BEFORE WATCHMEN: Comments From the Writers (Plus Alan Moore)

With the big announcement of the Before Watchmen miniseries, DC's The Source has posted links to a number of different sites featuring interviews with the various writers. What follows are excerpts from those interviews.

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By EdGross - 2/1/2012
ALAN MOORE
"I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago...I don’t want money,” he said. “What I want is for this not to happen. As far as I know, there weren’t that many prequels or sequels to ‘Moby-Dick.’"

BRIAN AZZARELLO ON RORSCHACH
"He's the face. The guy who covers his face is the face of the franchise. You're going to get the Rorschach that you know and want. It's a very visceral story we're going to be telling."

DARWYN COOKE (MINUTEMEN WRITER) ON BEFORE WATCHMEN & SILK SPECTRE
“The nature of the undertaking is going to polarize a lot of the readership. I think a lot of people will be excited about this and there are a lot of people that will be dead against it."

“One of the first things I did was go back through the original book and look at all the female characters and their position in the story and the arcs they had. What I realized is that as much as I really like Laurie, she’s really only just Dr. Manhattan’s girlfriend and then Nite Owl‘s girlfriend. We never get to see her being self-sufficient and dealing with herself and dealing with her own problems. She’s there for a man. I came up with the idea of looking at the brief period of time when she becomes an adult.”

LEN WEIN (OZYMANDIAS)ON BEFORE WATCHMEN
"To me, a reboot is what DC is essentially doing with the New 52, which is changing costumes, origins, relationships, essentially looking at old characters through new eyes. What we’re doing is filling in a lot of the blank spaces in a story that has already, to some degree, been told. There were still a lot of gaps in the histories of Watchmen‘s characters, and events only mentioned in passing or touched on briefly in the original story. We’re filling in those gaps in the most creative and inventive ways we can.”

JMS ON DR. MANHATTAN
"I was very careful to stay within the parameters of what Alan created for Dr. Manhattan. But at the same time, you need the elbow room to create a story worth telling, which means something new has to be created. In this case, it came through looking at what Alan had done and asking the next logical question within that framework. As one example: it's always bothered me that someone as brilliant and precise about time as Jon could just blithely walk into the intrinsic field test chamber as the time-lock closed. He'd know better than that. But since it did happen, you now have to say, "Okay, that being the case, how did it happen? Is there something we don't know? Or more to the point, was there something he didn't know?" Asking that question, and a number of others, began to have a profound effect on both the story and Dr. Manhattan himself. The result, for lack of a less dopey term, is a reexamination of the facts in the case on a quantum level that will branch out to have very large consequences."
Source: DC The Source
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Denn1s - 2/1/2012, 7:22 AM
ok moby dick hadn't any sequels but many other classic stories such as dracula for example, did have numerous continuations. actually moore expands on classic literature books by using their characters for the league of extraordinary gentlemen. in that vein, only stan lee must write spiderman just as vernes wrote 20.000 leagues under the sea, and moore must not use captain nemo for his books. bollocks mr. moore. you had an idea. get over it. it is not your property anymore. it is shameful for other writers to continue your idea, pretty much like you continued len wein's swamp thing? or other numerous marvel and dc properties you worked on?moore also worked on batman, an idea by kane and finger created 70 years ago, yet he worked on and expanded it.
AvatarIII - 2/1/2012, 7:56 AM
Since Ishmael (from Moby Dick) is in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books (as Nemo's first mate), therefore moby dick took place in the League universe, so technically all the League books are Moby Dick sequels/spin offs.....

just saying :D
GrayFox1025 - 2/1/2012, 8:06 AM
I'm with Moore on this one. There are some things that just don't need to be expanded on, whether its a prequel, sequel or spin off
RedandBlue - 2/1/2012, 8:16 AM
Alan Moore in a way compare his graphic novel to Moby Dick?

I enjoyed Watchmen throughly, and love what it's all about, but for this guy to not accept change after a couple decades is a little ridiculous.
ironknight - 2/1/2012, 8:31 AM
So he thinks that, basically, DC has nothing without him? So pretentious.
RyanLantern77 - 2/1/2012, 8:36 AM
[frick] this. It is the worst idea
Richardness - 2/1/2012, 8:49 AM
Alan Moore hates everything. Anything he does, anything everyone else does, or anything people plan to do. Doesn't like Watchmen, can't stand Killing Joke, and probably thinks League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is cliche and lame...
Whatever Moore...
EdGross - 2/1/2012, 9:02 AM
Obviously Alan Moore has a right to feel the way that he does, but, seriously, what's the difference between writers expanding upon the Watchmen characters and Moore's own expansion of other literary characters from the past? There just seems to be a disconnect for me there.
Ancar - 2/1/2012, 9:09 AM
As a comicbook writer and reader I think Moore is completely wrong. Those characters must be explored, for good and evil - most for good, we hope.

The more DC Comics produce, more the readers will get and more the graphic novel will sell. It is like that in other media, like novels and even in cinema - different visions/aproach to the book.

Everything is valid and the public will give the final word.
Ancar - 2/1/2012, 9:12 AM
Like EdGross wrote, in Watchmen Moore made the same thing the new autors are doing right now, as the characters were all from Carlton Comics - and their rights are from DC, not him.
soberchimera - 2/1/2012, 9:16 AM
[frick] the prequels
[frick] DC for doodling on the Mona Lisa of comic books
[frick] Azzarello
[frick] JMS
oh and bring on the reboot.
LtAnarchy - 2/1/2012, 9:16 AM
@Richardness sounds like Alan Moore is just a hipster. He stuff is popular so he hates it.
ArtisticErotic - 2/1/2012, 9:18 AM
Character Influences
Rorschach is based on The Question.
Nite Owl is based on The Blue Beetle.
The Comedian is based on The Peacemaker.
Doctor Manhattan is based on Captain Atom.
Ozymandias is based on Thunderbolt.

Alan Moore Original? I think not.
BlindLemonShemp - 2/1/2012, 9:35 AM
Alan Moore IS GOD!!!

He's the Eric Clapton of the Comic Book World!

He's the mustard on your hotdog, he's the pickle on your cheeseburger, the worm in your tequila, that cool uncle who gets you drunk at 14, Alan Moore is Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny... He's YOU and also ME

once again, Alan Moore IS GOD!!!
DonnsTib - 2/1/2012, 9:39 AM
Cry Alan cry. I loved the original and it blew my mind when it first came out. Since then I have read it several times. I think a greater exploration of these characters to flesh them out is not a bad thing at all, when handled properly. I think that DC is being very careful to do this right. Trust me there are hundreds of very bad Superman and Batman stories but it does not take away from their popularity in our culture. Watchmen is unique and a gem that will never be forgotten, now it can be shined up with some new stories that make it that much more noticed.
Dmon - 2/1/2012, 9:46 AM
I said this in the comments of one of the other articles about all this. I love The Watchman but it isn't Moby Dick or Jane Eyre. Moore is a moron. There are plenty of classics that have sequels. The Odyssey is a sequel to Iliad. The Man in The Iron Mask is a sequel to The Three Musketeers. Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There is a sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Also look at the works of Tolkien.
codydriscollsrightarm - 2/1/2012, 10:02 AM
@GrayFox1025 Moore himself considered doing a "Watchmen" prequel in 1985.
comicb00kguy - 2/1/2012, 10:15 AM
RamonSuarez: Your first post here says it all.

It really saddens me to see this animosity and contempt towards Moore for daring to speak out against a group of books that are blatantly only being done to exploit one of DC's few remaining bankable franchises that haven't been milked to death. It's exploitation, pure and simple, whoring out these characters because the company is desperate for anything that will sell at all. If ever prequels were to be done to the Watchmen, why not when the movie came out? Or why not in 1986/87 when the original story came out? Moore is certainly entitled to his opinion about this project and deserves more respect for actually HAVING an opinion, and not just blindly toeing the company line like a good little tool.
Dmon - 2/1/2012, 10:28 AM
@comicb00kguy You mean like Moore's desire for the exploitation of the Charlton Comics characters for The Watchmen to begin with which are also owned by DC, but DC said no so he wrote rip offs of the characters instead.

Dmon - 2/1/2012, 10:32 AM
@RamonSuarez Did Moore have consent from Steve Ditko to rip off Mr. A and The Question for the creation of Rorschach? No he did not.
Dmon - 2/1/2012, 10:44 AM
@RamonSuarez He is more Mr. A then The Question. I only threw The Question in there because he is more familiar.
Dmon - 2/1/2012, 10:48 AM
@RamonSuarez But all three ascribe to Rand Objectivism which is the quintessential Steve Ditko character.
SamWinchester - 2/1/2012, 10:59 AM
I agree with Moore in this situation: They're his characters, he created them for purposes that have since come and past, and DC should leave good enough alone out of respect to the integrity of the already established story and it's creator.

Even if the new series is good, it'll still tarnish the singular magic that was the original series, in some sense, by taking away it's mystery by providing us with un-needed answers to an extremely well-detailed story; A story which, by definition, is anti-corporationist to begin with while DC chooses to whore the characters out just to milk more money out of the comic-buying public.

The only reason why the industry continuously rehashes these played-out ideas are because the fanboys keep shelling out the money to finance them like the sheep they are. Instead of searching for new ideas with new characters, plots, and circumstances - the industry and it's monopolizers have created a paradox that the fans keep feeding into and it's quite sad because it's a direct slap in the face to the intellect of whoever's buying these books and feuling the mentality of the brass.
brewtownpsych - 2/1/2012, 11:00 AM
@ramon... regardless of this discussio, let it be known that batman is a direct rip off of Zorro, a rich man in a caped diguise fighting for justice.
dnno1 - 2/1/2012, 11:08 AM
If Alan Moore doesn't want this to happen and it still is, he must not really own the rights to it.
dnno1 - 2/1/2012, 11:09 AM
@brewtownpsych, Batman is not gay. He is no Zorro.
Dmon - 2/1/2012, 11:43 AM
@RamonSuarez Like I said Rorschach is more like Mr. A then The Question. Read up on Mr. A and you will see what I mean. Nihilistic Relativism? Never heard that before, nihilism and relativism are similar but very different.
KeithM - 2/1/2012, 11:54 AM
This is a sucky idea - not because Watchmen is so "great", not because Alan Moore is "god", or that his creations are untouchable, but simply because the story is complete. We know what happens to them all. There's no threat, no conflict. "Oh is Laurie really in danger?" Uh, no.

We already know about all the most significant parts of their lives - what's left is the less significant stuff that Moore left out. So what's the point?

It's creatively strangled - they can do nothing which will change anything about what we already know happens to the characters. It's just filler, confined to telling us nothing we didn't already know - nothing important anyway.

Dmon - 2/1/2012, 12:11 PM
@EasterBunnyKiller LOL Nice one.
blazebyrne - 2/1/2012, 12:14 PM
CanadaMan - 2/1/2012, 12:18 PM
How the frick is it that not ONE of you who is defending Alan Moore has stopped to look at ALL of the characters he's USED without PERMISSION for the LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN!!!! I understand where you're all coming from, and I agree that Watchmen is a classic, but things like this are bound to happen and this doesn't mean the original Watchmen will stop existing in some magical act of disappearance. If you don't want to read the prequels because it will ruin you Watchmen experience, then don't read them! It's a simple as that... Just stick to what good ol' Alan Moore wrote in the first place and live with it; or else you might turn into a bitter person with a distaste for anything new. *cough* Alan Moore *cough*
CanadaMan - 2/1/2012, 12:20 PM
I think this is going to start a civil war between comicbook fans... :p
comicb00kguy - 2/1/2012, 12:22 PM
Nobody can answer my central question: Why is this being done now? If it was done in '86/87 when the 12-issue series came out, it would have made perfect sense to cash in on the series' popularity with prequels, sequels, whatever. Likewise, if these prequels were done around the time of the movie, when there was heightened interest in the characters, it would have made sense. Why NOW?

soberchimera - 2/1/2012, 12:46 PM
@EasterBunnyKiller Actually Lewis Carroll took photographs of little girls in the nude, so probably yes to your question.
comicb00kguy - 2/1/2012, 1:07 PM
Dmon: When Moore first was pitching the idea of the Watchmen, he wanted to use old Charlton Comics characters which DC had recently acquired the rights to. These characters hadn't appeared in anything in a while, and were idle properties owned by DC. DC balked at that idea because there were fans and a couple of writers of those Charlton books that would have raised hell about their characters being portrayed that way. Moore changed the characters enough to avoid any confusion with the Charlton characters, made them his own unique creations (something that both companies have done many times over the years), and the story was approved. Moore didn't "exploit" the characters because we're talking about a bunch of lower-tier characters here, not franchise characters or a franchise team. Moore turned those characters into the unforgettable characters we all know and love from the Watchmen and created a franchise that amazingly is still very popular 25 years later.

The Watchmen was not written as an open-ended story that left the door open to further adventures. It was written as a standalone story to show a world that saw comics as kiddie fodder or an illegitmate storytelling medium that they were wrong about those prejudices- that a comic could very well tell a deep, complex, and very adult story, and to explore a whole new side to comic heroes.
Dmon - 2/1/2012, 1:16 PM
You guys need to get a new hero because your King Alan Moore looks like a kind of dirty wizard or homeless Santa.
CanadaMan - 2/1/2012, 1:21 PM
@ comicb00kguy

Listen, I'm sure this would have been a better idea 30 years ago, but Moore probably decided against it. DC was probably at a loss and didn't have the balls to go through with it until the dawn of a new decade. Or, maybe, DC wanted these prequels to coincide with the predicted end of the world as a sort of paradox with the original standalone story (which would be a real stretch... ;p).
Dmon - 2/1/2012, 1:25 PM
@comicb00kguy Look I don't know if this is a good idea or not storytelling wise, but DC owns it they have the right to do what ever they want. And who cares if they are trying to make money it's a business that's what businesses do. One thing I will say is I always felt that I wanted to know more about Rorschach's story and now I can get a chance.
GrayFox1025 - 2/1/2012, 2:00 PM
@Hollywierd

I know, him and Gibbons planned on it being set in the 1940's and about The Minutemen. Why they got around to it, I do not know

If they went with that, it'd be different that what they are doing now
IronManFTW - 2/1/2012, 2:12 PM
Alan Moore might be the most pretentious prick in all of literature. I never want to hear another hypocritical rant from him again.
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