Just a little before Before Watchmen.

§ June 4th, 2012 § Filed under reader participation, retailing, watchmen § 44 Comments

So I was talking with pal Dorian the other day about the impending release this Wednesday of Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1, and how I thought it, and the Before Watchmen project as a whole, were going to sell.

I think it’s going to sell great, at least at first. As I noted before, there may be a bunch of online outrage about it, but Internet reaction =/= instore sales. Plus, some of those people complaining about Before Watchmen are still going to buy it anyway, because of course they will. (Yes, yes, I know, not you…you don’t need to tell me so in the comments.)

I have been receiving several requests for the Before Watchmen books, as well as a number of comic-saver folks adding it to their pull lists, so, like I said, it should have a strong start, at first. Once we’re a month or two in, and people begin to realize “oh, man, this is like a half-dozen or so new mini-series I have to follow, isn’t it,” then we’ll start to see the sales attrition as the picking-and-choosing begins. (Or maybe the, I don’t know, Ozymandias series will be the Greatest Thing Ever and a sales juggernaut.) Of course, having the “Crimson Corsair” back-ups run through all the minis is a clever way of encouraging readers to get the whole enchilada rather than have missing chapters of that particular serial…assuming of course “Crimson Corsair” is enough of a draw.

I don’t expect a flop. There is enough curiosity out there in this project, even if it’s just “what the hell is DC doing?” disbelief, to drive initial sales. And believe it or not, there are still people who go to the comic shops who spend little or no time online perusing the comic news sites or message boards and will have no idea there’s any brouhaha at all about this Before Watchmen situation. They’ll just see the logo on the stands, think “huh, I remember reading Watchmen, that wasn’t half-bad” and throw the comic in their piles.

Anyway, having mocked the value of online reaction, I am now seeking…your online reaction, via that most most scientific method of pinning down the public’s opinion, the blog poll. I have quite a few options there, but I’m sure it’s not 100% comprehensive…if you have a write-in choice, just drop it in the comments.

44 Responses to “Just a little before Before Watchmen.”

  • Derooftrouser says:

    NOT M… oh, sorry.

    People who want more Watchmen can go back and re-read Watchmen, because they obviously missed quite a bit of it the first time.

  • Tim O'Neil says:

    I don’t think “I’m going to steal scans off the Internet” is quite comprehensive statement on its own, though. I think it’s fair to say that many of the people who think the series is a terrible idea are still going to end up reading it in one way or another, and I actually wonder if – because of the ethical issues involved for informed readers – this might be a book that people will download illegally without feeling a twinge of guilt. (Not that most downloaders necessarily do or do not feel any guilt at all – I can’t really say one way or another what goes on in the minds of the average person who does that.)

    Because, yeah, the car-crash desire is strong for this one, and it’s not like we’re living in the Truman administration where we’re content to wait for it to show up at the local lending library. I imagine we’ll see a lot in the way of “I didn’t buy it but I read it” reviews popping up. They read it at their friend’s house. >cough<

  • Snark Shark says:

    “No, I think it’s a terrible idea, ethically and / or artistically”

    BUT I WOULD buy the pirate comic spin-off IF it were puplished seperately from the other titles. As the pirate story was a fictional story INSIDE the fictional story of watchmen, it doesn’t seem the same thing to me.

    Also, we don’t have NEARLY enough pirate comics out there!

  • Mike Zeidler says:

    I’m boycotting all things Watchmen until I get a DVD review. :(

  • Doug says:

    If I hear that the stories are phenomenal, I will be picking a few up. I’m not going to waste my time if they’re just okay.

  • Tim B. says:

    That is a terrible cover for Minutemen #1. Does Dollar Bill have some kind of trampoline set up behind Hooded Justice?

    Didn’t realize until I clicked on it that it’s a genuine cover.

  • mpc says:

    Can I caveat/justify my stealing scans off the internet since I live in Azerbaijan and can’t exactly go buy copies from my local direct market retailer?

  • Michael Grabowski says:

    What, no waiting for the trade?

  • Mike Walker says:

    I will be buying them but I WILL NOT be reading them.

    I’m so funny.

  • Gordon says:

    I may check out Cooke’s MINUTEMEN (because Cooke can do no wrong) and JMS’ NIGHT OWL (because I’m slightly curious), but the other books….definitely not.

    It just seems like these are prequels about things nobody cares about….although this is a great business decision for DC, it’s also totally creatively bankrupt.

  • Isaac says:

    I would rather read Before the Dark Knight Returns.

  • Collin Allcars says:

    I am morbidly interested in this. I will be amazed if JMS does a decent job with this. He is either a huge hack or he secretly hates comic fans.

  • swamp mark says:

    For me it’s an easy decision.Alan Moore stated that he doesn’t want his fans to buy it so I won’t be.My only dilemma is what to do if Swamp Thing makes an appearance.

  • Bruce Baugh says:

    Not buying. The world has far too many promising-sounding comics, past and present, that don’t give me any ethical heebie-jeebies for me to feel like I need to give this any consideration.

  • Interstate Shogun says:

    Not buying either. No interest and there is no way any of those series can be more than “just okay” in a best case scenario.

    I am surprised that it’s taken DC this long to do it, though.

    I would rather read Before Sandman or Before Year One (Year Zero?) or Before…KOREA! than any of that Before Watchmen crap. But it will still sell no matter what grumpy ole me thinks.

  • Chad says:

    Not buying for all the ethical ickiness others have mentioned, and if Darwyn Cooke had just stayed away, I’d have no second thoughts at all.

  • Rich says:

    I might check them out from the library sometime. I can’t bring myself to buy them. The whole thing is just too icky.

  • philip says:

    I’m not usually one for “prequels” but anything by Darwyn Cooke or Amanda Conner is going to get a look from me.

  • Sean says:

    I’ll be checking these out, at least at first.

    I figure that any outrage over these comics should be tempered by the fact that they’re, well, comics.

    If they’re good, cool. If they’re bad, oh well.

  • adam says:

    I read Watchman once in the 80’s and was impressed, but not enough to read it again for another 20 years. When I re-read it, I found it hadn’t aged very well. Like many things, it was groundbreaking at the time, but so much has come since then that built on it that the original is more of a historic footnote than something I want to experience again.

    So I suspect I’ll skip it entirely.

  • This is a sticky situation.

    To me, even though many have come afterwards and imitated/emulated/homaged it to death, I feel that it’s one of Alan Moore’s great gifts to comics.
    (Of course, that said, I love/loved V FOR VENDETTA even MORE.)

    I remember after I first read WATCHMEN (when it came out, mind you) I also bought the DC Roll-playing supplements that were released soon thereafter – PRIMARILY BECAUSE they had been authorized by Alan Moore and contained new material provided BY him.
    Hell, I even bought the little lead figurine set!

    THIS enterprise fills me with a mixed feeling of; “Hey, I liked Watchmen, but I KNOW this has NO real tie to it – because it’s not from the same mind” and “Oh ye gods! This is a horrible idea!”
    AS you can see, none of those feelings is; “Wow! I can’t wait!”

    My distaste for anyone working on this project is mixed with the fact that there are a few AWESOME talents involved (Darwyn Cooke & Amanda Conner among them), and I know that if someone backed a truck filled with cash to my door to work on this, I’d be having fits of conscience as I signed on the dotted line.

    But, I truly do NOT think I will buy these. ANY of these.
    However, I have friends (no, really) who, when they see something that they think that I will like, will send me the “CBR/CBZ” file so that I can read it for myself.

    If I like it, I call my online retailer (since I have NO Local Comic Shoppe – sorry Mikester) and have it added to my shipment.

    The digital pirated files have caused me to buy so many more things than I would have otherwise.

    Anyone who finds this hard to believe is free to come over and get a hernia moving all my dang longboxes around.

    So… will I succumb and buy them eventually?
    I really kinda doubt it.
    If sent to me, I will READ the things, but I doubt that I’ll buy them.

    But… ONLY because Moore flat out stated that he would rather this didn’t happen, and I have to have solidarity with a fellow creator.

    Of course, I DID buy the damned DVD of the film that seemed to miss much of the point of the concept… so… I’m not innocent.

    (Of course, Dave Gibbons is half of that creative team, and a fundimental reason for my love of the work, as his art was spectacular in it.
    And yet HE is just fine with BEFORE WATCHMEN – sorta, kinda… But he WAS also fine with the film, and we all know how THAT turned out.)

    Sorry for the ramble.

  • Robert in New Orleans says:

    I’m surprised that so many poll respondants say that they won’t be buying it. I guess I don’t know your audience that well, Mike. I’m planning on buying the first issues by a couple of creators I really like (Cooke, Conner) and if I like them, I’ll keep buying them. I think a lot of people will be reading BW and not admitting that they bought them because everyone’s gonna want to have an opinion about it.

  • MrJM says:

    I won’t be reading it because I already know what happened Before Watchmen — I read about it 20 years ago in Watchmen.

    — MrJM

  • Chance says:

    Ha, MrJM wins.

  • rokkrinn says:

    I just can’t get worked up over the “ethical issues” underlying the Before Watchmen titles, nor about a comics company publishing comics featuring characters owned by it.

    Given the talent involved, I am excited to see what these people can produce. I hope the creators bring their own stamp to these characters and stir up some awesome adventure… and I will be buying several of the titles (based on the creators) in order to see for myself.

    I love Alan Moore’s work and recommend it often (among many other favorite creators’ work as well), but it has been 25 years or so since the original material was published. I don’t think any cow is so sacred that you can’t do something with it 25 year later, particularly in light of the struggling comics industry and the barriers to successful publication of periodicals featuring new characters.

    Bring it on!

  • Casey says:

    Derooftrouser and MrJM hit the nail on the head. Watchmen was a perfectly complete story that left no room for sequels or prequels. Simple as that.

  • Walaka says:

    I don’t know about these comics, but I’m still waiting for Before Casablanca to come out.

    Oh, wait, it already did.

  • philip says:

    Walaka, when you put it that way, I feel dirty for even thinking about Before Watchmen.

  • philfromgermany says:

    Agree with rokkrinn. Also why should there be no room for Prequels? This is not real life, it’s comics.
    Will gladly buy all issues coming out, but I will drop it if they suck. But looking at the names behind it I’m sure I will enjoy all the books.
    Pirating comics is stupid anyway, doing it to make a statement for creator rights or whatever is beyond sad.
    Don’t tell me you also did not go to see Avengers ’cause they fuck over Kirby for the credits.

  • Phrankie says:

    Watchmen sucks. Who’s that behind the evil Pyramid corporation… oh, it’s the character named after a pharaoh. Kinda hoping it wouldn’t be that obvious. Well, as long as he doesn’t use his own name as the password to his secret computer files…dammit. With plot twists like that, it’s easy to imagine that Alan Moore-on is too stupid to read a contract.

  • SKFK says:

    “I would rather read Before the Dark Knight Returns.”

    Sadly, there is no announcement about when the next issue of All-Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder will be released.

    “I would rather read Before Sandman”

    The negotiations for that one broke down because DC wanted to nickel and dime Neil Gaiman.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    I’m with those that mention Cooke and Conner. Here’s what I often do, and I did it with the nu52. I have a friend who will take any comics just to read it, he can’t afford them, and he’ll pass him to his teenage son.

    And I’m not giving them trash, I’ll do it when I buy the, say, BATMAN, INC. HC. But I might give MINUTEMEN and SS only one issue each, two tops.

  • Casey says:

    I knew every plot twist in Watchmen before ever reading it and didn’t feel it detracted from it in the least. It’s not fucking M.Knight Shamaylan, the twist isn’t the entire story. And philfromgermany, it’s not that they are ethically bound not to make prequels, as some are claiming, it just doesn’t make narrative sense to. All that could be said has been said.
    Gruss vom another teuton, by the way.

  • googum says:

    I reserve the right to buy any issues I find in the quarter bins or marked down to a buck; but that’s about it. It’s not entirely due to ethics, I’m just cheap, sorry.

  • Zachary says:

    No thanks. I’m not going to act like I’m making a political statement by not purchasing something that would have zero interest at all for me if I WASN’T an Alan Moore fan, but it’s not really a hard choice either.
    I’ll just curl up with the snake god and read some nice Strikeforce Morituri back issues.

  • Rokkrinn and Phrankie are my new favorite people.

    As for the comic, I’mma rubberneck this one out.

  • Andrew-TLA says:

    If I hear good things about the project, I may decide to flip through one or two of the collected editions at my local Barnes and Noble.

    Of course, the last time I bought a single issue of any comic Waid was still on JLA.

  • I’m not going to buy these. I’m going to give my money to a writer who respects creators and their characters, and buy a copy of “Lost Girls”.

    (Actually, I’m probably going to just read them online, and buy the trades of anything I like. Can’t afford the floppy-comic lifestyle these days.)

  • Adam Horovitz says:

    Darwyn Cooke can do no wrong? But for the fact that he has all the ethics of a hungry seagull which has spied a five year old with an ice-cream at the beach, you mean?

  • White Lantern Alec Holland says:

    Is this a trick question?

    Crap sells.


    So this garbage will be sold-out to speculators slabbing this shit long before I see any of it.

    So how would I possibly buy something I definitely don’t want and have a snowball’s chance of ever getting anyway?

    No, I won’t be buying any of it. But I will watch at least some of the train wreck unfold, courtesy of our friends over at scans_daily.

  • Mikester says:

    Scans_daily is nobody’s friend.

  • White Lantern Alec Holland says:

    LOL! :)

  • I chose to only carry this abomination for subscribers and other special orders at our shop, and in the end, we wound up with eight subscribers for the Cooke one and 6-7 each for the lesser titles (though one guy thought better of it before anything shipped, so he’ll only wind up with the first two issues) . We had no walk-in requests on Wednesday, and one guy on Thursday (who didn’t want to special-order it). I could have looked at one of the subscriber copies, but frankly, I just don’t want to know.

  • Rob says:

    First time, long time…

    Not buying it mostly because of ethical reasons, partially because I don’t think it will be any good or add anything that needed to be said, and also for economic reasons.

    And I know many will say they won’t buy it, but end up buying it but as one of the people who said they wouldn’t read Spider-Man again and I haven’t that not the type of person I am.