Sunday night sees the debut of Watchmen on HBO. The series is not at all a direct adaptation of the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons comic of the same name, but rather a sequel, set 30 years in the future. Normally, this would not necessarily be cause for an ethical debate, but because of Moore’s stance on adaptations of his own work, it becomes one.
Moore has repeatedly stated that he does not want his comics adapted into other media, and has requested that his names not appear on any future adaptations. Watchmen honors that, by crediting Gibbons as ‘co-creator,’ but does not list who he created the characters with. Moore’s position is one that I think is easy to identify with: he made comics to be comics, and if comics are just storyboards for films, then what’s the point?
At the Watchmen press junket, executive producer Damon Lindelof stated that he made Watchmen because he realized that, even if he didn’t, someone else will. And while that’s not exactly the best reason to do anything, his point stands: DC and Marvel will license adaptations of anything and everything if they think there’s a buck to be made. And for every good comic adaptation (Scott Pilgrim vs the World), there are three bad ones (Jonah Hex, Inhumans, Hellboy (2019)).
But should everything be adapted? Like Moore said, certain things are created to be a comic, and by making it anything else takes away from its intended presentation. Not only that, but should the creator’s intentions be upheld? Mick Jagger can’t stop a garage band from covering “Satisfaction,” so why are the rules different for different media?
There aren’t any easy answers here, but we’re asking, broadly: should certain comics be closed off from adaptation? Vote in the poll, and then sound off in the comments, because we are really interested in what y’all have to say on this topic.