Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #827: Who Watches The Watchmen?

Suspected Watchmen 2 artwork.
Unless you've been living in a cave without internet, you've probably heard the rumors of DC Comics preparing some sort of a prequel and/or sequel to their seminal 80s miniseries The Watchmen.  Those rumors kicked into overdrive when some possible test-art was leaked.

Now some folks are screaming blasphemy. These nattering nabobs of negativity are saying that Watchmen is the comic equivalent of holy writ, and that DC should never touch it.

Hmmm.... now if what I'm talking sounds like complete gibberish, I'll deliver some background.

Watchmen started out as a passing notion at DC Comics in the early 1980s.  They had recently purchased all the superhero characters from the failing Charlton Comics company, and were looking for something to do with them.

DC wanted to do something really radical with these characters, so they contacted British writer Allan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons to do it. Except Allan Moore's ideas were a little too radical for DC Comics, since it involved most of the expensive Charlton characters ending up dead and/or out of action and DC decided to incorporate them into the mainstream DC continuity instead.

But DC told Moore to go ahead with his idea, but to create new versions of the Charlton characters and use them instead.  Moore and Gibbon created the Watchmen and history was made.

Watchmen broke new ground as probably the most intelligently constructed comic book of all time. Every facet of the comic book medium was used to tell the story from the dialogue and drawings to even the panel layouts.  

It spawned legions of imitators and one movie that itself spawned mixed feelings, and changed the comics medium forever, for better and for worse.

Now let's get back to the issue at hand, which is DC comics and their proposed sequel or prequel to Watchmen.

There is one simple, undeniable fact about Watchmen that you must know.

It is the sole property of DC Comics.

The project was started by DC comics, Allan Moore and Dave Gibbons were hired to create a project that DC would own, even the characters they created for that project are pastiches of DC property. Besides, Moore washed his hands of any involvement with Watchmen and DC Comics back in the 1980s.  He won't even accept royalties or credit for it.

That means that DC Comics and its parent company, Time-Warner can do whatever the hell they want with Watchmen.

That means that if they want to do this....
They can.

But we live in a free society, so that means that if you are one of those people who are currently having a shit-fit about new Watchmen material, you have an option...


As my grandfather said: "Don't even ignore them." No one is going to force you to buy it, or even pay attention to it. 

It worked for me after the first Star Wars prequel, and I used this method to good effect with Indiana Jones & The Crystal Cup Of Metamucil.

Face it, we live in an age where the people in charge of popular culture think the only way to succeed is to completely bastardize the childhood memories of my generation. The only way to make them stop doing that is to stop such bastardization from being profitable.

That means when something like this comes up, and you feel offended by its very existence: Ignore it and don't spend money on it. The hype they get from these "controversies" combined with the cult of fanboy completism are why comics publishers think they can get away with anything and everything, and usually do.

Fans need to put their outrage and their eagerness aside, and let projects sink or swim on their own merits and not for the hype they can generate.

It's just that simple.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah..no. Not gonna be wasting my money on anti-american, anti-male propaganda.
    I know Moore's not involved with the prequel, but it'll be no different. It'll be written for middle aged hipsters and fat feminists, won't sell a lot of copies and be forgotten just as quickly.
    Alan Moore is one of the most talented people in the world and all he does is do drugs and write anti-american comic books. There is no reason that the league of extraordinary gentlemen comics shouldn't be more popular, yet no one outside of nerd circles has even heard of them.