The Before Watchmen comics that are being released by DC have caused quite a stir in the comics world recently. Message and comment boards are filled with heated arguments over whether or not this comic series has gone too far.
Is it just a ploy by DC to make more money? Is it just a way to bring in new readers to the Watchmen and other DC universes? How could DC shit all over Alan Moore’s magnum opus? (Well, some believe it was his work on Swamp Thing that was his best, but I’ve never read them.)
These questions have found their way into conversations with my friends, usually at my insistence and usually for the sake of a good trolling. A few heated and drunken debates have been sparked because of this issue. At the end the latest argument this past Saturday, I realized that none of us really know the issue at all.
It is known that Alan Moore is not in support of the new Before Watchmen series. He criticizes DC for rehashing a “finite” series and not coming up with original and new ideas. Many of Moore’s fans agree with that sentiment. They showed their support by starting petitions and by boycotting the comic’s release.
Some in support of Before Watchmen think differently of Moore’s reasons for speaking out against his former employer. On the surface, it looks like nothing more than a money game. But, when you dig a little deeper, you find it is much more than that. It is about character control and a shady contract with DC.
From what I’ve read, Moore’s contract included a clause that said when Watchmen completed it’s run and went out of print, Moore could have his characters back. It seemed simple enough, until the series ended. When it did, Moore was approached by DC to buy out his characters, which he let them do. It was clear that, by the end of the series’s run, DC had no plans to shelveWatchmenand walk away from it.
Moore’s problem was that he made a good comic. No, scratch that. Moore created an amazing story and redefined comic books as we know it. So, wit that, it seemed in DC’s best interest to keep these characters on the shelf for a rainy day. Now, whether DC’s interest was for good or ill is up to you.
As for me, I will read all of the Before Watchmen comics. Although I do respect Alan Moore for all that he did for comics, I don’t feel like I am betraying him for reading these new stories. As he retold and enhanced Batman, these new writers hope to the same with his Watchmen.
Who’ll be watching the Watchmen? I will, with glee.