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Dave Gibbons Says Before Watchmen “Really Not Canon”

Posted on Jul 28, 2012 by in Features | 2 comments


The Before Watchmen comics debate has really polarized the comics community. On one side are the people who share Watchmen writer and co-creator, Alan Moore‘s, contempt for the project as nothing but a transparent cash-grab by DC Comics–the type situation that Moore had been adamantly against for years, after his rights to the title never reverted back to him as was expected, due to Watchmen continually being reprinted by DC Comics throughout the years. On the other side of this debate are people excited about the prospect of new Watchmen stories, who shrug off Moore’s objections as those of a grumpy, wild-eyed, crazy old curmudgeon.

Before Watchmen

One argument that is continually trotted out in support of Before Watchmen ​is that Watchmen co-creator and artist, Dave Gibbons, was apparently okay with the idea. People cite a statement by Dave Gibbons on DC’s “The Source” blog, back when Before Watchmen was first announced in February, as a justification for Before Watchmen to move forward despite Moore’s protests:

“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.”

Fair enough. In a recent interview at the GameCity 2012 Festival in Nottingham, when asked about all of the Watchmen spin-offs, like the movie, video games, and of course, the Before Watchmen prequel comics, Mr. Gibbons offered the following statement:

I didn’t have a lot of input in it. To me anything to do with the movies–as far as I’m concerned, what Alan and I did was the Watchmen graphic novel and a couple of illustrations that came out at the same time. Everything else: the movie, the game, the [laughs] prequels, are really not canon. They’re subsidiary. They’re not really Watchmen. They’re just something different.”

“Really not canon.” That doesn’t exactly sound like the ringing endorsement of Before Watchmen ​that many people like to attribute to Gibbons, and in fact, sounds somewhat dismissive of the prequels in general. Is that actually how Gibbons intended his statement to come across? Has this been how he actually felt all along? Are people reading too much into his comment? Only he could really tell us for certain, and I don’t care to speculate on his implied meaning or position on this topic. I can’t, however, imagine that DC Comics will be too thrilled by his comment.

If you have an hour and twenty minutes to spare and want to learn more, you can watch the extensive interview with Dave Gibbons in its entirety, directly below.

[youtube id=”l2PVguoxi3w” width=”620″ height=”360″]

What are your thoughts on Before Watchmen? Are you picking up any of the various titles, or have you chosen to eschew them for moral reasons? Feel free to sound off in the comments below, and let us know how you really feel. Thank you for reading.



  1. "Appreciate" is not necessarily a positive–or negative–word. In this context, it could mean, "understand," "Acknowledge," or "recognize."

    Personally, I just think Dave is less fond of causing contention than Alan is, that's all. I do not think he was ever that enthused.

    I mean, compare to John Higgins, who's actually drawing that pirate backup story. Talk about the opposite pole from Moore. (has anyone noticed that? DC sure isn't loud about it)

  2. I loved Watchmen. I still do. However, how anyone couldn't be excited about more content puzzles me. To me, stating it's not canon just makes it even more enjoyable. Allowing me to love these tales of characters I thought were trapped in the confines of the epic Watchmen. End of the day, good stories are good stories. Regardless of the politics behind them. Finally, if Before Watchmen was a "cash grab" then AvX was a "holy shit DC's making more money than us, we need to stop it".

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