Sat
Feb 4 2012 12:00pm

Before Watchmen: More Than Another Rorshach Test

So...What do you see?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?

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4 comments
Neliza Drew
1. nelizadrew
I loved The Watchmen. I will probably eventually get around to reading these if only out of curiosity. It might be interesting, or it might turn out to be just trying to capitalize on a franchise that finally escaped the confines of the comic community. I wish my comic TBR pile wasn't as large as it is.
Christopher Morgan
2. cmorgan
I feel the same way. I know that the writers and artists probably have the greatest respect for Moore, but I feel that DC is just captilizing as you said.
Laura K. Curtis
3. LauraKCurtis
The problem with the comic TBR pile is that you cannot really take them into the bath with you.
Becca Hollingsworth
5. bibliobeque
I had absolutely no interest in this project until I read the names of some of the creators involved, notably Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Connor. Now I do kind of want to see what they're going to do with the characters...don't know if I'll go so far as to buy the comics, though.
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