The unthinkable has happened. We never saw it coming. Comics will never be the same! DC Comics has announced that they are moving forward with their plans for seven Before Watchmen miniseries.
Obviously, the comics community was outraged. I’m sure you’re outraged right now reading this. I’m sure you’re going to boycott DC books now and send letters and organize protests and join the movement against these books that we all so desperately don’t want. Wait a second, there’s no action being taken! Just a bunch of people complaining on Twitter. It seems we’ve become a bit complacent.
Now there’s no denying that DC’s decision to publish further Watchmen material without the consent of original creators, Alan Moore and Dave Gibson. I will not refute that. What DC is doing is a slap in the face to any creator that created something under the assumption (and really more than that because legally binding contracts were involved) that everything created would be theirs to own forever. The situation has drawn comparisons to Jack Kirby’s legnedary legal battle with Marvel but the difference is that Kirby was creating characters for a company. That was the deal. Moore did not do this.
But for all the noise being made about Before Watchmen, why isn’t anyone trying to do anything about it? Why aren’t we standing up for creators’ rights and letting DC know that taking advantage ofcreators for the sake of the bottom line is wrong?
I have a theory.
No matter how much anyone is tweeting or blogging or verbalizing their discontent, somewhere deep down in the pits of our souls there are two truths that we’ll have to at some point come to terms with.
1. The creators involved are actually very capable individuals.
2. Secretly, we want more Watchmen.
You can deny it all you want. You want more of those characters, of that world. There’s more there waiting to be told and we’re actually going to get it! And in a vacuum where this is all legal and Moore gives it his blessing, do we hate this? I doubt it.
From a business standpoint, this is an incredible move for DC. Watchmen is routinely near or at the top of the list as far best selling trade paperbacks and adding more material with thatbig blocky yellow text and smiley face is sure to intrigue even the most casual of fans. Add on top of that the fact that anything Watchmen-related has the chance for another movie and you start to see where DC’s head was at with this. (Although, that was pretty obvious, right?)
Now some fans have claimed that new Watchmen material sullies the original work. That’s like saying that the Back to the Future TV show makes the movies worse or that the prequels ruin the original Star Wars trilogy. That’s completely insane. If I’m reading Moore’s Watchmen and suddenly the pages just start getting worse before my every eyes, then I’ll subscribe to this mode of thinking.
So here’show you cope with your Before Watchmen rage:
Just don’t read it.
It’s simple. Don’t read it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t tweet about it. Prove that you’re against it by not giving DC your cash for it. And don’t be against the creators working on it; they’re getting the chance of a lifetime. (Would you turn it down?)
And if you’re against it, be against it for the right reason. Be against it because a great creator is being taken advantage of.