Who Watches...

8.2.12 , Posted by Geoff Thorne at 09:54

Disheartening.Disappointing.Sad.












Every writer on this project should be ashamed of themselves. Especially those who don't need the money. I love most of them, JMS in particular, but this is a misstep. 

Every once in a while you get an "I am Spartacus"   moment and, if you choose not to stand up, well, that's on you. This is one of those moments. 


All these amazing talents, at least one of whom said, multiple times that this was a crap idea and he wouldn't participate (Darwyn Cooke), should have simply told DC, "Nope. Not me. Not this one."

That would have been showing true respect for who is, hands down, the most influential single writer in comics alive today. (And I'm not even that big a fan of the original work. I like it a lot. Very, very much, actually, but I prefer Gaiman and Morrison as their works are hopeful and Moore's is mostly fairly bleak.  However, that changes nothing.)

This project bears zero resemblance to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and only the use of Wendy Darling in  Lost Girls is potentially on point vis a vis Moore's "hypocrisy."

Watchmen is not about the Charlton characters "thinly disguised." It began as an idea for the Charlton stable but was, by no means, where it ended up.  Watchmen is not, in point of fact, a basis for anything. 

It's is not only a self-contained work, needing no further "enhancement;" it is a self-contained work about a very specific time in Western politics. And it is, in its way, a pastiche of what comics had been up until that moment as well as being a criticism of the dead-end moralistic viewpoint that was largely expressed in American comics.

Part of the reason Moore, Morrison and Ennis took US comics  by storm, aside from their fantastic skills as writers, is that they brought the basic dystopian cynicism to their work that was the rule in Britain under  Thatcher but which Americans under Reagan (at least the majority of Americans) didn't do. It raised the bar and created a massive emotional response in its readers that, really, hasn't been matched since except by, ironically, the hopeful Brit, Neil Gaiman and the angry-hopeful Brit, Warren Ellis.

Part of the reason the movie didn't work for a wide audience is that it asked too much be accepted and one of the things that was too much was that we were looking not into an alternate future but into an alternate past. That works for comics, sort of, but it doesn'treally work.

Also, and this is primarily why the [redacted] at DC couldn't possibly understand this, the central them of the series (one of) is that NOSTALGIA KILLS. In every case, the character's attempt to hold onto their pasts got them either killed or so fundamentally altered that they were effectively killed. The only forward-looking characters are Jon and Adrian and they both "win." Everybody else dies either physically or figuratively.

As DC is a nostalgia machine, there's no way they could possibly understand this aspect of the work and, not understanding that, are incapable of creating authentic spinoffs of that work.  It was never designed to be a serial. it was never designed to have sequels. It was designed, much like a clockwork (another central theme) to work in twelve components and to take advantage of Time both in the real world and in the fictional world it presents. Even the PAGE LAYOUTS are about time.

It was designed to be precisely what it is: a stand-alone novel set in and about a particular time and place in history. Adding prequels might be a sound business decision (we'll find out) but it will diminish the importance of that earlier work and undercut its intent and meaning to the point where it will become "just another comic book." yes. It will.

Why? Because, once these books are out they will be someone's FIRST sight of the Watchmen story. Meaning the original will be compared to them or thought of as simply the end of the story. That, alone, should have prevented this. Sometimes commercial art is actually Art. 


When it reaches that level it's to be protected, marveled at, learned from, enjoyed, all that, but never gilded like the proverbial flower. Unless you don't get it.

No one has done a sequel to the Mona Lisa. There are no Further Adventures of Holden Caulfield. No one has added lines to he Road Not Taken. There's a reason and it's not copyright. Well, maybe it is copyright, now that I think of it. At least in Caulfield's case.

And, btw, Moore already told us hat happened BEFORE THE WATCHMEN. About  half of the series was about just that. So, again, no need to do this.

Except if you're out of ideas, fear risk and think your audience is a bunch of suckers.

Oh.

Wait.

We're talking about DC.













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