DC Expands Alan Moore's Superhero Masterpiece

I'm not against it.
But I ain't entirely for it either.

DC Comics' announcement last week that there will indeed (no longer rumored) be an expansion to the original 1986 comic-book mini-series "Watchmen" rather stunned the comics world. It certainly did this comics commenter.

In fact, there will be seven new "Before Watchmen" prequel mini-series each focusing on a different character or group from the back story of the original 12 issues. The most exciting of these, to me, is: "Minutemen" written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke [released cover at right].
Sign me up.

[via DC's The Source blog]

(That awful, simple title "BEFORE Watchmen", by the by, only makes sense if you're familiar with DC's "AFTER Watchmen" program which I mentioned early on here.)

The reaction has been blown-up into something more polarized in appearance than it truly is in reality. Most everyone fall into one (or more) of three camps:

1. It's a disgraceful cash-grab.
2. It's not a bad idea.
3. I'll wait and see.

Josh Flanagan (one of the iFanboy boys) does a beautiful job of summarizing many of the main points of this strange little news item of last week. Read his editorial.

Josh F's main point there is that the comics industry is a business. No one can be faulted for trying to make money and keeping everything afloat. The only thing I have to add is: in any business choices must be made, and made publicly, and we all make examples of ourselves when we do so. Sometimes foolishly.

Moore has publicly stated:
“I don’t want money” ... “What I want is for this not to happen.”

Can the choice to produce these comics be seen as an ethical one under the circumstances? He created the characters but never gained legal ownership of them.

Perhaps more importantly, can these new comics live up to the original? No, quite frankly I can't imagine how they possibly could, in no disrespect to the very talented assemblage of folk they have to work on them. Just a comparison of the released covers with the original series' covers belies a lack of the detail-oriented thinking that was so integral to the make-up of the original.

That doesn't mean no one should ever try to expand on previously published high-quality characters as a rule, I just wouldn't have imagined rolling several of them all out in a short burst of months was the wisest way to do it. These 'prequels' will come out in far less time than Moore and Dave Gibbons took to produce the twelve issues of the original series...

Frankly? This whole thing seems a risky mess.
We'll see how they do come summer.

~ @JonGorga

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