Before Watchmen: *sigh*


So the new Watchmen titles are a go.  And maybe it’s because of the action figures that came out with the godawful movie, but now creators are doing everything they can to justify playing with their Watchmen toys in public view.

I remember the first issue of Transmetropolitan where the editor tells Spider Jerusalem no more columns with the word “Fuck” written over and over.

And yet, I’m not angry.

For one thing, what is the point of complaining about things that corporations are going to do anyway in the face of logic and manners?  To slightly copy the analogy Angela recently brought up about Marvel, if your girlfriend cheats on you and you take her back, eventually she’ll get gutsy and start explaining why the sex was so great and why it was your fault she went with him in the first place (comics fans are people too and some people are very bitter).

DC has pretty much defaced its own history and properties to the point where nothing is too big a surprise anymore.  Including this.

None of these books had to be made.  They exist for monetary gain primarily.  No matter how pretty they look, they’re almost made to be ignored and that’s fine with me.  To paraphrase Alan Moore (instead of using the old quotes that everyone else is using for today’s big story), if you’re standing in shit, it’s better to just walk away, not stamp on it out of anger.

That’d be a nice way to end this, but I have a few more observations.

Firstly, I think the story books will have to be reexamined. For instance, Paul Levitz, who Alan Moore went on about in at least one interview, might deserve more than a little credit for preserving the integrity of Watchmen for so long. He’s been dissed and even satirized once or twice, but maybe he did everything he could to stave off the inevitable chase for the cash cow DC is now after. Maybe not. It is worth thinking about at least.

Secondly, let’s see what DC accomplishes by adding more baggage to Watchmen. The end goal is that it makes it as multivolumed as almost every other title DC tried to lure readers into buying.

What are the stand-alone books DC has in its catalogs besides Watchmen? How about V for Vendetta? Mr. Punch? Stuck Rubber Baby? Or any of Kyle Baker’s books? Were any of them offered as free samplers when the godawful Watchmen movie came out? No, it was in all all the series with one book or more. Titles with a couple of hundred dollars worth of additional volumes. Batman: Hush for Christ’s sake.

In the end, during the movie hype, DC was only interested in attempting to elevate its back issue bins to the same level as Moore’s work. It didn’t work, so now it can only bring Watchmen down to it’s level, by producing more of it and trivializing it, diluting it.

But no worries. It’s been done before. I’m not even thinking about the film.  Just look at the numerous links on the Watchmen roleplaying game that was produced in the early day’s of the book’s popularity. Actually endorsed and with input by both Moore and Gibbons.  Hard to believe, but it’s true.  Moore didn’t have such a firm belief that Watchmen be self-contained until DC beat it into him.

As a result, things like the games (and the movie by and the large) have faded into the ether, remaining fun novelty items.  History just might repeat itself here.


About Chad Parenteau

I'm a poet. I run the Stone Soup Poetry series in Cambridge that runs every Monday night. I review comics in my spare time.
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