UPDATED THE Q: Comics Creators On WATCHMEN 2 - Yes or NO?
THE Q: Creators Talk WATCHMEN 2
The controversy rises from the feeling that the original story was complete, and that a sequel or prequel doesn't honor the impact it had on the industry 25 years ago.
Others emphasize that the characters and concepts are owned by DC — and not the creators — so the company should take advantage of the properties.
At the heart of the controversy is, in some ways, the very vocal wish of the original story's writer that it be left alone. "I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago...I don’t want money,” Moore said. “What I want is for this not to happen. As far as I know, there weren’t that many prequels or sequels to Moby Dick."
To gauge industry reaction to the news about the prequel, Newsarama contacted a variety of creators. While some refused to go on the record because they feel uncomfortable commenting on the work of their peers (especially those who thought it was a "stupid idea"), several responded to our request to answer the following question:
Q: The creators of Watchmen have made it clear that they believed their story was complete, yet the comic's collection has sold so well that the characters and concepts have marketability. How do you feel about the decision, almost 25 years later, to create prequels to Watchmen?Erik Larsen
It's hardly a surprise, is it? I mean — we knew this was in the works. It's a shame they wouldn't respect Alan Moore's wishes but what do you expect? Corporations are going to exploit their IPs — that's what they do. If you thought DC was going to treat Alan Moore any different from all of the other creators they've screwed over the years — surprise, motherf*&kers!
It surprises me that DC would go forward with this, though clearly they have a legal clearance to do so. While I understand the desire to do more Watchmen stories, and am impressed with the talent listed, I feel like the property would be better left alone.
As a groundbreaking series, each issue was a perfectly constructed chapter, done with loving care by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. As someone who shares equity in various DC owned characters, I have always been frustrated to not have any kind of control over the handling of these heroes, but that's the thorny side to not actually owning the characters. DC is in business to make money, and there is clearly a fan interest in the Watchmen universe.Denny O'Neil
I am ... conflicted.The creator in me isn't especially comfortable seeing Moore and Gibbons' creations being used in a way that at least one of them doesn't want to happen. But the realist in me understands that Watchmen is ultimately controlled by a corporation. Corporations exist to make money, and these books will most assuredly make money. Something like this was almost inevitable. Honestly, it's such a gray area to me that I can't give you a definitive answer. Yes, Watchmen is a masterpiece created by Alan and Dave. But the characters are also derivative of the Charlton characters on which they were based. If those Charlton characters had never existed, "Watchmen" would at the very least be quite a different project. People who are upset about the exploitation of the Watchmen characters might as well be upset at the ongoing exploitation of Batman and Superman ... or Moore's own use of public-domain literary characters in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (not mention the sly use of non-public domain characters, like James Bond, in that project).
I'm conflicted because while I feel Alan Moore or any creator's wishes concerning their own property should be paramount to any publisher, I will say a few of the teams on the new Watchmen titles are great choices. Amanda Conner on a Watchmen book — sign me up.
Do I think the Watchmen property needed further exploration with prequels? Absolutely not, and in my opinion, it's not necessarily an homage but a smart business decision. It's something I think will certainly help bring more attention and traffic to comic book stores, which is a good thing for me personally, so I have many differing feelings about it. Maybe they can bring back Preacher...please?
Now, do I need more info on The Nite Owl? No, but in the hands of a great creator, you never know. I'll wait and see. I'm a little tired of the "Chicken Little" syndrome in comics. Everybody freaks out before anything is even done. I'll wait and see on the actual books.
I'm reminded of the story of Gene Roddenberry seeing a final cut of Star Trek VI before he died, and, livid, demanding 30 minutes of changes through his lawyer. Sometimes the creator doesn't always know best. We joke around about Watchmen Babies and so on and so forth, but Moore and Gibbons didn't have to sign the deal when they signed it. With the benefit of hindsight, had they walked away and self-published Watchmen in the proto-indie comics marketplace of 1986-1987, would it have been nearly as successful? Of course not.
I wish the new creators the best luck in making these prequels as great as they can possibly be. Me, I'm sticking to creating my own stuff at the moment, but I'm no hypocrite: if DC or Marvel called me, I'd say yes.Gerry ConwayFrom an aesthetic and ethical point of view, I think it's a weak move. But I'm reminded of a conversation I had with the late John Verpoorten forty-odd years ago when I was an irrepressible, self-important young snot (as opposed to today, when I'm an irrepressible, self-important old fart).
Wise words.Eric Stephenson
Everyone has known this was coming for a while, but that doesn't make the news of DC's Before Watchmen comics any less disgusting.
There are some really talented people involved in these books: Darwyn Cooke is one of my all-time favorite storytellers; Amanda Conner, Adam Hughes and J.G. Jones are artists whose work I've admired for years; Brian Azzarello's a wonderful writer and his 100 Bullets is a genuine classic. Len Wein? He co-created Swamp Thing and a good chunk of the X- Men most people know and love. (Namely Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler.)
I would rather see any of them do something new than engage in the kind of hard graft DC has conscripted them for with these books. Or as Alan Moore's daughter Leah put it on Twitter:
Why not do NEW ogn's (sic) from the Before Watchmen creators, or better yet fresh talent. Use the budget to find the *next* watchmen instead?
Alan Moore gets a lot of stick from various quarters for having principals. Certain people like to couch that in different, less flattering terms – he's crazy, he's lost it, he's an asshole – but at the end of the day, he's making a stand based on what he thinks is fair and right. Whether you agree with his position or not, I have to think you'd be able to admire his tenacity. It would have been far easier for him, at any point, to simply accept the DC/Warner Bros. agenda and just pocket the cash.
In the final estimation, it's really just more of the same. This is what they do. I'm sure it will be perfectly serviceable fan fiction. (from Eric's blog with permission)
From a strictly business standpoint, it probably looks to the executive types like it makes perfect sense. The original Watchmen has had its run as toys and movies and such, so the only way remaining to "add value" to the franchise is to produce new material.
From a creative standpoint, the idea is dead on arrival. In the long term, they really should put this kind of effort into creating new properties. But in the atmosphere of endless re-boots, re-makes, prequels and sequels this is what we can expect from entertainment conglomerates.
One of the problems I have with the way we do things in this business is that there are no finite stories. I believe wholeheartedly that Watchman stands alone as a singular piece. It has a defined beginning middle and end, its story has been told. I wasn't clamoring for the further adventures of Rorschach or about what happened to Silk Spectre after she donned her tights. Everything I need to know about Laurie Juspeczyk can be found in the 12 issues of Watchmen.
That being said... I won't be reading them. I honestly have no interest.
I don't have any interest in reading sequels, prequels or anything else related to Watchmen per se. However there are some heavy-duty talents involved, and I'll find it hard to resist that Darwyn Cooke Minutemen.
When you’re talking about “creators,” I suspect you’re mostly talking about Alan Moore. David Gibbons’ judicious phrasing about the endeavor, I think, expresses a positive mindset in seeing the work as a tribute, an homage, especially when one considers that Watchmen began its creative life as an updating of the Charlton characters; if it had remained that, then Moore would have had nothing to say about ownership to begin with, “draconian” contracts or no.
I can certainly understand why DC wants to do it. It's not a choice I would have made, but that may be just one more reason I shouldn't run a major comic book company.
You're asking me this before I've seen the announcement, so I don't know what the prequels are or who's doing them, but good luck to everyone involved. If they get good comics out of it, good comics are good comics, even if they're not stuff I'm drawn to.
In the end, Watchmen is what it is, and it's there on the shelf and nothing's going to change that. So if people like the spinoffs, great, and if they don't like the idea, they've still got the original, as is.
For my part, I'd rather try to create or get others to create the next project that'll have that kind of lasting impact, rather than try to extend this one, but like I said, that's just one more reason I don't have that job.
“I don’t want money,” Alan said. “What I want is for this not to happen.” And that should be the end of it.
- DC Officially Confirms BEFORE WATCHMEN Prequel Series
- BEFORE WATCHMEN Creators Part With ALAN MOORE on Project