fitzpatrick

February 1, 2012 at 5:16 am

Sorry, that’s “pass this over”.

If Alan Moore is so keen on distancing himself from Watchmen & DC, shouldn’t he have refused any interview requests? His stuff is good, but his ego of late seems to be getting the best of him.

I just really hate the title “Before Watchmen” it just sucks. No creatively.
Oh, and while I’m here, the new “DC” logo sucks too.

Up next: The Watchmen go Hawaiian.

creativity, sorry

I tend to agree with Charles… this is like Stephen King writing a prequel to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” :s

Who said anything about Darwyn Cooke?

Just Let Me Read Comics

February 1, 2012 at 6:08 am

Mark Kardwell Wrote-
February 1, 2012 at 4:29 am

“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.”

Yes he should have. Yes you all f*cking should have, for the last 75 years.

—-

So, with that logic, every time a creator of a character or group of characters, etc, leaves a company they should immediately drop that series and start a fresh run with something new? That’s f*cking flawed logic my friend. If they did that we’d never have any comics!

DC is desperate to milk any last cash cow they can. This is just a sad move on their part. I’m sure it’ll have a certain base level of compentency given the quality of the creators involved but, really, who cares about a Watchmen prequel? The Watchmen was a complete work, containing everything I’d ever want to know about these characters. I’m not angry that DC is doing this, just dismayed at the shameless money grab. This’ll be an easy one for me to leave on the shelves.

I think the difference between Watchmen and Superman is that Watchmen was created as a finite story with a fixed beginning, middle, and end… whereas Superman was created to be open-ended and run on and on for as long as possible.

I agree with Moore that DC is creatively bankrupt sadly. I mean they have some AMAZING writers and artists working for them that could be creating genuinely interesting and exciting comics if they were given more freedom and support, but instead DC seems determined to concentrate on a handful of cash cows, neglect all their other properties, and do boring and unimaginative events and relaunches every few months where the problems that need to be fixed are just papered over and the creative cracks continue to widen as it becomes ever clearer that they don’t understand their own characters or the potential they are squandering.

Ah!ah!ah! Does anyone even remotely sane actually expect Adam Hughes to produce 4 issues of interior art on a timely fashion?

Azarello and JMS are some of the most overhyped writers ever – I couldn’t think of a better match for this lousy project.

It makes sense they picked Cooke too, after Azarello. They could team up for “Demon in a bottle 2″.

And naturally only the artist of the Pro could wore herself to such pitty project.

tsk!tsk! Shame on Mr. Joe Kubert for linking his name to this. But then again, he’s always been a cog in the DC money-making machine.

Who knows, maybe Alan Moore will finally prove his magic and make all the people involved in this project drop dead with his voodoo. That would be something!

Moore can just sit back and wait for the inevitable bad karma to land squarely on DC’s pointy, corporate heads. Like maybe 6 months from now when the bloom is off and all the New 52s start tanking.

Finally. Excellent choices in creators. I couldn’t agree more with JMS.

@Charles J. Baserap: “It was a complete story, with a beginning, middle, and end and was never intended to be continued”. Yes, that’s absolutely correct. Alan Moore finished “Watchmen” and never intended it to continue it. But Alan Moore doesn’t own the characters and he doesn’t get to decide what to do with them. Enough Watchmen fans (including myself) are interested (and have been ever since Watchmen ended) in more stories starring those characters that DC saw fit to do something about it. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s their right. Moore had his chance (more than one, actually) and he blew it. Bah, if this wasn’t about Watchmen and Alan Moore, it wouldn’t be an issue.

Bad idea altogether. Why can’t these great writers and artists create something new for once. Are they so drained of new ideas that they need to milk the work of Alan Moore even more?

I feel it’s like Brett Ratner decided to make Godfather part 0 or part 4. Why, would they do tha?. Watchmen is already so rich and so complex that everything has been said in the comicbook.

Herb Clerecidge

February 1, 2012 at 6:51 am

JMS: “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. ”

No, Joe, but a lot of people have suggested that YOU should never be allowed to write Superman.

@Alen Did you just compare Darwyn Cooke to Brett Ratner?

It’s more like Martin Scorsese doing a prequel to Godfather.

“So, with that logic, every time a creator of a character or group of characters, etc, leaves a company they should immediately drop that series and start a fresh run with something new? That’s f*cking flawed logic my friend. If they did that we’d never have any comics!”

Yeah, just look at Japan. No comics at all!

one should figure that Alan would be a little upset over more watchman stuff since its one of his greatest works but as Alan pointed out dc offered him the rights back but he did not want them under having to okay sequels. i will pick up the thing just to see what the characters were doing before the events.

Roldan, Do you really think Cooke is the Martin Scorsese of the comicbook world? Scorsese is top 5 directors of all time. Now there are a lot more directors than comicbook writers and top 5 means you’re a True Visionary.

Yes, Cooke is a good writer and I enjoy his work but come on!

Moore is the Dostoyevskij, the Kurosawa, the Da Vinci of comic books.

No one comes close, except frank Miller and Gaiman.

You people are ridiculous talking about how DC are milking the cash cow it’s not like its a business or anything it’s not like ANY other writer Is this vocal about people touching their work I used to highly respect Alan Moore now I just think he’s a whiny baby who never wants the attention taken from him and if you dont think it’s right don’t buy the damn books

The irony here is that when Moore submitted his original Watchmen story proposal to DC, they balked at what Moore planned to do to the Charlton heroes, believing it was so drastic that the story would render these characters that they planned to add to their line unusable so Moore was forced to create new characters while DC brought the original Charlton heroes like Captain Atom and The Question into the main DCU. The whole point of Moore reimaging the Charlton characters was that Watchmen was intended to be a standalone tale. Unlike, say, Superman these characters weren’t meant to be spun-off or serialized. That DC is trying to strip mine the property for all its worth all these years later is just pathetic, no matter what talent they bring on board.

The level of outrage here is hilarious and, unfortunately, wholly expected. I’m excited about the creative teams and I’m going to buy every single one of these, as will the majority of the people posting on here, despite their vocal claims otherwise.

Moore, however, isn’t as generous, describing the prequels as “completely shameless.” “I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago,” he told The New York Times.

And this is an example because you the watchmen is ALL DC has and the statement about ideas he had 25 years ago and are dependent I would think if dc had been dependent AND had been waiting 25 fucking years to do this that they would be bankrupt. I hate egotistical people

To J. Michael Straczynski I would ask: How does “Babylon 5: a Michael Bay Film” sound to you?
No non-emotional objections, I expect…?

Yeah, Alan Moore’s wrong! DC is also dependent on ideas people had 75 years ago, 50 years ago too!

In all the years since the Watchmen was published, there has not been one book as profound, as visionary, as perfect. This is proof that there is no creator (besides Alan Moore) fit to touch these characters. How dare they attempt to put on Alan Moore’s shoes?

But it is the way of the comics industry to dilute every creation by letting legions of writers, artists, and editors (notice I didn’t use the word “creators”) pee in the pot.

LOL! ^^^^^

Oh, look, they’re George Lucasing Watchmen.

In all the years since the Watchmen was published, there has not been one book as profound, as visionary, as perfect. This is proof that there is no creator (besides Alan Moore) fit to touch these characters. How dare they attempt to put on Alan Moore’s shoes?

Well, obviously this is a matter of opinion but I don’t share yours. At all. Sandman, the Nightly News, Concrete, Blankets, Jimmy Corrigan, and Box Office Poison are, just off the top of my head, FAR superior books. Given time I’m sure I could come up with many more. I’d even go as saying that Moore’s own Miricleman, Swamp Thing and V have aged much, much more gracefully and aren’t so obviously time-bound.

So yes, Watchmen is great, and it helped pave a whole new path and raised the bar of it’s respective medium but let’s not get ridiculous, k?

Alan Moore criticizing DC for using his ideas is hilarious. The Watchmen characters were his minor reimagining of the Charlton characters DC had just bought. Highly original Alan. Moore made his name at DC writing characters created by others decades ago (Superman, Batman, Watchmen, etc.) and when he left he continued to milk other people’s characters in his “original” stories (Supreme aka Superman, Promothea aka Wonder Woman, LXG aka famous ficitional characters from Victorian times). Guess what Alan, there wasn’t supposed to be a sequel to Dracula, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Dr Jekyll or any of those other stories either. Didn’t stop you though.

And to the poster who complained that the creative teams can’t create anything original – Are you serious? Azzarello gave us 100 Bullets and Loveless. Straczynski has writren numerous popular original books and tv shows. And Len Wein created Swamp Thing, the very property on which Alan Moore first gained North American attention.

No, Alan Moore doesn’t own them, but he was supposed to. He signed a contract that stated that, a certain amount of time after the Watchmen had gone out of print, the rights to the characters would revert to Moore and Gibbons. This was at a time when no graphic novel or trade paperback had remained in print in perpetuity, as Watchmen seems likely to. So Watchmen was successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams (except mine; i had been reading Swamp Thing and Miracleman and I knew how great this was going to be since I had found Moore to be the best writer in comics history). Was Moore naive to have signed such a contract? Maybe, but forgive him for thinking that he would be treated fairly and the spirit of the contract would be upheld by DC. He way young and idealistic. DC will keep the project in print forever, even if they start losing money on it someday, so Moore will never get the rights back. That’s why he says they “stole” the Watchmen from him, and I think that is the proper characterization.

Oh, and Swamp Thing was a work-for-hire property when Wein created it. It was not covered by the kind of contract that Moore had signed for Watchmen. It was relaunched with Wein’s blessing. I believe Wein was the editor of the relaunched series, which means he actually hired Moore to continue his creation. No matter what JMS says that is a completely different situation.

And again, good luck on having JMS actually complete his work on this. Darwyn Cooke is the only creator I really respect on this project, and I kind of hate that he’s participating in this abomination. I am sure his work will be great, as always, and I sure was salivating at the though of a Minutemen prequel back when Moore mentioned doing it, but I don’t think I should buy it regardless.

Wow, Watchmen is great and all, but have the people saying he’s “Dostoyevskij, the Kurosawa, the Da Vinci” etc of comic books not read many comics at all? I mean really, guys sound so over the top I’m having trouble believing that you guys really mean what you’re saying; it’s just too much.

Any idea who will be handling the art on the Watchbabies?

— MrJM

You mean Watchmen Babies? It’s been done.

-Other Chris

Johnny Sarcastic

February 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Reunite Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse for some more Tom Strong. All of the world’s problems – solved.

“As far as I know, there weren’t that many prequels or sequels to ‘Moby-Dick.’ ”

Self-aggrandize much Mr. Moore?

What’s the next quote going to be “Watchmen is bigger than Jesus, the Beatles and NKOTB”?

DC: “Hi Alan. We’re going to take the financial risk printing this. If it’s a success we’ll keep printing it as long as it’s profitable. Of course it might flop out of the gate and we lose a lot of money in production costs. Would you rather agree to this and get paid now or risk publishing it on your own?”

Moore: “When do I get my check?”

I love Watchmen. I believe in Creator Rights. I don’t believe in sour grapes over bad business decisions for Creators.

I don’t think the Watchmen characters are so sacrosanct that nobody but Moore should be allowed to write them. But I do think that DC violated the spirit of their contract with him, and thereby stole the property from him. So I don’t care who they get to write or draw these things. I won’t buy them. For me, it’s as simple as that.

“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 at the time. “But these days I don’t want Watchmen back. Certainly, I don’t want it back under those kinds of terms.”

I am so tired of Alan Moore–and Steve Ditko, for that matter–being the Howard Hughes (minus the OCD) of comic books. Enough with the grudge, man, RECONCILE!!! We really could use it! SHEESH!

Me personally, if I was the one taking over DC Comics last year, the first thing I’d do? I’d forfeit the rights to all of Watchmen and give them right back to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons–I’d even do it in person. I’d try with all my might to reconcile with Moore and redeem the company in his eyes in the only way possible–by giving him back everything he felt was “swindled” from him. I’d rather let the original creators, no matter what their creation or their contribution to another’s creation, have their piece of the pie–or in the case of Moore and Gibbons, the WHOLE pie.

At some point this year, I will buy only one copy of Watchmen for myself, read it, and be done with it. I understand its place in pop culture (and even literary) history, but I don’t like the story because I don’t like deconstructionism–I particularly don’t like that since, because of this, and the debut of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, that the late 80’s and early 90’s (though I was a mere toddler in that particular era) were flooded with nothing but NOT superheroes, but a bunch of gun-toting psychopaths in spandex, shoulder pads and pouches who killed more often than they arrested–all while trying to ape off the success of Watchmen, but not even close to doing so.

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