Robot 6

Quote of the day | Dan DiDio on Before Watchmen’s ‘big selling point’

From "Before Watchmen: Minutemen" #1, by Darwyn Cooke

“The big selling point is that this material is true to the source material, but it gets the chance to examine all the aspects of Watchmen that made it great. We’re seeing the characters in a different light, but also a light that is reflective of the original material.  And we found ways to really push the stories in new directions but be true to the original concepts and conceits.

We’re bringing on some of the greatest writers in comics today, as well as the greatest artists, and together they’re creating a package that we feel could stand side by side with the original material.”

– DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, discussing the draw of Before Watchmen

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33 Comments

How can this be true when JMS and Cooke have already voiced their dislike of the original material

He had me right up to the last sentence…

Where did Cooke and JMS say they didn’t like the original?!

(… and why would them not liking the original prevent them from doing great work?)

maybe thats why this is so gross…even ignoring the contract/ownership issues, this feels like the ultimate attempt at convincing their loyal readers that they actually REALLY, REALLY want this when in reality no one was asking for it except for accountants.

And so DC pushes forward with their Peek-a-Boo theory of we can do no wrong as long as we proclaim we are doing no wrong.

“We’re pushing the boundaries, yet staying true to all your hopes & beliefs. We’re creating original stories from the stuff you already have read. We’re having cutting edge art in the old time drawing style. Everything you’ll love, nothing you’ll hate. We promise, because everyone tells us we’re doing great things!”

The blogosphere must have been unusually quiet today for this to be a “quote of the day.” This is Dan DiDio saying absolutely nothing, as he does in every press release. “The great thing about Before Watchmen is that it’s whatever you would like it to be, no matter what. Have a craving for ice cream? Before Watchmen is just like ice cream, unless you like pizza, in which case it’s EXACTLY like pizza.” Doesn’t Dan DiDio have enough PR venues between Newsarama and the mothership? Do we really need to spread the hype even more?

@hugeknot

I was about to answer your first question – but then I saw by your second comment that you just want to argue

Besides – I said nothing about them doing “good work” or not. I was responding directly to Didio’s claim that this is “true to the source material”

@Cass:

I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that the intent behind making this quote-of-the-day was to criticize it, not to “spread the hype even more.”

Spread the hype? Have you seen CBR’s home page?? It is one giant collection of Before Watchmen adds. And they keep pushing their Minutemen #1 review back up to the top so that it will also display a big graphic at the top of the page. Yet, the book came out today, and in the forums there are 2 gaunt and nearly empty threads on the book

IE there seems to be more people interested in commenting on the controversy in articles than there are people buying and responding to the book

Nicholas Post

June 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm

I didn’t buy Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1today
Because…
Of all the pro and con hypes
But…
I’ll wait from all collected trades
That’s it if…
They survived.

Sounds like win-win. Everybody loves a prequel, right, Star Wars fans? I just hope other creative artists are smart enough to follow DC’s lead and I look forward to other “in a new light but reflective of the original material” prequels-to-classics such as “Before Casablanca” and “Fahrenheit 212″.

Just look at what DC is doing with their other “properties” and the future is crystal clear. A never ending cycle of reboots\DC universe Mashups each one more “original” than the last. See how art should be treated….

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/a-cut-above-the-rest-steven-spielberg-to-release-original-edit-of-et-7817888.html

From article: Spielberg has fulfilled a promise he made last year, when he said: “There’s going to be no more digital enhancements or digital additions to anything based on any film I direct… When people ask me which E.T. they should look at, I always tell them to look at the original 1982 E.T.”

I’m not buying “Before Watchmen” purely from a lack of interest. I like the original and I’ll be content with that. (Plus, I don’t want to shell out $3.99 x 35 issues.)

HAVING SAID THAT…I tire of the talk of this being “unethical” when I’m not aware of any comic book code of ethics. There, I said it.
*
There’s generally three codes of conduct which can govern our lives: laws, morals, and ethics. “Laws” are rules passed by our governments which apply to everyone: break them and you can get jailed or fined. Don’t murder, don’t steal, pay your taxes, etc. They MAY deal with “right and wrong,” but sometimes they’re pure policy decisions (i.e., how much you pay in taxes; what the speed limit is; etc.) “Morals” are codes of conduct which, well, tend to be a little more nebulous, and are often (but not necessarily) driven by a religion. These deal with right and wrong: love your neighbor; don’t covet your neighbor’s wife; etc.

Ethics? These are usually a written code of conduct that relates to a specific profession. The profession itself decides that it needs specific rules based on how people in the profession have behaved. Ethics don’t necessarily deal with right and wrong; they’re policy decisions based on the *risk* that something might go wrong.

For example, I’m a lawyer. All 50 states have codes of conduct for how their licensed lawyers are supposed to act. A common one is not commingling a client’s funds with one’s own. If I get money on behalf of a client, I’m supposed to put the money in a separate bank account from my own. There’s nothing *morally* wrong if I put the client’s money in my bank account, but the risk is that if something happened to me–for example, I get sued and lose all my money–the client’s money goes with it. So, to protect the client, I’m obligated to keep our funds separate.

Other professions have them too. Doctors aren’t supposed to have romantic relationships with their patients. A doctor and a patient could have a perfectly healthy relationship, but the risk is too great that a doctor might take advantage of his position of trust with the patient, so it’s forbidden.

But comics? Comics have NO CODE OF ETHICS. None. There’s *absolutely* no rule out there that says a creator can’t expand on a previous creator’s work without that creator’s express permission. Maybe there should be, but that’s not what anybody’s been arguing. Some people have declared DC and the “Before Watchmen” creators to be acting unethically without any ethical rule to back it up. At best, they have an idealized ethical rule which they believe should be codified somewhere, but which no one has *actually* codified.

If the comics industry would like to come together and define a non-punitive code of creator conduct, that’s all well and good. (I say “non punitive” because, let’s face it, the First Amendment is going to trump any desire to see a work prohibited.) Creators can take a pledge promising that they’ll never work on another creator’s characters without prior consent. Readers can decide for themselves whether they’ll support creators who comply with the comics code of ethics. (“Oh, I don’t support Darwin Cooke–he didn’t take the pledge.”) Fine.

But until we have a defined comics code of conduct, the question of whether DC’s activities–or Moore’s own–are unethical are still up for debate.

I think he meant big sell out point.

Jake Earlewine

June 6, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Didio would make a great used car salesman. “It was only driven by a little old lady…”
Didio would make a great peanut vendor at the ball-park. “Getcher peanuts right heah!”
But Editorial Director at a major comics company? Wrong man for the job.

@Adam

A lawyer talking about ethics – lol

@duhwhat
Watch it, pally–not all lawyers are the shyster stereotypes people make them out to be.

@Adam
I agree with your argument there. I think it’s time the whole industry was uprooted from its beginnings as fronts for mob activity–a much-needed DNA transplant. With it should come a code of ethics. Forget about the 1st Amendment in this case, if this is one way to stem the tide of rebooting old things or slipping things out from under the rugs of creators, I’ll take it.

Otherwise, in the (paraphrased) words of the incomparable Jay Sherman: “If the book stinks, just don’t read it.”

Adam – If simply being decent enough to respect the intellectual and creative autonomy isn’t quite enough to compel your beliefs and behaviors and you need to have basic dignity written up in an explicit, legally binding contract then yes, by God, you are absolutely a lawyer. You are definitely a lawyer. You lawyery, lawyery lawyer, you.

I think, whether we intend it or not, two different codes of ethics are being formed: the comic book industry is grouping itself into two ideological/philosophical camps and although the line of demarcation is similar to that of the old “commercial comics versus art comix” dichotomy, it feels like were going to have to go deeper in terms of definition and setting boundaries. The era of the idealistic artist attempting to create something genuine and having their work subsidized by corporate interests and that everything will work out because were all in this together has to be over, this doesn’t work.

As for this Dan Didio quote, I feel like Stan in the episode of South Park where he goes to the movie theater and every character is spewing crap out of their mouths and he cant see or hear anything else anymore, even though he’d like to.

Looking forward to Didio’s remarks when he’ll tout the AMAZING!— SOLD OUT!—BACK ORDERED!— 2nd/3rd/4th REPRINTINGS! Diamond Sales numbers of the 35 issues, 7 separate Mini-Series + an Epilogue of BEFORE WATCHMEN…

To announce DC’s plans for a SEQUEL. (Cause the series’ success will DEMAND it,)

Wonder who from “some of the greatest writers in comics today, as well as the greatest artists” (conviniently in the DC stable) they’ll tap to do it?

/super-hero comics

At my LCS the copies of Minutemen were flying off the shelves. The dude behind the counter said it was some of the highest preorders since the New 52 came out. Also told me a lot of people he didn`t usually see were coming in to buy it as well as the graphic novel. So I guess there is a demand. I didn`t buy it myself, but I`ll check it out when it hits the library.

I bought a copy that I probably won’t even read, purely out of spite.

That word salad is so incoherent I thought it was a quote from Sarah Palin.

@cjorg

If what you are saying is true, which is questionable, the new people coming in to buy it are speculators and completists – who probably won’t even read the book. Which also disproves Didio’s theory about “adding to the source material”. Ie, if people don’t even read it, but just buy it – then it is indeed a commercial endeavor and not a “buttressing of the artistry of the original work”

As David Gray said, “Sell it like it is”

@ MattMinus. Why would you buy a copy and not read it? For spite? That is a silly thing to do. It’s just as bad as buying a copy and then destroying it before you read it. DC and your LCS already has your money, they don’t care with what you do to the book after you buy it. If you didn’t want to read it, then don’t buy it.

@eric

I think he means buy it just to contribute to Before Watchmen sales, and piss off Moore and his supporters

@ duhwhat. It’s still silly. Buy a comic to read it, not to piss off someone that most likely you will never meet and/or know. By the way, when did Cooke say he disliked Watchmen?

@erik

I completely agree

Here is the Cooke quote. Bear in mind this was when it was first announced – and one of the first public statements that Cooke makes is saying that the original Watchmen book was too dark and bleak.

http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2012/02/before-watchmen-creators-on-bold-moves-gut-reactions-alan-moore/

@duhwhat

I have no reason to exaggerate or lie, so your implication is as petty as your response to my comment. The majority of the people i saw appeared genuinely interested and excited about the book. That`s what i saw. They weren`t speculators at all as most speculators don`t peruse a book before buying it, and buy multiple copiesn not just one issue. Just cause you don`t like it, or it doesn`t correspond with your hopes that this series will fail, doesn`t alter the fact that a lot of people ARE interested in Before Watchmen.

Matminus, that’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.

@cjorg

Use all the adjectives like “petty” and so on that you want. So far I see a disconnect between the number of copies being sold, and the number of people reviewing or reacting to the comic. If you can explain this discrepancy, then please do so. Otherwise, keep cheerleading for the latest Big 2 cash-grab I guess

Read the first issue and while the art was nice always in this style, it didn’t hold my attention at all.

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