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Before Watchmen is ‘a love letter’ to Moore’s creation, Dan DiDio says

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 variant cover by Jim Lee

Just as the initial reviews of Before Watchmen begin to trickle in, DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio takes to The Guardian to defend the sprawling prequel, which he calls “a love letter” to the seminal 1986 miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, and to respond to the writer’s scorching criticism of the project as “completely shameless.”

“Honestly I can understand why he might feel the way he does because this is a personal project to him,” DiDio tells the U.K. newspaper. “He has such a long and illustrious career and he’s been able to stand behind the body of work he’s created. But quite honestly the idea of something shameless is a little silly, primarily because I let the material speak for itself and the quality of the material speak for itself.”

He reiterates that DC won’t “shy away from the controversy on this – as a matter of fact we’re embracing it because we have belief in the strength of the product and stand behind it.”

DiDio also dismisses assertions by Moore that DC is “still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago,” saying that, “all the characters in all the universes and all that we do in comics, we’re constantly building on other people’s lores and legends. [...] Realistically some of Alan’s strongest works at DC outside of Watchmen were built off of characters like Swamp Thing which was created by Len Wein, Superman, Batman, so many of our great characters he’s worked on and they helped build his career.”

Although it seems highly unlikely that Moore will ever read the prequels — he’s repeatedly said he no longer has a copy of Watchmen in his house — if he does, DiDio says he hopes “he looks at them with an open mind and a chance to understand this is a love letter to what he created, and more importantly that the strength of his work is allowing other people to grow and tell other stories which will hopefully inspire other creators along the way. In the way he was inspired by the creators when he was younger, we’re hoping these ideas and these books are inspiring new people, so that we continue to grow the comics business as a whole.”

DC provided The Guardian will previews of Jim Lee’s variant covers for Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 (above) and Before Watchmen: Comedian #1 (below). The miniseries debuts June 6 with Before Watchmen: Minutemen.

Before Watchmen: Comedian #1 variant cover by Jim Lee

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Before Watchmen is ‘a love letter’ to Moore’s creation, Dan DiDio says”

And the Comedian was going to ‘make sweet love’ to Sally Jupiter.

– MrJM

A love letter to the money to be made in it

It must be hard, though, getting the order from high up to cash in on Watchmen, then try to justify it as anything other than a cashgrab.

Its easy enough, if you dont care for it, dont buy it. In comics, if enough people ignore something, it will go away.

Cashgrab? Um, everything in any business is about making money. Instead of pumping out something that you know will only make a bit of profit (or none), why wouldn’t you put out a product that you know is going to bring a ton of business to your company? It’s about bringing money to the company in order to be able to create jobs and expand your business. I don’t hear people complaining about the um-teen amount of Avengers books Marvel puts out as a cashgrab. It’s called smart marketing and smart business. I hope this does well and brings new readers to the medium.

Here’s Dan DiDio’s idea of a “love letter”:

Dear Alan Moore,

Screw you.

Love,
Dan DiDio and DC Comics

Question, not related to the vitriol:

Does anyone know if there’s a shared overarching story in these, a la Morrison’s Seven Soldiers, or if they’re just stand alone minis?

I only ask because I noticed that there’s a backup story that’s going across different minis, so I wasn’t sure if that meant the main story in each one was following the same sequence.

So Dan Didio is Dennis Hopper and Alan Moore is Kyle MacLachlan?
Because that’s the only way this ‘Love letter’ thing makes sense.

It’s less a love letter, and more of a “I still watch you when you sleep” letter. Whatever the quality of these comics (and for sure, the creators involved are very talented) I doubt there is a single one that would not be better if it were not shoehorned under a Watchmen title.

Darwyn Cooke on the day-to-day of a 40s superhero team? Sure! How about Amanda Conner on a 2nd generation teenage girl vigilante? Okay. Adam Hughes doing scientifically created man-god? I’d read it.

But when you add the blatant DC hackery… You can have the greatest chefs in the world working on your dinner, but it’s not going to taste right if their only ingredients are 20-year-old fully prepared meals…made by a better chef.

“Dear Dan Didiot, How do you sleep?”

On top of a pile of money, surrounded by many beautiful ladies.

Given the crass commercial reasoning brought up time and time again in other interviews, I find Didio’s “love letter” description to be pretty laughable. And I say that as someone who isn’t 1000% against the idea of “Before Watchmen”…I hated the idea when it was first announced, but was finding it really hard to say no to the creative teams. But the more Didio talks, the more he’s talking me out of buying these, no matter how excited I am that Adam Hughes is (FINALLY) doing interior art again.

You want to know why the mainstream comics industry is in trouble, Mr. Didio?

It’s because people like you are in charge.

“DiDio also dismisses assertions by Moore that DC is “still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago,” saying that, “all the characters in all the universes and all that we do in comics, we’re constantly building on other people’s lores and legends. [...] Realistically some of Alan’s strongest works at DC outside of Watchmen were built off of characters like Swamp Thing which was created by Len Wein, Superman, Batman, so many of our great characters he’s worked on and they helped build his career.””

I see they’re still trying this bullshit defense. It’s NOT the same as Batman, Swamp Thing or any others. WATCHMEN WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DIFFERENT.

Moore already commented on this as well, saying that he knew when creating John Constantine that it was a character who would be owned by DC Comics and be worked on by other people.

That’s NOT what Watchmen was supposed to be. DC are now attempting to re-write history and say it was clearly work-for-hire when their own comments back in the 80s suggest otherwise and support Moore’s assertions that it was a different beast. The Watchmen contract was not the same work-for-hire contract used for Batman, or Swamp Thing/Constantine, or any other characters on their roster.

It’s bullshit DC. You know it, we know it, everyone knows it. Stop trying to pretend this is perfectly innocent and just some misunderstanding. You’ve exploited and fucked over your most successful talent for decades and you’re still doing it now. And you’ll do it again and again and again if we let you. That is who you are.

Why would DC NOT want to make money??? You buncha durps! Of course they want to make freakin’ money, especially when the industry is doing so poorly! And why are Watchmen, who were originally meant to be the Archie comics superheroes that DC purchased (the Question, Blue Beetle, etc.) but retooled due to an editorial decision, off limits to other creators but Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the X-Men, and Ralph Wiggum are all open to other interpretation? Alan Moore needs to go dump in a hat, he’s obviously an egotistical jaggoff despite his incredible talent.

@RFini

I for one am absolutely sick of hearing so-called fans bring up the fact that companies have to make money when the conversation turns to the shameless behavior of DC or any other publisher for that matter. Making money is not the point of art. Not even a little bit. In fact, making money usually hinders the creative process.

I go to the comic shop every week because I like comics, not because I enjoy giving money to multi national corporations. I want the people who create the art that I love to be successful, people like Alan Moore who actually create something worth reading and enjoying. I do not care one tiny little bit if all the DC entertainment suits and yes men make money. Because it’s becoming pretty clear that DC and other companies like them have figured out that they can make more money by producing shittier comics. The lines are being drawn, are you going to support the people who create the art and stories that you love or are you going to support the shameless corporations that exploits them? Because people who pick the latter aren’t really fans at all.

It’s a floor-wax AND and a dessert topping.

“Cashgrab? Um, everything in any business is about making money. Instead of pumping out something that you know will only make a bit of profit (or none), why wouldn’t you put out a product that you know is going to bring a ton of business to your company? It’s about bringing money to the company in order to be able to create jobs and expand your business.”
I noticed that “making good comics” doesn’t appear anywhere in that description of what you think D.C.’s business plan should entail.

The last time I checked, D.C. is supposed to print comic books, not money. They aren’t the mint. Making money ISN’T their business.

Comic book companies should make comic books. Money is a means to that end, not the other way around.

I’m guessing Moore knows where to put that letter

PatheticNewGuy

May 18, 2012 at 10:49 am

I’ve heard the comic industry’s been in trouble since my high school days in the early 90′s when Marvel tried being it’s own distibutor and that blew up into a bankruptcy. And way before my time in the 1950′s with the comic code inception and all that b.s. was the end of comics. So, you know what, spare everyone the melodrama.

DC is a business and they need to make money or they lose their jobs, or worse, stop publishing comics. Anytime comic books break out of our small little community and brings attention and new readers is a great thing.

Mr. Reasonable

May 18, 2012 at 10:52 am

“Realistically some of Alan’s strongest works at DC outside of Watchmen were built off of characters like Swamp Thing which was created by Len Wein, Superman, Batman, so many of our great characters he’s worked on and they helped build his career.”
I agree with that statement. it makes Moore seem a bit hypocritical if he denies anyone to touch his work when he’s made some of his success from doing the same thing. I mean I get that Moore wanted Watchmen to be different from other comics but I really don’t think prequels will affect the original Watchmen story. They will just expand on the events described by Moore. The prequels wont retcon anything from the original story and the events of that story will be just the same. DC have even gathered a pitch-perfect team to work on these prequels which I think shows their determination to make this a success.

DC is supposed to print comic books. If those comic books don’t sell and make money, DC will not print them. If DC makes no money on comics, they quit making comics.

Worst Love Letter Ever.

What they could’ve done was reprint the books over the summer, a weekly reprint recreating the original format most people own it as a TPB anyway, and do a gallery book or two. Maybe a TPB of some really nice artwork. You want to pay tribute to it? Be respectful of the writer’s wishes.

Dan DiDio has a sick concept of love. Love and respect go hand in hand in my book. You love something you respect it. You don’t treat it like just another thing you own.

Alan Moore doesn’t even have a copy of Watchmen in his house?

The more I read of Moore’s side of the whole shenanigan, I feel less bad about it. It sounds like he shot himself in the foot and put the blame on others. It sounds like he distances himself from his own works.

Every time I read an interview with DC on this it seems like Alan Moore could knock over their offices and they would still take him back with open arms. The only person alienating is Moore himself.

Yes, Before Watchmen is a cash grab. Yes, these prolific creators could be doing more original work, but for what it is, Before Watchmen still has the chance to be something special and in no way will detract from the original material.

Talk about adding insult to injury.

““Before Watchmen is ‘a love letter’ to Moore’s creation, Dan DiDio says””

You know, like Identity Crisis was a love letter to Sue Dibny.

“Before Watchmen is ‘a love letter’ to Moore’s creation, Dan DiDio says”

You know, like Infinite Crisis was a love letter to Pantha and Phantom Lady.

““Before Watchmen is ‘a love letter’ to Moore’s creation, Dan DiDio says”

You know, like Countdown to Infinite Crisis was a love letter to the Blue Beetle.

“Every time I read an interview with DC on this it seems like Alan Moore could knock over their offices and they would still take him back with open arms. The only person alienating is Moore himself.”

Why is that a bad thing? Have you ever worked a job you hated, one where your bosses constantly took advantage of you? Would you happily skip back through the doors of that job just because “they would take you back with open arms”? Of course not. To expect Alan Moore to do the same just because of your own personal feelings toward DC and their characters is silly…writing comics is Alan Moore’s JOB, and as cool a job as that looks from the outside, you can’t blame anyone for wanting to do their job at a company that respects them and their talents.

Cant wait for this! Im sure parts of it will be great and others parts average or below average.Theres absolutely noway that this will diminish my appreciation for the original Watchmen in anyway.

Sell It Like It Is

May 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm

A love letter that is only being written because there’s money in it

Sell It Like It Is

May 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm

@Pho

You get it

Well said

The fact that he referred to these comics as “the product” pretty much tells you everything you need to know. I don’t know a single human being who would refer to something they created and cared about on anything above a commercial level as “the product.”

Jake Earlewine

May 18, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Didio has his head so far up his butt, he thinks the sky is brown.

Sell It Like It Is

May 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm

You almost have to respect the unfettered guile of these snakes like Didio though. A love letter – that’s rich

@Mundungus While it may seem that Alan Moore is a High Maintenance Prima Donna, he’s got actual reasons to be angry at DC.

Please read this interview
http://www.seraphemera.org/seraphemera_books/AlanMoore_Page1.html

It may not be the absolute truth, but at least you’ll understand what he thinks.

And he doesn’t have a copy of Watchmen not because he doesn’t stand by his past works, but because of the long, long list of things that have happened with the property.

Loathsome.

Also, don’t you generally write love letters to people who love you back?

Alan Moore does not love DC, why would be want a love letter from them?

Such a stupid fucking phrase to use. “It’s a love letter to a guy who wants nothing to do with us!”

Dan DiDio is an incompetent ignoramus.

If DC wanted to make money, they wouldn’t go about alienating their most successful and profitable talent consistently throughout the years.

How much more money could they have made if it was Before Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons?

Secondly: if DC wanted to make money (through creative individuals) then they would put in place a business model that encourages such talent to deliver their best work. Instead they alienate and/or bully creators. This is the same company that wouldn’t play ball with Gaiman when he wanted to do more Sandman?

DC Comics greatest achievement is driving the absolute best talent in the industry into the arms of their competition. They are either not as interested in making money as some of their apologists claim or they’re just really, really fucking bad at it.

Do you have a link to that Gaiman thing? I don’t doubt it in the slightest, it just seems like a really interesting story.

I can’t find it now Chris. Possibly I read it on The Beat??

Or maybe I was talking out my arse. Point still stands, damnit! :)

Here’s one link I found about how a new Sandman miniseries by Neil Gaiman didn’t happen:

http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2009/08/dc-turns-down-new-sandman-series-by.html

“DC Comics greatest achievement is driving the absolute best talent in the industry into the arms of their competition.”

If DC is the reason that Marvel has some of the writers and artists it does on some of their big books then I’m mad at DC too!

Still boycotting. alan moore created the watchmen based loosely off of old charlton heroes…hey guess what?? superman was created based loosely off of doc savage, and Hercules…and batman was based loosely off of zorro, and davinci’s flying machine. if the creator, has a problem with it, its respectful to NOT BUY the before watchmen series…especially if its just a blatant attempt at a cash grab. would superman like his creators repeatedly getting the shaft?? nope. would other heroes like the watchmen have a problem with their creator getting the legal shaft?? yup. its time fans lived morally by what their heroes would do. i find that those who say its just a comic book, are not actual fans. i also find that those who like this are blatant capitalists. heroes tend to usually try to stop people from stealing property. DC stole Alan moores work, by telling him they would not re-publish it, and the rights would revert back to him. they lied. plain and simple…is this something superman would do?? CREATORS WHO ACTUALLY CREATE FIRST!!! companies who thrive off of others hard work, last!!!

and “superhero” comics companies, who publish superheroes, should be forced by law to ACT LIKE SUPERHEROES, AND DO WHAT THEY PUBLISH HEROES TO DO. STEALING FROM CREATORS IS WRONG. and its the reason they are tanking their company.

Davey Boy Smith

May 19, 2012 at 9:18 am

While reading this I came to a realization that has me puzzled (as I consider myself to be quite a big fan of Marvel and DC comic books) – I`m not excited for these books at all. The creators, especially the writers on these books have been known to deliver mediocre work every-so-often, and there`s no reason for me to believe that they`ll produce anything of interest in these editorially-mandated comics. I don`t get the anticipation for them, just like I`m not feeling the least bit excited about the upcoming Spider-Man movie, and don`t see myself buying them when they come out or even down the line.

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. Love letter? really??? If you loved Watchmen you’d leave it alone and mess with the Charlton characters they’re loosely based on instead. It’s pretty apparent this is a cash-grab in the hopes to spawn maybe more Hollywood magic and milk yet another property to death.

“Love letter”? If DC has an iota of decency, they should NOT mention this in the FIRST PLACE! They just do this nonsense to hype this to lessen impact of the Avenger juggernaut and this Avs.X mega-event. More so, DC fans who are really want to piss-off Alan Moore (including the DC hacks and anti-Moore) will definitely defend this “love letter” propaganda/PR stunt and further infuriate Moore than ever. Rubbish, insincere, callous, capitalistic mentality! So what Alan Moore has no Watchmen copy in his house in England! Big deal! That’s his DECISION. My stand–This development further revolves/reckons my decision to DON’T GIVE A DAMN a single issue, even the covers/interior arts are illustrated/drawn by my most favorite artist of all–JIM LEE (no offense, you are just following orders, I understand that).

Although I’m not signed up for it, I’ve made my support (or, more accurately, my opposition to many of the complaints about it) for the project clear in other posts, still ‘a love letter’? A creepy stalker love letter, perhaps.

Mr. DiDio if DC’s Before Watchmen is a “love letter” should you and your company not account for the love lost between you and Mr. Moore or the Siegel family? Yes, I know it’s a “business” and that you are out to make a profit. What is DC doing in the way of creators compensation?

Don’t like it, don’t read it. What’s the big f-ing deal. they won’t make the original any less brilliant

The big f-ing deal is that DC engaged in ethically questionable behavior. They told Moore that they intended to allow the Watchmen rights to revert back to him and Gibbons. They structured the contract to allow that reversion to happen according to the publishing practices of the day. Then they went out and told the story to the comics industry press, touting what a great change this was in the way a big mainstream funnybook company could do business. I think they might have even been sincere when they said it. But that didn’t prevent them from going back on their word once the book turned out to be a best-seller. Were they within their rights according to the letter of the contract? Yes. Were they acting in the spirit under which that contract was signed? Definitely not.

Whether from the beginning or after the fact, DC lied. And they’ve been profitting from that lie ever since, through continued sales of the book, through the movie, and now through these prequels. It’s reprehensible corporate behavior that allowed them the legal theft of Watchmen, and so simply not buying the prequels isn’t enough to my mind. I think it’s something they should be called on the carpet for at every available opportunity. So as this one, for instance…

*Such as this one. Pardon the typo.

As an aside: why aren’t CBR – when given the opportunity – asking the tough questions of Didio, Lee and DC Comics?

Any interview I’ve seen with these guys – with the exception of the Guardian – throws them softball questions and never follow up on any of the clear hypocrisies or blatant untruths uttered by these guys. When Didio compares the Watchmen situation as being comparable to what Moore did with Batman or Swamp Thing or any other ‘franchise’ character, I would at the very least expect the journalist to counter that point with Moore’s assertion that they are completely separate points. Constantine falls under that context but not Watchmen. They are demonstrably different. Yet they never do.

I guess CBR are too busy getting exclusives on crappy Jim Lee Watchmen art to dare question one of their core advertisers and content providers…

Sell It Like It Is

May 20, 2012 at 7:35 am

CBR aren’t journalists – they’re fanboys

To be fair though – even when the DC guys have panels at conventions and elsewhere – nobody in the audience ever has the guts to ask a hard question either

Ok lets clear this up first of all after the way Alan Moore has defiled every literary character in public domain with Lost Girls and LXG he has no room to talk plus he basically ripped off old Charlton characters when he “created” Watchmen. Alan Moore is nothing more but a whiny hypocrite look at what he did with Supreme it was nothing more than plagerizing old Silver Age Superman stories the point is this not a sequal and DC is treating it with the care and respect it deserves by putting topnotch talent on each book so every naysayer out there can just shove it!

Sell It Like It Is

May 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Yes, the Watchmen toaster screams “care and respect”

I just read that Jim Steranko has drawn a cover for the Before Watchmen comics (not sure which one)

That’s outrageous!!! Disgusting!!

If any of you Pro-Alan Moore comic readers care about Moore you’ll grab every comic you own buy Steranko (even if it’s one he’s just drawn the cover for!!) and RIP THEM UP!!!

In fact, any comic you own by ANY of these creators is an affront to Moore and his battle for creator’s rights. If you have any integrity, if you are willing to actually stand by your supposed principles you will rip up all the comics you own that these disgusting creators have laid their hands on, and NEVER EVER buy another book written, drawn, or edited by them AGAIN!!!!

Any taker? Anyone? Anyone? Wow… the room really got quiet all of a sudden…

@ Mark Brett

C’mon Mark – rip up them comics!!! Make a stand brother!!!

James Zank – how’s the ripping going buddy?

Paul Garcia, David Bird, Defiance-Defiant, Jason Green and I will be ripping up our comics that feature any of the creators on Before Watchmen next Saturday. Let me know if you want to join the “Stand up for Moore/ Stand up for Creator’s rights/ Put Your Money where your Mouth Is” comic ripping demonstration.

Solidarity Brothers!!!!

I have a few reactions to Before Watchmen…

http://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/thoughts-on-the-before-watchmen-controversy/

As for Dan DiDio’s specific comment about it being a “love letter,” that is a patronizing statement. DC’s primary motivation for publishing Before Watchmen is to make money. Instead of just being up front about that, instead we get transparently disingenuous claims that it is being done out of respect for the original graphic novel. PR like this that is obviously such a load of bull just makes me laugh.

I preferred it when DiDio was telling people it was the responsibility of DC to exploit the Watchmen property to the fullest. That was a morally sickening position, but at least he was actually being honest about the motivations for producing these prequels.

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