As Watchmen Proves, Plot Doesn’t Matter!
Plot doesn’t matter. Seriously. This isn’t a trick. This isn’t a hoax or an imaginary story. Plot doesn’t matter, and I think the emphasis on plot in reviews, in online discussions, and in many examples, in writing and promoting a work itself makes for bad stories. It doesn’t matter what medium you’re working in or enjoying – film, television, books, comics, whatever – plot is one of the least important elements of a good story.
This is an excellent article! And it pretty much sums up my thoughts on plot. You’ve kinda’ gotta have one, but it’s not where the magic happens. Go read Hero: 9 to 5…what even is the plot to that? It doesn’t matter…it’s all about the characters and the themes. The second book has more of a structured plot, but it’s still not what matters, what matters is how the characters react to what’s going on, and the things that the plot gets used to say.
…but you don’t want to read about the superheroes of the big two companies. That’s okay because comics can be about so much more than just superheroes! In fact, there are even more comic book publishers than just Marvel and DC such as Dark Horse, Image, Top Cow, and countless other independent publishers. The following recommendations are mostly the products of a DC Comics offshoot publisher called Vertigo and represent a range of genres. They are not, however, the only books in the game. I also avoided recommending any tie-in comic books but if you are a fan of something like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Star Wars, you could always begin with picking up those comic books as a way to see if you like the medium. Although I’ve only included a few, I’ll also suggest that if you enjoyed a film or a TV show that was based upon a comic book that you pick up the first volume of that comic and give it a try.
Long story short, comics are great and are about so much more than just the Marvel and DC Superheroes. There really is a book out there for everyone!
So, I’m scrolling through my dash, not paying that much attention, see this article about how there’s more to comics than the Big Two, lightly scan the tags and start thinking, “Oh, yes, all the usual suspects when it comes to things outside the Big Two to read…ohwaitholycrap!”
…the moral indignation regarding Before Watchmen is really starting to make me feel a little sick.
Because if any of these people actually felt that strongly about the issues involved they a) wouldn’t read any of Moore’s work because he’s pretty much guilty of all the things people take issue with before watchmen over himself; and b) wouldn’t read any mainstream books at all and would only read creator owned books and nothing else.
That leaves aside the whole point that this is in no way a black and white issue and the fact that people act like it is really winds me up.
I’ve never seen any compelling evidence as to point A)-everyone who brings this up also curiously fails to provide links every time-, and as to point B) Tom Spurgeon sums it up best:
In cases like More Watchmen, I think the companies involved are very much insulated from even an unlikely significant drop in profits and bad publicity. If profits are five percent less than what they should be at a comics company, everything we know about the last two decades indicates it’s much more likely more people will be fired and page rates reduced than policy changed. I think if you’re going to promote a response in terms of its bottom-line efficacy, you need to really grapple with what that is and why that is. Otherwise, if you don’t pull it off, your failure to do so becomes a tacit endorsement of the virtues that you’re trying to foil.
90% of what I buy and read these days is in fact creator-owned work; I do still pick up Daredevil and The Flash; I am aware of Gene Colan’s horrendous treatment at the hands of Marvel; I do not believe that cutting royalties from Mark Waid and his artistic collaborators will cause any practical change towards Marvel policy and so, instead, I choose to reward good work when I see it. I’m not going to read Before Watchmen because it’s scab-work, created at the behest of editorial and corporate entities who value profit over art. If I see a new argument for the legitimacy of Before Watchmen I will grapple with it, but every argument/fallacy that has been ginned up in order to apologize for DC’s outrageous behavior has been rebuked by parties more eloquent than myself.
This is important, this is not people just “looking for something to be upset about.” I personally want a comic book industry where creator’s rights are honored, and where luminaries like Alan Moore and Jack Kirby are treated with, if not reverence, at the very least respect from the people who have enjoyed the fruits of their labors for years and years and years. Before Watchmen is a step in the precise opposite direction, an indictment of a culture where the men and women who make these things are considered tertiary in importance to the “IP” and I, personally, will have no part of it.
I’m sorry if that “sickens” you.
Yeah, I’m sorry if I can’t provide links to conversations I’ve had with people who’ve actually worked with Moore and been shafted by him…I’m afraid I don’t post all of my conversations on the internet.
Really, I’m done with arguing about this. The idea that “owning all the rights to your creation” is the only morally justifiable business model in any creative industry is simply absurd. Sometimes it is entirely okay to do work for hire, get paid for that work and then, you know, actually be able to put food on your table and pay your rent each month. There’s nothing morally wrong, IMHO, with paying people to create IPs for you…that’s a job…that’s how paid employment works.
Also, your response to point b) utterly missed my point.
Watchmen sprang out of a love of superheroes too, we wouldn’t have spent so much time on it if we didn’t love the whole thing in the first place. But something was lost in the translation and some people thought, ‘Ah, black leather, stubble and a bad attitude, that’s the future of superhero comics.’