Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Un-Watched-Men

Or What I Think of Before Watchmen

(There will be a few expletives in this one)

Seeing as how this is the week Before Watchmen launches, I kind of want to write some thoughts on ethics and creator rights and boycotts… but first I guess I have to write what I think of the misguided prequels to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s seminal classic Watchmen.

I think Before Watchmen is a transparent money grab and, as an overall concept, completely artistically bankrupt and completely unethical.

Suffice it to say, I will not be reading them.

Watchmen, is to comics what Moby Dick is to novels: it is this looming, challenging, masterwork that I think every comics fan has to at least try to read and come to terms with. I think it is a completed work, and I really enjoy it as it is. As such, I have no interest in reading other stories using Watchmen characters since they are at best unnecessary, and at worst will detract from the original work. Fiction, like food, is discretionary; you can (and should) choose not to eat shit.

Before Watchmen is also morally bankrupt. Alan Moore got, for a lack of a better phrase, fucked over by DC comics. He signed the contracts for Watchmen and V for Vendetta with the understanding that he and his co-creators, David Lloyd and Dave Gibbons, would eventually gain complete control of their work. This didn’t happen, which is immensely shitty. Exponentially more shitty is the fact that DC comics decided to make Before Watchmen against the expressed wishes of Alan Moore.

Not reading Before Watchmen is a moral decision as well as one based on taste.

Now, as terrible as the idea of Before Watchmen is, DC managed to somehow convince a number of very talented creators to make these books (I’d wager by OFFERING ALL THE MONEYS).  I don’t really blame the creators for taking the work, per se…  although I wish they were making books I was actually interested in reading.

So, yeah, Before Watchmen is deplorable and unwelcome. I won’t be reading them, and I don’t think anyone else should either.

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