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    Before Watchmen: The Multiversity Response

    By | February 1st, 2012
    Posted in Columns | % Comments

    In the last few hours since the announcement of DC’s Prequel Series Before Watchmen, it has seemed like everyone and their mother has publicly stated an opinion on it, with more and more coming out of the woodwork as the day goes by. Is it a blatant cash grab or isn’t it? Is it sacrilege or not? Should Alan Moore’s thoughts on the matter mean anything to anyone? Will people ever be able to look at Dr. Manhattan the same way after the movie made his genitalia famous? Regardless of the statements swirling around, I’d say this is arguably the most anyone has talked about Watchmen in at least a few years and is the second blockbuster announcement of the last twelve months from DC. Like it or not, you were probably talking about it to someone before you came to our site and saw the post.

    So, because no one demanded it, here is the official Multiversity staff response to the announcement and a few of the thoughts swirling in our heads about the project in general and the reaction it has so far received.

    Click on down for musings!

    Matthew Meylikhov

    Walter Richardson
    Are you one of the people “upset” that DC would treat Moore and his creation this way?

    Do you read DC and/or Marvel superhero comics?

    Then for the love of God, please shut up. The superhero comic industry is built on the backs of creators who have been treated by publishers significantly worse than Moore has. Just because Watchmen was a maxiseries with an ending doesn’t make this case any different. I’m not endorsing DC’s decision — though some of the talent lined up does look quite nice – I’m just saying that if you’re pretending to care about respecting original creators and have been buying, say, Superman comics for the past ten years, then your actions say differently.

    Brian Salvatore
    Whenever I am deciding whether or not to buy a comic, I ask myself three questions:

    1) do I have an affinity for the character(s)?

    2) have I enjoyed the work that the creative team has done in the past?

    3) does the story interest me?

    In the case of Before Watchmen, all three are yeses – but that doesn’t mean that I am completely gung ho on this project. Yes, it feels cheap to be taking these characters are out of their perfectly crafted, small universe and telling origins that were pretty clearly touched upon in the original work. Yes, this has a certain stink of “old ideas are easier/more profitable than new ideas,” but what major comic series doesn’t adhere to that very principle? And no, this isn’t essential to getting maximum enjoyment out of Watchmen. That said, have you seen the creators involved? The artwork alone seems to be in contention for some of the best of 2012, and while some of the writers have done less than superior work over the last few years, each writer seems very nicely paired with their characters. Plus, THE ART! Whether or not I will be buying in single issues or waiting for the trades is still up in the air, but I can’t imagine this group of creators, working within the world Moore/Gibbons fashioned, creating anything less than something that’s “pretty good.” And in my book, “pretty good” for a Watchmen-related product is good news.

    David Harper
    I like Watchmen. It’s a good comic. It isn’t a holy grail comic for me, so this isn’t a big deal. It’s not something I’m particularly fascinated in, nor do I think there is any real story that is needed to be told left in that world.

    That said, do I like the idea of a book that Darwyn Cooke writes and illustrates on top of a new Parker book? Hell yeah. Some of the creative teams are great. I might pick them up simply because I believe they’ll be well crafted comics. It was only a matter of time until DC did this, and if they were going to do it, I’m stoked that they have people like Cooke, Amanda Conner, Brian Azzarello, J.G. Jones, Jae Lee and others on it. It may be disrespectful in the mind of Moore, but they respect the legacy enough to put A-list talent on it.

    Continued below

    I do want to say though: I hate JMS on this, and I kind of genuinely don’t like him either (as a person, I enjoy his writing often, just not here). What happened to only doing graphic novels?

    All of that said, these will be the most pirated comics ever. That is a cold hard fact.

    Josh Mocle
    I’m in, at least tentatively. Like some of my fellow writers, I don’t think Watchmen is the sacred cow it once was and, whereas I once firmly believed the opposite, I’m not sure the universe itself should not be revisted. In fact, all of Alan Moore’s crotchity, regressive bitching only makes me want it to happen more, strictly out of spite. There is, of course, a right way and a wrong way to do it. If they had gone the full on sequel route, I’d cry foul because ultimately negating the end of that book is akin to negating the entire book. But turning back the clock and adding to the already deep backstory present in the original text is not the worst way to go about this blatant cash grab. If the company itself didn’t have reverence for the original text, it wouldn’t have assigned the level of talent to the books that they did nor give them as much time to work on them as they did. The ability of these books to be a great addition to the Watchmen mythology is not guaranteed, but given the pedigree of the creators the likelihood of them being great comics in general is pretty high. So lets roll the dice and see where it goes.

    That having been said, I’ll be buying all of these in trade. Because while some of my stances on Watchmen have softened over the years, I still believe that Watchmen, any Watchmen, is a bookshelf book, not a longbox book. Unless DC offers to pay me to pick up the singles, I’m looking forward to reading these stories sometime in late 2013.

    Joshua Mocle

    Joshua Mocle is an educator, writer, audio spelunker and general enthusiast of things loud and fast. He is also a devout Canadian. He can often be found thinking about comics too much, pretending to know things about baseball and trying to convince the masses that pop-punk is still a legitimate genre. Stalk him out on twitter and thought grenade.