As a certain TV ad may have reminded you, DC's epic Before Watchmen project kicks off tomorrow, with the debut issue of Darwyn Cooke's Minutemen. Personally, I can hardly wait. The level talent involved is staggering. Despite Alan Moore's ravings-- I've made my feelings clear as far as his stance is concerned-- the project is sure to be a massive hit. I still see a lot of people around the internet claiming that we're basically supporting every corporate entity who has ever screwed over an artist by supporting this project, but that is ridiculous hyperbole. Honestly, I get as indignant as anyone about the shabby state of affairs in the comics industry when it comes to how the creators of decades-old beloved characters have been compensated-- r not-- for their creations. Frankly, however, I do not feel that the Watchmen issue falls into that wide-ranging category. Moore was given every opportunity to be involved with this in some way-- seriously, the powers that be at DC have gone to monumental lengths over the years to try to appease him-- but he would have none of it. He holds his Watchmen characters, who he co-created with artist Dave Gibbons using the Charlton stable of characters as a springboard, sacrosanct and inviolable. Meanwhile, he has become a purveyor of what amounts to pornographic fan-fiction featuring the beloved characters of other creators, and fails to see the irony in it all.
Some of you may avoid the Before Watchmen project like that plague, citing creator's rights, or whatever.
While I am very sympathetic to creators who have been mercilessly put to the screws, I just don't feel this is one of those cases. Ultimately, as with religious discussions, this is just one of those topics where none of us are at all likely to convince anyone with an opposing viewpoint that their way is the right way. We must each decide for ourselves what our attitude will be toward this project. Personally, I'll be reading them all without an ounce of guilt, and either enjoying them or not based on their own merits, free from any influence by the controversy surrounding the very existence of these comics.