You're Driftin' Into Touch Doc You're No Longer a Flake- Moore-less Watchmen Prequels

LiddyRules

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http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2012/02/01/watchmen-prequels-dc-dares-to-expand-on-classic/#/0

“Watchmen” didn’t just make comic-book history in 1986 with its sprawling, subversive doomsday tale, it became something close to a holy text for comic-book fans. That’s why the publishing news out of New York today will make some purists feel like it’s the end of the world.

DC Comics is going back to the universe of “Watchmen” this summer by launching seven new prequel series that will collectively be referred to as “Before Watchmen,” marking the first time that characters such as Doctor Manhattan, Rorschach and the Comedian have appeared anywhere in comics since the original 12-issue series, which in a single-volume collection became the bestselling graphic novel of all time.

For some fans, the project will be viewed with deep cynicism because of the absence of the “Watchmen” creators, writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, but others will be intrigued by the fact that the new titles feature some of today’s elite talents, among them J. Michael Straczynski, Darwyn Cooke and Brian Azzarello.

“The nature of the undertaking is going to polarize a lot of the readership,” said Cooke, the Canadian writer-artist whose six-issue “Before Watchmen” title is called “Minutemen.” “I think a lot of people will be excited about this and there are a lot of people that will be dead against it.”

DC has hopes that the new installments in the canon will be get a warm critical and commercial reception not unlike, say, a comic-book equivalent to “The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel,” which in November became the first Holmes novel sanctioned by the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle since his death in the summer of 1930.

A big difference here is that Moore and Gibbons are still very much alive and working — but neither wanted to be part of this new enterprise. The iconoclastic Moore has been a bitter critic of DC Comics through the years. When DC’s parent company, Warner Bros., made the 2009 feature film version, he said he would be “spitting venom all over it for months to come.” Gibbons is measured when talking about the new initiative.

“The original series of ‘Watchmen’ is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell,” Gibbons said in a statement. “However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire.”

“Watchmen” was a seismic moment in comic-book history, in part because of the ambition of its story and its intricate tapestry — set in alternative history, the tale spanned decades and was both sci-fi mystery and a complex commentary on superhero lore. The 416-page graphic novel has sold more than 2 million copies; it also made Time magazine’s 2005 list of “the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.”

“For comic-book fans, it’s the masterpiece, the classic that defines what you can do in a comic book, and you go back to it at your own risk,” Zack Snyder, director of the “Watchmen” film, said last year when asked about the rumored prequels. “To go back to it in any way is tough, and the challenge of adding to that story in any way is something that you need to get right or people are going to go nuts.”

In addition to Cooke’s six-issue “Minutemen,” “Before Watchmen” will include four-issue runs each of “Rorschach,” by Azzarello and Lee Bermejo; “Dr. Manhattan” by Straczynski and Adam Hughes; “Nite Owl” by Straczynski and the artist team of Andy and Joe Kubert; “Ozymandias” by Len Wein and Jae Lee; and “Silk Spectre” by Cooke and Amanda Conner.

The comics will be released weekly, with more specific release information to come. A back-up series, “Curse of the Crimson Corsair,” will appear in two-page installments in each of the “Before Watchmen” titles and will be written by Len Wein (the editor of the original “Watchmen” series”) with art by John Higgins (the coloroist on original series).

The view that “Watchmen” shouldn’t be placed in the hands of anyone but Moore and Gibbons would make sense in almost any other page-turning medium but it’s a rare situation in comic books. The entire history of comics is an exercise in inherited heroes and mythology by conference; literally hundreds of writers and artists have worked on, say, Batman or Superman through the decades.

“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant,” DC Entertainment co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee said in a joint statement. “After 25 years, the Watchmen are classic characters whose time has come for new stories to be told. We sought out the best writers and artists in the industry to build on the complex mythology of the original.”

“Watchmen” itself stood on the shoulders of the past: Moore used thinly veiled versions of classic Charlton Comics characters to populate his epic.

“I don’t feel any more trepidation than Alan [Moore] did by refitting the Charlton characters,” Cooke said. “It feels like the right time and the right place and I think I have a strong idea.”

Cooke has taken on daunting legacy work before. He earned rave reviews for his revival of Will Eisner’s “The Spirit,” and his “Richard Stark’s Parker” comics, based on the hard-boiled crime classics, have been hailed as well.

Still, Cooke turned down the first “Before Watchmen” overture from DC.

“I said no out of hand because I couldn’t think of a story that would measure up to the original — and let’s face it, this material is going to be measured that way — and the other thing is, I frankly didn’t want the attention,” Cooke said this week. “This is going to generate a lot of a particular type of attention that’s really not my bag. But what happened is, months after I said no, the story elements all just came into my head one day; it was so exciting to me that, at that exact moment, I started seriously thinking about doing the book.”

Cooke declined to reveal too much about that story — there’s no upside to that at this early date — but he said that in going back to the original epic, he decided to push away from the bleak, dystopian aura of Moore’s tale for “Minutemen,” which will be set in the 1940s and 1950s.

“My instincts tell me that I should be bringing what I’m capable of bringing to this party,” Cooke said. “There’s a part of the characters that is heroic or they wouldn’t be together in this way. I know there’s a lot of self-interest involved but there’s got to be a heroic level to each of them. I realized that’s the part of the story I can tell, that side of it.”
 

BIV

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#2
I don't know how I feel about this.
 

Tetro

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This should be in the comic book thread
 

Pigdango

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The Star Wars prequels have probably soured me on a prequel of any kind, but this seems especially pointless, as most of the characters' "origin stories" were told in the original series.

Has there ever been a prequel story made or told that had a point? When you know which characters are going to live and what's going to happen to them, there's nothing on the line - you're just going through the motions from Point A to Point B.
 

Neon

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The Star Wars prequels have probably soured me on a prequel of any kind, but this seems especially pointless, as most of the characters' "origin stories" were told in the original series.

Has there ever been a prequel story made or told that had a point? When you know which characters are going to live and what's going to happen to them, there's nothing on the line - you're just going through the motions from Point A to Point B.
I've read and seen prequels that worked. Sometimes the original doesn't provide enough information about the world it is set in, and how the situation evolved to where it was in the book. Take something like The Matrix, for example. I thought the mini prequels in the Animatrix worked perfectly. In the movie you got one backstory scene that didn't really explain what exactly happened to the world we the audience know, and the Animatrix shorts really fleshed it out well.

The reason I think Watchmen doesn't need a prequel is that in the comic there is PLENTY of backstory about the origin of superheroes in that world, and the chain of historical events that led to the "present." Sure, we didn't have all the info on Ozymandias, for example, but I never felt that Watchmen had some kind of untold story about it that needed telling.
 
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#7
Prequels are an obvious cash grab, even when the creator is involved. The fact that they're doing this without Moore and Gibbons makes it even worse. Doesn't matter, though. They don't care if you pay for it and hate it or pay for it and love it. The important part is that you pay for it, and in this case people will.
 

BIV

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#8
I've read and seen prequels that worked. Sometimes the original doesn't provide enough information about the world it is set in, and how the situation evolved to where it was in the book. Take something like The Matrix, for example. I thought the mini prequels in the Animatrix worked perfectly. In the movie you got one backstory scene that didn't really explain what exactly happened to the world we the audience know, and the Animatrix shorts really fleshed it out well.

The reason I think Watchmen doesn't need a prequel is that in the comic there is PLENTY of backstory about the origin of superheroes in that world, and the chain of historical events that led to the "present." Sure, we didn't have all the info on Ozymandias, for example, but I never felt that Watchmen had some kind of untold story about it that needed telling.
The only thing I could see working is if they didn't make them origin stories. With Rorschach, for example, we know his origin story and the end. There could be lots of stories in between that would be worth telling.
 

LiddyRules

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The thing about Watchmen is that its past is a dark, depressing place. We never see their glory days, because they didn't matter if they ever existed in the first place. When we look back at what happened to the gangs, it's about the collapse of the teams, the differing philosophies, the emptiness that come with the gig. I don't need to see how they stopped Moloch, because what's important is that they're all dinosaurs.

I don't know if showing the happier times would add "depth" to the original book because it'll make their downfall appear sadder, but I personally don't think it will. One of the strengths of the original novel was not giving us a happier time to fall back on.
 

Stig

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Tried to watch the movie. I wanted to like it, I really did. But I never even got to the end.
 

Pigdango

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The end was the only problem I had with the movie. So stupid.
 

Neon

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The end was the only problem I had with the movie. So stupid.
I think the comic book ending would be too weird to the dumb masses. I didn't mind it so much because the point was the same. All they changed was the method of destruction. Comic is still cooler, but I wouldn't consider that a major offense because they didn't change what happened after.
 

Yesterdays Hero

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I think the comic book ending would be too weird to the dumb masses. I didn't mind it so much because the point was the same. All they changed was the method of destruction. Comic is still cooler, but I wouldn't consider that a major offense because they didn't change what happened after.
Movie ending was pretty crap. What was the comic ending?
 

silentbob8201

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The Writers they have attached to this are all solid, And Darwyne Cooke's New Frontier book was a great take on the DC Golden Age. And to the above post The Comic Ending had a Giant Squid land in the middle of NYC and kill a shit load of people. As Opposed to them getting vaporized by Dr Manhatten like Power.
 

LiddyRules

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I liked the movie ending. I thought it fit the story, had the same point as the comic one, and it definitely worked for me. I had no complaints about it.

And I wouldn't necessarily blame the "dumb masses" for the absence of giant squid. You'd need to include the entire kidnapping subplot, which would have been extremely time-consuming and wouldn't have fit them ovie.
 

lockjaaaaww

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I'll pass. To me it's like making a prequel to Citizen Kane or Gone with the Wind.
 

Neon

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Movie ending was pretty crap. What was the comic ending?
Same thing, except that instead of some energy beam from space, Ozymandias faked an alien invasion by genetically engineering some kind of gigantic monster creature that upon death releases a psychic shockwave that kills every living thing in a big radius and then teleporting it into New York... Or at least that's the general idea.

 

Pigdango

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Same thing, except that instead of some energy beam from space, Ozymandias faked an alien invasion by genetically engineering some kind of gigantic monster creature that upon death releases a psychic shockwave that kills every living thing in a big radius and then teleporting it into New York... Or at least that's the general idea.

It's not the same thing at all. It surprises me to see you say that. Yes, the destruction of NY is the same, but in the comic, Ozymandias fakes an alien invasion so that the people of the world will unite to fight off the phony alien invasion. In the movie, Ozymandias destroys multiple cities and fakes it to look like Dr. Manhattan did it. This is stupid because:

1) Dr. Manhattan was shown to be a tool of the United States military. If he were to attack other cities around the world, the response would be automatic full scale nuclear assault on the U.S. The fact that New York was also hit would have been an "oops" afterthought to the nuclear Armageddon. This is especially true because the attacks are shown in the movie to not happen simultaneously, but as a chain reaction, with New York being the last city affected.

2) If the point was for the world to make peace or feel further wrath from Dr. Manhattan, why couldn't the point be "Make peace, or feel further wrath from Ozymandias?" He had just proven that he had the power to level every city in the world, why did the Earth have to be afraid of Dr. Manhattan instead of him?

3) Even if you're ok with there being no counter assault on the US AND Dr. Manhattan agreeing to a pointless frame, it makes absolutely no sense within that story for Dr. Manhattan to kill Rorschach and spare Ozymandias. He would have vaporized Ozymandias to make sure that he never pulled that shit again. Afterwards, he would have easily been able to reason with Rorschach.

So explain to me how framing Dr. Manhattan and attacking multiple foreign cities prior to NYC "the same" as creating a fake alien attack on just NYC? Because it's kind of not at all the same thing. It's fucking stupid.
 

Stormrider666

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The end was the only problem I had with the movie. So stupid.
I think the comic book ending would be too weird to the dumb masses. I didn't mind it so much because the point was the same. All they changed was the method of destruction. Comic is still cooler, but I wouldn't consider that a major offense because they didn't change what happened after.
I thought the ending of the movie worked as well.

I liked the movie ending. I thought it fit the story, had the same point as the comic one, and it definitely worked for me. I had no complaints about it.

And I wouldn't necessarily blame the "dumb masses" for the absence of giant squid. You'd need to include the entire kidnapping subplot, which would have been extremely time-consuming and wouldn't have fit them ovie.
Agreed. The theatrical release was already two and half hours. The directors' cut is a little bit over 3. If they would have went with the original ending, I don't even think die hard Watchmen fans could have sat through that.
 

Pigdango

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Why would they have to go with the artist kidnapping subplot? Just have him say "I blowed up NYC and made it look like an Alien attack." There's a million ways to get there that take up no extra time in the movie and don't involve a giant squid. The point was that the world would unite only out of fear of the unknown.
 

LiddyRules

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Because Dr. Manhattan was the alien attack. It was the same principal, but a different "alien." Ozy put the blame on Dr. Manhattan as someone who got fed up with humanity (part of the benefit of causing his angry outburst during the interview) and decided to go "rogue" and destroy multiple cities. Manhattan, as someone bored on Earth, accepted it and all of them, save Rorshach, accepted uniting the planet against a singular, super-powerful enemy was the best option even if it was Dr. Manhattan. Why not kill Ozy? What would be the point? He already won.
 

Neon

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It's not the same thing at all. It surprises me to see you say that. Yes, the destruction of NY is the same, but in the comic, Ozymandias fakes an alien invasion so that the people of the world will unite to fight off the phony alien invasion. In the movie, Ozymandias destroys multiple cities and fakes it to look like Dr. Manhattan did it. This is stupid because:

1) Dr. Manhattan was shown to be a tool of the United States military. If he were to attack other cities around the world, the response would be automatic full scale nuclear assault on the U.S. The fact that New York was also hit would have been an "oops" afterthought to the nuclear Armageddon. This is especially true because the attacks are shown in the movie to not happen simultaneously, but as a chain reaction, with New York being the last city affected.

2) If the point was for the world to make peace or feel further wrath from Dr. Manhattan, why couldn't the point be "Make peace, or feel further wrath from Ozymandias?" He had just proven that he had the power to level every city in the world, why did the Earth have to be afraid of Dr. Manhattan instead of him?

3) Even if you're ok with there being no counter assault on the US AND Dr. Manhattan agreeing to a pointless frame, it makes absolutely no sense within that story for Dr. Manhattan to kill Rorschach and spare Ozymandias. He would have vaporized Ozymandias to make sure that he never pulled that shit again. Afterwards, he would have easily been able to reason with Rorschach.

So explain to me how framing Dr. Manhattan and attacking multiple foreign cities prior to NYC "the same" as creating a fake alien attack on just NYC? Because it's kind of not at all the same thing. It's fucking stupid.
Regarding point 1 - Meh. Whatever.

Regarding point 2 - I didn't think it was that at all. I think it was "we gotta stick together because it's us against him" in the same sense that it was in the comic. It wasn't a "Dr. Manhattan says 'make peace or die'." It was "Dr. Manhattan is nuts and we can't afford infighting." Unless it was different in one of the Director's Cuts or whatever. And besides, Ozymandias didn't want to rule the world. He wanted to fix it. That is one of the best things about Watchmen. Despite all Ozymandias did, he wasn't a super villain. He was still a super hero. Just a completely fucked up one, as were all the others.

Regarding point 3 - That same exact thing could have happened in the comic as well. Why kill Rorschach and let Ozymandias live in the comic? It's because Dr. Manhattan is not human, and his line of thought is occasionally hyper logical in a way that contradicts common sense.


I really think you are looking too hard into this, however I will not say that you are wrong because I tend to do this stuff myself. Just saying how I feel about it personally.
 

LiddyRules

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Regarding point 2 - I didn't think it was that at all. I think it was "we gotta stick together because it's us against him" in the same sense that it was in the comic. It wasn't a "Dr. Manhattan says 'make peace or die'." It was "Dr. Manhattan is nuts and we can't afford infighting." Unless it was different in one of the Director's Cuts or whatever. And besides, Ozymandias didn't want to rule the world. He wanted to fix it. That is one of the best things about Watchmen. Despite all Ozymandias did, he wasn't a super villain. He was still a super hero. Just a completely fucked up one, as were all the others.
Also, despite his physical and mental prowess, Ozy is still a man. He couldn't defeat an entire army. Dr. Manhattan, on the other hand, was practically a God. And yes, it would have been counterproductive to the ultimate goal of his plan.
 

Neon

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#24
I'll say this again - to me the one big sin in the Watchmen movie is Ozy's reaction to his plan's success. In the comic he is always stoic and never shows a hint of emotion, even in extreme situations, but seeing his plan succeed drives him mad with joy, and he's screaming and crying. In the movie he just stays stoic. I thought it was a great moment that they kind of missed out on creating on screen.

Here's the scene from the movie:

[video=youtube;nP3FC5B38hY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nP3FC5B38hY[/video]

And from the book:



I thought the book humanized him better. In the movie version, it's like he knows he succeeded before turning on the televisions. How would he know that exactly? They made him a bit too confident there.
 

Pigdango

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Only after multiple rewatches could I put into words why the ending was so dumb, but even when I saw it the first time I had an immediate WTF?!? Reaction to the entire ending. It just felt like they took soooo much time and effort to get every character right, then blew most of it up in the final act. I can't recall too mant movies where I enjoyed the first 3/4 so much and hated the last 1/4 with such a passion. Heat and Kill Bill 2 are in the same category.