‘Before Watchmen’ – Holland’s Take

Posted: February 8, 2012 in comic books, Jeff Holland, Threat Quality
Tags: , , ,

I had written a three-pager about the announcement that DC was moving ahead with prequels to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic work, but honestly, there’s no sense bloviating about it.

Not about Alan Moore’s relative moral high ground when so much of his work is predicated on previously-existing characters himself, whether DC’s within its rights, as owner of the copyright, to publish what they damn please since they are in the business of making money, what Jack Kirby has to do with any of this, the ins-and-outs of creator-ownership contracts, or…any of it, really.

All this boils down to is: Don’t buy it. See? See how simple it all is? 

If you’ve got any misgivings about the project – either because Moore and Gibbons got contractually screwed 25 years ago (they did), or because you think the story was pretty well completed the first time (it was), or because you think J. Michael Straczynski is kind of a dick (he kind of is) – then your course of action is astonishingly simple: DON’T. BUY. IT.

The only way to effectively protest a product is to vote with your wallet. Don’t like it? Don’t buy it! All the blog posts in the world don’t matter as much as the $100 you DON’T spend on this project.

It’s okay, the artists and writers – and wow, is it an amazing crop of creators, so at least DC didn’t thumb their nose at everyone by, say, getting Rob Liefeld to helm the whole deal – have likely already gotten nice paychecks out of the arrangement, so they probably don’t need your additional support.

(And, judging by some creators’ prior comments, they probably don’t actually want any additional support on this one – it’s a nice paycheck comic, and in the best case, it’ll help them not do stuff like this in the future.)

And if you DO want to read this? Well…godspeed, my friend. Your right as a consumer. But I don’t really see what you’re hoping to get out of it that you wouldn’t have gotten from Any Other Superhero Comic Published Over The Last 25 Years.

To wrap this up – if you’re on the fence – do yourself a favor and read Watchmen one more time before buying any of the new titles.

I’m actually not a huge fan of the book. I absolutely respect it for showing what the medium can really do when it works its muscles, but at the end, it’s a deconstruction of one genre that’s been blown out of proportion as The Comic everyone needs to read, and I can guarantee that if someone didn’t want to read that Batman comic you think is awesome? Then they DEFINITELY don’t want to plow through Watchmen.

(In my experience, you know what people who aren’t interested in comics have been willing to read? Scott Pilgrim. So…there’s some advice, there.)

But anyway – go through Watchmen one more time, with one word in the front of your mind – Nostalgia. A lot of things are gonna become clear to you by the end of it if you focus on just that one idea.

And hopefully, you’ll be less curious about what JMS has to add to Dr. Manhattan.

  1. braak says:

    Hahahah. Mark Waid’s response to J. Michael Strasinzcky is pretty hilarious.

  2. Jeff Holland says:

    I am actually blown away by the level of calmness Wacker, Waid and Slott actually managed, based on JMS’s just DOUCHEY move. And yeah, that’s why Waid will always be my guy.

    “Just sayin’.” Ugh. UGH! If you ever use that term you are an ASSHOLE, is what you are.

  3. John Jackson says:

    Wow. I liked Babylon 5, but that was a dick move.

  4. Jesse says:

    ” I can guarantee that if someone didn’t want to read that Batman comic you think is awesome? Then they DEFINITELY don’t want to plow through Watchmen.”

    THANK YOU. I do love this book but I never recommend it to people who don’t already like the superhero genre. It’s way too self-reflexive.

    I think superhero fans are so proud of Watchmen because it’s thoughtful and basically does the bare minimum that one would expect from any great novel or film and because of that they try to foist it on non-fans in a kind of, “See, it’s not all dumb” kind of way. Then, those non-fans read it and think, “Why is that fat guy wearing tights?”

  5. mugasofer says:

    Man. I finished re-reading Watchmen, and I thought those characters probably had some more mileage in them, it would be interesting to see some of the implied adventures from when they were an actual superhero team …

    … so I Googled “Before Watchmen”.

    Judging from the descriptions, yeah, hopefully we don’t need to worry too much about people buying them. And those who do can always buy the half-finished copies secondhand from the poor suckers who ordered them sight unseen.

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