I really don't even want to waste my time rebutting this bullshit, but here we go.
See, I gotta disagree with everything from all sides here. Putting aside anything you think about DC or Alan Moore, there is no real reason not to do Before Watchmen. In other media, if something does super well, more is produced. Comics shouldn't be the exception. The only way to survive is to make money. If you want your little books like Blue Beetle or Captain Britain and MI:13 to even be feasible, enough money has to be there to absorb whatever losses they could, and most likely would, incur.
Nobody's arguing that's not how the entertainment industry works, most are arguing that's not how it should
work. Is it really that hard to shit out some cash-grab that doesn't exploit some classic work? Do we really want to live in a world where the sequel to Se7en is about a magical Morgan Freeman?
If publishing houses/studios/comic publishers are so desperate for money (they're not), it's not like they have to do Watchmen. Churn out some more bullshit David Finch/Michael Bay/harlequin romance crap, and be done with it.
Artistic doesn't neccessarily sell, doggies. Need to accept the Clooney method. Big, dumb things exist to make enough money to pay for really cool, small things. Much like Clooney would do big, bad movies to get funding for movies he wanted to do.
Artistic doesn't necessarily not
sell either, doggie. Predator's a genuinely good movie, that was also successful. Predator 2 is a steaming pile of cash-grab. See also: Ghostbusters 2, Animal House: Delta House, Caddyshack 2, etc. You'll note that these aren't exactly sequels to art-house films. The originals were just clever, competently made works.
You're acting like the options are to only do Chris Ware's Superman, or Jim Lee and Geoff Johns' Superman and Big Barda Porno Spectacular. They're not. There's a big ol' space in between those two extremes, where you can do fun, engaging corporate comics, that also make money.
Additionally, this isn't Clooney doing Ocean's 12 or 13, bad movies that basically seemed like an excuse for a bunch of actors to get together and put on funny clothes and fake noses. This is Ocean's 14, where Bernie Mac has been replaced by Eddie Murphy in a fat-suit.
First of all, there is no inherent artistic integrity in writing any character you don't own. Watchmen is not special in this regard. Using characters and a world already in place is not new. Unless you want every comic series to end when their creator leaves it, you can't hold Watchmen to a different standard, just because you like the story a lot. Shit don't work that way. Bad contract or no, DC OWNS Watchmen, not Alan Moore.
Secondly, yeah Alan Moore got screwed by a contract. So did lots and lots of creators. With the whole Jack Kirby thing, did you stop reading Marvel forever? How about Bill Finger, the other creator of Batman who never gets credit? How can you open a Superman comic without shame? I am not saying any of these situations are the same, nor are they right. Just that saying it is shameful to do a Watchmen prequel because Alan Moore got screwed, meanwhile seeing The Avengers (think the Kirby family gets a piece of this?) is a tad bit hypocritical.
Jesus Christ. Okay, on your first points; yes, if I had to say that working on Firestorm the Nuclear Man either A)
was an action possessing creative integrity or
an action not possessing creative integrity, I'd say the answer was clearly B
. But again, there's a big, wide spectrum between those two points.
For instance, Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom have never said, "Hey, if you guys could maybe not
do Firestorm, that'd be awesome." They were never promised that they'd regain the rights to Firestorm, after they ate a sandwich, only to discover they were deceived, and the sandwich was made of lead, and the size of Rhode Island.
Rather, they created the character at a time and understanding that they would not own or control the character.
Can you see the disparity between those two, when you're the hypothetical creator asked to contribute to Firestorm or Before Watchmen?
I'm not even going to touch the contract stuff, because seriously?
Also, as I've gotten older, I have
stopped supporting material that came from the exploitation of other creators. Go check my posts in the New Comics threads over the past few months, and you'll note that I'm pulling a whopping one DC book now, which will probably be canned with the next round of solicitations.
Thirdly, a good story is a good story is a good story. I don't care if it's written by a child murdering nun. Sure I can abhor who wrote it, but it doesn't make the work bad all of a sudden. It'd suck to have to admit the serial killing sister wrote a good thing, and I don't gotta agree with her life choices, but that doesn't distract from what's laid out before me.
Yes, a good story can arise from a creator, or creative circumstances, that I don't agree with. That's obvious.
I say that knowing about the creator, or the circumstances that led to the work's creation, can and will color my perception of said work. If the making of 101 Dalmatians required 101 Dalmatian puppies to be fed into a meat-grinder, their fluids processed to make animation cels, and I learned of that prior to screening of the movie, I'd be morally bankrupt to support it in any way.
Same with Before Watchmen. It's a work arising from circumstances I disagree with, and I'd be an asshole to support it, and in doing so tell DC, "Why yes, please fuck other creators out of their work through the use of bad contracts. Say, I'd really like an Ampersand plush toy. See if you can twist Brian Vaughan's arm, and make that happen!"
Fourthly, I believe leaving anything sacred or off limits or anything like that is far more creatively bankrupt and stifling than telling a creator "do anything" because doing so is exactly what leads to editorial mandated clusterfucks. I'd rather have a shitty Mark Millar Wonder Woman rape story than have an entire run on Justice League by Dwayne McDuffie neutered and mandated into what it was. In a perfect world, I'd want neither, but since that'd never exist, I tend to side more with unlimited freedom. "Sure, make a prequel to Watchmen" is about as crazy as "hey, let's give starman an ongoing series" any way you slice it. The creators at the big two already have zero ownership over the characters they are writing. Giving them a list of things they can't do and characters they can't touch and worlds they can't visit is incredibly wrong.
Do you really think these
books are going to be the ones that don't
have editorial riding the creators throughout? The super-high-profile, radioactive Holy Grail of superhero comics?
Also, are you comparing the dancing-between-raindrops routine that is Before Watchmen, to James Robinson and Tony Harris (and others) creating a new world and character, reinvigorating concepts that had laid fallow for years? Because again, I don't think there's any comparison to be made.
Before Watchmen isn't Starman. It isn't Wicked, or Grendel. It's not an artist's genuine attempt to create a new work, using old concepts. It's Scarlett, a shameless, inferior cash-grab, that's going to try really hard not to contradict the original, and that's about it.