It’s finally happening. After over two decades of untouchable status within its own medium, Watchmen is getting spin-offs in the form of several “prequel” comics.
Alan Moore is not pleased. Then again, he hasn’t been pleased with DC since the 1980s, so little has really changed, there.
There is some big-name talent involved, including the one who had dropped some hints she was working on something big when we last spoke to her after Long Beach Comic-Con wrapped. Even though she couldn’t say exactly what, it was enough for me to feel simultanously thrilled for her, and very squeamish about the concept. After all, it could be argued that the last time a much cherished series like this was revisited after several decades, the result turned out to be The Phantom Menace. Moore or Gibbons aren’t returning to the well like Lucas did, though, it’s a new guard.
And I admit, part of me wants to see The Comedian as written by Brian Azzarello, and wants to see Miss Conner’s vision of Silk Spectre. Actually I don’t have to imagine that, since a bit of her art apparently got leaked onto the web at the start of the year and DC hasn’t managed to haul it all down. I hope she didn’t get in any trouble over it like their legal notice to Bleeding Cool seemed to imply, but in case she did I’m afraid I’m just gonna let you google it up yourselves. We like the A.C., and so will instead post her cover art, which is both now officially released and pretty boss, in my opinion.
The thing is, a lot of these characters are still mostly ciphers to us, though I’ll admit I have no idea how much behind the scenes backstory Moore might have conjured up that we never saw in the original mini-series. Even if there’s a lot of moldering notes somewhere, if it never saw the light of day, then there’s still a lot more room for telling stories without tripping over established continuity and character. Unlike all the Episode I-III headscratchers Lucas threw at us that at times directly contradicted obvious plot points from the originals, in this case we, the audience, largely don’t know any better. I quite enjoyed Darwyn Cooke’s take on the DC superheroes in The New Frontier. I don’t know how he’ll do with Laurel Juspecyzk and family, but as a concept pairing him working on a Minutemen book is intriguing.
But I’m sure I’m not alone in having reservations, as well, since this is supposedly all springing out of Warner Bros. mandate to DC that any and all IPs in the stable be bent over and exploited for every last penny of their worth. That doesn’t mean it can’t be worthy of existing, since art and commerce aren’t nearly as mutually exclusive as some might like to imagine, but if, say, Christopher Nolan were to announce he was doing a spin-off of Citizen Kane, there would be some conflicted feelings.
Inna final analysis, I guess it’s out of our hands. The doomsday clock is ticking once again towards midnight. They did it thirty-five minutes ago. The black freighter is bearing down on the coast. Ready or not, here comes Before Watchmen…