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Velorath
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on: February 01, 2012, 02:01:40 PM

They've finally gone ahead and confirmed prequel comics:


Quote
This summer, DC Entertainment will publish all-new stories expanding on the acclaimed WATCHMEN universe. As highly anticipated as they are controversial, the seven inter-connected prequel mini-series will build on the foundation of the original WATCHMEN, the bestselling graphic novel of all time. BEFORE WATCHMEN will be the collective banner for all seven titles, from DC Comics.

“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant,” said DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. “After twenty five years, the Watchmen are classic characters whose time has come for new stories to be told. We sought out the best writers and artists in the industry to build on the complex mythology of the original.”

Stepping up to the challenge is a group of the comic book industry’s most iconoclastic writers and artists – including Brian Azzarello (100 BULLETS), Lee Bermejo (JOKER), Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL), Darwyn Cooke (JUSTICE LEAGUE: NEW FRONTIER), John Higgins (WATCHMEN), Adam Hughes (CATWOMAN), J.G. Jones (FINAL CRISIS), Andy Kubert (FLASHPOINT), Joe Kubert (SGT. ROCK), Jae Lee (BATMAN: JEKYLL AND HYDE), J. Michael Straczynski (SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE) and Len Wein (SWAMP THING).

BEFORE WATCHMEN includes:

RORSCHACH (4 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: Lee Bermejo
MINUTEMEN (6 issues) – Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
COMEDIAN (6 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: J.G. Jones
DR. MANHATTAN (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artist: Adam Hughes
NITE OWL (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artists: Andy and Joe Kubert
OZYMANDIAS (6 issues) – Writer: Len Wein. Artist: Jae Lee
SILK SPECTRE (4 issues) – Writer: Darwyn Cooke. Artist: Amanda Conner
Each week, a new issue will be released, and will feature a two-page back-up story called CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR, written by original series editor Len Wein and with art by original series colorist John Higgins. There will also be a single issue, BEFORE WATCHMEN: EPILOGUE, featuring the work of various writers and artists, and a CRIMSON CORSAIR story by Wein and Higgins.

“The original series of WATCHMEN is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire,” said Dave Gibbons, WATCHMEN co-creator and original series artist.

“Comic books are perhaps the largest and longest running form of collaborative fiction,” said DiDio and Lee. “Collaborative storytelling is what keeps these fictional universes current and relevant.”


Edit:

Choice quote from Straczynski: 

Quote
“A lot of folks feel that these characters shouldn’t be touched by anyone other than Alan, and while that’s absolutely understandable on an emotional level, it’s deeply flawed on a logical level. Based on durability and recognition, one could make the argument that Superman is the greatest comics character ever created. But neither Alan nor anyone else has ever suggested that no one other than Shuster and Siegel should ever be allowed to write Superman. Alan didn’t pass on being brought on to write Swamp Thing, a seminal comics character created by Len Wein, and he did a terrific job. He didn’t say ‘No, no, I can’t, that’s Len’s character.’ Nor should he have.”

He clearly doesn't understand that a) there's a difference between a self contained story and characters that were created with ongoing stories in mind, and b) when the creator has been pretty clear about not wanting other people to fuck with his work, maybe you should think about just respecting that.  Most people have the common sense not to write prequels or sequels to classic novels (though there have been some exceptions which have never lived up to the originals).
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 02:20:17 PM by Velorath »
HaemishM
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Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 03:00:18 PM

Fuck's sake. Every one of the writers and artists involved with this ought to be goddamned ashamed of themselves.

Khaldun
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Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 03:19:04 PM

Yeah. But I have to say that I'll probably buy the Darwyn Cooke ones.

JMS is being his usual aggrandizing self, of course. And based on his other comics work, he's certainly the biggest hack of the crowd they've picked to tug on Superman's cape.

Though it's not about what Moore wants or doesn't want. It's about a story that was utterly and completely self-contained. What are you going to do with Rorschach, for example? Tell a story of a "saner" character pre-dogkilling? That's like that we need a story about Hamlet before his father gets offed. You learn everything you need to ever know about Hamlet before his father gets offed in the course of telling the story of what happens to him afterwards. You can't tell another story without either doing something that invalidates the story of what he does after his father's death (thus ruining the reason you wanted to do the story in the first place) or telling a story which is so utterly trivial and without character development that it is pointless (and thus ruins the reason why you wanted to do the story in the first place). There's nothing to do WITH Rorschach that hasn't already been essentially done. Dr. Manhattan even more so.

Silk Spectre and Minutemen I can just barely see a way to do something that isn't already utterly and perfectly contained within Watchmen as it stands, so I'm glad that the most talented of these creators is the person doing those two.
Ingmar
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Reply #3 on: February 01, 2012, 03:24:09 PM


That's like that we need a story about Hamlet before his father gets offed. You learn everything you need to ever know about Hamlet before his father gets offed in the course of telling the story of what happens to him afterwards.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_and_Claudius

Not necessarily disputing your argument, of course.

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Khaldun
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Reply #4 on: February 01, 2012, 03:26:47 PM

There's a reason why it isn't exactly seen as Updike's shining moment.
Kail
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Reply #5 on: February 01, 2012, 03:31:53 PM

Choice quote from Straczynski: 

Quote
“A lot of folks feel that these characters shouldn’t be touched by anyone other than Alan, and while that’s absolutely understandable on an emotional level, it’s deeply flawed on a logical level. Based on durability and recognition, one could make the argument that Superman is the greatest comics character ever created. But neither Alan nor anyone else has ever suggested that no one other than Shuster and Siegel should ever be allowed to write Superman. Alan didn’t pass on being brought on to write Swamp Thing, a seminal comics character created by Len Wein, and he did a terrific job. He didn’t say ‘No, no, I can’t, that’s Len’s character.’ Nor should he have.”

He clearly doesn't understand that a) there's a difference between a self contained story and characters that were created with ongoing stories in mind, and b) when the creator has been pretty clear about not wanting other people to fuck with his work, maybe you should think about just respecting that.  Most people have the common sense not to write prequels or sequels to classic novels (though there have been some exceptions which have never lived up to the originals).

I want to say I'm not wound up about the morality of DC using Watchmen; they own the characters and can do what they want.  Moore probably doesn't want that, but he signed the papers saying they could, and to turn around now and insist that they can't would be kind of pointless.  I want to say that, but acting like you'd have to be some kind of loon to suggest that maybe we shouldn't milk these fifty-plus year old franchises for every cent they can produce drives me up the wall.

There's also the fact that there is no chance in hell of this being any good.  They have to know that there is no way these things will live up to the originals.  Why are they doing this?  I could see it if they were tying it in with the movie or something, but that ship sailed three years ago.  Who is the target audience for this thing?  Everyone I know who likes Watchmen thinks this'll be crap for any one of about fifty reasons, and everyone who doesn't like Watchmen is being warned away by the fact that these kinds of sequels are usually too scared to do anything that deviates in any way from the original.

Ugh. [shakefist] Comic book industry! [/shakefist]

Also:
Quote
“The original series of WATCHMEN is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire,” said Dave Gibbons, WATCHMEN co-creator and original series artist.

This made me literally laugh out lout.  I just keep picturing Gibbons in a Pope hat with his hand outstretched saying "May the Lord give your comics the readers they deserve, amen."
Ingmar
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Reply #6 on: February 01, 2012, 03:32:25 PM

Sure. On the other hand http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grendel_(novel) is pretty well-regarded, and if we want to keep it to Hamlet there's always http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosencrantz_and_Guildenstern_Are_Dead.

I do think there's a lot of room to play around with these things, and I think expanded Watchmen-related content could exist and not be shitty. I just have no faith that anyone involved here has a prayer of getting there.

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dusematic
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Reply #7 on: February 01, 2012, 03:54:33 PM

This would be like if some hack wrote a prequel to Oliver Twist (if they haven't already).  Who gives a shit?  Matrix 2 & 3 don't mar Matrix 1.  I personally think comics are glorified picture books for adults with repetitive stories and "art" produced by asian contract workers en masse copying a random white dude's original design.  But I still fail to see how producing an infinite number of prequels and/or sequels to whatever my eprsonal sacred cow of the month happens to be subtracts from the original work.  If anything, their failures worship at the altar of the original by showing how unique and incomparable it was.
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Reply #8 on: February 01, 2012, 06:06:04 PM

I liked the Rorshach / Niteowl prequel story that was in the Watchmen Part 1 & 2 video game. Gameplay was a bit naff, but the story (voiced by the actors from the movie) was pretty solid.

But this is DC going on a money / relevance grab. And the screaming about it probably strikes them as positive - after all, there was a lot of screaming about the DC reboot but that has apparently done very well for them.

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Reply #9 on: February 01, 2012, 09:22:40 PM

No doubt this will be shitty and JMS is a very unlikable person but I would care more if Moore hadn't produced League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Lost Girls. Whether or not you consider those crass or cash-ins or whatever they very clearly profited off the work of other authors and established characters.

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Velorath
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Reply #10 on: February 01, 2012, 10:37:53 PM

No doubt this will be shitty and JMS is a very unlikable person but I would care more if Moore hadn't produced League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Lost Girls. Whether or not you consider those crass or cash-ins or whatever they very clearly profited off the work of other authors and established characters.

He didn't make Peter Pan 2 or Just a Couple Leagues Under the Sea to Start off With, nor is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde still such a strong seller that his use of the character was a clear attempt at a quick cash grab.  I can see the argument you're making (and it's one I've seen from many others as well), but I do think there's a subtle difference between using established characters in an original way, and just doing a straight up prequel or sequel.  I don't even think Moore would bother commenting on it at this point, but right after the announcement went out, people started calling him up for comments because they knew exactly how he'd react.
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Reply #11 on: February 02, 2012, 09:56:19 AM

I imagine his reaction was "Fucking wankers" followed by "Click."

Khaldun
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Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 10:15:40 AM

Darwyn Cooke is somebody that I think of very much being Moore's peer as a comics creator. Guy is pretty fucking brilliant, and he's all in one package (writing and art) when he's operating at full capacity.

I do think the point about Moore and his use of other author's characters is kind of pertinent. L. Frank Baum would no doubt regard Lost Girls as an absolutely horrific violation of the intent and character of his work on the Oz series. On the other hand, the Oz series was open-ended, and Moore's Lost Girls doesn't attempt to "continue the story", more to resituate and reimagine one character in a very different way. Watchmen is different both that it's a perfectly self-enclosed narrative and that it is already a second-level reimagining of existing characters (the Charlton characters) so it's hard to see how one could reimagine the reimagination further  and create an original work.

I guess my real thought is that this project is roughly like the New 52: the quality stuff will be quality, but the hack stuff will be hackery, except that in this case the hackery involves something roughly like asking Jeff Koons to take a chisel to Michaelangelo's David. Letting JT Krul stink up Green Arrow, eh, it happens. Letting JMS stink up Watchmen? Gross.
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Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 11:14:14 AM

And yet, even though I read very few comics nowadays I know I'm going to end up reading these ones.
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Reply #14 on: February 02, 2012, 01:40:29 PM

I imagine his reaction was "Fucking wankers" followed by "Click."

DC Comics Plans Prequels to Watchmen Series

Quote
Mr. Moore, who has disassociated himself from DC Comics and the industry at large, called the new venture “completely shameless.”

Speaking by telephone from his home in Northampton, England, Mr. Moore said, “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.”

"There must not be a God because a demon hand didn't burst out of the ground, reach into Jindal's anus, and pull him inside out before dragging him into the shit-filled sodomy pits of Hades." If you read that and thought, "Well, this is a reasonable person who should be treated with respect," then perhaps it is your anus that needs a hellclawing. ~The Rude Pundit
Azazel
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Reply #15 on: February 22, 2012, 04:05:46 AM

I really like Watchmen, but I just can't bring myself to be angry - or more importantly, to care at all - either way.

They'll essentially be forgotten in three or five years. Watchmen will continue to be well regarded.

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Reply #16 on: February 22, 2012, 10:40:49 AM

The outrage is probably part of their marketting strategy. Free advertising.

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Reply #17 on: February 23, 2012, 04:20:53 AM

Yeah, this seems like something I would be mad about but I'm just not. I read that Moore quote and laugh. Dude is writing stories about Moriarty fighting the Invisible Man.

Comics as a medium are so fucked with creators changing hands, origins being retold, constant reboots, etc, you already make your own cannon out of the stuff you like and ignore the rest.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
Velorath
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Reply #18 on: February 23, 2012, 05:45:24 AM

I think I rage more due to JMS' involvement really.  Here's a guy who started off great doing original self contained stories like Rising Stars and Midnight Nation who turned into a complete hack after he started taking on iconic characters like Spider-man
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Reply #19 on: February 23, 2012, 08:44:19 AM

Gwen Stacy fucked Norman Osborne and had twins. 'Nuff said.

I loved JMS because Babylon 5 is one of my all-time favorite TV series. But goddamn, that shit just killed a lot of his credibility with me.

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Reply #20 on: February 23, 2012, 09:25:57 PM

It kind of seems like comics will give an infinite free pass to someone who comes from outside the medium with some nerd cred.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
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Reply #21 on: February 24, 2012, 05:23:17 AM

Yeah, it's very annoying. That's how we got Identity Crisis, also, which was a poison that DC Comics mainlined straight into the veins of their main brand.
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Reply #22 on: February 24, 2012, 08:26:44 AM

I actually thought Identity Crisis was a good series... right up to the reveal of the true murderer, which was all sorts of WTF?

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Reply #23 on: February 24, 2012, 08:19:18 PM

The whole "oh noes you used mind control on the villains" thing was, as I suggested, poison. Because it really does change everything. It's not just that it takes a very common Silver Age trope and says, "Ooooh, see, your childhood was actually VERY DARK" but it led to all sorts of weird moral posturing on the part of DC characters for the next, oh, five years. As a story hook, I thought it was the one of the worst examples I've seen of how to 'grow up' something--better than showing Superman assfucking Martian Manhunter, I guess, but still.

Plus: Doctor Light raping Sue Dibny on the Justice League satellite. Nuff said.
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Reply #24 on: February 25, 2012, 11:05:21 AM

I appreciated the idea of "graying up" the heroes, because let's face it, with some of those Silver Age stories, the moral ambiguity should be much higher. There were many examples during that time of heroes mind-wiping villains that found out secret identities, though it was the '60's so it was all done sort of light-handed and giggly.

The rape was way over the top, of course. I mean, just knowing the heroes secret identities would be enough for some of them to go all brainwashy on the villains, rape raised the sleaze bar a bit too high. You are correct in that it had a ripple effect through the rest of the books in the universe for years, some for better, some for worse.

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Reply #25 on: February 25, 2012, 07:12:12 PM

I really like Watchmen, but I just can't bring myself to be angry - or more importantly, to care at all - either way.

They'll essentially be forgotten in three or five years. Watchmen will continue to be well regarded.

Totally agree with this.  Shakespeare has been ripped off, why not Mr. Moore.  Yeah, it's going to suck, but I'm going to buy the first issue;  can't help it, love the characters and the universe Moore created.  Watchmen got me into collecting comics and it may wind up being the greatest expression of that art form.  But DC owns it and they can indeed do Watchmen Babies if they want.  We're Americans, running shit into the ground is what we DO.
Velorath
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Reply #26 on: February 25, 2012, 10:52:37 PM

At least if they had done Watchmen Babies I'd get the impression that they were working on something more original than "here's more Watchmen".
Khaldun
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Reply #27 on: February 26, 2012, 07:31:28 PM

See, when I think of 'greying', if one is serious about it, it's not just about saying, "Oh, childhood, look at all the GRIMM lurking about". It's about, "hey, that's a more complicated story premise than we thought". Battlestar Galactica remake  was super-dark, but the darkness came from asking, "Hey, if robots wiped out most people, what *would* that be like?" So, ask: if superheroes mindwiped villains when they found out their secret IDs, what would that be like? Ok, it's interesting. Why wouldn't some of them be smarter about protecting those IDs afterwards? (e.g., Green Arrow, who is practically wearing a sign on him that says, "I am Oliver Queen"). If secrets were a big deal, why don't the heroes actually act like that? If villains are inclined to be rapey (come on, if Doctor Light is, many are) why is this as sunny a universe as it is in general? Would you be ok with just sending bad guys to prisons, even mind-wiped, if they were reasonably likely to rape your loved ones? If you're mind-wiping, why stop at that?

It's a "shocking" story premise that was taken only so far. If you take it seriously the whole thing has to change forever in every respect. Don't put guns on mantlepieces you don't intend or want to fire.

DC might have benefitted in their 52 from just saying, "We're going to have an adult line (40/52) and a kid line (12/52) and fuck 'continuity', that's not how we sell stuff".
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Reply #28 on: February 27, 2012, 03:41:52 PM

I really like Watchmen, but I just can't bring myself to be angry - or more importantly, to care at all - either way.

They'll essentially be forgotten in three or five years. Watchmen will continue to be well regarded.

Totally agree with this.  Shakespeare has been ripped off, why not Mr. Moore.  Yeah, it's going to suck, but I'm going to buy the first issue;  can't help it, love the characters and the universe Moore created.  Watchmen got me into collecting comics and it may wind up being the greatest expression of that art form.  But DC owns it and they can indeed do Watchmen Babies if they want.  We're Americans, running shit into the ground is what we DO.

If it turns out that they're good. Or decent - According to you guys, anyway - I'll aquire digital copies and read them at some stage in the indeterminite future after all of the range has been published. If not, they can be like Highlander 2 et al.  
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Reply #29 on: February 27, 2012, 09:34:27 PM

Alan Moore, back then: Hey, I've got this car-razy idea for a comic series!

DC now: Hey! Let's ressurect Watchmen and turn it into a franchise! It's no stupider than Superboy punching time, and we can alway use some more money for coke!



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