Before Watchmen, After Moore

In a bold move, DC Comics have chosen to revive the Watchmen franchise, Watchmen being regarded as the pinnacle of what the media has to offer, after more than 25 years (and still in print), in the form of a 7-part prequel series.  Needless to say, the decision to add new content to Alan Moore‘s epic will [has] divide comic-book fans into two camps, while some will relish the chance to get a hold of new Watchmen material, other, more die-hard fans will see this as an affront to the [note] completed vision of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, oh, and it’s a given that Mr. Moore will not go anywhere near this new project, having told the New York Times, that DC Comics prequelization is – “Completely shameless.”

As DC Comics stated, the idea is to release a series of inter-locking and inter-connecting stories, each of which will focus on a particular character.  Set in the [then] contemporary world (1986 – 1987) as envisioned by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons and aptly named Before Watchmen.  The intention of Before Watchmen is to bring the beloved characters into the 21st century, while expanding on the Watchmen mythos and making it relevant to 2012.  In response to Moore’s distaste for the project, J. Michael Straczynski (set to pen the Dr. Manhattan and Nite Owl books), noted that while Moore does not approve of adaptations of his work, he has however (and ironically) spent the last decade or so writing some brilliant stories about characters created by other writers including – Alice (from Wonderland), Dorothy (from Oz), Wendy (from Peter Pan), as well as Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Jekyll and Hyde and Professor Moriarty.  Straczynski made a good point by saying;

“I think one loses a little of the moral high ground to say, ‘I can write characters created by Jules Verne, HG Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle and Frank Baum, but it’s wrong for anyone else to write my characters’.”

As many will know, after a lengthy owner dispute, Alan Moore severed all connections to DC Comics, resulting in Moore vowing to never work for DC again.  Moore believes that Watchmen was only meant to be portrayed in the comic-book medium, so you will never find his name on anything like for example, the live action film adaptation. Back in 1985, Moore actually said that if their 12-issue series was well-received, they’d actually consider doing a follow-up, in the form of a prequel entitled Minutemen, circled around the 1940s progenitors of the ’80s heroes.  In 2010, DC Comics offered the Watchmen property back to Moore but only if he’d agree to do a series of prequel and side-projects, but Moore responded with;

“If they said that 10 years ago, when I asked them for that, then yeah it might have worked … But these days I don’t want Watchmen back. Certainly, I don’t want it back under those kinds of terms.”

Well, like it or not, Watchmen will be making a return, even though die-hards may cringe [rage & cry heresy] at the thought of a Watchmen story devoid of Moore and Gibbons, DC’s prequel project is clearly not aimed at the Watchmen zealots.  Before Watchmen is DC’s way of staying fresh, interesting…and perhaps controversial, and what better way to do that then by dusting off an old classic, revered as the greatest graphic novel of all time?

Of course, if one were to so choose, they needn’t read Before Watchmen, thus saving everyone the needless grief of fanboy fanny wobbles, but I’d wager that whether you’re a casual reader or die-hard fan,  you will check out Before Watchmen, just to see how it turns out, because in the back of your mind you’ll always know that it’s there…waiting.


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