Before Bun Toons! YAY!

Ask George Lucas and Ridley Scott…when do prequels ever go wrong?

This actually happened.  I meant to consider the book under its own merits (it’s beautifully drawn and has clever ideas all over it) but try as I did, the man on my shoulder kept demanding my attention.

I didn’t expect that.  I’m frankly surprised.  Do I have a conscience or something?

Ty the Guy OUT!

I know everyone on Earth bought MINUTEMEN #1 this week, so there’s no reason to run the cover.  Here’s your BONUS MOMENT poster that was released to promote the first issue going on sale by the lovely and talented Darwyn Cooke.

Ain’t no denying it’s pretty.

——————————————————————————————–

For more BEFORE WATCHMEN Bun Toons, click here.

For even MORE Watchmen related Bun Toons click here (this one contains satire and was misunderstood by almost everyone –  no nasty letters).

For last week’s romantic and disgusting Bun Toon, click here.

For every Bun Toon ever (though at this point, I’ve put up links to practically all of them above!) click here.

41 responses to “Before Bun Toons! YAY!

  1. What you need to do is contact Mr. Moore and ask him how he dealt with all the Hover-Guilts of those authors whose characters he has pilfered over the years, each of them insisting things like:

    “I wouldn’t have crossed over my character with those.”
    “I wouldn’t have had my character rape her.”
    “I wouldn’t have crossed over my character with those to rape her.”

    You’re just trying to fight one Hover-Guilt while reading. He has successfully thwarted several while creating. And that, friends, is why he’s Alan Moore and we’re all just talking about what he does!

  2. This is precisely one of the reasons I chose not to buy Minutemen (which is the only one I was interested in anyway) — I knew I wouldn’t be able to read it on its own merits, in which case it’s going to not be “good.”

    Still, I wonder if I would have picked it up if one of the creators on my (admittedly very short) “gotta buy no matter what they do” were on it. I like Darwyn, but he’s not a favorite, and he’s the best one in this lineup, for me.

  3. I was doing a review of that first issue for a Norwegian comics site, and as I was reading the first few pages that Alan Moore-fairy you’re talking about was going: “He’s doing me. That’s not very good me. He could’ve made an effort.”

    Then Cooke gets to the end of the sequence and basically goes “Gotcha! What, you thought we’d all show up to the party in our Alan Moore costumes? Now, for my next trick I’ll need a member of the audience …”

    Cooke really had an uphill job there of finding a way to say “we’re doing our own thing” without coming off as disrespectful, and while the issue is all exposition, set-up and introduction of the characters he does manage to show how the new perspective on the Watchmen universe has a lot of interesting things to offer.

    I think, paradoxically, that based on what Cooke did here, if they manage to pull off this type of storytelling about the characters for the whole project, it might actually improve our understanding of Watchmen. Originally, Watchmen used pre-existing characters as templates so as to have a sense of a “baseline” superhero universe that the dark and chilling Watchmen story would be a counterpoint to.

    If they succeed in what Cooke at least seems like he’s trying to do, they wil be creating a more fleshed out “baseline universe” for Watchmen to play off against. Which to some readers might enhance the experience of both.

    Critics have reacted as if they’re trying to do something along the lines of “A sequel to Hamlet. With big guns, explosions and zombies.” while it might just be that what they’re doing is something along the lines of Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”, which poignantly and rewardingly steps between the lines of the Hamlet play to comment on the human condition and enhance our appreciation of the original play. Only, like, in comics, with big guns and explosions and colorful costumes. But no Zombies.

  4. I would buy an Alan Moore chibi toy.

  5. You are really that inexplicably certain we all have a “moral guardian angel” that guides all of our actions? More importantly, that Alan Moore directs this moral compass for us all?

    Sounds very Murdoch-ish, I guess… Dang, I guess that is not funny, neither you, Ty, or myself are British of Aussie…

    Cheers!

    Steven Willis
    XOWComics.com

    • I wrote an entire novel which deals specifically with our guardian angels and what I think of the job they’re doing, so my inexplicable certainty is much explicked over there. And guilt and morality are only barely linked. Folks feel guilt for all sorts of things that aren’t immoral. Chocolate, survival, masturbation, and Before Watchmen. Probably in that order.

      And Rupert Murdoch is ALWAYS funny. Corrupt media tyrants are a comedian’s bread and butter. Except on TV. Or in the media.

  6. Indirectly, this connects with another topic of much debate and I’m tired of listening to fans speculate so I’m hopeful that someone in the actual biz might be able to put some of this to rest.

    In the context of the murky issue of getting the 1966-68 Batman TV series onto DVD, it has never been made clear just what the holdup is. We’ve heard everything from music rights to George Barris’s copyright on the Batmobile design and having to pay Leslie Gore an exorbitant sum for her on-screen appearance in an episode.

    One prevailing theory has been that it is DC Comics, with the understanding being that Dan DiDio is dead set against that incarnation even being acknowledged and somehow he’s the tail wagging the dog.

    I have two questions from all this. 1) Does anyone know what the problem actually is? 2) How much say does DC have in what Warner may want to do with DC characters?

    • The DVD issue has been settled and the series, along with merch, will be flooding the market within a year. The Batmobile was never an issue as it was reproduced in several scales repeatedly over the past several decades.

      • I assume you’re referring to the recent merchandising announcement. Warner has since specifically stated that the this does not include DVDs of the show.

        As for the Batmobile, the thinking has been that the merchandisers were willing to meet Barris’s terms but that Fox/Warner/Whomever are not. It’s not, then, that Barris won’t play ball but that someone involved in getting the show onto DVD won’t play ball with him. Like you, though, I find this theory highly dubious given how apparently easy it has been to produce stuff using that design.

  7. Here’s a very exhaustive look at the many, many problems that have needed to be resolved with the Batman TV-show: http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Batman-Watchmen-Batman-Deal-Reported/10573

    I should warn you, though, that I read through it and now my head hurts and I need to lie down somewhere dark and quiet. So before you start reading, be sure that you really want an answer.

    • Their take on the relationship between DC and Warner was reasonably well worded and I think that’s what I’ve gone on the last four years but ultimately this is just a list of all the aforementioned theoretical holdups. I’m hoping to find on record where someone involved in this process has publicly stated who or what the problem actually is, rather than interested parties rattling off what could be the problem.

      Also, the TVShowsOnDVD piece is now four years out of date. DC now has their own movie division, and one wonders what, if any, role that might be allowed to play in this debacle.

  8. Pingback: Ty Templeton …. correct yet again: | The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log

  9. joselitus_maximus

    Didn’t it used to be called “conscience” back in the old days?
    Well, it was before the internet, so who cares?

    • Moore wasn’t deterred by his “conscience” when he originally conceived of the story using Charlton Comics characters. It was DC Comics editor Dick Giordano whose “conscience” intervened and forced Moore to create original characters. Otherwise, Watchmen would have been told using characters created by several other creators. And, oh, by the way – Moore defends his pilfering of characters in the public domain on the basis their creators are now all dead. At the time of Watchmen that wasn’t the case for the Charlton characters he wanted to use.

  10. There is no such thing as reading something “on its own merits.” Don’t fool yourself.

  11. joselitus_maximus

    My comment is about the strip, which I thought may be autobiographical.
    I mean, when SOMETHING starts nagging you deeeep down your thoughts, about something you did (or are doing), that’s “conscience”, in my opinion.

  12. joselitus_maximus

    Another thing:
    Moore drew the line in the sand a looong time ago, and has been living with the consequences and has been quite consistent about it (too much, some people would say).
    But I’m seeing a lot of people shooting their mouths, but THEY DON’T SEEM TO NOTICE, they are drawing a line in the sand too!

    And Moore CAN go back on his actions. If he falls into poverty and works for DC, what are you gonna do? Attack a 60 yrs old man for not wanting to starve to death? Or if he decides he wants to pay for the treatment of a sick friend? Attack him for getting a paycheck and doing exactly what others are doing right now?

    If Moore does not have the moral high ground, guess what, it follows that 99,99% of other artists and creators in mainstream comics don’t have it either.
    The maximum people can do is scream:
    “ONE! OF! US! ONE! OF! US!”

    • It comes down to this: Moore’s argument rests on the perspective that Watchmen is his work. But the truth is, if he had had his way, it would have been a story he wrote about Charlton Comics characters! Dick Giordano was the editor at DC Comics – the very publisher now in the moral wrong, per Moore – who nixed that plan and it’s only because Giordano protected the Charlton characters created by other writers and artists that Moore created Night Owl, Silk Spectre, Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, et al.

      Since striking out on his own, he’s written From Hell, based on the real life Jack the Ripper as well as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Lost Girls in which he has treated the work of various literary authors as his personal toy box.

      Whether Moore ever works for DC is irrelevant to the fact that his argument is disingenuous at best, if not complete hypocrisy. It’s as though Moore doesn’t want to acknowledge he only created new characters because for once, there was someone to deny him the chance to play with characters other people had created.

      When pressed on these two very significant points, though, Moore disregards the fact that he originally planned to use the Charlton Comics characters entirely and he justifies using the characters of other writers on the basis they’re all dead now. That’s such a selective position for him to take that it is impossible to take seriously his moralistic crusade in the name of creator rights. If he had created entirely original characters now that he’s self-published, it’d be different. But he’s effectively crying foul for there not being honor among thieves and I just can’t get behind that.

      • The whole thing about Moore’s use of the Charlton characters is a bit of a red herring, honestly. My friend Lance Parkin, who is in the middle of writing a major biography of Moore. Back when Before Watchmen was announed, he wrote about the whole Charlton thing on his blog: http://lanceparkin.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/before-charlton/. There are three pieces that are worth quoting:

        “…Watchmen did not ‘start off’ using the Charlton characters. Moore was interested in a self-contained, dark superhero series set in its own world with a small cast of superheroes (as opposed to the vast DC universe, which has thousands of them). He looked around for a generic, existing, currently unused superteam and alighted on the Mighty Crusaders. Quickly, though, he learned that DC had the rights to the Charlton characters and drew up an outline using those.”

        “…There’s no doubt that the characters in Watchmen map closely onto the Charlton originals…Here’s the thing: the Charlton heroes were only ever part of the equation because they were so generic. Superheroes fall into a relatively small set of types – types of powers, types of personality. Yes, Nite Owl is very like Blue Beetle. He’s also very like Batman, Green Arrow, Daredevil and Moon Knight. If Moore had used the Mighty Crusaders, he would have told the same story and the Shield would have been the Peacemaker/Comedian. If he’d been writing a Marvel story, it would have been Captain America. Moore originally picked the Charlton heroes precisely because they didn’t really have much identity of their own, they didn’t come with the same baggage, associations and level of public affection that it would if it was a story about Superman and Batman.”

        Lance goes on to point out that even if Dr. Manhattan started out as Captain Atom, take a look at Ditko’s Captain Atom and Dr. Manhattan and it’s quite clear they’re very different. Which brings me to quote number three:

        “What’s telling, I think, is that most of the commentators who have invoked the Charlton connection talk about ‘the Charlton characters’. I think this is really interesting, perhaps the central issue.

        “Moore doesn’t talk about characters. He says that DC are ‘apparently dependent on ideas that I had twenty five years ago’. Likewise, Gibbons talks about Watchmen as being “the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell”. What does the statement from Dan Didio and Jim Lee at DC say? “It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant … after 25 years, the Watchmen are classic characters”.

        “Is this splitting hairs? What’s the difference? The implication from the DC side of things is that you can somehow detach the characters, that they exist independently of the narratives they appear in.

        You may well disagree with this, but I honestly think there’s more than a grain of truth to it. Watchmen as a work is bigger than just a set of characters. Moore wanted to tell a story about the familiar superhero types in the real world and see how they connected. It’s the ideas in Watchmen that give it such powerful life.

        • You’ll get no argument from me about how fluid the genesis of Watchmen was and how ultimately peripheral the Charlton characters were to the overall idea. That said, I still think it relevant that Moore did not originally conceive it as a story using new characters. Rather, he was interested in telling his story using characters created by other people. That’s the part relevant to my argument because only the editorial decision of Dick Giordano led to Watchmen having original characters at all. Were it not for that, Moore would have penned a story about someone else’s characters owned by DC and he wouldn’t have a leg to stand on in any claim of ownership today.

          It also connects directly with Moore’s willingness to use the creations of other people without their consent (or that of their estate). That makes his own indignation at his characters being used without his permission rather dubious.

          Suppose Giordano signs off on using the Charlton characters and Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, et al are never created. Instead of the genius of Alan Moore being recognized and praised, how many upset creators and protective fans are outraged at what he does with those characters? What defense would he have offered in 1986? “Hey, don’t blame me; DC owns ‘em fair and square and they paid me for my story.” Sounds a whole lot like what the Before Watchmen creators are being forced to say today.

          As for the issue of separating characters from the story, I’m in complete agreement with you. I think of Casablanca. That film wasn’t written because Rick, Ilsa, Sam, Louis, et al needed to be put in a story. They were created because the story needed them. All we need ever know about any of them is in that one film. We never need to see what actually chased Rick out of America, what the concentration camps were like for Victor or how Louis came to be prefect. Nor do we ever need to see what role Rick and Louis played in the war effort, or what became of Rick’s Cafe Americain or anything else in the film. Their stories are complete, and any story that might possibly be told about them would be better off told with original characters.

          That said, I know there actually was a short-lived TV series based on Casablanca at one point. I don’t know what (if any) public reaction was had by any of the film’s writers or cast, but while I could understand any sense of being protective of the film they worked on, I would be just as reluctant to accept any claim of theirs that Warner Bros. would be out of bounds to develop another story based on characters and situations they legally own.

  13. joselitus_maximus

    Everything that Moore said and did regarding Watchmen benefited (in real money and staus) the artists and writers that came after him.

    There is economic and social pressures that make people without leverage sign shitty contracts, it is unfair to blame the victims.

    If Giordano protected Charlton, then HE PROTECTED CHARLTON, you can`t blame Moore for doing something that you say Giordano didn’t allow to actually happen.

    I kinda agree that everything rests on whether or not Watchmen is Moore’s work. But in my opinion, Watchmen IS Moore and Gibbon’s work. So we won’t agree on nothing regarding Moore’s complaints.
    To put it in perspective, I think that DC should NOT have won the Capt. Marvel case and that it would be utterly ridiculous to sue Liefeld, Busiek, Waid, etc… for their many Superman (and Batman,and Wonder Woman,and…) analogues.

    Anyone can google and check how Moore wrote way more stuff beyond the 3 works that you chose to cite, that’s a “scarecrow fallacy”.

    Creator’s rights have nothing to do with how much of an ass a creator is.
    Moore’s work with other people chars in other companies have nothing to do with the Watchmen case.
    IT IS NOT A RIGHT IF YOU ONLY HAVE IT AS LONG AS YOU GO WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S PLANS.
    I don’t care about how “heroic” Moore is or isn’t.
    The real focus should be DC’S ACTIONS (and Marvel’s) and how they(it?) treat their creators.
    They are the ones who profited, and the ones that have the power and money to makes things right,

    • I dispute your “scarecrow fallacy” charge. Team Moore’s argument rests on shaming the legal standing of the characters by staking claim to an artistic integrity high ground. The argument is that DC, even if they have legal standing to publish Before Watchmen, should have the good taste not to do so out of respect for the artistic integrity of Moore’s work.

      That high-and-mighty perspective invites scrutiny and even if you throw out From Hell, I think what he did with the other two books I cited is more than enough to illustrate how disingenuous it is for Moore to object to someone doing things with his creations that he did not approve.

      Moore’s often blasphemous writings of other creators’ characters has rested solely on their legal standing. Okay, Lewis Carroll would probably have signed off on Lost Girls but it’s difficult to imagine any of the other writers whose works he has raided being okay with what he’s done. His often blasphemous writings of other creators’ characters has rested solely on their legal standing. Okay, Lewis Carroll would probably have signed off on Lost Girls but it’s difficult to imagine any of the other writers whose works he has raided being okay with what he’s done.

      In fact, Lost Girls can’t be published in the U.K. because there, the estate of J.M. Barrie still has legal standing to own Wendy Darling. If he didn’t lose any sleep over using her in his highbrow porn story, why should anyone at DC lose sleep over Before Watchmen?

      Once the artistic integrity argument is negated, then we’re left with the legal defense of DC Comics. I certainly agree with Moore that they have exploited the ambiguous language to avoid allowing him and Gibbons to take legal ownership of the book as they anticipated. But why should we afford Moore the sympathy he himself had no intention to extend to the creators of the Charlton characters?

      • joselitus_maximus

        Thinking a little, I remembered cases like, sampling in pop music, Roy Lichenstein, Wally Wood’s disney drawings, etc…
        I mean, how far can a creator use from another creator’s work?
        That sure ain’t settled.
        I do think that sampling is ok, and Lost Girls falls in the “satire” category.
        Writing satire is not blasphemous “lack of artistic integrity”, in my opinion.
        But, repeating, not setttled I suppose.

        By “scarecrow fallacy” I mean you portray Moore as pissy and over-sensitive over one single case, as in fact the Watchman case is just one of MANY instances of DC breaking verbal agreements and disrespecting a creator.
        Moore himself had at least four movies based on things he created, against his desires. Those are not small movies, those are big, big movies.
        IMO, MAJOR MONEY=MAJOR TEMPTATION=MAJOR CORRUPTION.
        Not to mention toys, and other stuff.
        It is worth remembering that Moore didn’t ask for the money for himself.

        They literally censored one Swamp Thing comic and from there there is a loooooong list of situations where they disrespect Moore alone, not to mention OTHER creators and the MANY years they got exploited before Moore was even born.

        Moore HAS artistic integrity, it takes time for a young man to grasp how he and others are being exploited. So what if he kept working in the meantime he didn’t fully grasp how a company like DC acts?
        Before Watchmen artists don’t have the same excuse, they know the history of the industry and legal and ethical aspects of PAST cases.
        In fact they talked openly about it, which is what I meant by “shooting their mouths” and “drawing a line in the sand”.
        I think that people have the right to make mistakes in life.
        It’s when they start making shitty excuses and justifications that they reveal their real intentions and feelings about something.

        Like when someone cracks a joke about jews, and gets called anti-semite.
        Most people say they are sorry, right? I think that’s fine, everyone makes mistakes. But some people start enumerating the past evils of Israel or something they read in the Bible that happened 7000 years ago… just making it worse, man.

        Another thing that bothers me is the pure cost/benefit.
        Throwing your name in this hoopla and getting the hate of Moore’s (and Ellis’, and Kirby’s, and…) fans.
        All that for a couple crappy movies and a comics mini-series that will be selling for 1 dollar 5 years from now, with zero critical acclaim to go into your resume.
        I mean, think ahead, what do they get from attacking Moore now, about this case?

        NOTHING THAT WILL LAST.

        Most of those people don’t even need the money.
        Maybe they are betting they can write something better, winning the support of most fans in the end?
        Risky. Very risky.

        Obs: I wrote everything above because I LIKE the people involved in both “sides” (fake sides, should be creators vs DC/Marvel). I’m more sad than angry.

        • Just what was satirized in Lost Girls? Moore himself described it as “highbrow pornography,” insisting that porn was a milieu in which no one ever aspired to create actual art and that was his intent. I’ve never heard or read of him characterizing it as a work of satire, though to be fair, I’ve not made a point to keep up with his interviews.

          I believe you’ve conflated whatever arguments you’ve encountered elsewhere with the one I have put forth. I have made no claim that DC Comics hasn’t done wrong by Moore or anyone else. That’s a much broader and even different topic than discussing Before Watchmen.

          What I have maintained is that Moore’s argument is that DC Comics should not be pimping out Watchmen like this. DC’s answer is, “But we own it” and Moore’s answer is, “But you shouldn’t own it and even though you do own it, you shouldn’t do this with it out of respect for artistic integrity.”

          I readily concede Moore is right to argue that DC “shouldn’t own” Watchmen. And I would happily have followed that point to his next about artistic integrity if not for his own bibliography being full of such acts of co-opting others’ characters for his own purposes. I’m even happy to disregard the instances where he did that early in his career, pre-Watchmen on the very basis you suggest (that it may have taken him a while to realize the extent of exploitation), but the examples I cited have been from his post-mainstream era of work. There can be no arguing he didn’t understand respecting creators by the time he wrote Lost Girls and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

          When pressed about whether his stories have respected the artistic integrity of those creators, Moore has hidden behind the defense of their legal stature. If it’s sufficient for him, then in fairness it should be sufficient for DC Comics now.

          This has nothing to do with what movies have been made against his wishes or anything that happened 7000 years ago in Israel. It has to do with the fairness and reasoning of the arguments against DC Comics making use of the Watchmen property.

          Regarding the Before Watchmen writers and artists, it is paternalistic to suggest veterans like Amanda Conner, J. Michael Straczynski and Len Wein are somehow ignorant of the history of the property’s dubious legal standing and the implications of working on it. These are not greenhorns taking the work just because it’s a gig.

          One of my personal heroes (though not role models!) is Waylon Jennings. He personally was responsible for winning a tremendous amount of creative freedom for country music recording artists in the 1970s. Until Waylon, the producer picked the songs, the arrangements, the musicians…the vocalist was just another cog in the wheel. The record labels each had their own recording studios and contracts with their personnel. After Waylon, though, artists could record wherever they wished and could choose to take an active role in the production, selecting songs, arrangements, musicians, etc.

          Oddly, though, just a decade after he won that hard-fought battle relatively few country artists really pushed for an active voice in the recording process. It wasn’t that they were ignorant of what had been at stake or that they had foolishly undermined the battle for artistic control. It turned out they just didn’t see it the same way he did.

  14. joselitus_maximus

    Sorry about the rants, I checked the “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” option.
    It makes it hard to pretend you don’t care.

  15. Pingback: Speed Reading: State of the Industry / Before Watchmen « Speed Force

  16. joselitus_maximus

    By satire, I mean that I heard (could wrong, of course) that there are laws that protect satire, and that I personally believe Lost Girls would fall under the protection of those laws, where they exist.
    But I’m no lawyer and I don’t even like Lost Girls, I only read one number…

    I don’t really want to attack the artists in Before Watchmen, I just think that it’s NOT WORTH IT.
    I mean, I’m typing this from Brasil. People ARE talking.
    And IMO, it’s for nothing.

    Moore may take a hit on his rep, but that does not mean that rep gets “transfered” to Straczynski and the others.
    In fact, everyone involved was heavily criticized, seems to me that everyone involved took a hit on their reputations, fairly or not.

    But I think Moore already had a rep as someone not easy to deal with. That’s why I say that he “drew the line” a long time ago.

    As far as I know, the others did not have any rep regarding those kind of things.
    But they have now.

    • I think you’ve just demonstrated my problem with Moore’s position. The only real defense of Lost Girls is a matter of legal interpretation. The law’s definition of “satire” is more easily exploitable than is the art world’s definition. I don’t know that anyone reading Lost Girls would definite it as a work of satire in an artistic sense. We’re left only with the flimsy legal shield (and that’s just about the use of characters and not even touching the sexual content!).

      As for anyone’s “rep” being affected by Before Watchmen, I think that’s going to prove a tempest in a teacup. My initial reaction to the project was that it was a bad idea not because of some misguided fealty to Alan Moore, but because the original story is so comprehensive I just didn’t see where there were any meaningful gaps I as a reader needed filled in by any prequels.

      At best, I suspect they’ll acquit themselves and turn out to be “not that bad.” Anything less than that, and they’re just easily disregarded by readers. There is a precedent for this, though. Remember how excited everyone was for Frank Miller to make a sequel to The Dark Knight Returns, but then it turned out nobody actually liked it? That didn’t hurt Miller’s standing, nor did it detract from Dark Knight. We all collectively just shrugged and said, “The first one is still a masterpiece!” I suspect that’s the equilibrium point most readers will reach at the end of Before Watchmen. Nobody’s going to be damaged for having worked on these, except those declared persona non grata by Team Moore.

  17. This has been a lively discussion! I’ll chime in here and say this: Alan Moore is my favorite comic book writer of all time. He’s a complete master of the form, but a mildly flawed human being. Just as John Lennon was a mildly flawed human being, and John Belushi was a massively flawed human being, and Hunter Thompson was a barely functioning human being, and pick your own favourite genius with an odd haircut. Brilliant men and women have myopias. I’m not brilliant enough to have “myopias and mild flaws”, I’m just an asshole with a website. But it allows me to forgive quite a bit, and I reserve the right to poke at with affection, these foibles, and the fans that rally behind and against them.

    Where do I stand on the Before Watchmen?

    If it was up to me, I wouldn’t have published them, just as a courtesy to Alan Moore, but I’m an artist at heart and love his creation like no other, and would have left it alone just because he asked. That’s me. I’m more fanboy than is sensible, and it’s a shitty business decision, but I don’t run a comic company.

    BUT…since they exist, and some of the creators involved in the project are legitimate no-kidding friends of mine, and ALL of the Before Watchmen creators are pretty skilled at this job, I’m just curious enough to check in with a couple of these issues to see what they do for me. The Watchmen fan in me wants to buy them all, the same way that I still collect illegal Korean Batman toys…because they exist and they shouldn’t, and I like owning things that shouldn’t exist.

    Darwyn did a lovely job on the first issue. That’s just straight up true. And I expect there’s other excellent creators on display in the next few issues on sale (I forget which order they’re coming in, but I recall most of these folks are pretty A-List peeps).

    In a perfect world, Alan Moore would still be creating a fantastic monthly comic book (I’d settle for anything but Promethea), and DC would have honoured his wishes just because. But sigh…

    I like to think that mommy and daddy don’t love each other any more, but I still love them both.

    That’s where I stand. Over there in the corner, making a mess on the wallpaper so they’ll stop fighting and pay attention to me.

    Ty

    • I think that’s really why I’ve put forth the specific argument I have, actually; it’s almost impossible to have a concise feeling on the matter if we expand it to be a forum on Alan Moore altogether because, as I noted in my original comment, he’s Alan Moore and we’re all just talking about what he does!

      As for my personal feelings on Before Watchmen, I also would not have published them. Not out of loyalty to Moore but because his original work was so specific and so complete (and so perfect!) that I cannot fathom there’s really any unexplored part of the lives of these characters that interests me as a reader. I’ll even be so bold as to say that if, after all this time, Moore himself had wanted to write a prequel, I’d have been wary.

      But, as has often been the case, nobody asked me!

    • For me, it’s that the projects themselves are so ordinary. I looked at Minutemen and by Darwyn standards it’s up there with his Spirit– another ‘should this really be done by anyone other than the creator?’ gigs (albeit one authorized by the creator/his estate)– but it’s far from being as good as his Parker books or New Frontier.

      And it’s the lack of ambition of it that gets my own Alan Moore fairy going. There was so much *thought* that went into every aspect of Watchmen, the graphic design, the use of the grid, the cover leading into the issue, the back matter, it felt like something, well, done for art. This just feels like an editorially driven DC Comics summer event. (It doesn’t even have the decency to give it to us with no ads like the original.) And don’t get me wrong, they can generate good comics, but Watchmen was never just “good” comics.

      I guess what really bugs me about it is that DC never even tried to come up with a project good enough to make me avoid having an Alan Moore fairy talking over it. Where the brief was: do something that is as balls-to-the-wall inventive as Watchmen that uses the Watchmen characters, where everything is up for grab. My buddy Lance Parkin talks about this on his blog, where he posits “What if, say, Michael Chabon wrote a sequel and it was published as a complete 360 page graphic novel with all sorts of things that were just as radical as Watchmen was in ’85?” Before Watchmen seems so comparatively timid: do Superhero comics that use the Watchmen characters that directly tie into the story. And that’s why I can’t abide it, no matter how fun Darwyn Cooke makes it.

      • Oh, I wouldn’t have signed off on Before Watchmen either, for that very reason. Moore’s original story was so thorough and complete that I just don’t see much room for interesting storytelling. If this was a sequel, maybe I could see more potential. About 80% of the original story was comprised of flashbacks and telling the story of the characters’ past. Whatever gaps are left to be filled cannot possibly be all that large or meaningful. As a reader, I have no unanswered questions about these characters for Before Watchmen to address.

  18. joselitus_maximus

    I can agree not to blame the artists and writers for things being like this, that much is subjective in this case, and that it may be a tempest in a teacup on the long run.
    I’m unsatisfied, but then, it seems everyone is too.

    Ty, I’m a fan of yours, wouldn’t be here otherwise.
    Thanks.

  19. I love that this discussion is thoughtful and polite. I’m enjoying the cogent posts and points of view, and I’m LOVING that no one is calling each other names. Bun Toons spreads the intelligent love.

    • You’re despicable!

      Wait, wrong bunny.

    • They say you should be the change you want to see in the world. I want to see a world where debates can be thoughtful and civil. I make a point to at least try to contribute both (though I admit sometimes I can be just as glib as anyone else). It’s a testament to you, Mr. Templeton, that you’ve attracted the kind of readership that shares those values.

  20. I *LOVE* Promethea but I am not sure what he would want to add to it.

  21. Promethea is the only Alan Moore series I can’t seem to get into. (Well, that and Lost Girls, but Lost Girls doesn’t count.) However, since I’ve just come through the magnificent radiant wonderfulness of the last volumes of LOEG just this weekend (especially enjoying the Black Dossier), I’m going to go back into Promethea for another try.

  22. Studies suggest that Vitamin D and Calcium dieting 2013 are directly related to weight loss success is short term
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  23. Pingback: Ty Templeton .... correct yet again: - Forbidden Planet Blog

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