Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 16, 2012

Go, Read: David Brothers, Chris Eckert On DC’s C2E2 Weekend

There's a nice, short essay here written by David Brothers on the Before Watchmen promotional efforts over the weekend.

He gets at two eye-popping elements, surprising even by the slightly depraved and shameless standards of this project. One is that for the sake of hyping a project that already sort of hypes itself, a DC representative felt free to casually lie about its provenance. That no one will really care about that is part of the story. Like the project itself, lying about it seems unnecessary and weird; as Brothers suggests, it speaks to the general mindset that settles in at a company like that with projects like these.

The other aspect Brothers pulls out (and pummels) is this strange way DC folks involved with the project, most notably writer J. Michael Straczynski, are attempting to make a moral argument out of Moore's complaints and their resistance to hearing or acting on or even recognizing them, fashioning a noxious and largely ridiculous, self-flattering image of uncomplaining artists and writers not Alan Moore soldiering on in a fallen world, doing the best they can to provide the fans with more funnybook awesomeness. If there's anything more absurd than mainstream comics' long-time denial of their exploitative practices, it's some of that world's most pampered citizens using those incidents to justify more of the same as a kind of hard-man status quo.

Chris Eckert makes a nice point here that the company is trying to force viral marketing in a way that's kind of the opposite of what viral marketing is supposed to be, the kind of absurdity that would really stand out with just about any other project. With this one, it's kind of a footnote.

The rest of the coverage I saw was of the "Yes, please" variety.

I apologize for continuing to write about this stupid thing. I know that it feeds into the promotional machine. This is going to be a hit, and any shortcomings in how big a hit will be placed at the feet of the reputation of the original project and/or be used to bolster some sort of ludicrous degree-of-difficulty argument in doing something as basic and unimaginative as a mega-hyped sequel to the biggest graphic novel in superhero comics history. What I hope is that we all bear witness to the mindsets on display and the actions being performed in all of their furtive, ugly splendor. How all of us decide to act differently will define much of the best of what's to come out of comics for the next quarter century, just as companies and individuals deciding not to be Jack Kirby or the art-withholding Marvel forged a lot of what I think is valuable in the 25 years just past. I also hope that some of the criticism here and to which this site links provides a counter-narrative that will at least chip away at the more distressing claims that will be emboldened by this project's success.
posted 5:20 am PST | Permalink

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