Robot 6

Alan Moore’s Antichrist is a lot like Harry Potter

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 2009 by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill is due out this week, and the U.K. newspaper The Independent zeroes in on what everyone will be talking about: The Antichrist has arrived, and he sounds an awful lot like Harry Potter:

Though the words “Harry Potter” are never mentioned, the allusions are unmistakable. One section features a magical train hidden between platforms at King’s Cross station which leads to a magical school. The Antichrist character has a hidden scar and a mentor named Riddle. (Lord Voldemort, born Tom Riddle, is Harry Potter’s arch enemy in the Potter series.) Characters resembling both Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger also appear and, at one point, the Potter character kills someone with a lightning bolt from his flaccid penis.

So is Moore lining himself up with the religious fanatics who were burning the Harry Potter books in parking lots a few years ago? Of course not. Reviewer Laura Sneddon, who has actually read the book, says Moore is using the boy wizard to critique modern popular culture:

The headlines almost write themselves – “Alan Moore says Harry Potter is the Antichrist!” – yet they miss the point. When the Antichrist is met, overgrown and high on anti-psychotics, raging at the education system that let him down and sounding peculiarly like Harry Enfield’s teenage Kevin, he is surely no stand-in for one particular character but of the current obsession for replacing stories with money-generating franchises. Today, film rights are bought before publication, comics are written as storyboards, and teenage celebrities are given memoirs.

Plus a little bit of controversy can’t hurt sales, can it?

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125 Comments

yet ANOTHER instance of Moore using someone else’s characters in ways the creator never intended.

Man, that DC sure are jerks for making new Watchmen stories. Obviously THEY are the Antichrist, not Harry Potter.

You’d have a point if and only if Moore released this issue as “BEFORE HARRY POTTER,” starring all the actual Harry Potter characters rather than parody versions of them, using the Harry Potter trade dress, through Harry Potter’s publisher, exploiting a loophole in a contract he arranged with Rowling, over Rowling’s explicit and unequivocal objections, following a two-decade string of mistreatment and broken promises.

Ziggy, it’s not at all using someone else’s character. He’s using the themes as an allegory, the exact same way that Mike Carey has used Harry Potter (Tom Taylor) analogues in his Unwritten to illustrate a point and commentary on society. It’s not like his usages of Mina Harker and the others in LXM.

Yes, yes, all that, right. But besides that…!

C Michael Hall

June 18, 2012 at 7:28 am

Oh, but someone will justify Moore’s use as having loftier “intent” and thus a completely different kind of (justifiable) derivative use. Any second now…

What you guys are missing is Moore’s loftier intent and… oh, I see. Okay.

Moore never met a story he didn’t copy

Anybody who refuses or doesn’t know how to use his computer machine to google “fair use” is excused from having an opinion on this subject.

The Beast Of Yucca Flats

June 18, 2012 at 7:50 am

‘Moore never met a story he didn’t copy’

Yeah! It’s almost like he thinks he’s The Big Two or something!

Obviously I can’t speak for Moore, but I firmly believe that just like all the other literary (public domain) characters in LoEG, if Moore had the right to do so this character’s name would be Harry James Potter, and he wouldn’t give a shit what Rowling had to say about it.

Also, Sean, you obviously have no idea what the definition of a loophole is. An explicitly written work-for-hire contract that includes a rights reversion clause that doesn’t get enacted is not exploiting a loophole. loopholes aren’t explicit. That Moore ASSUMED it meant after the release of issue 12 doesn’t make it a loophole.

Is it a loophole that Sony keeps making Spider-Man movies instead of letting the rights revert back to Marvel? Or is it just the explicit terms of the contract?

how exactly is raging at the education system a critique of modern pop culture? I dont get that…

Wow, the DC dittoheads are out in force, eh?

Get over yourselves. There’s a huge difference between using a bunch of public domain characters and doing something new with them, and basically recycling someone’s ideas using obscure characters in a cynical money grab.

I mean, have you enjoyed all of the various Sherlock Holmes movies? What about the James Bond movies?

All of them are based on characters created by someone else. All are different interpretations, especially the current Guy Ritchie Holmes movies and the BBC Sherlock series. Unless you’re going to condemn those productions, you might want to zip it until you have a valid point and not just aimless snark because you don’t like Alan Moore.

I’m not crazy about Alan Moore lately (the LOEG stories have gotten weaker), but his detractors have no real leg to stand on right now.

I don’t think anyone is saying Moore can’t use characters (or not-even-thinly veiled versions thereof) of other people’s works. Although I’d argue he does it way too much.

However, he shouldn’t complain when others do it to him.

Cash? Meet Alan Moore’s grabbing hands.

lol.. I say that facetiously. There’s no chance that invoking Harry Potter, and all the related controversy is in any way meant to drum up more sales.

Matthew Halteman

June 18, 2012 at 8:15 am

My decision to stop reading the “LOEG” series after the second installment is continuing to work out pretty well for me.

“A lightning bolt from his flaccid penis”? Seriously? To all who still read Moore’s current work, please enjoy. I’m happy to re-read what has come before and remember how good he used to be.

Should also point out that Moore doesn’t just do that for his own works. I recall him complaining that DC was using some elements from his Green Lantern stories (Mogo, etc.), that he most certainly did do as work-for-hire and thus DC has every right to use those things.

Originality is indeed an overused word. Why can’t we just judge the book (and the creators themselves) on how it is executed and other literary merits, not just on the controversies surrounding it?

Marilyn Merlot

June 18, 2012 at 8:19 am

Moore was using that to make a point about DC’s lack of new ideas, that essentially they were mining his old stories for content decades later.

I found even League 1 and 2 rather weak.

Can you honestly not see any difference between what Moore is doing with LoEG (and what Ellis did with PLANETARY, for that matter) — that is, using characters from pop culture’s past or analogues thereof in order to make larger points about the psychosocial underpinnings of genre tropes and what the audience’s embrace of those tropes says about our relationship with our fictions — and what DC is doing with BEFORE WATCHMEN, (i.e., setting up the milking stool beside the old cash cow and reaching up for one last squeeze)?

Nobody, but nobody, ever bought an issue of LoEG because they were a big fan of Mina Murray out of DRACULA, and were curious to see what she’d get up to in the 20th Century. or if amnyone ever did, they were sadly disappointed because that’s not really what the books are about at all.

BEFORE WATCHMEN, though, is predicated entirely upon people being fans of Nite Owl or whomever and wanting to see what their crime-fighting careers were like. And that’s what BEFORE WATCHMEN is delivering: nothing more, nothing less.

Which is not only completely different from what Moore does with other people’s characters in LoEG and elsewhere, but also manages to completely miss the point of WATCHMEN, as well. It’s so utterly wrong-headed, on so many different levels, that it’s actually kind of wondrous.

Well, at least now we can’t whine exclusively on Moore mining just public domain novels, or decades-old superhero comics. Now he’s having to raid the recent, still-in-print, best-seller lists. I can’t wait to see how he uses Katniss and Bella in tour-de-force example of his towering creativity.

To paraphrase Moore, “Why can’t Moore just make up NEW characters?”

I wish people like CLOWES who turn out ten times better work than MOORE nowadays would get the attention instead….

but then again it’s the aging superhero fanboy (who read Watchmen in his teens) who buys most comics these days….

Bolts of lightning from willies…?

I used to draw stories like that.

When I was seven.

I keep hearing how DC has every right to use the Watchmen characters or whatever….that still doesn’t make it RIGHT or a good idea.

And yeah, I feel the same about Kirby’s NEW GODS. DC really has botched those characters and should probably not use then anymore.

then = them

Yes, Moore (like DC) is legally in the right to do this. However, if “legally in the right” is the be all and end all of the ethics of a situation, then Moore and his defenders have no right to criticize DC for what they did.

Can’t wait to see all the bloggers and internet posters go through impossibly intricate mental gymnastics worthy of the Cognitive Dissonance Olympics to try and justify why it’s okay for Moore to use (and crap on) JK Rowling’s characters but DC using (and trying to respect) his characters is evil.

Matthew Halteman

June 18, 2012 at 8:52 am

Actually, Jack Fear, the entire reason I was interested in reading “LOEG” in the first place was to see a writer of Moore’s caliber teaming up various characters from 19th century adventure literature and seeing what fireworks and interesting character dynamics were explored. I’m pretty sure that’s also what many others thought when they first saw the first promotional image of the hands of the various characters joined together. And that’s why I enjoyed the first two “LOEG” series, because that was exactly what they were, along with some brilliant exploration of the connective tissue amongst various other works of literature and historical events of the period.

So “using characters from pop culture’s past or analogues thereof in order to make larger points about the psychosocial underpinnings of genre tropes and what the audience’s embrace of those tropes says about our relationship with our fictions” sounds fine and dandy in the hands of another writer, but I’m just not that interested in the man’s opinions about Harry Potter or his creator. Sorry.

Again, for those who are, more power to you. Me, I’ll stick with Moore’s STORIES.

I go in on this story expecting people to call Moore a hypocrite because he’s “using other people’s characters in a way they didn’t intend” because these people don’t understand how parody/satire works.

And lo and behold, I’m proven right.

This sounds brilliant. Can’t wait to read it.

Back to the topic at hand, Moore does seem to have a bone to pick with Harry Potter – I’m one of about ten people who listened to his “Unearthing” spoken word album, and at one point the narrator goes on a diatribe about Rowling and C.S. Lewis and the like, calling their writing a vaccination against the disease of language and generally describing it as bland and vapid. I’d be the first to admit Rowling isn’t the best writer, her prose is very basic, but her plot and characterisation is solid, and that’s what made the series so successful.

There are many things you can target Potter for, but I hope the satire is more sophisticated than “Harry Potter has a Thundercock”. It honestly sounds like the sort of thing someone trying to imitate Moore would include.

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

Gee, it didn’t take long for the first insipid “THIS IS JUST LIKE BEFORE WATCHMEN” post to appear. No it isn’t. Read the article. Read a book.

If you think Moore would have a problem with Darwyn Cooke writing a comic where Watchmen analogues come and destroy the notions of heroism (using said characters as a critique), then I don’t think you understand Alan Moore’s complaints at all. And if you can’t see the difference by this point, nothing can save you.

Alan Moore remains one of the greatest living comics creators/storytellers. He and Kevin O’Neill have consistently done outstanding work on the “League” books, and I can’t wait to pick up this issue.

Moore’s use of public domain characters, and his literary use of analogues of copyrighted characters, bear absolutely ZERO resemblance to the crass money-grubbing exploitation that is DC’s “Before Watchmen” product.
And the distinction isn’t even a subtle one — the two efforts are as different as night and day. I can only assume those who don’t see the difference are either unwilling to or unable to. It’s sad either way.

Kudos to publisher Top Shelf Productions for doing such a great job on these most recent “League” books. I hope the publisher can convince Moore to do more comics work for them!

I have no problem with Alan Moore doing this. I look forward to seeing his take on Harry Potter. I just want him to shut up (and for his supporters) to shut up about DC using his characters. Rail on Before Watchmen all you want because the stories, AS WRITTEN, are bad (which you can’t do until the entire story is done). But if Moore/supporters are going to rant about “creative bankruptcy”, that has to apply to Moore as well. If he can’t tell his story without appropriating someone else’s characters, then that’s creative bankruptcy. Can Darwyn Cooke, Amanda Connor, et al, tell similar stories using entirely original characters? Probably. But there’s a value in building upon already-established characters that allows you to utilize that built-in creative currency. I come in to MInutemen #1 with a pre-existing knowledge of, and feeling about these characters. I’m extremely curious to see where Cooke goes with these characters. Just like I’m curious to see where Moore goes with Harry Potter.

Is BW a cash grab for DC? Absolutely. As is EVERY comic they write. But the creators involved are approaching this as a creative challenge as would ANY storyteller about ANY story. Is there a story to tell? They say yes, so I’m going to let them tell that story and evaluate it after the fact. Is LoEG:Harry Potter a cash grab? Yes, but I’m giving Moore the benefit of the doubt that HE is infusing it with all the creativity he can muster.

If I’m going to cut Moore some slack on this, I have to cut everyone else slack. If Moore is going to be draconian about people using his characters, he has to vow only to make up his own characters and not resort to using other people’s characters, even citing “parody” or “fair use” or “public domain”.

Make up your own characters 100%, Alan Moore, of shut up.

Did any of you guys read Minutemen?

It essentially uses Nite Owl’s experiences, asking “How do I continue fighting crime in shorts and tights when a real-life superhero (Dr. Manhattan) exists?” to parallel the comic industry’s reaction to Alan Moore. In some sections, it really is a book about trying to figure out how to write superhero stories when someone whose mind works on a totally different level has come along and beat you at it.

So in a way, Cooke’s Minutemen is a lot like this story.

“If Moore is going to be draconian about people using his characters, he has to vow only to make up his own characters and not resort to using other people’s characters, even citing “parody” or “fair use” or “public domain”.”

All the sense this does not make.

Before Watchmen is being marketed as an official predecessor to Watchmen. LoEG was never intended as, and is never going to be considered, a sequel to Dracula, The Invisible Man, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, nor a prequel to Casino Royale, Get Carter and the Harry Potter series.

The distinction is really not that difficult.

I’m not talking about “marketing”. I’m talking about the moment when a creator sits down at his computer and says, “What story am I going to tell?”

And then he either says “I’ve got this great idea for a new character”, or he glances over at his bookshelf, or the best-seller list, and says, “hmm.. That Harry Potter character is pretty interesting. But if *I* was doing him, I’d do it like THIS instead.”

Or, “Hmm.. I need a villain for my story.. I’m drawing a blank…. Hey.. what if I take that Harry Potter character and twist him a bit and make HIM my villain..? Gold!”

I’m a writer myself, and I gauge my creativity and ability not on my Star Wars fan fiction (amazing though it is), but on the ORIGINAL stuff I write, and the ORIGINAL characters I create.

If Alan Moore wants to rant that “using existing characters = creative bankruptcy” then it applies to him as well. Don’t hide behind “I’m using other creators’ characters as a form of critique”. Let Alan Moore write some op-ed pieces if he has something ranty to say. But being the Comic Laureate of our age, he should be above having to continue to do parodies of other creators’ characters. Come up with some NEW characters, Alan! You’re better than that!

‘Don’t hide behind “I’m using other creators’ characters as a form of critique”.’

What exactly is wrong with that? I doubt Moore looked at Harry Potter and thought “Interesting, but what if it was like this?”; he chose Potter because it’s one of the most popular book series in the world and it’s informed our culture for better or worse. Therefore, it would be a fair target for satire, and examination of our culture, which LoEG: 2009 appears to be doing.

And if we go by your idea that writing ability and creativity only counts through original creations, you might as well throw out Moore’s run on Swamp Thing, which I would argue is better than Watchmen, since he uses existing characters.

We can chuck out Black Orchid and The Sandman too – using existing characters, both in the DC universe and in mythology and folklore; so we should probably also get rid of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and The Graveyard Book which is – by his own admission – a reskin of The Jungle Book. Gaiman’s episode of The Doctor’s Wife may be one of the best episodes in the show’s history, but he’s using the Doctor, Amy and Rory! They’re not his characters! In the pile they go!

The Kree-Skrull War? New X-Men? Marvels? Kingdom Come? They’re heavily rooted in other people’s creations, so the writers’ and artists’ work, by your definition, isn’t creative. Forgive me if I’ve misunderstood you, but that seems to be what you were saying.

lol.. I agree totally. Those are all examples of amazing creativity using other creators’ creations. So why is it, sight unseen, “creative bankruptcy” to use Watchmen characters in new stories?

There are TONS of fantastic stories waiting to be told in the Watchmen universe. I think it’s the height of ridiculousness to say that EVERYthing that could be said about the Watchmen world and characters was said in the original Watchmen series. You’re telling me that Watchmen has completely used ALL of its creative potential, but there are still more Batman stories to tell? Granted most of the Batman stories are pointless, but in spite of the THOUSANDS of Batman stories out there, we are still able to unearth a “Killing Joke”, “Year One”, Nolan Movie Trilogy, Batman animated series, “Brave and Bold” cartoon, “Long Halloween”, etc. And I’m sure there are more classics yet to come.

Let’s let the BW creators tell their stories, let’s let Alan Moore tell his LoEG stories, and then evaluate and rant AFTER they’re complete.

Just sayin’.

I’ll have to disagree with you there. Watchmen was perfectly self-contained as a twelve-issue miniseries, and was built for one purpose – to deconstruct the superhero, to show the logical limit to the “realistic” approach to superhero stories. It’s like saying we needed a prequel to Dracula that focused on Mina’s life as a music teacher.

Also, unlike Watchmen, Batman was never designed with a specific ending in mind; the character is an ongoing story. Same applies to Superman, Wonder Woman, X-Men, Spider-Man et al.

Also also, personally I thought The Killing Joke was crap. Nice artwork, but it said absolutely nothing about Batman and the Joker other than “they’re both bonkers”. Even its purpose as an origin story is suspect because the Joker flat-out admits in the comic that he remembers his past in different ways.

Even if the BW comics do add more definition to the characters and fleshes out the world further, all it can really do is just add shading to the world Moore created. This is meant to be an “homage” to his work after all, and a prequel, so the creators won’t deviate too much from the original, limiting what they can do. I can see the case for the Minutemen and maybe Silk Spectre, but we pretty much know all we need to about these characters in Watchmen. It’s just pointless detail.

Harry Potter was just John Constantine in his early years. Everyone knows that.

And as we know, Moore has no problem with people continuing the story of Constantine because that was the agreement he had with DC when he created and introduced the character with the help of John Totleban and Steve Bissette. Same with Mogo from GL or a bunch of other characters.

The main crux of the argument isn’t so much whether or not more Watchmen stories should be done (though prequels by their nature are mostly redundant creatively speaking), it’s that more Watchmen stories shouldn’t be done unless they have the express permission of both original authors. BECAUSE THAT WAS THE AGREEMENT and those were the conditons under which Watchmen was made and arguably why it was also so successful.

As for LOEG 2009, the character is never named as Potter. As is the same in Mike Carey’s The Unwritten, published by DC Vertigo. It could just as easily be mistaken for Luke Kirby from 2000AD or Timothy Hunter from Books of Magic, or many, many more. (Saying that, in keeping with LOEG’s mission statement, you’re obviously SUPPOSED to think it’s Harry Potter, one of Warner Bros. most successful franchises!)

Alan Moore has said that using HIS characters amounts to creative bankruptcy, and that DC and the individual creators should make NEW characters.

If that’s true, then what’s the line where using other people’s creations isn’t creative bankruptcy? Going by order of creation:

Harry Potter?
Nite Owl?
Swamp Thing?
Batman?
Captain Nemo?

Where’s the line when it crosses into creative bankruptcy?

Again, I would say that it depends whether the works from which these characters derive were intended to have an end. If they were an ongoing work like Swamp Thing or Batman, it’d be fine. If it’s a finished work like Harry Potter or Watchmen, probably best to leave it. 20,000 Leagues is a curious example because it does have a sequel of sorts – The Mysterious Island, which stars Captain Nemo – but it’s not part of an ongoing series so it’s a bit of a weird specimen.

All are fair game for satire, though.

Jack, don’t bother arguing with these idiots. They clearly have no idea what the difference is, and have no idea what Alan Moore is really like. They still think he’s a bitter old man, when every interview shows a jolly old fellow full of self-deprecating humor.

Idiots: When an interviewer asks you how you feel about something, it’s not “whiny” or “ranting” to give an honest answer.

Bed- And when asked your opinion on something you haven’t read, it’s not a good idea to give an opinion anyways.

Steven R. Stahl

June 18, 2012 at 10:48 am

I think it’s the height of ridiculousness to say that EVERYthing that could be said about the Watchmen world and characters was said in the original Watchmen series.

You’re confusing concepts. Moore said everything he had to say about the Watchmen in WATCHMEN. By your reasoning, every story featuring people would be open-ended, with the people in it waiting for someone to say more about them and their lives.

More can be said about a character in one close-ended story than in many open-ended ones, because the writer can have a character forced to deal with situations and make tough choices. Superman, for instance: Instead of fighting threats and romancing Lois Lane for decades to come, a writer could have him age, begin to lose his powers, find out that he can’t have children because he’s an alien, and deal with the prospect of losing his status, facing unpleasant life changes, and being unable to defend Earth from anything. What is he going to do with the rest of his life?

People who have to make hard choices with lasting consequences are in dramatic situations. In the endless superhero serials, the writers consciously avoid having characters make such choices.

SRS

Is the Alan Moore who thinks Harry Potter is the nadir of human imagination the same Alan Moore who wrote ‘Spawn: Blood Feud’?

or the alan moore that wrote “neonomicon”. mr. moore is veering pretty close to frank miller levels of self parody these days and it’s pretty sad to see.

Course, those of us who read the previous issue already knew this, but hey, that was almost a YEAR ago.

Anyway. Per The Argument: Sean T Collins pretty much nailed it two posts in; not sure why people kept talking after that.

^^Good point, sir.

I could care less if Alan Moore has written all the stories he thinks the Watchmen universe can support. I’m contending, completely outside of the “necessity” argument, that the Watchmen universe has plenty of more stories that CAN be told and told well. Both prequels, sidequels, sequels, parodies, you name it. So saying that the Watchmen story is complete and that it’s not possible to tell more, GOOD stories, is a fallacy. That argument needs to be eliminated from the equation.

Just like Darwyn Cooke brought FANTASTIC new ways of looking at Justice League, I will take him at his word that he at first turned down Before Watchmen, but then changed his mind when he came up with what he thought was a GREAT idea. First issue of Minutemen was a recap of stuff we already knew (mostly), I’ll grant you that. But I truly doubt he has five more issues of the same recap planned. Issue 1 was a necessary re-introduction into the world for both fans and new readers alike. If after six issues, we just got dramatized versions of “Under the Hood” text, then yes, it will be an abject failure.

But I’m confident that Darwyn Cooke has some great things to say in the Watchmen universe.

Here’s a conundrum:

What if someone had a neat way to directly continue Miller’s “Dark Knight” stories that either incorporated or bypassed Miller’s own sequel? Would that be considered wrong? What if it was taking the end of Dark Knight Returns and jumping forward thirty years in that future and telling stories of a new generation of heroes in that specific version of the Batworld?

hate to but your bubble guys I don’t think that is supposed to be Harry Potter notice the breasts I think that is supposed to be Orlando and on and of member of the team ho changes sex the centeries and was created by Virginia Wolf

“Alan Moore has said that using HIS characters amounts to creative bankruptcy, and that DC and the individual creators should make NEW characters. If that’s true, then what’s the line where using other people’s creations isn’t creative bankruptcy?”

The line is drawn when Alan Moore’s cultists can still pretend that everything Moore writes is satire and has some meaning deeper than filling Moore’s bank account. Using Harry Potter as the Anti-Christ serves only one single purpose: headlines guaranteed to drive up interest/sales.

No matter what you say, no matter what you do, there’s one thing that will always be certain: ALAN MOORE PREVAILS! :-)

TheGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm

“The line is drawn when Alan Moore’s cultists can still pretend that everything Moore writes is satire and has some meaning deeper than filling Moore’s bank account. Using Harry Potter as the Anti-Christ serves only one single purpose: headlines guaranteed to drive up interest/sales.

It is satire. Read the article above. Put both the disparate letters together into words and then use them to make complete sentences. Then interpret those sentences using common sense and knowledge.

And VicDeSage, do you really think that Watchmen is the same thing as Batman? Or LOEG? Because if you do, you might need to rethink that whole writing thing. Just admit you want to read Darwyn Cooke’s Watchmen comics, but don’t claim hypocricy in order to claim a moral right to do so. You don’t need to and honestly, it makes you look ignorant.

TheGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm

VicDigital, sorry.

Vic, I’ve read The New Frontier and while I really like it, it does basically repackage old work. The superheroes being kept out of WWII through the Lance of Longinus, the JSA breaking up because of HUAC, Batman changing his costume and adopting Robin so he doesn’t scare children – all things other writers came up with first. All he’s really done is consolidate everything into a single time period and added in the usual late 50’s early 60’s bugbears – racism, Communism, fear and distrust.

As much as I like Cooke’s artwork, I wouldn’t say he adds anything new to the table so much as give it a loving polish. Also, as I said earlier, the BW stories are limited by a) what they can do without contradicting what happens in Watchmen and b) their need to be “homage”, which usually means “I had no ideas so I decided to use the old stuff and claim homage”.

If you think the Watchmen universe isn’t complete, despite it very clearly having an intended ending (which is circular, as it directs readers back to Rorschach’s journal in the first panel of the first chapter), that there are still stories to tell, please share some of them. You’re a writer, you’re a creative sort. I’d be very interested to hear what you can come up with.

‘The line is drawn when Alan Moore’s cultists can still pretend that everything Moore writes is satire and has some meaning deeper than filling Moore’s bank account. Using Harry Potter as the Anti-Christ serves only one single purpose: headlines guaranteed to drive up interest/sales.’

Thanks for disregarding the fact that the Antichrist’s nature was hinted at in Volume II and painting everyone who disagrees with you as “cultists”.

So.. when Alan Moore uses someone else’s characters, it’s satire, or homage, or critique, or literary tradition, or the ‘intended serialization”. But when anyone uses Alan Moore’s characters, it’s creative bankruptcy. Got it. Thanks!

Why didn’t someone just spell it out like this from the beginning so someone like me wouldn’t make hisself look so igmorant?

…You’re still not getting it, are you?

When Moore uses other characters in his work, he’s not claiming whatever he writes is a continuation of the original work, as a sequel, prequel, sidestory or whatever. Nor is it intended to be. It’s alternate universe fiction. Nobody could ever think LoEG is an official sequel to King Solomon’s Mines, or Dracula, or The Invisible Man.

Before Watchmen, however, IS meant to be a continuation of Watchmen in the form of a prequel. It’s set in the same universe as Watchmen, and takes place up to thirty years before the original story. Even though Moore and Gibbons intended it to be a standalone miniseries.

Is it really so hard to distinguish?

Marilyn Merlot

June 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm

I’m writing the further adventures of Harvey Pekar. I don’t think the possibilities for telling stories with the character are limited just because he’s dead.

Sure, there are an untold number of stories that can be told. Not all of them have to be of Watchmen level impact. Not all of them have to have potential world-ending stakes. Look at what Kurt Busiek has done with Astro City. Amazing work examining people on the edge of the types of stories we see in comics.

What is it like for regular folks living in the Watchmen world? What’s it like working for the New Frontiersman? Can a reporter (Seymour, maybe) stumble onto some other major story that might tangentially tie in with the superheroes of the world? And even if it doesn’t, an investigation story set in that world, using non-masked characters is still pretty interesting.

If you want to look at a direct continuation of Watchmen, it’s not NECESSARY to tell the next chapter, but you COULD tell it. What’s the world like 25 years after disaster is averted? Did Rorschach’s journal make it out into the world and did it have an impact? Or is it still under wraps all these years later? Does Seymour take on the mantle of Rorschach? What would cause a Nite Owl 3 to emerge? What would the composition of a New MInutemen be? Is it any more or less crazy to attempt to be a superhero in the 21st century than it was in the 1940s or 60s or 80s? What’s the responsibility/guilt that Dan and Laurie would be feeling 25 years later about the secret they are keeping? What’s the point at Ozymandias’s rise to continued power, or getting-away-with-itness that they feel they have to do something? You’d be stepping into WAY more controversy, but what about Dr. Manhattan returning? What about him returning as a sort of Christ-figure, and attempting to lead humanity to some sort of new understanding? What about a Mars expedition to explore Dr. Manhattan’s clockwork city’s remains? What about a story told entirely from the point of view of a soldier in Viet Nam serving in the same unit as the Comedian and Dr. Manhattan? What’s it like knowing you have God on your side? As silly as heroes are, the mere continued existence of Ozymandias would surely inspire more people to attempt to put on masks, especially as new technology develops. What if someone finds some remnants of the cloth Rorschach used to make his mask, and makes his own mask and attempts to pick up the legacy, Grendel-style?

That’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure if any two or three comic lovers or professional creators get together and they can come up with a whole universe of viable ideas in one brainstorm-filled weekend. It’s a super-rich world where endless ideas can be created that plays off of, and within what’s already been established. Again, just look at what Astro City is able to do with a world.

Setting aside the Alan Moore rocks versus Alan Moore rips people off debate, I’m finding it sad that someone who wrote works of such power is becoming so narrow and cynical in his later years. I don’t know how anyone can take an objective look at the world in 1910 and surmise it’s somehow superior to 2010. That includes popular culture.

I’m not ignoring the problems of the current world and I have big bones to pick with 90% of popular fiction, movies, and the like but he appears to be making the age old mistake of taking the best of the past and comparing it to everything in the present. Is Harry Potter really that awful compared to Dracula or War of the Worlds? Sure her prose could use some work and an editor needed to tell her to cut the hell down on adverbs (Hermione asked her questioningly) but she presents a more sophisticated moral structure than popular children’s works from a hundred years ago.

Just my two cents.

As far as Moore is concerned, he DOES want you to at least THINK of his work as the continuation of the ‘official’ work. The unspoken assumption is for the reader to take everything they know about the character, and then ADD this new stuff to it. “All that stuff that happened in Dracula? It still happened, but in my story, I say this is what happened NEXT”. Moore fully expects you to acknowledge each of the original texts and then his story is the continuation.

Much like Aliens and Alien3, if Before Watchmen turns out to be great, then I’ll consider it ‘official’. If it’s crap, then it’s an imaginary story or alternate universe. Aliens is official. Alien3 never officially happened. That’s the power I have as the reader.

“What is it like for regular folks living in the Watchmen world?”

Pretty much the same as our world except with zeppelins, electric cars and weird cigarettes. The world of Watchmen was constructed to be similar to ours but for a few details that differentiated it.

“What’s it like working for the New Frontiersman? Can a reporter (Seymour, maybe) stumble onto some other major story that might tangentially tie in with the superheroes of the world? And even if it doesn’t, an investigation story set in that world, using non-masked characters is still pretty interesting.”

Like what? The superheroes have all gone, all you could find is them revealing an identity – and given how right-wing the New Frontiersman is, and how they stand up for masked heroes, I doubt they’d do that. An investigation “using non-masked characters” just sounds like another police procedural with nothing distinctive about it.

“Did Rorschach’s journal make it out into the world and did it have an impact? Or is it still under wraps all these years later?”

The New Frontiersman will publish anything, especially since the editor is annoyed at the current “everybody loves everybody” atmosphere going on.

“Does Seymour take on the mantle of Rorschach?”

That’s a terrible idea. He’s an out-of-shape apathetic teenager and I don’t think I need to read his story, which will basically be a retread of Rorschach’s.

“What would cause a Nite Owl 3 to emerge?”

Do we really NEED a third Nite Owl? Unless it’s a Jaime Reyes situation where the bearer gets possessed by the spirit of Pallas Athena, which wouldn’t really fly in a world grounded in reality.

“What would the composition of a New MInutemen be?”

See above.

“what about Dr. Manhattan returning? What about him returning as a sort of Christ-figure, and attempting to lead humanity to some sort of new understanding?”

That’s a terrible TERRIBLE idea. Manhattan gives not one fuck for humanity.

“What about a Mars expedition to explore Dr. Manhattan’s clockwork city’s remains?”

Which would probably lead to nothing but an increased belief/fear of alien invaders.

“What about a story told entirely from the point of view of a soldier in Viet Nam serving in the same unit as the Comedian and Dr. Manhattan? What’s it like knowing you have God on your side?”

That would yield nothing but more of the “War is hell” and “Gosh, I feel pointless” malarkey.

“As silly as heroes are, the mere continued existence of Ozymandias would surely inspire more people to attempt to put on masks, especially as new technology develops.”

Ozymandias retired. To the public eye, only Adrian Veidt exists.

“What if someone finds some remnants of the cloth Rorschach used to make his mask, and makes his own mask and attempts to pick up the legacy, Grendel-style?”

Most of your ideas seem to be predicated on the usual superhero comic shtick of the legacy character, which just locks Watchmen into a narrative loop which the comic was designed to avoid and makes it just another hero book. Really, if you’re going that far in the opposite thematic direction, why even have it in the Watchmen universe? Make your own damn cape story.

Grant Morrison’s meant to be doing a Multiversity story called “Pax Americana”, which would apparently be Watchmen but with the original Charlton characters and set in the 21st century. It will probably explore different themes to Watchmen, but since it’s not related to that, it has free reign to tread its own ground. Watchmen, on the other hand, has very clear set themes, and to make a follow-on or a prequel that deviates from those themes would undermine that message.

Moore intended to show a world where the superhero showed up and nobody had any need for him, and spent 12 issues proving why that was so. If you want to construct an alternate world like Watchmen where the superhero turned up in a time of need, go ahead! Don’t piggyback it onto someone else’s work, especially if its ideas are so very different to yours.

And yes, this applies to LoEG. It’s set in a world where the Middle Ages were filled with Cimmerians, where Bertie Wooster has tea with Lovecraftian horrors, and where Charlie Chaplin invaded Poland. That’s an alternate world, and one very different to all the media it references. Just so we’re clear.

tl;dr If someone wanted to do an alternate universe version of Watchmen, I wouldn’t have a problem.

Jack Flash you are wrong.

Moore himself wanted to do a prequel.

TheGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 18, 2012 at 2:13 pm

“If you want to look at a direct continuation of Watchmen, it’s not NECESSARY to tell the next chapter, but you COULD tell it. What’s the world like 25 years after disaster is averted? Did Rorschach’s journal make it out into the world and did it have an impact? Or is it still under wraps all these years later? Does Seymour take on the mantle of Rorschach? What would cause a Nite Owl 3 to emerge? What would the composition of a New MInutemen be? Is it any more or less crazy to attempt to be a superhero in the 21st century than it was in the 1940s or 60s or 80s? What’s the responsibility/guilt that Dan and Laurie would be feeling 25 years later about the secret they are keeping? What’s the point at Ozymandias’s rise to continued power, or getting-away-with-itness that they feel they have to do something? You’d be stepping into WAY more controversy, but what about Dr. Manhattan returning? What about him returning as a sort of Christ-figure, and attempting to lead humanity to some sort of new understanding? What about a Mars expedition to explore Dr. Manhattan’s clockwork city’s remains? What about a story told entirely from the point of view of a soldier in Viet Nam serving in the same unit as the Comedian and Dr. Manhattan? What’s it like knowing you have God on your side? As silly as heroes are, the mere continued existence of Ozymandias would surely inspire more people to attempt to put on masks, especially as new technology develops. What if someone finds some remnants of the cloth Rorschach used to make his mask, and makes his own mask and attempts to pick up the legacy, Grendel-style? ”

All of these ideas do nothing but detract from the point, themes and purpose of the original work. There is a reason people usually don’t publish fan-fiction sequels to major works of literature.

Wow! Do you pee in your own Cheerios every morning, or do you have someone do it for you?

Have you ever read Grendel? Have you ever read Astro City? Have you ever read Neil Gaiman’s Miracleman? All of those take the fascinating world of the original story and spin it off into amazing new directions. Moore’s Miracleman especially seemed to have reached a point of completion, and when it was announced someone else would be coming in to take over (albeit hand-picked by Moore), there was outcry that anyone else continuing the story would ruin it. But then that person turned out to be Neil Gaiman, and even though that story has yet to be completed, it was shaping up to be an amazing continuation of what looked like a story that had nowhere else to go.

If your imagination is so limited that you can’t even comprehend the possibility of new stories being set in the Watchmen universe, then I can only pat you on the head and say “Good luck with that, old chap!”

“Hurm… Not even in the face of BeyondWatchmageddon will I compromise. Never compromise.”

IT’s always the same. Someone you like does something, you can find any number of ways to justify it and why it’s good. Someone you dislike does the exact same thing, it’s bad of them, etc….

Meh, all this talk really does to me is make me want a REAL Harry Potter comic even more than I already do!

mckracken, I’m aware some ideas for prequel series to Watchmen were thought up by Moore and Gibbons. They also both felt the stories wouldn’t actually go anywhere. Also, Moore said that “They (DC) offered me the rights to Watchmen back, if I would agree to some dopey prequels and sequels” and “if they said that 10 years ago, when I asked them for that, then yeah it might have worked”.

In other words, the idea for a prequel wouldn’t have come from his own volition, but from editorial demand.

Vic,

Seems like everything you want has been done by DC, and to an extent of what someone did in a universe they created themselves. You already mentioned it, Astro City, a book that followed the Watchmen tradition of making new things. Which is surprisingly something claim to want, but not really.

Mckracken,

Yeah, but he and Gibbons changed their minds

Yes, they’ve all done this in DC’s sandbox, and in Marvel’s sandbox, and in their own sandbox, and an endless string of talented writers and artists will come up with fascinating takes on each of these universes for years and decades to come. And many of these same creators will come up with astounding Watchmen stories, in spite of DC’s editorial mandates to make crap. The Watchmen universe is as fertile a ground as ANY other created universe.

Vic,

One more thing, why is your imagination so limited stories for other people and not for your own?

No Jack Flash. This is from 86 and it wasn’t a dopey idea on his part:

Moore stated in 1985 that if the limited series was well-received, he and Gibbons would possibly create a 12-issue prequel series called Minutemen featuring the 1940s superhero group from the story.[

Also: Gaiman’s Miracleman issues are very, very, really horribly bad.

TheGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Anyone with a working imagination could think of new stories that could be set in the world of Watchmen. That’s not exactly the point, is it? Nobody is saying that Watchmen sequels can’t be done. You can do sequels to almost any piece of art. The question is ‘should they?’ What effect will it have on the original work? All of the ideas you expressed above contradict parts of the novel. You want them to expressly answer whether New Frontiersman published Rorshach’s journal or whether the world fell apart? That question was left vague by design, why have somebody else answer it?

Seriously? I love all sorts of stories. I am currently enjoying Before Watchmen (the two issues we have so far), but I love Moore’s Swamp Thing, Miracleman, and V for Vendetta. I love Astro City. I love Matt Wagner’s work. And I love my own stories I’m working on (100% of which are original and especially non-Watchmen related).

I don’t have to LIKE every story I read, but I respect the creator’s right to make them. I have NO problem with ANY of Alan Moore’s work, and I look forward to many more years of amazing stuff. I just choose to apply the same acceptance to the creators of other works, including Before Watchmen. Either it will be good or it won’t, based entirely on the skill of the creators involved. How narrow-minded to think that it’s IMPOSSIBLE for someone to create a good story set in the universe of Watchmen.

My feeling is Before Watchmen just works within the framework of what the previous book established and tries to fill in whatever blanks they can.

LOEG takes these characters and throws them in a new context and basically recreates them as something else.

NO story needs to be continued. That’s just a silly argument. Assuming Nolan’s “Dark Knight Rises” is as good as the first two, I think that pretty much is the definitive take on Batman.

Or was Miller’s Dark Knight Returns the definitive take on Batman?

Alien was the definitive take on the Alien story.

Godfather was the definitive take on the Corleone family.

Star Wars was the definitive take on Star Wars.

With each of those, there are examples of GREAT sequels and prequels (both cinematic and literary), and TERRIBLE examples. Thank heavens some executive didn’t poo-poo on Aliens because the first movie was considered sacred or “complete”. I hate the prequel trilogy, but love Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire trilogy. I think Clone Wars cartoon redeems the concept of Star Wars prequel universe. A couple of the Godfather prequel novels are pretty good. Not groundbreaking, but pretty good. Nolan’s Batman will be hard to top, but there’s going to be a “next Nolan” who will come in with a completely different take on Batman and make an amazing film or series of films. Or, he might come in and be the next Joel Schumacher. Who knows?

I don’t WANT or NEED someone to answer or expand upon the questions left unanswered (or unasked) by the Watchmen graphic novel, but if someone is going to make a story addressing those, I’ll listen.

(And Gaiman’s Miracleman was pretty great, what we had of it. It was really building towards something neat, and I hope he gets the chance to finish it one day).

TheGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 18, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Reason——–>Brick Wall<————-You

Nobody is saying that it is impossible to create new stories in the world of Watchmen. Clearly it isn't. I assume that the few issues of Before Watchmen that have been released aren't blank pieces of paper.

The question is should one of the biggest comic book companies be doing authorized fan-fiction stories that are meant to essentially provide a prologue to a work of literature that was meant to, and has remained, a completely self-contained novel. And not only doing that, but doing it against the wishes of the guy who wrote the novel in the first place.

Basically, what DC is doing is making Watchmen a 'property' (man, what a gross word) like Batman and Superman. I think that takes away from what makes Watchmen different from Batman and Superman and you haven't exactly proven me wrong with the ideas you put forth.

And yeah, reading the same stupid and vapid ALAN MOORE DOES IT TOO arguments makes a guy kind of hostile. This article couldn't make it more clear that Alan Moore is not using Harry Potter as envisioned by JK Rowling and nobody with a functioning brain would think that that Alan Moore's work has anything to do with the world of Harry Potter. Which is the opposite of what DC wants with Before Watchmen. If people want to enjoy their comics, go ahead, but don't try the old "double-standard" technique to justify your actions. Think of a real reason…like you just want to read these comics.

And yet, I see Watchmen also clearly as fan fiction. It takes a spin on an established genre/characters and asks very simple questions:

what if Batman was fat, middle aged and an underachiever?
what if the Question was an obsessive compulsive schizophrenic?
And so forth.

Watchmen was ALWAYS a property. I’ve got PLENTY of Watchmen merchandise from the original era. The DC Roleplalying sourcebooks and game modules (created with Moore’s and Gibbon’s input and/or cooperation), portfolios, t-shirts, hats, pins. This thing was the most heavily publicized comic I’d ever seen leading up to, and throughout the life of the original series. Just because they DIDN’T make a prequel (as Moore stated he was planning on doing) doesn’t make it any less of a property. Watchmen was created not as a patronage of some sort of lofty artistic ideal, but as a way to make MONEY. It was always intended to make money. They would have made prequels/sequels long ago, but were always waiting on Moore’s involvement, and it’s only now that (regardless of the ethics of it) that he’s for sure not going to participate that they are choosing to continue.

It’s amazing it went this long without it’s property-ness showing up. There’s never been anything sacred about Watchmen as opposed to any other property except in the romantic fantasy of purists minds.

I also hate to break it to you, but just like Bucky was brought back to life, Captain Marvel will one day return from the grave, because like all the other characters, he’s a property.

All you have to do for Watchmen to NOT be a property in your mind is to ignore all the ancillary merchandise. It’s up to YOU if you choose to accept or ignore any of the prequel or sequels. Just like the Watchmen movie didn’t change the original comic. Nite Owl’s costume still looks like it does in the original comic, despite what the design looks like in the movie.

See how that works?

If I don’t like the Before Watchmen books, I’ll just pretend they don’t exist.

You know what else I choose not to acknowledge? Dark Knight Strikes Back, and All Star Batman and Robin. As far as I’m concerned, Dark Knight Returns and Year One stand unmolested by Future Miller.

That’s how easy it is to shrug it off if Before Watchmen turns out to be as horrible as you hope.

@ Jack Fleah

While Watchmen told the story that Moore wanted to tell, your apparent argument that that is where the story must necessarily end strikes me as something of an “…and they lived happily ever after,” argument: Here endeth the story, Selah!

Stories like Fables, or Moore’s LoEG, or innumerable others, START from the premise that “happily ever after” doesn’t exist — that Rapunzel’s beautiful hair is going to turn grey and brittle, that the Little Mermaid is going to find that things get saggy and baggy when you live on land that DON’T when you live in the eater, and that princes who have a fetish for kissing pretty dead girls that they’ve never met may not be stable husband material — might make for interesting stories, even if the original writer never intended those stories to be told.

Personally, I think that the story of what happened to the world after the events in Watchmen could be utterly fascinating:

DID the New Frontiersman publish Rorschach’s diary?

Given that the N.F. is apparently something of a niche magazine, did the mainstream media pick up on the story or relegate it to “one of those fringe conspiracy-nut rants” status?

What about the two detectives that we saw in the story…? Given how diligently they followed Rorschach for violating the Keene Act; If they were aware of the publication of the diary, would they have gone after Veidt because — as with Rorschach — bringing him to justice was the right thing to do? (Actually, the “two regular cops follow the trail of a mystery into a world that is bigger and stranger than they could ever imagine” was the initiator to the story in Robert Shea’s and Robert A. Wilson’s Illuminatus trilogy, which isn’t a completely terrible tradition to be following in.) Yes, I know — they were apparently killed by Veidt’s psy-bomb. Suppose, instead that they were among the ones merely driven mad…? If they recovered but started echoing the rantings in the N.F. that the “alien invasion” was the work of billionaire philanthropist Adrian Veidt, what would become of them? Would they give up? Would they continue investigating secretly?

If other media DID pick up the story, what happened to Veidt? What was the public’s reaction to Veidt (the man who obeyed the Keene Act, gave up the costume and killed thousands if not millions) and Rorschach, Nite Owl, and Silk Specter (who violated the Keene Act and put the masks on in an attempt to SAVE those lives)?

What does the World’s Smartest Man — the ultimate Golden-Bay hero — do when his megalomaniacal plan is exposed and the bodies are laid on his doorstep?

Were the “masks” (as a concept, not necessarily these individuals) vindicated? Was the Keene Act repealed? If so, did Dan and Laurie stay in retirement? Did Dan ever get over his “little problem”?

What happened once Dr. Manhattan was driven away and the truth about the non-existent “alien invasion” came out? Was the nuclear arms race resumed, with the U.S. in last place? Was it replaced by a “psy-bomb” race?

What was the REAL result of the events in Watchmen, once we shake off the original author’s arbitrary “…and they lived happily ever after”?

Do these stories necessarily have to involve masks and capes…? Nope, although they COULD.

More importantly, as the original story echoed the ’40s, ’60s, and ’80s, and their attendant neuroses, what could be said about the first years of the 21st century by using its elements and themes?

@CutterMike

Amen, brother. These stories don’t NEED to be told, but if they were, I’d check them out to see if it had something interesting to say.

@VicDigital

Just to point out, there are two arguments against BW: one is the ethical argument, the other is narrative. The narrative argument against BW is that a prequel is unneccessary because everything you need to know is contained in the original work. You can argue this, which is fine.

The ethical argument, however, is that the contract DC had with Moore and GIbbons was that no further work/merchandise/anything else would be done without the express written permission from BOTH creators. That agreement has been broken.

The arguments have a lot in common – in that the ethical argument naturally leads to the narrative argument – but it’s important not to confuse the two.

As for creative bankrupty (whoever it was mentioned this above): the argument here is that DC are unable or unwilling to create new stories with as much power and influence as Watchmen that they feel the need to retroactively defraud one of their most consistently successful writers in the history of their company and unneccessarily plunder a work that was always intended and, for many, only truly works if taken as a complete, self-contained work.

Alan Moore also created John Constantine and seems fine with others working on that character and creating new stories for him. In fact, there’s an enthusiastic pull quote from Alan Moore on the back of the trade collection for Hellblazer: Hard Time, by Brian Azzarello and Richard Corben. Because when introducing Constantine, Moore knew the deal that this was a character that would be worked on and expanded by other writers. Same goes for Mogo and some other GL characters.

But DC promised and signed a contract that was wholly different for Watchmen and THAT work and those characters were created and published on a different understanding. A contract which they have now broken/ignored. Therefore, for many people, they feel like no Watchmen stories should be done as they do not have the express permission of the author to do so.

@TheGuyWhatSaysStuff

” What effect will it have on the original work? ”

ZERO. It only has the effect you allow it to have. It just galls you to know that at some point in the near future, the conversation about Watchmen will include offhand phrases like, “That was pretty cool when Silhouette rescued that kid. I can see why Hollis Mason loved her.” You’ll go apoplectic insisting “But that never happened except in that bastardized prequel! That’s not canon!!!” And then you’ll go back into the real world and reinforce all the nerd stereotypes on Big Bang Theory.

Wow, people are really confused and misinformed about this issue. But it doesn’t keep them from voicing strong opinions about it

The last line of the article says:

“Plus a little bit of controversy can’t hurt sales, can it?”

If you think Moore is in it for the money at this point, you are high. He’s turned his back on corporate comics and is now only published under nearly unknown imprints. Can you even name the imprint this comic was published under – you have to have a blood-hound’s nose to even find it in Previews

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm

“ZERO. It only has the effect you allow it to have. It just galls you to know that at some point in the near future, the conversation about Watchmen will include offhand phrases like, “That was pretty cool when Silhouette rescued that kid. I can see why Hollis Mason loved her.” You’ll go apoplectic insisting “But that never happened except in that bastardized prequel! That’s not canon!!!” And then you’ll go back into the real world and reinforce all the nerd stereotypes on Big Bang Theory.”

Dude, you’re talking to the wrong guy. I’m the one concerned with keeping Watchmen a piece of literature. You’re the one wanting it to be more like Batman and talking about your Star Wars fan-fiction and coming up with your own fan-fiction ideas for Watchmen. I’d back off the ‘nerd offensive’

By the way, I like how you claim that it will have no effect and then claim it will have an effect one sentence later.

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 18, 2012 at 5:40 pm

And you know what you’ll never hear? “Hey, I really like the Harry Potter books…” “Yeah, I liked the part where he was the AntiChrist and had to be overcome by the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.”

Which kind of proves the point you’ve somehow been unable to grasp this entire time.

@ThatGuyWhoSays

LOL – yeah. It’s kind of like saying “Remember when Mad Magazine did Superduperman? Why did Superman do all of those weird/funny things?”

Pretend ‘Before Watchmen’ didn’t exist. Instead, pretend DC announced a partnership with some hip sculpting company to produce a Comedian statue. A bust, whatever. And it looked really cool. Special edition. Limited.

Would everybody, including Moore, be FREAKING OUT? Probably not. Money would be made, and we would all forget.

Now go home and tear up all the comics in your collection featuring writers and artists working with characters they did not create. And don’t stop there…all of the cartoon spin-offs, that Green Lantern t-shirt you wear for pajamas, that Batman figure you bought your son, that Spidey vidya game you adore so much, hell, DESTROY IT ALL, purists.

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Yeah. That now wins the award for worst argument in this thread. Congratulations.

Before Watchmen will have ZERO effect unless you LET it. So what if someone brings up Silk Spectre’s teenage years where she punched that girl in the nose? If you don’t want to acknowledge it, just don’t. It’s super easy.

And you completely missed the point that I was mocking my own fan fiction. Yeah, it’s totally nerdy, but the difference is, I have fun with it. I have no problem making fun of it. I don’t feel the need to go around telling people they shouldn’t read something just because I don’t feel it’s worthy of being written or because the writer of the original threw out some nerd bait such as “if you’re not with me, you’re against me.” Clearly you are with him. Awesome! Good job! I’m also with him, but I don’t have to follow his rules to consider myself an Alan Moore fan. I can read Before Watchmen and, somehow, still be able to appreciate original recipe Watchmen. As I type this, I’m seeing my Absolute Edition of Watchmen in the prime position on my media shelf. Still love Watchmen. To my knowledge, the existence of Before Watchmen has not caused any of the words or pictures in my Absolute Edition to spontaneously change. I’d also venture to guess that your Watchmen also remains relatively unchanged over the past two weeks since BW was released. I could be wrong, because you are clearly a much more devoted fan of Alan Moore than I am, so your copy of Watchmen might be more sensitive to external forces than mine.

Couldn’t really care less about what Alan Moore does.
I’ve never been much of a fan of anything he’s done.

I just wish he wasn’t doing it with Kevin O’Neil.
O’Neil should be back working with Pat Mills and doing more MARSHAL LAW books!

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Dude, I’m not even reading Before Watchmen. I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about in regards to Laurie, nor do I care. But the fact is, I don’t get to decide what is ‘canon’ and what isn’t. As far as DC is concerned, this is the prologue to Watchmen. It is now part of the Watchmen story. I can ignore it, but that doesn’t make it go away. Just like ignoring Star Wars prequels doesn’t make them go away.

You don’t get to decide what constitutes Watchmen. Neither do I. And unfortunately, neither does Alan Moore apparently, who doesn’t get a say in whether or not they tag an official prologue onto his story.

Tim Hunter from Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic. Harry Potter shows up later . Not terribly original. Harry Potter is a self-contained universe, as is Watchmen. League,not so much. In fact, I’m rather surprised Watchmen analogues haven’t shown up in League.

I, and you, get to ENTIRELY decide what is canon and what isn’t. You’re not going to read Before Watchmen, so you’ll never have to acknowledge Laurie’s nice guy normal boyfriend from high school. Only if you CHOOSE to read it and beyond that, CHOOSE to acknowledge it will it become part of YOUR canonical Watchmen. Technically, the DC Roleplaying Sourcebooks are canonical, but unless you make the effort to seek it out, you’ll never have to worry about any information contained within those pages. Read them or not. No one is forcing you to.

There are thousands of Batman comics I’ve never read and have no interest in ever reading and won’t ever be part of what I consider the official Batman story. For that matter, MY official Batman is made up mostly of the 90’s animated series, the Nolan trilogy, the “not-yet-insane” Miller stories, and some random goofy issues from my childhood. NONE of those intersect or line up in ANY way. But those are all canon for me. Those are the ones I care about and the ones I count as ‘official’. I could care less about any of the other Bat-stories over the years. Apparently in some other alternate continuity, Batman had his back broken by Bane. And Robin was killed by Joker. And apparently Bruce Wayne was killed and traveled through time. That’s what I hear anyway. But those events didn’t happen in any of the Batman stories I read about. However, I’m hearing that Batman has a son who is now Robin, and that Bruce has a brother who is an owl-themed villain. Those ideas sound pretty cool, so I’ll keep my eye on those stories and might add them to my list of canonical stories.

It’s MY choice. See how that works? Just because other nerds (of which I am one) are talking about when Batman wore some sort of Bat-armor, doesn’t mean I have to go berserk decrying the existence of those stories, however stupid they were. Just ignore them. Let the ignorant masses (of which I am one) enjoy our alternate universe, property-ruining unnecessary stories.

But you can’t. You’ve got a full bladder and all you see are bowls of cereal that people seem to be enjoying, and you certainly can’t have THAT. And as you let loose the floodgates of your anger, you hide behind the splashguard of making a stand for poor Alan Moore, or some sort of murky, inconsistent ethical stance against anyone except Alan Moore using other creators’ characters without their permission. Alan Moore is a genius, so if he’s saying it, and if I’m not parroting it, that makes me the opposite of a genius. That’s TRUE, but not because I think Alan Moore is a brilliant hypocrite. I’m just not a genius anyway.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my Star Wars fan fiction magnum opus, “Force and Peace.” I’m on chapter 343, when Jethro Skywalker (great-grandson of Luke) is about to break into the command center of the Death Star Mark VIII, a version of the space station that’s twenty times larger than the original, and is capable of blowing up entire solar systems. With him is Yodarra, the long-lost niece of Yoda, and who has even greater force powers than Yoda. In spite of their size (and species) difference, Jethro and Yodarra are in love, and plan on getting married should the Great Sith Civil War end with them still alive. But first they have to get past Emperor Fett, The half-droid granddaughter of Boba Fett who seized control of the New Republic following the Mandalorian Coup. Guarding Emperor Fett is her personal Sith bodyguard, the one-eyed Ewok Sith Lord, Darth Kudli. Kudli and Yodarra were Padawan learners together at the New Jedi Academy, but after both of them realized they were in love with Jethro, they had a duel where Yodarra came out the winner, and Kudli seeing things from a new, one-eyed perspective. She sought out the remnants of the Sith brotherhood and quickly moved up through the ranks until she found herself fighting against Darth Griffus for supremecy of the burgeoning Sith Army. Darth Kudli made short work of her former master, and finally stood alone. Now she has to face off against her former friend and lover, Jethro Skywalker. Who will win this confrontation? Find out in “Force and Peace”. Book One of the Skywalker Legacy Chronicles of the Jedi, coming to free ebookstores everywhere in 2015.

Jethro is kind of has a freaky thing for short Jedi with speech impediments.

There are Star Wars prequels!?

I like Alan Moore. I like Darwyn Cooke. I’ll read anything by them. I’ll probably enjoy it. That is all.

In my timeline, the Star Wars prequels are rendered null and void and replaced by my version. Anakin and Obi-wan are still in it, of course, but everything else is changed for the better. Best addition is that Emperor Palpatine is actually the first time-traveling Sith Lord, and is from 1000 years in the future of Star Wars (1000 years after Episode 4 and the first Death Star). Palpatine is the distant descendant of Luke, and actually turns out to be the mysterious secret father of Anakin, in essence, making Palpatine his own great-great-etc grandfather. It’s a delicious time loop paradox and SO much better than what Lucas did with the prequel trilogy or what they are doing with the Clone Wars cartoon.

Again, canon is what you make of it. Choose to use whatever stories you want, and discard all the others. Or write your own canon.

None of you have a right to say your Moore fans because none of you read neonomicon. You all denied me an ongoing by Moore making fun of h.p lovecraft. Lame

(I made this post last night for Vic’s benefit but my Internet conked out before I could publish it.)

For the record, I have read the first volume of Astro City. I am aware of Grendel. I’ve not read any iteration of Miracleman because they’ve been out of print for some while – except for the Mick Anglo stories, but they’re not germane to this conversation. Here’s the thing, though – Astro City and Grendel were DESIGNED for that purpose – the city is the main character in the former. Watchmen has a pretty closed definitive ending, and DC assured Moore they wouldn’t continue Watchmen past the 12 issues without his permission. Furthermore, Grendel has been written pretty much exclusively by Matt Wagner, with anything else done with his permission.

Miracleman ended, but there was room for future stories – it was created as an ongoing, so Moore understood that other writers would want to pick up the torch. It’s how he ended Swamp Thing. None of what happens in BW is with Moore’s approval, and Watchmen is very much his creation. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter how good any of the BW comics are – they’re not written by him, they’re not approved by him. Imagine if The Sandman resumed publication tomorrow, but Neil Gaiman wasn’t writing it – wouldn’t be the same, would it? Same principle applies here. That’s like saying Ulysses by James Joyce should have a sequel because 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has one.

And before you say it, Watchmen does not have nearly as rich and detailed a world as The Sandman.

Also, mckracken, you quoted the Wikipedia article there, but you conveniently missed out this part: “Neither man felt the stories would have gone anywhere, with Moore particularly adamant that DC not go forward with stories by other individuals.”

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 19, 2012 at 5:59 am

Your posts are no longer canon. I am just going to put my fingers in my ear and return to my bubble or replace them with posts I have written because apparently those are things you can do in the real world.

I can imagine your conversations with people. ‘I liked the Star Wars prequels” “Those don’t count and have been replaced by my own version of…” “……Yeah.”

Things don’t work like that. I don’t like Godfather 3, that doesn’t change the fact it exists and is part of the Godfather story, for better and worse. I don’t get to randomly discard chapters in books because I don’t prefer them to other chapters and have my opinion taken seriously.

Both Mircaleman and Swamp Thing were pretty lame comics before Moore. Miracleman because it was a cheap knockoff of Shazam, and because it was the Silver Age. Swamp Thing was just bland lameness (sorry Len Wein). Neither one of those characters or worlds suggested ANY sort of depth of storytelling, certainly not the sort of which Alan Moore brought to both of them. And in both cases, Moore was able to not only integrate the lame source material, but make it integral to his revision.

Point being that any creator can approach any source material, no matter how lame or how seemingly “complete” it might be, and mine it for diamonds and gold that even the original creator didn’t know was there. The success of this venture depends entirely on the skill of the creator. Watchmen is absolutely a fertile storytelling ground.

Doesn’t matter that Astro City was designed to be ongoing. Technically it’s a series of mini-series, each one self-contained. What Kurt Busiek has done is find amazing stories where no one else has ever looked. “The Nearness of You” may be one of the greatest comic stories ever told, about a man who dreams about a woman who seems to be his wife, vividly, and yet when he wakes up, he’s alone and she doesn’t even exist. Turns out there was some sort of “Crisis on Infinite Earths” sort of event that happened but even though the heroes put everything back right, there were glitches and this guy’s wife was one of them. In the new timeline, she never existed, but he still has memory of their life together. Haunting. But it shows you can tell amazing stories about what happens on the fringes of OTHER stories. Here is one of my all-time favorite single issues and what happens in the story has zero affect on the larger story at hand and doesn’t feature any of the heroes or events that happened. We get a two panel recap of an event that occurs off-screen. Astro City is filled moments like this where we don’t get the main mega-battle, we get the stories about the people who were affected by that battle.

Watchmen had dozens of world-shattering, mind-blowing events that are perfect for exploring the fringes. Every major event in our own ‘real’ history has dozens, if not hundreds, of books exploring different aspects of it. Civil War, World War 2, 9/11, Titanic, etc etc etc. I daresay that 9/11 was never ‘designed’ for multiple stories, but every person inside and on the ground and even just watching it on TV has a story about what happened, some obviously more interesting than others.

It’s just pure FOLLY and contrariness to say that Watchmen is incapable of sustaining more stories. More world-shattering super-hero battle stories? Maybe. But an ENDLESS number of deep, fascinating studies and stories about the people living in this world. And it starts with deeper explorations of the Minutemen. Can’t wait to see what Cooke comes up with to deepen the characters of Hollis Mason, Sally, et al.

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 19, 2012 at 8:03 am

“It’s just pure FOLLY and contrariness to say that Watchmen is incapable of sustaining more stories.”

Nobody is saying that. Nobody has said that. Nobody will say that.

The question is SHOULD and not COULD. Every piece of literature that has ever existed could support more stories. Everything that is ambiguous could be explained, but art isn’t about that. Sometimes questions are left unanswered by design. You talk about Astro City (and wrongly claim that it is the same as Watchmen), but I’m guessing Kurt Busiek wouldn’t like somebody else tacking on a prologue to one of his mini-series without his permission. Because that mini-series is HIS story. You see, the umbrella of Astro City is a setting (like the world of Star Wars is a setting or the various superhero universes are a setting), it isn’t a story. Watchmen is a story. That’s the difference.

Just want to say that this is a good discussion, and wanted to add a few thoughts of my own as a ‘casual’ comic book reader…

An observation I have had for some time is that it is the height of ‘comic bookishness’ to want to know “What happens next?” or “What happens before?”

I see this as a key element to the experience of reading comic books, as the medium is driven by the endlessly continuing stories of Whoeverman and Whatevergirl.

Generally speaking, as a reader of stories, do I want to know what happens with say, Holden Caulfield, after the events of his story? No, it never crossed my mind. His story was told in however many pages his author needed to tell it. Same goes for the countless stories I’ve read in other mediums – the thought of a prequel or sequel or whatever just is not part of the equation to me.

I think the want/need for these ‘fill in the gap’ stories being offered by DC is a pure comic book thing, which is entirely their right to exploit, as that is their business model. This medium does not look kindly on self-contained stories (from the big 2 anyway)…..I have full expectations that Morpheus will be next.

I like the point made earlier, though, that as a reader I can ignore what I don’t want to read. I have become fairly adept at that in recent years reading comics.

People DID say that.. In this very thread. Over and over, saying that every single story idea is rendered null by Watchmen itself. “The story is complete.”

“Alien” was complete. But then James Cameron showed us there was more to be said.

Every objection the naysayers have against Before Watchmen is “Because I don’t want it.” On every empirical, ethical, financial, and spiritual way, BW has as much right to exist as any of the other homages/continuations that any writer, Alan Moore especially, has concocted.

People don’t want it because they cannot separate themselves from the idea of “official” or “canon”. You said it yourself that you fear lacking credibility if you don’t acknowledge all official sources in whatever argument or discussion you engage in. But that’s silly. Just begin any of your debates with the caveat that due to personal reasons, you choose to only refer to the original text. How hard is that?

I get it that you want there to be some sort of sacred, untouchable tome that, as a comics fan, you can point to with pride and say “This isn’t like the other comics.” I know I have used Watchmen as a credibility touchstone over the years. But the disappointment of the movie didn’t have one iota of effect on the credibility of the original story.

But the existence of Before Watchmen isn’t going to have ANY effect on the credibility of the graphic novel. Just let it exist on its own terms, just like LoEG and Swamp Thing and Watchmen itself is allowed to exist on their own terms.

Nolan’s Batman films defy just about every bit of Batman canon. And you know who cares? No one, except the nitpickers. And you know how much effect Nolan’s Batman films have on the canon you know and love? Zero.

I mean, seriously, we’re at a point in the world of media where we have about twenty versions of Batman and/or Spiderman and/or X-men out there, and we’ve LONG since stopped trying to tie them all together in one cohesive world. I can watch Nolan’s Batman films one moment, and then follow that up with Timm’s animated series, and follow that up with Brave and the Bold on Cartoon Network. As a mature media consumer, I’m able to separate these different things in my mind and allow them to exist independently of each other. None of these things actually happened, so I don’t HAVE to acknowledge them in any sort of strict continuity.

Watchmen is a comic book. It’s being called a ‘graphic novel’ now because that’s what defensive nerds want to hide behind for credibility, but I’m here to say that right here in this longbox, I have all twelve of the individual comics that I bought, one per month, along with all the other comics that came out that month. It was only later that these issues were collected into a trade paperback that was then later called a “graphic novel”. But it’s a comic book. Accept it. Even Alan Moore rejects calling it a graphic novel. He calls it a comic. (it’s in that BBC interview).

It’s going to be okay. I respect that you so strongly want to defend the sanctity of Watchmen as the ONE comic book you can say is better than the rest. But Before Watchmen DOES exist, and is just the first of what will surely be After Watchmen and Beyond Watchmen. That ship has sailed. The time has come to just review the actual comics based on their actual story content. In six months time or so, we’ll know whether these prequels added anything to the story or were just treading water. Much as you’d like to make a definitive proclamation ahead of time, you’re just guessing, and HOPING that it turns out badly.

@RisingSon

Great points.

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 19, 2012 at 10:38 am

Sigh, there really isn’t a point to this. Your first paragraph shows you don’t understand what people are actually saying and the rest of your spiel just goes on to restate the silly notion that ‘canon’ is whatever you make it as if art isn’t meant to be a part of culture, but just a personal journey independent of everyone else.

And it has nothing to do with Watchmen being a sacred text. It’s like any other novel that I consider a classic. I don’t need to have everything spelled out for me. As a ‘mature’ reader of art, I understand that artists sometimes seem things unsaid on purpose. And it is a novel, just like Charles Dickens work isn’t a series of magazine articles. It’s a set defined story. You can call it a comic book if you like or a graphic novel if you like, but it isn’t a serial like Batman.

And I know it’ll be OK. Unlike you, I’m just registering my disappointment and not posting on things to slag Alan Moore for disagreeing with the fact they’re continuing his story against his will.

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 19, 2012 at 11:21 am

“An observation I have had for some time is that it is the height of ‘comic bookishness’ to want to know “What happens next?” or “What happens before?”

I see this as a key element to the experience of reading comic books, as the medium is driven by the endlessly continuing stories of Whoeverman and Whatevergirl. ”

Yeah, and that is extremely sad. A lot of the best work out there has nothing to do with guys with logos on their chest.

Yes, sigh, the story of Watchmen is complete. If nothing else was ever created with the name “Watchmen” as part of the title, we wouldn’t feel like we were missing anything. You just don’t seem to be getting the point. You don’t have to read Before Watchmen, or acknowledge its existence, or consider it part of the canonical Watchmen story.

I don’t understand why you (and by ‘you’, I don’t mean just YOU, but all of the BW haters), can’t just pretend it doesn’t exist? You CHOSE to participate in a discussion about Before Watchmen, both here and in the Silk Spectre #1 discussion (and I’m sure you were there for Minutemen, but I’m too lazy to check that one out). You added your negative opinion of the story itself which I believe you said you hadn’t read and have no intention of reading. If you truly don’t care about it, then just ignore those discussions. “The existence of this is an abomination against mankind” is not a review. It’s just a purist whining about the purity of his favorite comic book and/or creator being marginalized (in his opinion).

So just ignore Before Watchmen and all discussions about it. That’s the only way you’ll be able to hold on to the sanctity of the original text. By entering into these discussions, that reflects badly on YOU. It shows you just can’t leave it alone and that you DO care.

You know what one of my favorite characters is? Captain America. You know what comic I don’t have any interest in, nor any interest in the last ten years or so of the official history? Captain America. You know what message boards or talkbacks I have no interest in engaging in? Captain America. COULD I jump in and decry what a mess they’ve made of the character off and on over the last twenty years? Certainly. But I don’t care. The Captain America comics/movie/story I care about and consider ‘official’ are the ones I enjoy. No need to go trolling forums trying to ruin other people’s enjoyment of something just because I don’t have a personal connection to it or disagree with the direction it’s taken.

How are you missing this point? Just don’t fall to the temptation of getting in the middle of a discussion where your only intention is to build yourself up by tearing other people down. You’re better than that! I know you can do it! You don’t like Before Watchmen. Got it. You’ve proven your Alan Moore cult cred. Now go out and get some fresh air. Let loose of your death grip on your Watchmen trade paperback for an hour or so and let the discussions continue unabated about how cool Hooded Justice’s flowing red cape looked in MInutemen #1. It was iconic, trust me.

As Anakin said to Obi-Wan in my version of the prequel story, during their climactic battle on the volcanic planet of Rordorm. “Why must you challenge me!? Why can’t you run off and hide in a desert and leave me and the Emperor to our destinies? We are the future! We are the now! Clinging to the old ways will only lead to your doom!”

Indeed, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I have nothing to do with any Silk Spectre discussion. I’m here because this is a thread about League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and I’m sick to death of people saying that what Moore is doing is a double standard, when it clearly isn’t. For all intents and purposes, I am ignoring Before Watchmen as I have no interest in the books. But that doesn’t change the fact that it exists or that people lambasting Moore are largely acting foolish.

You’re the one who trolled here, buddy. Check the topic. And add it to the rest of things you’ve been wrong about in this thread.

ThatGuyWhoSaysStuff

June 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Vic DiGital

June 18, 2012 at 8:15 am

Cash? Meet Alan Moore’s grabbing hands.

lol.. I say that facetiously. There’s no chance that invoking Harry Potter, and all the related controversy is in any way meant to drum up more sales.

Vic DiGital

June 18, 2012 at 8:31 am

To paraphrase Moore, “Why can’t Moore just make up NEW characters?”

Vic DiGital

June 18, 2012 at 8:29 am

Well, at least now we can’t whine exclusively on Moore mining just public domain novels, or decades-old superhero comics. Now he’s having to raid the recent, still-in-print, best-seller lists. I can’t wait to see how he uses Katniss and Bella in tour-de-force example of his towering creativity.

Or as Anakin said to Princess Arcadia (Luke and Leia’s eventual mother) early in their romance, “Surrendering to love. I know it is forbidden. I know I will lose standing and credibility with those of my order. But how can they say a Jedi is not CAPABLE of love? Is it wrong to pursue love and to find out for myself its worth and truth?”

True enough. My apologies. I was confusing you with another poster from the SS threads.

And my comments were 100% applicable to this thread, as the original article was specifically addressing the use of a Harry Potter analogue in his works, not a review of the comic itself.

Or as Palpatine said to Anakin halfway through their secret training, “Your Jedi masters have deceived you. The very same emotion they forbid you from seeking, they themselves partake in, and justify it as tradition. Grow up, boy!”

Another Palpatine quote, “How do you know Sith are evil? Have you ever read our texts? Experienced our sacred rituals? You believe the Sith are evil because that is what you are told by those who don’t want you to know truth. For you to achieve your true potential, you must learn to think for yourself, young Anakin.”

Heaps of features and functions on these steam showers, I like the radio idea along
with the lighting style

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