Robot 6

Quote of the day | Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen guilt

“If Alan and I had done another major project together after that, the thing we had talked about was doing something bright and dreamlike, a Captain Marvel kind of thing that was kind of mythic and close to a fairy tale in a way. Alan did go on to do that with Supreme and other things.  It was never really our idea with Watchmen to say, ‘Here is how superhero comics ought to be.’ It was just, ‘Here’s a possible way to tell this story that you haven’t seen before.’ After that we were ready to see other ideas that we hadn’t seen before but instead we saw our own idea come back to us again and again. Watchmen sprang out of a love of superheroes too, we wouldn’t have spent so much time on it if we didn’t love the whole thing in the first place. But something was lost in the translation and some people thought, ‘Ah, black leather, stubble and a bad attitude, that’s the future of superhero comics.’”

Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons, on the unintended legacy
of his 1986 collaboration with Alan Moore

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“After that we were ready to see other ideas that we hadn’t seen before but instead we saw our own idea come back to us again and again.”

Indeed, Mr. Gibbons. Indeed.

that’s brilliant.

And by “some people,” he means “everyone.”

This is funny when you consider the fact that now he supports this Before Watchmen crap.

I think this was the direction things were headed before Watchmen arrived. Miller was already there to a large degree with Daredevil and TDKR. Marvel was doing a lot of grim and gritty. Watchmen was, if anything, either a reaction to the times, or to the industry, or both.

And what’s really interesting to me is that at the same time they were doing Watchmen, super-heroes comics were not being just one thing. We had a choice back then between Watchmen and the anything-but-grim Justice League. Between edgy SF in Captain Atom and Firestorm, and zen mysticism in The Question. And so on. Watchmen represents a truly wonderful time when everyone had their own vision of what a super-hero comic could be. In a smarter world, no one vision would have dominated.

I will note, lastly, that Gibbons did his own lighter take when he and Steve Rude gave us World’s Finest. It’s a shame no one seemed to remember that one.

Mid 80’s Marvel tended to go dark and would tend to “kill” characters during final issues. The Defenders, Power Man and Iron Fist, and Squadron Supreme are three that I can think of that ended dark. The Defenders led to X-Factor which led to a darker version of Xavier’s dream. The Mutant Massacre would come along and darken the X-Men and New Mutants.

I don’t think Watchmen deserves as much credit–or blame–for the turn towards the Dark Side as DKR. After the two came out the industry didn’t become dominated by stories asking deep questions about the morality of costumed vigilantes, rather it began a trend towards over the top, sociopathic violence.

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