The GeeksverseSolicited Immaterial- Before Watchmen

Solicited Immaterial- Before Watchmen
Published on Monday, February 6, 2012 by

The Importance of Getting It Right

  Last week the comic book universe became a flurry of posts and repsonses over the annoncement from DC that not only were they doing the long rumored Watchmen sequel comic, but that it would involve several star artists and writers and instead of a single tale it would be a collection of various mini-series’  that would act as prequels to the classic property featuring the various characters from that legendary story that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created in the late 80’s.

 

  It shouldn’t be a surprise that the announcement of “Before Watchmen” has become a hot button topic matching the heated exchanges between those in the fan community convering topics of content, stories, and of course the biggest topic: whether these books should ever be made at all.

  Many in the comic book creator community have been speaking out for one side or the other about whether DC is right to publish what should be a lucrative series of books, while the other side is vehemently opposed to what they see as DC trampling on the wishes of the much revered Alan Moore.

 Now whether you agree with Alan or whether you favor DC’s stance is immaterial; In the end history will decide who was right on that issue. However, the fact remains that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created the definitive tale of the 80’s generation. It’s the tale which all others are compared to.

  For one reason or another it rarely comes out as the top story of all time. I believe that has more to do with the fact that it is a tale featuring heroes that never existed before it and haven’t been heard from again until now. However, it’s influence on comic book world as a whole can not be ignored.

  Comic books, comic book characters, and nearly every story after Watchmen saw the light of day have shown the influence that book has had on creators and publishers in one measure or another. I would say that Watchmen as an influential property, has become so influential that it has in fact become sort of a detriment to the comic book world as well. Everyone seems to want to make any character they write for a little Watchmen-like in some form or another.

  You can’t throw a stone in any comic book universe without hitting an anti-hero. Most display various levels of traits that were inspired in part or in whole by the Comedian, Rorschach, Ozymandius, or even both versions of the Night Owl. There are more anti-heroes in comics now than there are villains. Marvel doesn’t even have a single simple hero anymore; they’re all anti-heroes and villains.

  Superman himself has now been re-imagined with more anti-hero tendencies than he has ever had in his previous 70 years.

  Ultimately, it’s a huge risk that I think DC finally realized it couldn’t afford not to take. The vast majority of the writer’s working in the main stream now grew up as fans during the Watchmen’s original printings or were just starting out in the comic book field when this tale of lost heroes, bitter failings, and madness saw the light of day. They all want to write Watchmen and now they can.

  In the end, whether you side with Moore or DC, the real test will be the books themselves. The proof is in the pudding as one would say. If these stories are good then they were worth the attempt and risk of putting off many fans of the seminal work. If the stories are horrid; then you’ve diminished the universe of the Watchmen and DC will never be forgiven for that.

  And that’s the point of this article, with its long winded narrative open. The books need to be good. They’ll never surpass the originals (and believe no one’s thinking that’s a possibility). However, they need to be very, very good. The characters that inhabit this world are sacred in this culture of words and art. I would hazard to say that the two books that need to be focused on the most in terms of quality are Rorschach’s and The Comedians. These are the Batman and Superman in terms of popularity with fans.

  Oh, there are the occasional Night Owl and Dr. Manhattan fan. But for most, it comes down to the homicidal sociopath in bondage gear and the man who wears and eternally shifting ink blot on his face and writes deranged rambling passages that sound as if they come out of any Fox News analyst.

  But it is those two that are loved the most. The Comedian for his no illusions, direct understanding of their world struck a chord because of the fact that he wasn’t a noble individual. It was a breath of fresh air to see a hero who did simply because it was fun to him. He was unpleasant, nasty, attempted rapist, and violent. Any yet, fans still love him to this day. What that says about our society I’ll never know, but it does say a lot for the Watchmen universe when this “hero’s” passing is lamented by fans.

  Rorschach gained popularity for being the same way as the comedian but in a completely opposite way. Rorschach had no illusions or rose colored glasses about the world he lived in and his role in it. He murdered, he terrorized, and he hated the entire world all the while fighting for its safety. Nuttier than a loon, more violent than some of those he hunted, unforgiving, unyielding, and completely remorseless and yet, he is the top favorite amongst the Watchmen fans for these very same reasons. Rorschach and the Comedian: The violent agent of Order and the violent agent of chaos. The yin and yang of that universe, is it any wonder the planet began to crumble so soon after one was taken out. But I wax romantic with that assessment.

  In the end, I believe it is these two books that will be deciding factor on the success of “Before Watchmen” simply because it will be the two books that are requested the most in the comic reserve bags across America.

 However, with Brian Azarello writing both series I have high hopes the stories of these two icons won’t be a disappointment.

 

 Take it for what it’s worth, it’s supplied free of charge, and in the end; I’ll see you in line to pick up issue 1 when they are released.

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