Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Watchmen - Before and After

Nostalgia is a double edged sword. On the one hand, it leads to attempts at recreating something that once was great, rather than trying something completely original. On the other hand, it also leads to holding what once was great as precious and somehow sacred and untouchable. The reality is both edges are extremes and ultimately unproductive. Today, the Internet burns as DC announced Before Watchmen, a prequel event that will consist of several mini-series focusing on the different Watchmen characters before Alan Moore's seminal series. Much of the commentary out there is about how DC should not do this because Watchmen should be left alone. What I don't get is why. Why should Watchmen be left alone? They are not forcing you to read these prequels or taking away your copy of the original. What's more, who's to say the prequels won't be good? The only thing that matters is the execution and we have not seen that yet. But to get more to the point, if we treated everything that has ever been created with this much reverence, I don't think Alan Moore would have had a career to speak of. The irony is overwhelming.

Is DC doing this because they want to make money? Yes, of course. That's kind of their job, making money. And really, they're only trying to capitalize on the nostalgia that the readers are obsessed with. Take a look at the numbers on sales of old comic titles versus new titles. It's no wonder comic companies keep going back to what has sold in the past, when there aren't enough readers taking chances on new books. At the end of the day, this is a Summer event that may or may not be good. I suspect that some of it will be good and some of it won't. It doesn't matter to me that it's Watchmen with a capital W. To me, it's about some interesting characters and some interesting creators attached, so I'll be checking it out. Until I do, I have no opinion on whether it's good or bad. Whether they should do it or not, doesn't matter. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, it's just comics and comics only.

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