'Before Watchmen:' Watching the controversy
Part of the "DC Entertainment Presents: Watchmen -It's Not The End, It's the Beginning," presentation at the Los Angeles Times Festival Of Books.
June 6th, 2012
02:11 PM ET

'Before Watchmen:' Watching the controversy

Editor's Note: Vanessa Gabriel is a Florida-based writer, and the co-creator of the comics blog Girls-Gone-Geek.com.

Even if you are not a regular at your local comic shop every Wednesday, there is a good chance that you have heard of “Watchmen.” For longtime comic fans, “Watchmen” has a biblical status. Since its publication in the mid-‘80s, the controversy surrounding Watchmen is as legendary as the book itself.

At a time when comics were overcome with mutant superhero teams battling with the evils of their fictional worlds, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “Watchmen” was an unprecedented social commentary on the anxieties of the real world. The artistic structure and thought-provoking content made creative, critical, and commercial waves that have extended through the decades.

At the time, Moore and Gibbons signed a contract that gave DC Comics rights to “Watchmen,” with the rights (and subsequent revenue) reportedly returning to them when the book went out of print. But the success of the title was also unprecedented, and unexpected. Thus, DC has never stopped printing it. Moore has been unabashedly vocal over the years about this (and other) perceived injustices, “You have managed to successfully swindle me, and so I will never work for you again.” Moore isn’t the only one.

In February, DC announced that it would be publishing “Before Watchmen.” The project consists of seven mini-series, prequel stories about Moore and Gibbon’s iconic characters in the Watchmen: Rorschach, the Comedian, Night Owl, Ozymandias, Dr. Manhattan and Silk Spectre. DC recruited a remarkable roster of comic industry talent for the project; Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, Adam Hughes, J.G. Jones, Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo, J. Michael Straczynski, Joe Kubert, Jae Lee, and original Watchmen editor, Len Wein. This sent the comic book community into an Internet frenzy. FULL POST

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