When I heard that there was going to be a prequel series to Watchmen; I was really excited as I’ve been a big fan of Watchmen since I first heard about it.
However, as I dug deeper through the internet, reading article after article while trying to find more information about the series, I was disappointed to hear that Alan Moore (Writer of Watchmen) would not be working on the project at all and was reportedly furious about DC Comics’ decision to publish it.
That being said, both sides of the argument raise valid points. First of all, anybody with two brain cells to rub together would feel sympathy for Alan Moore. When he and Dave Gibbons wrote up their contract with DC for Watchmen, the pair were promised to have the rights for the comic back once it went out of print. Moore and Gibbons signed the contract, assuming that perhaps this would only take a year or so.
Although, over 20 years later, the graphic novel is still being printed and its original creators are still without creative control over their story. However, Moore has always expressed that he wanted Watchmen to be a stand-alone story, in a way that set it apart from other serial comics. So, understandably, when confronted with the idea to make a series based on events prior to Watchmen, Moore almost immediately rejected the concept as it went directly against what he wanted for the story. During an interview with The New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff, Moore stated “I don’t want money. What I want is for this not to happen.”
Illustrator of Watchmen Dave Gibbons has a different attitude towards the project than Moore, and while he is not working on the project he stated in the same interview with NY Times’ Dave Itzkoff, “I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire.”
Despite Moore’s objections, Before Watchmen has been collecting some positive reviews and is being worked on by some very talented writers and illustrators. Everyone involved in the project who has been interviewed has told interviewers how much of an honour it is to work on a storyline such as Watchmen.
At the end of the day, I guess the question on everyone’s lips is “Does it do Watchmen justice?”, and the majority answer with a resounding “Yes”. As of 13/07/12 6 issues of 35 planned are on shelves all around the world, and so far it looks like the writers are doing a brilliant job at recreating the characters and the illustrators have done just as good a job at updating the style of the comic but keeping the character design the same.
If you enjoyed Watchmen at all, I strongly suggest you put Before Watchmen on your weekly pull list – While still a little rough around the edges, it’s a very well done series so far. I would give Before Watchmen 4 out of 5 stars.