Today, in an interview with Alan Moore by Fast Company’s Co.Create blog, which reveals new “Minutemen” art by Darwyn Cooke, the “Watchmen” creator took DC Comics to task, further clarifying his position on the upcoming “Before Watchmen” prequel. Moore gave his reaction to the prequels, critiquing both the original project and fan comments — saying his experience with the original “Watchmen” was a “toxic cloud of memories” and noted he doesn’t have a copy of the book in his home.
“It seems a bit desperate to go after a book famous for its artistic integrity,” Moore told Fast Company. “It’s a finite series. ‘Watchmen’ was said to actually provide an alternative to the superhero story as an endless soap opera. To turn that into just another superhero comic that goes on forever demonstrates exactly why I feel the way I do about the comics industry. It’s mostly about franchises. Comic shops these days barely sell comics. It’s mostly spin-offs and toys.
“I don’t think it’s going to work. From what I hear, there’s a certain degree of comic creators’ hostility and negative feedback posting on entertainment sites. Some people are writing petitions. I would have never have asked any of the readers to do that, but I’m genuinely grateful. It’s not a kind of reaction I can ever remember from a readership before. I would have thought, from a DC perspective, that’s it’s a lose-lose perspective, unless they did something better or as good as ‘Watchmen.’ But realistically, that’s not going to happen, otherwise it would have happened before.”
Moore further calls his “Watchmen” contract “creator-hostile” according to lawyers who offered to review the original document he’d signed. “There was a clause that essentially said that, if in the future, there were any documents or contracts that I refused to sign, DC was entitled to appoint an attorney to sign them instead,” said Moore. “[The lawyers] said it was the most creator-hostile contract they’d ever seen.”
The report also contains a reaction from DC Entertainment co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, who defend “Before Watchmen,” referencing the support of original “Watchmen” artist Dave Gibbons, who declined to comment.
“We sought out the very best writers and artists for ‘Before Watchmen,'” DiDio told Fast Company. “This is a talented, fearless group who doesn’t play it safe. They are the perfect fit creatively for this ambitious project. There’s no denying that Alan Moore is one of the great comic book writers. Dave Gibbons is one of the truly great artists in the industry. Neither of them are participating in ‘Before Watchmen,’ but we appreciate Dave Gibbons’ support. We know this project will be under the magnifying lens. ‘Watchmen’ is a critical favorite, a cultural touch point. We believe when fans see the issues this summer, they’ll be as excited as we are today.”
“One of the key characteristics of the comic book medium is that it is not brought to life by just one voice,” said Lee. “These universes are developed and evolved by multiple creative voices, over multiple generations. The influx of new stories is essential to keeping the universes relevant, current, and alive. ‘Watchmen’ is a cornerstone of both DC Comics’ publishing history and its future. As a publisher, we’d be remiss not to expand upon and explore these characters and their stories. We’re committed to being an industry leader, which means making bold creative moves.”
For his part, Moore lamented the lack of new creative endeavors in entertainment, noting “every movie is a remake of something that was better when it was first released in a foreign language, as a 1960s TV show, or even as a comic book.”
“Now you’ve got theme park rides as the source material of movies,” the writer said. “The only things left are breakfast cereal mascots. In our lifetime, we will see Johnny Depp playing Captain Crunch.”
The creator also mentioned the possibility of taking legal action against DC, but it wouldn’t be for financial gain — for Moore, it’s about “the dignity and integrity of the work.”
“I just want them not to do something,” he said. “There’s no point in wasting resources for decades, when effectively, if there’s a legal case, I’d be prohibited from speaking about it, which DC is more worried about.”
Check out a full video of Moore’s live stream video speaking to contributors to the Harvey Pekar Memorial Statue below and stay tuned to CBR for more on “Before Watchmen” as it develops.