Friday, June 29, 2012


!!DISCLAIMER!!: The following is MY opinion. Nothing that I write here is fact, just one mans opinion based on my personal tastes artistically.

OK, so I got my comps from DC, and cracked open the box like I have a thousand times before. I always leaf through the books to see what jumps out at me, cover-wise. As a cover artist I do this all the time. To see what others are doing. More specifically to see what they are doing "right", or "wrong"in terms of cover art. Then I look at cover credits to see if any writers or artists I dig have done anything new. Some months are better than others. I admit, I don't read as much as I did before and even after I became a pro, but Im pretty choosy when it comes to what I do read. Just no time. Especially with a family. So when I see something in the box, or in the rare occasions when I go to a LCS, that tickles my fancy, I open the book up and have a look. After all, kids, these are Comics! So for me it's ALL about the Art ( needs to be a tight, well paced story too ).

So, imagine my pleasant surprise upon opening said box, when right there, on top, was issue #1 of BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #1.

*Now, the reason for my excitement was not necessarily because it's watchmen, or that it was written by Brian Azzarello. But because J.G. Jones is one my favorite Artists/Creators working in Comics. BAM! I love his work. Excellent draftsman, storyteller AND human being.*

 So I started to do the cursory "flip-through". You know the deal. Look at all the pretty art, check out the storytelling, poor over the color, and soak it in. Then you give it a read. Sometimes a second if need be. But in this case it was needed. I wasn't sure that I had read everything "right". Or that I fully understood things that were being said/inferred by certain characters. But , YES, I did understand it. And I gotta say, I didn't much care for what I was reading..........


Not just as a Pro, but as a Fan, and reader of comics, I have 1 rule when it comes to a mini series that I apply to what I choose to read, and what I choose to produce for consumers:


 You have to nail people in the forehead. Hook them with everything you've got. If not, they likely will not bother with an issue #2. That said, I thought the pacing, the beats, and the content, well...pedestrian. Nothing was really happening. I'm not saying it has to be fist fights and explosions on every page. I'm just saying that I need my attention held. Especially now that the actual story page count of a comic is now at 20. There was a lot of exposition( a bit too much IMO ) and reliance on having a full knowledge of the source material, which doesn't make a Comic, "Reader Friendly". And more exposition. Then more.

Then, the scene that really knocked me backwards was THE COMEDIAN and JACKIE-O having drinks, watching her "Boys" play football, and chatting. So am I made to believe, after reading this scene that JACKIE-O is a mean spirited, scheming succubus, who sneakily infers that, " Drug addled bleach blonde, Bitch -Whores", are a pox  on her marriage, and that they should be done away with? Which THE COMEDIAN does on the following page after I assume he has had his way with her,( judging by her nakedness and the fact that he is buttoning up his pants ) and caused/forced her to O.D. on prescription drugs. Then kisses her naked ass with relish as to what he's just done. So in the course of a handful of pages, Azzarello manages to  vilify both women quite handily, and in my estimation, quite distastefully. It's a shame, cuz the artwork sure was pretty.

Post Script~

In a time when Comics have a spotlight on them, and more attention given to them by main stream media and the buying public, I think what we need is more ORIGINAL MATERIAL. Not retreads. The "House Brand" or the "Stable" of characters like Batman, Spiderman, etc.. and well known and loved. Give a little attention ,developmental money and Advertising dollars to something fresh. Remeber, Comics is maybe the ONLY part of the entertainment Industry that focuses almost SOLELY on ONE GENRE: Super Heroes.

But then, this is just MY OPINION.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Well, I tend to be an opinionated s.o.b. most of the time myself, so I'm going to borrow your caveat for a moment: the following is merely my opinion, too:

    If anyone is laboring under the delusion that BEFORE WATCHMEN is being published for any other purpose than to make money and bilk comic fans out of as much cash as humanly possible, let me disabuse you of that notion right here and now.

    There is nothing left "to explore." There are no loose ends "to tie up." This is nothing to be gained by showing us anything more than WATCHMEN originally showed us. Well, except for one thing, of course. MONEY.

    Do I have anything against making money? Lord, no. But there's nothing wrong with working for it either. BEFORE WATCHMEN is the comic book equivalent of BATTLESHIP: THE MOVIE! It's a name people know and it will work (they hope) as the bait on the hook that will help to reel in the cash. That's it. Nothing more to it.

    It's flop sweat turned into a comic book. It's nothing more than pure desperation on the part of DC Comics and the fact that one of the crown jewels of modern comics has had its "off limits" sign removed shows how absolutely desperate they are. What you've described, Tony, doesn't make me feel like I'm missing anything.

    Let's just look at this for a moment. I've nothing against "dark comics" or anything that explores the corruption at the heart of our institutions, etc., etc. Fine, fine. But do some reading up on Mrs. Onassis: does she seem at all like the person depicted here at all? "Yes, but it's the world of WATCHMEN and blah blah..." Yes, but nothing. It's easy, fake drama. This is where comics go ever since they killed Sue Dibny, which didn't make dramatic sense on any conceivable level. But it's "dark" (oooh!) and it's easy.

    Now let's step back for a moment. Does any of this nonsense add or deepen your enjoyment of WATCHMEN? Of course not and I'll explain why. There is no story here. The characters from WATCHMEN existed to tell the story contained in 12 issues of a comic book mini-series called WATCHMEN. They don't exist for any other purpose. So any "story" that attempts to attach motives or actions to these characters outside of those comics are doomed to failure. Within WATCHMEN, they shine. Outside of it, they make no sense at all.

    Let's give COMEDIAN the benefit of the doubt for a moment. Let's be generous and say that they're using the storyline to try and say something about superheroes and vigilantes and what it would be like to follow these concepts to their logical conclusion in the real world. That's just fine.

    Except that WATCHMEN did that first, did it better, and did it back in 1986. (Another series called EX MACHINA scored some points in this regard, but that's another story.)

    What especially ticks me off is the memory of how Marvel made Peter Milligan and Mike Allred completely scrub and change an X-STATIX plotline about Lady Diana Spencer that actually had some serious points to make about celebrity culture, but DC hasn't got any problem with depicting the wife of an assassinated President like this!

    Last point and I'll go. Imagine for a moment that the Louvre Museum announced the following:

    "Art Lovers! For the next six months, we've invited some of the Art World's greatest Artists to stick arms of their own design on the Venus de Milo! Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Get your tickets now!"


    P.S. Oh, and Monroe would have kicked The Comedian's ass.

  3. Really surprised at the lack of commentary here. Or am I?

  4. Perhaps they should post a policeman in front of the rack, lazily droning "Move along...nothing to see here." And I'll do just that - not dwell on the disapointments, when there's so much other good out there. Yes, I'm firmly in the camp of your post-script statement, and am enjoying some of the original content being produced. The last thing I absorbed was "Baltimore - The Plague Ships". And it's not just the story I loved, but the different treatment of the artwork, colors, layout. Ultimately the heart of something will be revealed, whether the motivation is money, or a labor of love. We all know what will stand the test of time.

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