Eh. There are lots of opinions on the Before Watchmen operation. Mine is simple. It’s shameful, it shouldn’t be done, and every writer/artist involved is proving one of these two things: a) they’re shrewd, have no ethics, and are in there just for the money, or b) they’re not clever/honest enough to accept that they have no ethics and are in there just for the money (which obviously also means that they’re not clever enough to work on such a complex concept as Watchmen). Let me explain better.WHY IT SHOULDN'T BE DONE. CONCEPTUALLY
Watchmen is a building with a very complex architecture, made of glass and mirrors for all to see, but which also has deep foundations and hidden pillars to sustain it all. These pillars, they were made to hold 12 floors. Not one more, not one less. Trying to raise the height of the building, either from below or from above, is an almost impossible feat, whose only result would be to render the whole building ugly, and prone to collapse.
Let me evidence this more. Watchmen is NOT an apartment block, born for rental and growth. Watchmen is St. Peter’s cathedral (from a pure architectural point of view – I don’t give a damn about the religious aspect). You want to make another St. Peter’s cathedral with more modern sculptures and design? You’re welcome. But please don’t touch the original: it’s history, you will only ruin it.
Before Watchmen is not trying to homage the original and make something different. It’s a commercial operation that is taking something – something that was born and made to work as a closed set of 12 interconnected episodes – and converting it into a series. A series. Eh. Exactly one of the architectural rules that Watchmen purposefully destroyed in order to evolve its comic form. Exactly one of the main things upon which Watchmen is UN-based.
It’s like writing a prequel to Ulysses, in simple prose. It would make no sense, it would be useless, and anyway no one except Joyce would be capable of doing it.WHY IT SHOULDN'T BE DONE, ETHICALLY
Comic writers, artists, readers, and the whole comic industry owe a lot to Watchmen. It’s a recent (not even 30 years old) masterpiece. Its author deserves an immense respect. It’s author is still alive. Its author is saying I don’t like this, I don’t want it, I was screwed, don’t do it. Even if he was a delusional madman (which he’s not, but let’s play ifs), he still deserves an enormous respect. So that’s it. If he says don’t do it, and you go on, you’re unethical and immoral.
Who cares about DC, we all know that corporations are immoral and unethical, so fuck them. But the authors of Before Watchmen are single persons, who made a personal choice. They’re all famous and well paid, so they’re not even doing it because they’re starving. They’re doing it for one of the two reasons I mentioned in the beginning of this article. Which is very sad.
Most of all, please remember that this is a commercial operation. It’s not that an author was so into Watchmen that he decided to homage it somehow. DC started this product. For money. And asked its authors to collaborate. They said yes. Screw them. I’ll never buy another comic they make.WHY SAYING THAT ALAN MOORE DID THE SAME IN THE PAST IS INCORRECT, AND WHY, ANYWAY, IT'S NOT IMPORTANT
I read a lot of people saying that Alan Moore did the same. He used Hyde, Nemo, etc. for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He used Alice, Wendy and Dorothy for Lost Girls. He wrote Swamp Thing and others.
The Swamp Thing is easy. Swamp Thing was a character created for a series, and for the work of different authors. You can’t say the same about Watchmen. For the rest, let me explain better.
Moore paid homage to those characters, out of passion. Before Watchmen’s authors are using Watchmen characters for commercial reasons.
Moore used those characters to create a new different world of stories. Before Watchmen’s authors simply want to intrude in Watchmen’s world and add stuff.
Moore reinvented. Before Watchmen’s authors exploit.
Again, using Leopold Bloom in a different context, for your passion project, is not the same as writing a prequel to Ulysses.
That said. Who cares if Moore was unethical (which he wasn’t)? He doesn’t deserve respect for his ethics, but for being the living creator of the immense masterpiece that Watchmen is.WHY YOU SHOULDN'T BUY IT
With the Before Watchmen operation DC and its authors are stating many things. Things they already stated many times in the past decades, but this time with more force. They’re stating that they don’t give a fuck about creators, regardless of their importance to the comic medium and of what they owe them. That comics are not mature enough to respect and deal correctly with masterpieces. That we, as readers, are all gullible.
But more importantly. They alienated Alan Moore from the comic medium. One of the most important and loved authors in the form, and he practically doesn’t want to do comics anymore. Do you realize what we’re losing? Both as readers and as members of the comics club?
If you buy Before Watchmen, you’re saying this is ok. That they can do it again. Remember: they do it for the money. If they get the money, they win. And they’ll feel even more entitled than before, and continue on the same route.
Remember: you have the power. To not buy Before Watchmen. To not buy it massively, and make it a big flop. To send a message.POST SCRIPTUM
If you have the time, you should really read this interview by Alan Moore