“But I love Comics. I love comics because their heroes inspire people and help give them perspective on the world around them. I mean, look what happened with “V for Vendetta” and the Anonymous/OWS movement. The characters in “Watchmen” have the same potential to make people think…to make people riot! To make people question their government, question authority, question views on morality and ethics. And if it is at all possible to competently continue telling stories using these characters to achieve these goals, I am all for it.”
doc manhattan bringing the nudist nerd community together… creepy ron paulites and ayn randers taking to the streets in rorshach masks and chanting “HURM”… washed up old men with paunches throwing on nite-owl gear and repping their set at the local old folks night club…
See, the problem with trying to make the Watchmen “heroes” work outside of the self-contained world of the Watchmen book is that that these are not people you should aspire to be like. The Watchmen characters are, in short, assholes. They’re supposed to be assholes. Like, if you think Rorschach is cool, I will tell you straight up: you are a creep. If you identify with The Comedian, you should probably be on a watch list or something. Dr. Manhattan? An ineffectual demigod. Nite Owl fights crime cuz it’s cheaper than dick pills and he likes feeling powerful. Silk Specter is passive and accepting of the life she’s been handed until she’s forced to realize that it doesn’t have to be that way. And Ozymandias kills millions of people in order to “save the world.”
These are not aspirational figures.
Moore and Gibbons didn’t create them to inspire us, they were created to warn us, to tell us a story about power and corruption and superhero comics as a medium and an idea. Unlike V For Vendetta, Watchmen is not an overtly political text. There are political elements, but I would submit that it’s talking more about superhero comics — specifically superhero comics in the 80’s — as a medium than it is trying to make any huge political statement. If these people inspire you, you should probably get some new heroes. Might I suggest Aquaman?
And if this is your justification for the existence of Before Watchmen — that a superhero maxi-event published by a wing of a multinational conglomerate will “make people think…to make people riot!” — then you are a crazy person because we all know that there is no way that’s going to happen.
Also, regarding the bit in the article about the talent involved in the project. I doubt anybody’s gonna be phoning it in with this. DC has assembled an impressive roster of professionals who I don’t doubt will give their best work. This is not the issue. When people — myself included — refer to Before Watchmen as a “cheap cash grab”, it’s not in reference to the cost of the talent involved. These people are getting paid. They had better bring their best work to the table, and I don’t doubt that they will. Before Watchmen is cheap in that it exists solely as a way for DC to show a profit to the board and thereby justify the existence of a largely unprofitable venture.
Before Watchmen as a whole will more than likely be qualitatively good. I don’t question that. I do, however, question the necessity for it to exist at all. Watchmen — the original story — stands as a complete work, with a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s full of flawed (and kind of horrible) characters who exist perfectly inside that hyper-paranoid 1980’s universe, characters who were never intended to live (or work) outside of that reality. If it inspires anything, it’s a desire to see more of that kind of work, a fully-realized universe populated by characters who work wonderfully inside, and less IP-farming and proof-of-concept generation passed off as comics entertainment.
Yeah, fuck that whole project. Maybe if it does well enough though, then DC and Marvel can make up, hold hands, and embark on the next great crossover involving Ghost Rider and Nite Owl teaming up to solve the mystery of where all the dick pills went. Then they team up with OFWGKTA to burn the multi-nationals to the ground and all the characters are released to their original creators or the public domain.
I don’t even care if that makes no sense, I really just wanted to post that comic.
Go visit Let’s Be Friends Again and give them your money instead of Before Watchmen. They’re the heroes we need and deserve.