February 1, 2012

The WATCHMEN Prequel Brouhaha

After all the discussions, the rumors, and the consumption of many Hostess Chocodiles, DC Comics has officially announced its plans to publish several prequel series to 1985's Watchmen.

And already, the internet is abuzz with conversation, complaints, mindless frothing, and general apathy.

Although Brant, Ron and I will probably be discussing this at this week's Zone 4 recording (episode to go live next week - be sure to head to either our web site or Facebook page to get updates), I thought I would make some general remarks both humorous, blatantly irreverent and hopefully....somewhat insightful.

  • I get it - DC is in the business of publishing books. In addition, it's also (much like Marvel) now more of a franchise & licensing company; much of its reboot had to do with making various characters more palatable to use in other media. Given the relatively poor performance of the Watchmen movie, DC had to decide how to extend this franchise....so it shouldn't be all too surprising that they are moving in this direction.
  • Personally, a Minutemen series makes the most sense - after all, a similar take on Golden Age material might be interesting. But in all honesty....does anyone care about a sane Rorschach? A non-pudgy Nite Owl? The book was pretty self-contained, and given that DC owns the Charlton characters that the novel was spun off from, well....they could have easily turned this into a separate Earth. Speaking of which.....
  • Alan Moore has complained about how his characters are being used....and how his graphic novels are being reshaped into movies. It's kind of hard to take the comments of a man who has "revived" older, more obscure characters seriously. I'm reminded of a story involving a writer who, when asked if Hollywood had "ruined" his novels, stated, "No, they didn't - they're still on the shelf for people to read"
  • Dave Gibbon's comment about "may this series achieve the success (DC) desires" - is it just me, or is there a hint of snark and sarcasm in that line?
  • Many of DC's recent decisions - from changing their logo to "renaming" Captain Marvel into Shazam - seem less motivated by creative needs and more by business needs. (Most of the creative teams seem more like their in-house team than, say, recruiting the best fit for the character). It's one thing to build upon a universe; this seems like an event comic of the worst kind - more to drive awareness and say, "Look! This is still here!" than any real creative endeavor. (I have no problem with spin-offs, but I wonder if the story really lies in the characters before the events of the novel. That may be just me).
In short - I'll buy Minutemen, but everything else....either wait for the trades or ask at the library.

Thoughts? Comments? 

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