"Forget your ethical concerns and your fan boy anxieties, the comic book industry is in desperate need of new readers, and Before Watchmen is the only book that can do it..."
As of last week, with the release of Darwyn Cookes Minutemen #1
, we are living in a post-Before Watchmen
world. This is a seismic shift in our (pop)cultural landscape, whichever way you look at it. Watchmen isnt just a comic, its the
comic the defining example of what our beloved genre can do, and one of those rare books that transcends the medium, being loved and respected by a wide, all-encompassing audience. It touches on themes both intimate and political, with a scope that is rare even for conventional literature; its no wonder it made the Times list of top 100 novels. DCs decision to publish seven prequel mini-series, totalling 35 issues altogether, clearly risks tarnishing the original books memory. Understandably, a certain section of fans are livid, with many believing that this is, in fact, what the Mayans prediction for 2012 actually referred to. According to the very, very vocal critics of Before Watchmen
, anybody purchasing the series is supporting a comic book industry that prizes profit over creative talent and, perhaps more importantly, is actively encouraging these companies to screw over its creators when they get in the way of profit margins. Now, obviously, its no secret that DC Comics, like any sane company, is in the business of making money, and if Before Watchmen
is a big enough success then we should fully expect a further expansion of the Watchmen
brand. And, while it really does pain me to refer to the Watchmen
universe as a brand, I dont blame DC in the slightest for wishing to capitalize off one of their most well known properties. So far, based on the talent involved across the board, as well as the quality of those first two issues, it looks like DC has approached the prequel-concept in the exact right manner. Sure, the deeper DC mine Moores and Gibbons creation the more likely it is that theyll damage the foundations, and I, as much as the most devout fan, would hate to see a sequel of any sort; the thought of anything taking place after the books ending truly does sicken me (though I wont be surprised when its inevitably announced Beyond Watchmen
, anyone?). However, putting aside the tricky business of how DC has treated Moore, which I know for some people is a deal-breaker - and reason alone to abstain from reading DC books altogether, let alone the Before Watchmen
books - I have to confess that I dont blame DC for making this move. Hell, I even applaud their audacity, and before you threaten to burn me alive inside a wicker version of Dr. Manhattan, you should hear me out Click "next" to read part 2 below...