DC Comics recently announced a prequel to the hit comic-turned-graphic novel The Watchmen. If you don’t recognize the title as that of a graphic novel, you may have heard about the full-length live-action movie that debuted in 2009.
The central plot of The Watchmen, written by legendary comic writer Alan Moore, focuses on two questions: “what happens when you license costumed vigilantes” and “what if Superman were real”. Moore created grittier, more true-to-life versions of several classic comic book heroes—Batman, Superman, The Question, etc. There was Nite-Owl, Dr. Manhattan, and Rorschach, along with The Comedian, Silk Specter, and Ozymandias.
The prequel will deal with each severely-damaged character in a six-issue run. Some of the best writers and artists in comics are tackling the prequels, but there is a genuine concern that they aren’t Alan Moore. His own unique eccentricies and conceits aside, The Watchmen is a very good read, even for someone who isn’t into comics. It confronts a lot of issues of the philosophy of civil society, and asks the very important question: Who watches the watchmen? The book has even inspired full length non-fiction novels devoted to the Moore’s philosophy and characters.
I’m personally sure that this will be more of a loving tribute to a man’s mastery of craft than it will be an equal. I’ll also probably read it. But until it hits the shelves, I cannot recommend the graphic novel to any crime fan highly enough.
Can you think of any master-writers that have had their work successfully, or unsuccessfully, carried on?