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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Few Words About Before Watchmen

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 11:14 AM

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IT'S HERE: Before Watchmen, the latest major comic book event that will shake the comics community to its very core and elicit an apathetic shrug from the average person on the street.

DC's Watchmen prequels start hitting comics shops today; I was going to write a whole thing about it, but then I realized some other people could probably sum up the situation better than I. So here are some (admittedly totally biased) quotations.

“I think the gut reaction is going to be, ‘Why?’ But then when the actual books come out, the answer will be, ‘Oh, that’s why.’" —Brian Azzarello, writer of Before Watchmen

"I think reboots are almost mandatory in an industry that has existed for over three-fourths of a century now. The need to inject new blood, new ideas, new approaches, is the only thing that keeps our readers coming back for more." —Len Wein, editor of Watchmen and writer of Before Watchmen

"We're constantly building on other people's lores and legends. Watchmen in some ways fits that bill.... In this particular case we feel very strong about what we're doing and honestly I'm going to let the product speak for itself." —Dan DiDio, DC Comics Co-Publisher

"I guarantee you that every single one of these creators that's working on these books, think they can outdo—match or outdo—what was done in the original." —Jim Lee, DC Comics Co-Publisher

"Before Watchmen is an attempt to recapture past glories with a crop of A-list talent, instead of creating new glories with that exact same talent. Azzarello? Cooke? Conner? These folks create classics, and instead of hiring them to do that, DC’s hired them to fulfill some top-down publishing edict to wring all the money they can out of Moore and Gibbons' Watchmen, no matter what." —David Brothers, 4thletter!

“[Watchmen] was absolutely consummate and an enunciation as complete as any artwork in any realm. And it’s just inviting a disgrace, basically, to try to extend any aspect of it.” —Jonathan Lethem, novelist, essayist, nerd

“Did Alan Moore get screwed on his contract? Of course. Lots of people get screwed, but we still have Spider-Man and lots of other heroes." —J. Michael Straczynski, writer of Before Watchmen and The Amazing Spider-Man

"Among the writers working on [Before Watchmen] is former He-Man scripter J. Michael Straczynski, who once penned a comic in which Spider-Man sold his marriage to the devil. (This is the rough equivalent of having Z-movie director Uwe Boll film a studio-funded prequel to Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver.) DC is promoting the project with a Watchmen toaster, which will allow you to burn the image of Ayn Rand-inspired vigilante Rorschach into your sourdough." —Tim Marchman, The Wall Street Journal

"This is just gross, and we don’t want to be part of this one." —Tucker Stone, Bergen Street Comics, Brooklyn

"I think because of the unique team they couldn't get anybody else to take it over to do Watchmen II or anything else like that, and we've certainly got no plans to do Watchmen II." —Dave Gibbons, artist of Watchmen

"The kind of readers who are prepared to turn a blind eye when the people who create their favorite reading material, their favorite characters, are marginalized or put to the wall—that's not the kind of readers I want. So, even if it means a huge drop in sales upon my other work, I would prefer it that way. I mean, there's no way I can police this, of course. But, I would hope that you wouldn't want to buy a book knowing that its author actually had complete contempt for you." —Alan Moore, writer of Watchmen

"More Watchmen may be best understood as a blow to comics' dignity. It's product, not art. It's a limited, small series of ideas derived from a bigger, grander one. It's sad. One thing that Watchmen did a quarter century ago was to underline certain values of craft and intent and creative freedom that have helped to yield enough equivalent expressions—to my mind even grander expressions—that we may now see this follow-up project for what it is: nothing special. Not Moore. More." —Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

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