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April 24, 2014

Archives: February 2012

February 28, 2012

Two Great Projects to Back at Kickstarter

A little free publicity for two projects we love and want to see succeed – and YOU can be part of it!  Click the links below and make a pledge NOW!!!

ROBOT 13 TRADE PAPERBACK – the hard-to-find, critically acclaimed series from Blacklisted Studios is well on its way to becoming a trade once the funds are raised.  13 days left (coincidence) and they need a few hundred bucks more.  Hey, at least sign on for the $13 level and get yourself a trade and some buttons.

ATOMIC ROBO: LAST STOP ANIMATED SHORT – of the $12 grand they’re trying to rasie they’re at… whoa!  $28k!  I’d say that’s a success kids!  But if you can still scramble and get in, they’ve also got some great rewards, like qat the $35 mark, your name in the credits!  Go Robo!

What a great way to actually be involved in the making of some great entertainment!  Good luck guys!

Goodguy

 

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February 27, 2012

Justice League: DOOM

EvilGuy here.

Some days it is just good to be us.  That’s an axiom at this point; anyone reading us for any length of time must have seen all of the evidence they would ever need that, for whatever reason, once GoodGuy and I team up and work together, awesome things just start happening.  Free tables at comic shows.  Press passes to big national comic conventions.  Interviews with comic creators.  After party invitations.

And now you can add “invitation to a red carpet premiere” to that list.

No, really.  We were standing right next to the crews from Newsarama and MTV, and we got to do interviews with Andrea Romano (Emmy winning Voice Director), Phil Morris (playing Vandal Savage, known for his roles on Smallville and Seinfeld, among many others), and Kevin Conroy (the one true Batman).

Here, check it out:

Yes, I was nervous and I rambled.  So sue me.  GoodGuy did a lot better.  It isn’t easy being as evil as I am and having to chat with this guy that sounds exactly like Batman, okay?

After the red carpet we were invited into the press area of the theater for the Paley Center for the Media Arts.  We chatted with some friends of GoodGuy’s that were also there trying to justify being admitted as press, and then a presenter (an executive in charge of the event, I think), invited the folks we interviewed on stage.  There was a brief discussion to introduce each of them, and there was a warm and heartfelt standing ovation for the widow of Dwayne McDuffie (writer of JL:DOOM, numerous other Justice League animated projects, Static Shock, and a genuine innovator of the idea that people of all backgrounds and walks of life should have a hero they can identify with).

And then they rolled the film.

Want to know something?  I’ve always watched the animated superhero DVDs by myself.  I am an enormous fan of the animated DC comics work, but I’ve never been able to find someone like minded to share it with.  Even GoodGuy never spent much time with them, and you would think he would have been predisposed toward them.  This was the first time ever seeing one in a group setting for me, and I was doing so in a room with 300 fellow fans.  And Batman was there, can’t forget that.

The viewing experience was awesome.  Simple things, like having a crowd laugh with you at a well delivered line, or hearing a room gasp together, made it my favorite DC animated feature viewing.

The film itself is a great piece, a very solid entry into the long line of Warner Brothers DC animated products.  Issues I have with it are centered around baggage I brought into the feature with me as a long time reader and fan of Justice League Unlimited.  The story strays in ways I wasn’t expecting and still don’t understand from the source material, Mark Waid’s JLA Tower of Babel issues.  As much as I like Nathan Fillion and feel he did a solid job, I still don’t like his Hal Jordan as Green Lantern as much as I enjoy Phil LaMarr playing Green Lantern John Stewart.  I like Vandal Savage, but the plot itself is tailored to the villainous mastermind that Mark Waid used in the original, Ras Al Gul. The inclusion of Cyborg and Hal Jordan play well as the film rolls, but afterward you can’t help but catch a strong wiff of marketing influence in the decision to include those characters.

A casual viewer is going to be oblivious to those very minor criticisms though, and will likely instead be impressed with the animation, the story, and the direction of the piece.  The Bruce Timm character designs have been modified and updated, allowing for greater facial expression but still keeping the economy of linework those designs were famous for and the powerful physique.  The palette is more subdued than in many DCU features, and in many places (particularly moments in the Metropolis setting) pushes the visual tone into the realm of the old Fleischer Superman cartoons.  The score, as ever when it comes to Warner Brothers animated projects, is the stuff that many major motion pictures strive for and fall short of time and time again.  And of course the veteran voice actors deliver these performances with class and gravitas, even when striking the occasional humorous note.

In harmony with these high standards is the story, the dialog, and the intense pace of the show.  The story is propulsive and engaging, smoothly moving our cast from one important moment to the next, and without any filler.  The dialog is drum tight and witty, both forcing you to pay close attention and rewarding you for doing so.  The pace of the film is as rapid as it is relentless, building towards the final confrontation and its conclusion, and pausing to release its grip on the audience only in the final minutes.

Whereas other DCU animated features may have been better for one kind of fan or another, I think most comic book fans would enjoy this feature and rank it among the best Warner Brothers has produced.  Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is still a better film in my mind, and the Wonder Woman feature from a couple of years back was a high mark too.  Justice League: Doom ranks along side those in its own right, as a different vehicle in many ways, but a more accessible one as well.

The bottom line is should you buy it, rent it, or forget it.  No question about it, this one should be bought.

Ben “the EvilGuy” West

 

 

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February 26, 2012

Reading Through a Mountain of Comic Books

by Goodguy — Categories: Comic Reviews, Good Versus Evil, Pull Lists17 Comments

Over the past three years since I let EvilGuy back into my life, I seem to have bought far more books than I could keep up with reading.  This started at one of our first outings at the Big Apple Con, as I over-indulged in 50-cent boxes and came home with gobs of Fables and Outsiders comics.  And it’s only gotten worse.  I now subscribe to far more monthly titles than I ever had before, and frankly, having a tough time keeping up.  I daresay that my “to be read” collection is growing far more than my “read” collection.  I’ve got a backlog of about 700 or 800 books right now, and mathematically, if I continue to collect at this rate and only read through an average of 4 a day, I still might not be done reading them in a year’s time.

I texted Evilguy yesterday to see if he wanted to hit another local show.  He responded with an “Ugh, no more comics” and a barrage of bizarre Victorian steampunk cheesecake that I really could have done without.  That last part aside, seems like he’s hitting overload too, although I know right now his focus is in getting his own collection cataloged in the Collectorz app.

Is it just me, or when the pile gets that big, does it not become more of a chore to read them?  Geez, I’d better get reading!  Maybe if I pick a few with not too many words…

No that’s not the right way to do it.

It’s time to remember that these books are made for enjoying.  And blogging about.

Which then made me think, maybe it’s time to thin out the subscriptions?

My current subscription list:

MARVEL: Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers Academy, Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine and the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Amazing Spiderman, Avenging Spiderman, Thunderbolts, Avengers: Children’s Crusade, Venom, Incredible Hulk

DC: Aquaman, Justice League, Batman, Batman the Dark Knight, Justice League Dark, Red Hood & the Outlaws, Frankenstein Agent of SHADE, Suicide Squad, Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Red Lanterns, Batgirl, Action Comics

Indy: Irredeemable, Chew, Atomic Robo, Planet of the Apes

Recently dropped: Teen Titans, Demon Knights, FF, Incorruptible, Detective Comics.  Green Lantern and Action Comics may follow soon.

Picking up sporadically/uncommitted: Wonder Woman, Superboy, Batwoman, Justice League International

Looking forward to: Earth 2, new Black Widow series, Avengers vs X-Men, Watchmen prequels

Actively collecting back issues of: vintage Fantastic Four, Avengers, Crimson

Know that I’m probably missing out big time on: Dark Horse Presents, Animal Man

At this point you may be wondering, what’s the point of these lists?  No idea.  Just throwing it out there.

These are the books I’m currently enjoying the most:

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN – I still can’t believe there’s an X-book I actually care about again!  The premise does push the envelope to outright silliness at times, but it’s a totally fun book, and I’ve loved the art in every issue (huge Bachelo fan, and Nick Bradshaw is growing on me).  Plus they’re wordy reads, so I feel like I’m getting my dollars’ worth.

SUICIDE SQUAD – Guilty pleasure? Perhaps. But I am finding the dialogue to be dark and witty – any comic that can make me laugh out loud, more than once in a single book, gets my seal of approval for a good read. Harley may have dropped the classic look but she’s actually a readable character now. And Killer Shark? That’s just nuts.  This book is on the top of my “read” list right now.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS – Handily the best of the Lantern books, building on the mythos and featuring characters far more compelling than Hal Jordan.   Here’s an artist that has seriously been under the radar far too long – Fernando Pasarin.  I had to just stop reading on at least 3 pages and just study the impossible line art this guy puts into the detail of his backgrounds, let alone the spot-on character pencils.  His work is reminiscent of George Perez and is very welcome in my home.

AVENGING SPIDERMAN – Loved this out of the gate thanks to the welcome return of Joe Mad. When did the Mole Man get so cool – and for that matter in demand? He’s recently been in Daredevil, FF, and the Moloids featured prominently in Incredible Hulk too. Sup wit dat? You go Moley!  The fourth issue with Greg Land and Hawkeye left me kinda “meh” but it was a classic type of Marvel Team-Up one-and-done, just less wordy.

CHEW – I know I’ll sound like a broken record and I don’t care. Chew has never missed, not one single issue. Month in, month out, dependable, grim, funny entertainment, and keeps coming up with more warped stuff.

VENOM – what a surprise this series has been. The very thing I thought was the weakest element of this book – the departure from 100% crazy ass cannibal Venom into a soldier – turns out to be a bold and clever move. Add on Jack-O-Lantern as a worthy nemesis and you’ve got a sleeper hit.

FANTASTIC FOUR – Good to see the band back together doing what they do best – big huge cosmic stuff. Looking forward to seeing how Reed makes heads or tails out of Johnny’s return. Kudos for keeping Spidey around too. But don’t worry about the math. I don’t care if there’s really five. Just keep calling it Four.

NEW AVENGERS – Osborn and the Dark Avengers.  By Bendis and Deodato.  Need I say more?

Other than that, honestly, I think I’d be having more fun going through my back issues, reading Dan Slott’s She-Hulk, some old Lee/Kirby FF’s I’ve been grabbing here and there, or the New Krypton Superman books (which now seems sooooo irrelevant it’s pathetic).  I’ve still got a stack of Secret Six I’d love to get through too.  But then, here comes Wednesday, here come the new books… and again it feels like a chore.

Is this just me?

A little ramble, a little review, and a little open, directionless pondering for your reading pleasure.

Goodguy

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February 12, 2012

At the Premiere of JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM

by Goodguy — Categories: Comics Industry, Events, Good Versus Evil — Tags: , , Comments Off

Aw yeah, that’s right… Evilguy and Goodguy will be at the NY Paley Center for Media tomorrow night, 2/13, for the world premiere of DC’s newest animated feature, Justice League DOOM, two weeks before it hits stores.  We’ll be on the red carpet before and after the screening to talk with the stars and casting director, hob-nobbing with the goober smooches.

I wonder what they’ll ask us?

I have to tell you, this is a real honor and privilege to be invited to such a cool fanboy event, especially given the current popularity of DC Comics and particularly how well-done their animated movies are.

And hey, it sure beats the pants off going to see Star Wars Episode I in 3D.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to find my tuxedo t-shirt and get all snazzed up.  This is all kinds of hoity toity and I can’t be looking drab.

If you spot us, be sure and say hello – we’ll have our much-coveted “Force For Good” GoodGuy buttons or, for you morally challenged, the infamous “I’m Evil Baby!” buttons from the EvilGuy.

Now ‘scuse me, I believe that’s my limo…

Goodguy

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February 11, 2012

Review – Collectorz Comic App

by Goodguy — Categories: Comic Reviews, Comics - The Real Issues5 Comments

Sometimes it pays to be good, much to Evilguy’s dismay.  I got an iPad as a Christmas gift.

Must suck to be on the naughty list, huh Evilguy?

Now, I know that iPads are inherently evil, as they are the home of choice for digital comics (ptooey), which I have made it clear I am opposed to, so my new iPad sat in the box for a week until I had a priest come over and bless it.  I tinkered with it for about a week, downloading and playing the prerequisite Angry Birds before delving into what this puppy could really do. I think I’m still just scratching the surface.

I then downloaded a handful of comic apps by Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and Comixology.  More on THAT later.

The coolest thing by far I’ve got on that thing is my comic app from Collectorz.com.

Over the years I tried many times to properly catalog my ever-growing comic book collection.  Once, when there were only a few hundred, I think I had them in a notebook – problem being that I’d run out of space on a page for additional issues if it wasn’t planned right, and keeping things in numeric order was tedious.  Next was a smaller version of my collection on a single sheet of paper, in Word or some word processing program, just listing title and issue number.  Convenient to keep in my pocket as a “want-it-got-it” list, but impossible to keep complete or neat, and got lost along the way somewhere.  Much later, I developed a spreadsheet to enter in my collection, but the shortcomings were still huge.  It was unwieldy, required lots of time to manually enter the numbers (right click, insert line, grrrr…) and was a work in progress as I discovered how tough it was to categorize and then find things again.  It couldn’t be carried with me or easily converted into a want list suitable for carrying.  With renumbering, new volumes and multiple special editions and deluxe editions, it became evident that just issue numbers weren’t enough – and when you’ve got a collection this size, issue numbers mean increasingly less as the old brain doesn’t connect with all of them anymore.  It didn’t take long before I lost interest totally.

Problems solved thanks to Collectorz.  Take a peek.

I downloaded and tested the free version, which stores up to 100 (BWA-HAH-HAH) comics to begin with, and then upgraded to their Standard Edition very quickly once I was sold on it.  Once there, cataloging the 8000+ comics in my collection took about 10-20 hours spread out over a few weeks.

The key feature for me was the “Add Comics Automatically” option, which taps into their massive database to allow you to search for, select and add comics to your database easily, either as part of your collection or on your “Want List.”  By adding it, you also add a cover image (front and back) and data about the comic including month and year of original publication, talent involved (Writer, Penciler, Inker, Colorist, Letterer, Editor, Cover Artist and so on), plot synopsis, characters therein and other data like genre when applicable.  Then they throw on a nifty cool background for most of the prominent series to boot.

Not EVERY comic has the gory details to this extent, mind you – not every comic has a back image, for example, and when you compare the data on a significant big seller like Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 to, say, Adolescent Radioactive Blackbelt Hamstersin 3D #3, you will find the latter lacking in detail – but the fact that I could find the latter AT ALL is a testimony to the strong database at Collectorz.

Speaking of which, how complete was their database? VERY. I came across perhaps a dozen books I couldn’t find out of my entire collection, and only two of them were surprising. For that scant handful, they could be added from scratch if you’re so inclined. I added one (I couldn’t resist adding the Megazeen of Horror) and it was a piece of cake.

Now that all my comics are in, I can put the search capabilities to the test – and they pass with a gold star.  A simple search for “Humberto Ramos” gives me every book that I own that’s penciled by Ramos  – Amazing Spiderman, Avengers Inititive, Crimson, Out There, Runaways, you name it.  Is that cool?  It certainly is, when I just found out that I have a very early Image comic that he drew (Gen 13) and I had no idea he was in there. Another search for my favorite villain, Taskmaster, yields strong results as well.

The work is all done on my desktop and then uploaded to the iPad, which proved tricky for some reason, perhaps due to a tricky WiFi setting, and the fact that the upload was half a gig when all was said and done.  But it was solved quickly due to the FAQ’s on the Collectorz site, and I ran it through iTunes and a USB connection instead.  And there, in all its glory, is my collection, every issue, every cover image, without having to dig through my attic and move fifty pound longboxes to enjoy it.

The useful features continue. Let’s say I don’t want to lug the iPad to a comic book show – no problem, I can print my want list or collection list, or any portions thereof. If I loan my comics to Evilguy (which we actually do from time to time) I can log them out like a library. There are plenty of fields I can fill in myself, including location bought, condition, personal comments and a 10-star rating system. And I can analyze my collection by listing, cover image and various graphical and statistical views.

Shortcomings?  A few, nobody’s perfect.  One of the more attractive features, the barcode scanner, is not yet compatible with the ipad’s camera (it does work on the iphone).  Adding a book via barcode would require a scanning device on my laptop.  This is something they are working on.

Oh, and one of the most common questions – does it show the guide value for the book – um, no.  Considering that Collectorz also does CD, book, game and movie collections, the collect-ability and price speculation factor for comic books is somewhat unique in this respect for them. So no, no values other than cover price. For me, not a deal breaker, but considering this is the biggest FAQ being asked about this software, hopefully they tie into a dependable value system soon.

Overall, you can see I’m pretty stoked about this. Finally my collection is cataloged in a meaningful, practical and easy-to-use system. And now armed with my iPad, I look forward to my upcoming comic shows, ready to do battle, fill in some gaps, and come home without more doubles of She-Hulk.

The Standard package will set you back $29.95 (I got five bucks off by signing up for the trial beforehand and by liking them on Facebook). I have found the standard package to do the trick. For an extra twenty clams you can upgrade to Pro, which offers some additional download and export capabilities, UDF’s and Advanced searches, more suitable perhaps for a shop owner or an actively selling collector.

Not a paid advertisement, just a big old glowing endorsement from yours truly, the Goodguy. If you haven’t already, make your next click over to collectorz.com. And please leave comments with your thoughts too.

Now let me get back to some cover gazing.

Goodguy

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February 7, 2012

In Other News, Sales Numbers Are In…

… and DC took all 10 of the top spots.

All.  Ten.

1. Justice League

2. Batman

3. Action Comics

4. Detective Comics

5. Green Lantern

6. Batman TDK

7. Superman

8. Flash

9. Batman & Robin

10. Aquaman.

That’s right, kids.  No comic Marvel is publishing currently is able to outsell Aquaman.

Bert gets the news... he's a Marvel. Obviously.

 

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February 7, 2012

And I’ll Look Down and Whisper… NO.

Eviluy here.

There are times I really like writing along side of (or in direct conflict with) my nemesis, GoodGuy.  He brings a lot of clarity to any given argument, and does so with gusto.  A prime example is his last piece on the Before Watchmen mini-series that DC will be releasing.  He did a great job laying the framework of both sides of the issue, and neatly disassembled them until a workable foundation remained exposed, and open to analysis.  On that basis, he presented a well thought out point of view, and did it in an entertaining way.

So, of course, here I come with a bit of a spanner for the works.  Sorry, Goodguy.  I’m just being true to my nature.

Sure enough there are some clear battle lines drawn here.  The creators themselves, having given either a sort of “meh, good luck with that” (I’m paraphrasing Gibbons) and a more solid condemnation (alluding to Moore’s heart felt – if predictable – foaming at the mouth at the very idea).  Retailers are generally enthused from what I’ve been reading on the big geek news sites, generally citing these as great gateway comics to get folks buying more copies of their Watchmen trades.  Readers themselves are entrenched mostly into two extreme positions; it is either blasphemy or the event that will save comics.  Other creators are mixed, either siding DC’s position as owner of the intellectual property, or solidly in the camp of creator rights.

Uhm.  How awkward.  I seem to have a completely different point of view.  Again.

I do have misgivings, and they’re centered on what Watchmen meant and how prequels position themselves.

Joe is right about how unessential it is to speak deeply about Watchmen; it has been well covered by every critic, blogger, academic, fan and professional.  It is the Citizen Kane of comic books.  It was a Darwinian moment in the medium that pulled pulled the status quo out of the primordial muck and gave everyone new territory to explore above the surface.  Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ work came up smoothly along side the set expectations, ran out the sweeps, and broadsided them without mercy or remorse.

And that, to me, is why it is ludicrous to attempt to create more Watchmen stories.  A creation can be those things, have that impact, only once.  Repetition, no matter who the creators are (even if the original team were to try again), is bound to fall short.

“So,” I hear you saying, “it will never be as important as the original, so it should just die out and go away?  Really?”

Well yeah.

I'm really sorry I don't remember what site I got this from, I'd credit them and link to it in a second. Comment if this is yours, you deserve all the credit we can give.

I know I’m in the minority on this, but I cannot divorce the Watchmen characters from the Watchmen experience.  That series was not about the characters that made it up, it was something much larger and more important.  Only part of what Watchmen is was on the page at all – the rest was about that series hitting at the point in time that it did, making the impact that it did, and the reverberations that followed throughout the medium.  That element is what makes Watchmen elevated above other comics, sometimes even above better comics (EGAD, I said it now, didn’t I – I stated that there are better comics! Surely I’ll be smote by dark magic lightning and righteous pillars of fire any second now! Well, one of those better comics is Moore’s own V for Vendetta, so hopefully I’ll be spared anything more painful than an aggressive singe from an angry sky).

We should probably also look at what Watchmen is when taken out of that context.  It is an admittedly dense and complex narrative about a handful of largely unlikable characters.  Those characters are damaged humans, one and all, save possibly for the original Nite Owl.  Through the deterioration of their own lives and the need to struggle against the internal and external forces attempting to inflict mediocrity upon them, they are drawn along a series of initially tangential arcs toward a climax that, like it or not, unites the world.  The heroism on display, when it does occasionally rise to the surface, is more often framed in the light of a personal battle against their own demons than against any external force.  These characters aren’t defeating villains, they’re over coming their own inherent immorality and flaws to take a small positive step in their own lives – which is usually followed by taking two steps backward.

That, to me, is a character I normally wouldn’t want to read much about.  There is a line there that is being crossed between the escapism that we love comics for and the reality that we’re trying to escape by reading them.  Honestly, it is likely you can find better heroes in real life, right in your neighborhood.

If you can’t you should probably move.

But here we are left with the attempt, already underway, to bring these characters back to the comic reading audience.  The talent assembled is formidable; a smart move on DC’s part, as doing anything less would have seriously undermined the credibility of the project.  At the end of the day, though, I don’t feel like we’re getting more Watchmen.  We’re going to get something “Watchmen-y” or “Watchmen-esque.”  We’re being sold more stories featuring the same characters, and it just feels coarse and exploitative to me.  Not because of the impact it is going to have on Alan Moore, but rather because it feels as if the undeliverable hype of our annual summer event comics has been eclipsed by the mere name Watchmen, and DC’s marketing group is just behind Oz’s curtain toasting the genius of P.T. Barnum rather than that of Moore and Gibbons.  We, the readers, are being sold a bit of snake oil here.

Before Watchmen: our slogan is “there’s a sucker born every issue.”

I’ll read them at some point, I’m sure.  These days everything winds up in a half price bin or fifty cent box eventually, right?

I’m not going to reward this move on DC’s part otherwise, though.

Ben “the EvilGuy” West

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February 3, 2012

Much Ado About Watchmen

by Goodguy — Categories: Comic Reviews, Comics Industry, Events — Tags: , , , Comments Off

So I got a text from the Evil One the other day.  As I have shared before, texts from EvilGuy are usually met with a sense of foreboding mixed with a dash of geeky hopefulness, that the ho-hum day of my mild-mannered secret identity could somehow be broken up by something outside of the monotony.  It went a little like this.

EVILGUY: DC finally announced the Watchmen prequels.  The internet is breaking in half.

GOODGUY: I can’t believe fans could be unhappy about this.

EG: Seriously?

GG: Yeah!  It’s stupid!  If you don’t like the idea don’t buy the books!  But for those of us that always wanted more… Silk Spectre drawn by Amanda Conner, Dr Manhattan drawn by Adam Hughes.  Night Owl by the Kubert brothers.  Focus on what it is rather than what it’s not.

EG: Well I sent you some reading from (some other blog or something).  I’m not as enthused because of my view of Watchmen as a standalone body of work.  It seems coarse even by Big Two standards to try to milk one of the only sacred cows the medium has… got to go to (blow up an animal shelter or something).  If you have the means/time then post about it and I’ll do my best to respond.

Challenge accepted, sir.

I needn’t spend much time reviewing the original work by Alan Moore and Peter Gibbons.  Can I suffice to say, it was hands down one of the most solid comic book reads in history, a 12-issue miniseries that tells the dark and gritty side of the hero biz.  For me, personally, a Top Ten all-time favorite arc, possibly top five. Do I love it?  Yessir I do.  And so do a lot of others, comic fans and novel critics alike.

Watchmen dates back to 1986 and 1987;  Evilguy and I were graduating high school, I was on my way to Hero Academy and he was off to his super villain trade school or correspondence course of whatever.  But I digress.  Point is that clears a quarter century kiddies.  It took more than two decades to make a feature film and consider that there might be more to tell.

There are two camps of reactions: “Bring it on” and “Leave it alone.”

The “leave it alone” screamers have sided with original writer Alan Moore, who is both a  talented and an oogly boogly dude.  Moore wants the work to stand, just as is, no additions, no prequels, no sequels, no exploration, no touchy. The feedback attacks DC as “the man” and Moore as yet another victim of stolen creative property. We should respect Moore and leave his work alone, honoring his wishes. This is all about money after all, those greedy bastiches. And regarding prequels to great works, have we all forgotten JarJar Binks.  Don’t let the sacred cow jump the shark, and other animal-laden metaphors.

The “bring it on” camp want the option of reading some comic books about some memorable characters. DC wants to make money. And the house of talent they’re assembling for these books is stellar. And Dave Gibbons has been a vocal cheerleader of taking a deep breath and letting go.

So how do we sort this out?

While I do respect creator rights, It’s hard to see Moore as anything but hypocritical. Moore wrote, for example, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Great stuff, but I’m kinda doubting he considered the feelings of, oh, say, Jules Verne or Robert Louis Stevenson when he swiped those characters. Moore didn’t turn down work on Swamp Thing out of respect for Len Wein.  And he’s made a living off the characters of others, from Judge Dredd to Star Wars to Doctor Who to the X-Men to name a scant few of his amazing works. Bottom line, it seems Mr. Moore loves playing at the neighbors’ sandboxes, but doesn’t like it when the neighborhood kids come to play in his.  I love a lot of Moore’s work, he’s a genius, but I can’t get behind him on this one.  Not anymore.

J Michael Straczynski, one of the assigned prequel writers, said it like this: “A lot of folks feel that these characters shouldn’t be touched by anyone other than Alan, and while that’s absolutely understandable on an emotional level, it’s deeply flawed on a logical level.”

Here’s the thing also: DC owns Watchmen.  It was a  job for hire.  Fans, however, couldn’t imagine a Watchmen without Moore, and DC agreed, attempting many times to get Moore and back on the horse, with Moore categorically refusing, preferring to let those original twelve issues stand as-is.  As far as the term ‘sacred cow’ goes, how long can you stare at a cow before you start to wonder what else these is too her? We’ve been worshiping this sacred cow for 25 years. It’s time to make some burgers.

So you see which camp I’m with.  Given the choice between more Rorshach and no more Rorshach, I’ll take more… even without Moore.

I never really understood fan reactions that are flat-out angry when something is getting published, prequels or sequels made, or relaunches announced, for example.  Nobody is standing there forcing them to read these comics.  If the idea gets their panties in a wad that badly, just don’t buy the comics, send the message by not supporting it with your dollars. It’s really that simple.

Now of course, there is that potential that these new books could suck, and fans fear that this move could cheapen the original work.  I find this thinking flawed on two levels.  One, the original Star Wars movies are still awesome despite JarJar Binks (it would be another matter entirely if DC started tinkering with the original, editing language, adding scenes, blurring out private parts or having Greedo shoot first, but that’s not happening here).  And two, the talent recruited for these prequels is nothing short of impressive.  While some of these books may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there is sure to be plenty to like.

The aforementioned JMS is writing two of the minis: Dr Manhattan with Adam Hughes, and Night Owl with the Kubert brothers.  Brian Azarello is also writing two minis: Rorshach with Lee Bermejo (fresh off Batman:Noel) and Comedian with JG Jones (wich promises to be the sickest of the titles judging from the cover).  Darwin Cooke is writing and drawing Minutemen and collaborating with one of my faves, Amanda Conner on Silk Spectre.  Len Wein (irony?) is writing Ozymandius with artist Jae Lee.  The reslts, I suspect, will be some amazing, edgy interpretations of these characters.

34 issues in all, setting you back about $140.  I’ve already let my comic shop know I want every damn one of them.

DC is first and foremost a publishing house.  They need to produce books they think will sell, and not publish the books that won’t.  That’s how they stay in business.  And they have been seeing potential gold in fleshing out the characters from the Watchmen universe for years, keeping their hands tied respectfully as creator sentimentality held them hostage.

The Doomsday Clock just inched closer to midnight.

I, for one, can’t wait!

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