dave-gibbonsThe comic book Watchmen, penned by Alan Moore and drawn by artist Dave Gibbons, is one of the most revered books in DC Comics’ nearly century-spanning catalogue.  However, their treatment of the work’s creators has always been more than a little murky.  Many people both within and outside the industry know that DC’s relationship with Moore is caustic at best, but in the past the publisher and Gibbons have had a cordial camaraderie. That’s why it comes as a shock to hear that Gibbons was not consulted about DC’s decision to fold the Watchmen into the DC Comics Universe in last week’s Rebirth #1.

In an interview during MCM London Comic Con, several reporters asked Gibbons about how he felt now that the Watchmen were in the DCU proper.  He cut one reporter off, saying he had “no comment” on the matter.  In a follow up question asking if Gibbons had been consulted about their decision or if they “had even sent [him] an email,” he replied “no they didn’t.”

This is a surprising revelation given his tacit endorsement of DC’s previous uses of the Watchmen brand.  He is an admitted admirer of Zack Snyder’s film adaptation and even gave a cool blessing to the controversial Before Watchmen prequels.

The original series of WATCHMEN is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. However, 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.

Of course, since then Gibbons has derided the prequels to some extent, but he has shown a willingness to play ball with DC that Moore simply hasn’t in recent years, so it begs the question– why didn’t DC ask Gibbons to do it again? He has always been the main missionary in DC’s quest to mine a property that most people agree should be left alone.  Chalk this up to one more egg in the face of Watchmen‘s legacy.


  1. I don’t think even Dave Gibbons, who generally seems to be pretty chill about Watchmen, would go along with this. That’s probably why they didn’t ask him. They didn’t think they’d get his blessing and didn’t care if he opposed it.

  2. I wonder if they’re going to actually use the Watchmen characters, perhaps instead using some of the storytelling motifs and using the Charlton characters they were based on….

    *Note – I have only read Rebirth #1 at this stage so don’t beat me up because I haven’t read a DC comic in years. :-)

  3. Either DC knew he’d say no, or they don’t care what he thinks. Says it all really.

    All you fanboys happy about defending ‘Before Watchmen’ now, are you?

  4. Since Dave Gibbons doesn’t own the Watchmen characters, There isn’t any necessity to ask his blessing or permission. It would have been a courtesy, but entertainment conglomerates are not usually big on courtesy. Does anyone seriously think that it would have stopped Geoff Johns and DC from going in this direction if they’d asked and Mr. Gibbons had told them it was a bad idea and nothing he could endorse? If it’s not something that readers can get behind, then those readers needn’t buy it. Those who don’t have a problem with it: enjoy what could turn out to be a pretty good story.

  5. I’m with Sean and Skottie. Who gives a shit about creators? We like comics. Comics are put out by corporate executives and lawyers who make contracts and sell merchandise. Writers and artists just think up ideas and write them down and draw them. Big deal! Comics readers are into contracts and legal ownership and plastic toys made in Indonesia. The creative people don’t matter!.

  6. Does Dave Gibbons own the characters? If the answer is “no,” and they were products of “work for hire” and belong to DC, why would DC check with him first? Grow up.

  7. Kevin, I agree completely! The legacy of a literary classic shouldn’t be decided by the people who made it! It should be decided by the people who took over the jobs of other people who came out ahead in a legal negotiation twenty-five years ago! That’s why we’re all still reading the J.B. Lippincott Company’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Random House’s Ulysses. It’s why J.K. Rowling has never been consulted in the use and exploitation of that Harry Potter bloke! The business of comics is exactly the way it should be!

  8. “Raises” the question. Not “begs the question”. That’s not what “begging the question” means. Writers ought to know this.

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