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DC Comics Announces Watchmen Prequels, Before Watchmen

Submitted by on February 2, 2012 – 11:10 amNo Comment

DC Comics announced this week that they will be producing a series of comics entitled Before Watchmen, a prequel to the genre-defining graphic novel Watchmen. The company is apparently undeterred by the wave of criticisms that followed their 2009 movie adaptation of Watchmen, including official condemnation from the book’s legendary author, Alan Moore.

In fact, DC is obviously banking on the fan uproar for publicity. In it’s very first press release on the matter, DC wrote that the seven prequels are already as “highly anticipated as they are controversial.” Perhaps to guard against some criticism, the company assembled some of the best talent in the business to contribute to the series, including the original Watchmen editor Len Wein and colorist Jon Higgins.

Original illustrator David Gibbons added a less-than-enthusiastic endorsement of the project:

“The original series of WATCHMEN is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. 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”.

Moore, however, took no time in firing back, calling the venture “completely shameless.”

“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,” he told the New York Times.

But several sources have pointed out that the comic industry, and much of the art world, has always been built on reinterpreting old ideas, including in Mr. Moore’s own career. In the same Times article, author Johnathan Lethem points out that Watchmen draws on all kinds of sources including The Bible and earlier superhero comics. And in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, comics writer J. Michael Straczynski, who will be writing the Nite Owl and Dr. Manhattan series for Before Watchmen, noted that Moore’s early successes were with pre-established characters like Swamp Thing, or the numerous literary characters he used in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

Zack Snyder‘s film adaptation earned mixed reviews, not just from fanboys (who of course were opposed from the beginning), but from film fans. But if the studios can figure out a way to keep budgets lower on future productions, I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to be watching Before Watchmen on the big screen in a few years time. So what do you think? Is this mining the past for inspiration, or exploiting it?

[via AV Club]

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