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

April 19, 2012

Go, Read: Massive Before Watchmen Post At Comics Alliance

I know there have been a lot of these lately, and that most of the most recent have come from the keyboard of the same writer, David Brothers, but this is one of those occasions where not only is the article itself interesting but its appearance on a superhero-intensive site and the explosion of all-over-the-place commentary intrigues as well. What I think is most valuable about articles like this one in the long run is that they can inculcate a set of values that run counter to those that allow this kind of thing to happen, so that when it happens again -- and it will -- there are at least other things active in the culture that would seem to affirm something other than the crass, cynical commercial values of the thing itself.

One thing that seems unlikely is that these new comics will enhance the original work at all. The uglier elements of how this project rankles in terms of the creators rights issues involved occlude some of the relatively more minor elements of its arrival, like how these new stories may transform the reputation of the original. Doing more Watchmen reminds me of DC's less scrutinized decision from years ago to make the Dark Knight material Frank Miller created an "Elseworlds" book. That decision with the Batman story robbed Dark Knight of some of its initial juice that readers experiencing it were looking at how the Batman was going to end up. That's a very uncool concept, and kind of runs counter to how stories work in a contained, literary-values sense, and Grant Morrison might not even talk to someone who admitted that this worked on them, but I think it was there with Dark Knight Returns for sure. My hunch is that Watchmen gets some of its power by being a singular story in ways that are disconnected from that story's effectiveness on the page. This suggests that in the same way Dark Knight is reduced by untethering it from the a more monolithic idea of "these are the Batman stories and this is the last one" Watchmen will be diminished simply by there suddenly being more of it -- an idea which, for example, brings with it the possibility of there being more and more and more. I guess we'll see.
posted 2:10 am PST | Permalink

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