I can remember reading Watchmen for the first time as a trade paperback in the ’80s. I was an avid reader of conventional superhero comics for a long time, but Watchmen truly seemed like it came from another planet. Along with Frank Miller’s Dark Knight, the Watchmen series was one of the titles that for me marked the passage from reading comics as a kid to reading comics as an adult. And to some extent, I feel like Watchmen helped usher in the downfall of comics – now you can’t find ANY comics for kids anymore. I’m guessing that many of the people that still read comics today are the same ones that, like me, were transfixed by Watchmen when it came out.
To some extent I feel privileged to be a part of this watershed movement as it happened, and I’ve read it several times since, and have never tired of it. Obviously I can read it with a great deal more sophistication than I did when I was a teen, and I’ve noticed things I hadn’t noticed before – no sound effects or motion lines for instance, which somehow are associated with regular superhero comics and wouldn’t be appropriate here.
So it’s with a little bit a dismay that I read that DC is resurrecting Watchmen for a new series of adventures that take place in the glory days of the Watchmen back before superheroes were banned. Part of the problem is that Moore and Gibbons aren’t involved and it seems sacreligious to let anyone else handle the characters they created. The outrage that this move has provoked – from fans and Moore – is expected.
However, I do agree with a couple comments made elsewhere. First, you have every right not to read these new comics, especially if you are afraid that somehow these new versions will taint the original. You can always pretend that the new titles had never existed.
Also, Moore has come under fire from the creators of the new series for the comments he has made about using characters he has created – essentially he has done the same thing himself in several of his projects. Hard to argue with that, and clearly Siegel and Shuster had a better argument when it came to the unfairness of losing control of characters.
I respect Moore not wanting to be involved, but he clearly understood the terms of the deal – the Watchmen belong to DC, not him, and they can do what they want. It’s likely all about money anyway; while Marvel continues to spin off their characters into successful move franchises, DC’s only successes have been Batman and the Watchmen. They likely are performing the trick in reverse: using interest in the movie to sell comics.
As for my part, I’m a little interested in reading these new stories, but my comic days are long behind me. I’m more likely to read the original Watchmen again and enjoy one of the finest stories ever created for comics.
And the cover above is REALLY cool.