If you haven’t been keeping up with the comic news, you might not know that DC Comics has decided to publish a…thing called Before Watchmen. The basic concept is that there will be 35 or so issues of prequel stories to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ superclassic Watchmen. The comics are being written by several different teams and tell various tales about the different characters in the comic.
As most people who aren’t complete fucking idiots have pointed out, no one needs these stories. The story that Gibbons and Moore decided to tell is intended to be singular and isolated. It is a world without all of the crap continuity that comic books are weighted down with. I can tell any random person to pick up Watchmen and every single thing they need to know about that story is contained between the front and back cover of the trade.
But DC Comics is a terrible beast, and editorial thought it would be a great opportunity to tell brave, artistic stories(read: DC needs money because no one is breaking down the door to license their film properties). In reality, it is a totally shit concept, ethically bankrupt, and spitting in the face of any comic book reader who has anything invested in what makes Watchmen so damn good.
I am not the most articulate person, especially when I am heavily invested, and thus you should turn to David Brothers over at 4thletter to get your explanation. Brothers sums up the controversy (including the weird/dismissive things JMS said to justify fucking over Alan Moore so that he can sleep at night) in a palatable way.
I had a conversation with a pro creator at Emerald City Comicon. He explained the Before Watchmen situation like this: Alan Moore is one of the most respected writers in comics. He has co-created, revamped, or introduced tons of things that have enriched both the medium and the artform. His books are routinely some of the best-crafted works around, even if they’re not to your or my tastes, and he’s one of the few writers in the running for GOAT. But when he says, “Hey, listen. Please don’t do more Watchmen. I’ve been mistreated by DC, and I think the book stands very well on its own besides,” the response from DC and the creative teams involved is essentially, “No, fuck you, Alan.”