My friend Alan David Doane isn’t the slightest bit pleased with DC
Comics’ plans to publish prequels to Watchmen, the legendary series
by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Here’s an e-mail he sent to me and
I just created a petition entitled DC Comics: End plans for sequels
to Watchmen, because I care deeply about this very important issue
pertaining to creator rights.
I'm trying to collect 100 signatures, and I could really use your
To read more about what I'm trying to do and to sign my petition,
It'll just take a minute!
Once you're done, please ask your friends to sign the petition as
well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are
willing to spread the word!
I won’t be signing Alan's petition at the present time, but it’s not
because I expect DC to ignore it and any other similar entreaties.
There’s another issue here.
Moore, to the best of my knowledge, has never once denied/refuted
Gibbons’ status as co-creator of Watchmen. I gather Moore doesn’t
approve of DC’s plans, but, as far as I know, Gibbons is on board
or at least okay with the prequels.
Do the creator rights of Alan Moore trump those of Dave Gibbons?
Not at this time. Watchmen is still owned by DC and that’s a shame
on many levels. If Moore and Gibbons owned it, either one of them
could likely put the kibosh on prequels or sequels. Depending on
whatever agreement existed between them.
I don’t have much interest in DC’s plans. I don’t have a whole lot
of confidence that their new Watchmen comics will be worthy of the
source material. But, since DC does own Watchmen at this time, I
think Gibbons has every right to benefit from their plans. Moore
made his decision on this and related matters and I applaud him for
his strong convictions. But, if Gibbons is okay with DC’s plans,
I’m okay with them as well.
Rumors of Watchmen prequels or sequels picked up steam a few years
ago. On February 9, 2010, in a previous incarnation of this bloggy
thing: I wrote:
Giving credit where it is most certainly due, I first learned about
DC Comics Senior VP/Executive Editor Dan DiDio's plan to produce a
sequel or sequels to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen from
Rich Johnston's Bleeding Cool website:
While it's "fashionable" in some comics professional circles to
dismiss Johnston as a gossip monger or worse, there's not a day in
the week when I wouldn't rather read his reports those on websites
that act as virtual arms of the comics industry's PR departments.
But I digress.
Thinking about Watchmen isn't a high priority of mine, but several
readers have asked for my thoughts on the matter and I figure I'll
put them out there today before moving on to things in which I have
a much greater interest.
1. I see no creative rational for a sequel to a work that was
complete unto itself. It's a commercial decision. Not that there is
anything inherently wrong with commercial decisions, but I bet DC
tries to spin it as something other than that.
2. I see even less creative rational in tying Watchmen to the DC
Universe. It's another commercial decision which counts on the
loyal DCU fan base creaming its jeans over the prospect of Batman
3. Is DC screwing Moore and Gibbons on this? That's for them to
say. But, in any case, it's far from the first time DC or other
comics publishers have screwed creators. The main difference here
might be somewhat greater sympathy - but not much greater - for the
creators being screwed.
4. Many fans who think doing a sequel to Watchmen is a bad
idea...for whatever reasons...will still buy as many sequels as DC
is able to publish.
5. Comics news sites, even those who will moan piteously over this
defilement of a comics classic or the disregard for the great
talents who created said classic, will still slavishly promote the
books for DC Comics.
6. DiDio will have no trouble hiring writers and artists to work on
his Watchmen sequels. Oh, a few of them might turn down the work
for principled reasons, but there will be many eager for the
challenge or the paycheck. I have some sympathy with both sorts,
especially for creators who have not earned decent paychecks in
months and sometimes years.
7. I'm sure many writers and artists have already sent query
letters or even pitches to DiDio.
8. In the extremely unlikely event that I was asked to write
Watchmen 2 or any of its spin-offs...and it's as unlikely as winged
glowing pigs flying out of my ass, singing show tunes, and pooping
gold and silver coins...I would see if the old phone number I had
for Alan Moore still works, ask him if he would object to my taking
the gig, and then ask the same of Dave Gibbons.
9. Re-read thoughts #1, #2, and #6. The challenge part would be
there for me, I could really use the paycheck, and, despite my
knowing the rationale for doing such work is purely commercial, I'm
confident I could deliver comic books that would be entertaining on
their own. You don't necessarily have to swing for the fences to
give your audience a comic book worth reading.
I wrote about “Watchmen 2" the following day as well. I’ll be back
tomorrow with that little bit of non-history.
© 2012 Tony Isabella