…or should we say Watchmen -1?
According to Entertainment Weekly’s Jeff Jensen, a Watchmen prequel is in the works…
Had I read about this a decade and a half or so ago, I would certainly have been more shocked. Perhaps back then I may have even hoped that Watchmen series writer/co-creator, Alan Moore, might have a hand in this new series. After all, and if memory serves, he was the one who originally thought this was a workable concept.
However, with the passage of time and further interviews with Mr. Moore, it is clear the rift between he and Watchmen publisher DC Comics is as wide as it is deep.
When Alan Moore’s first American work appeared in DC Comic’s Saga of the Swamp Thing, the book was well on its way toward cancellation. In the store I frequented at the time, I might well have been the only person buying the book, and even I was about to give up on it when Mr. Moore showed up.
When his first issues appeared, I was stunned, shocked, delighted, amazed, and entranced. Mr. Moore’s writing on this series, to put it bluntly, was amazing. So much so that I had to look up his British works. When I found out his works appeared in a magazine called Warrior, I hunted the issues down, discovering the incredible V for Vendetta and Marvelman (soon to be renamed Miracleman) and being doubly amazed by the man’s talents. So too did others. Swamp Thing not only wasn’t cancelled, it thrived. While Warrior magazine was cancelled, DC Comics picked up and completed V for Vendetta while various companies picked up and completed Mr. Moore’s run of Marvel/Miracleman.
When I first heard about Watchmen, I eagerly anticipated it. When it came out, I devoured each issue. While the series mined the same general material as Marvelman, it was a great series…until its end. One thing I came to realize was that as good a writer as Mr. Moore was, the conclusions to his tales, especially the longer running ones, were often anticlimactic. In the case of Watchmen, unfortunately, the entire ending to the series wound up being a retread of and old episode of The Outer Limits entitled “Architects of Fear“. I don’t know if this was intentional or unintentional on Mr. Moore’s part. Regardless, toward the very end of the series, tellingly, we have a panel showing a television set. An announcer notes that they’re about to play that episode of the series…obviously a nod by Mr. Moore to that particular show.
Regardless, I was still a big fan of the man’s works, and I was hoping to see more from Mr. Moore. Especially his take on DC characters.
This was not to be. The success of Watchmen, ironically, created a rift between Mr. Moore and DC Comics. Though I don’t pretend to know all the ins and outs of the situation, Mr. Moore broke away from the company and, in subsequent interviews, repeatedly expressed the cause of the rift a desire to gain control over Watchmen. DC Comics apparently had a clause in the Watchmen contract that ensured they retained control of the property as long as they kept it in print. If that’s the case, it is possible the Watchmen prequel may be an attempt to continue doing just that.
As the years passed and Mr. Moore moved on, I found myself less and less interested in his subsequent works. I tried many of them, some which received considerable positive reviews, but they just didn’t appeal to me as much as his earlier stuff.
The line up of talent involved in the Watchmen prequel books is unquestionably impressive, but even if Mr. Moore himself were somehow involved in this new book, I don’t think I’d pick it up. While I retain fond memories of the original series despite certain flaws, the book featured a completely self contained story. Even when I originally read it, I didn’t think there was a need for more stories set in this universe, whether before, during, or after the events presented.
I still feel that way.
But I’m just one voice. If nothing else, I’m curious to see how this series does with modern audiences.