Jan. 31, 2012 -- The Associated Press released a photo today of the cover to the WatchmenTPB with the following information:

 

"In this image released by DC Entertainment, the cover of "Watchmen," a graphic novel, is shown. DC Entertainment is launching seven miniseries this summer that will focus on the characters made famous by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in their 1986-987 12-issue maxi-series "Watchmen," which has gone on to become one of DC's best-selling graphic novels. (AP Photo/DC Entertainment)"

 

The Associated Press wire service has no stories attached to this photo as of 5:15 EST. I'll post more when I know more.

 

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Be clear that I'm not beating up on you, Jeff; I just have an honest disagreement over a few things. One is whether a story "needs" a sequel is even relevant to whether a sequel should be created, or not. I accept the view that some stories are meant to end with the last word and are satisfying as they are, but I'm coming from the view that it isn't a bad thing to satisfy that itch to want to know what happens after the ending .. or, in this case, what happened before the beginning.

The Hobbit didn't need a sequel, but I'm pretty happy JRR Tolkien decided to write one. 

I've abandoned my lengthy rebuttal in favor of this brief summation of my POV:

A standalone novel with a strong open ending is not well-served by a sequel.

In a world with novels where zombies attack Jane Austen characters and Sherlock Holmes fights Germans with Tarzan...no novel, hell...no story, should ever be considered "standalone" forever.  And, that's probably a good thing.

 

I have realized one thing in all this though...Alan Moore is the Bizarro George Lucas.  George can't leave his stories alone...just...can't...do...it.

 

And, Alan Moore is wrong about the V film.  That is a good adaption.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I've abandoned my lengthy rebuttal in favor of this brief summation of my POV:

A standalone novel with a strong open ending is not well-served by a sequel.

Fair enough. 

Isn't this convenient! The New York Times got a few quotes from Moore in an article about the prequels.

A sample:

"Mr. Moore, who has disassociated himself from DC Comics and the industry at large, called the new venture 'completely shameless.'

"Speaking by telephone from his home in Northampton, England, Mr. Moore said, 'I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago.'”

Here's the story.

He has a point, particularly given how much hay DC made out of his GL short story in Blackest Night .

 

I don't think Moore would have any problems with people adapting his ideas 50 years after he dies, which is what he and everybody has done with Holmes, Moby Dick et al.  Note that he says 'weren't any sequels or prequels to Moby Dick'. ie in the past, while the right to it resided with the writer. He's also saying that the writer/property owner thought he'd said all that needed to be said in his single novel.

There are good reasons why you can't use properties of living artists, and why they should become public domain eventually.

 

Three more points:

 

  • Isn't "Before Watchmen" just about the lamest, most obvious, title they could have picked for this project?  There's a lot of text in Watchmen - way more than any other comic, esecially when you think about the endmatter in each issue.  They couldn't find a single phrase to suit their project?  That no-one was up for such a close rereading of the source text bodes ill, no?

 

  • The Watchmen were a superteam in that continuity.  I'm going to bet that some of these new stories are set during the existence of that group, thus invalidating the title Before Watchmen!  Not very Watchmenesque, given the attention to detail that Moore applied to things like that in the book.

 

Isn't "Before Watchmen" just about the lamest, most obvious, title they could have picked for this project?  There's a lot of text in Watchmen - way more than any other comic, esecially when you think about the endmatter in each issue.  They couldn't find a single phrase to suit their project?  That no-one was up for such a close rereading of the source text bodes ill, no?

Obvious, yes.  Lame, no.  First, it fits with their larger marketing strategy.  A couple of years ago, DC had an "After Watchmen" initiative in which they promoted other titles to Watchmen readers (including Swamp Thing, Transmetropolitan, Sandman and Preacher).  So they're using a variation of a name that they've already used to good effect.  Second, it makes sense to use the word "Watchmen" in the title.  While comic book insiders might instantly recognize "Minutemen" as a Watchmen reference, most people wouldn't.  If you want to reach the widest possible audience, then you want to tell people that it's "Watchmen" right in the title. 

Marketing strategy.  OK.

First I don't think that they were a "group" calling themselves the Watchmen. They were allies who battled together occassionally after Captain Metropolis' abortive attempt to create a team. Strange that there were only six of them in the world apparently.

Now I get the "DC-DID-ME-WRONG" and "I-DON'T-WANT-THEIR-FILTHY-MONEY" arguements. I really do. But Moore was commisioned to write a story featuring the Charlton heroes (originally it was supposed to be the Archie heroes--Rao only knows how that would have worked out!) but then he had to create analogues to replace them in various degrees. In doing so, he crafted his magnus opus. But he did it for DC who, like Marvel, must own everything they publish.

Unfortunately the best way to be the most successful and profitable spring from the Big Two. I doubt that Bendis, Ellis, Johns and the rest could thrive solely on independent, creator-owned work. 

Philip Portelli said:

Unfortunately the best way to be the most successful and profitable spring from the Big Two. I doubt that Bendis, Ellis, Johns and the rest could thrive solely on independent, creator-owned work.

But that goes to how one defines "successful" and "profitable." And maybe "thrive," too. 

I think Robert Kirkman might argue with that. Granted he caught lightning in a bottle with Walking Dead.

I would bet Bendis has made some pretty decent coin with Powers being optioned in Hollywood even if nothing has been produced yet.

Working for the big two is a guaranteed revenue stream with less risk over creator owned. With creator owned if it blows up then your financial windfall is greater, but you do risk the very real possibility of going broke.
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Philip Portelli said:


Unfortunately the best way to be the most successful and profitable spring from the Big Two. I doubt that Bendis, Ellis, Johns and the rest could thrive solely on independent, creator-owned work. 

Thanks for bringing up The Walking Dead as its the exception rather than the rule. It could last in mass media for a long time but it does not have the same buzz as it did last year, even here!

The same could be said for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, an obvious success yet how much demand is there for TMNT comics? Spawn, Mystery Men, Scott Pilgrim and yes, The Spirit were all comic-book-movie-flashes-in-the-pan that captured little of whatever made them great, IMHO.

Dark Horse, IDW and D.E. push licensed books over new concepts for the built-in audiences.

I still believe that today's creators can be innovative and produce high quality work in the independents but still need to be "successful" and "profitable" at the DC/Marvel level to give their future indy/creator-owned properties a good chance to "thrive".

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