In this week’s Issue at Hand, Polygon’s show about the strange world of comics, hosted by me, Susana Polo, we’re wrapping up a two-part series on Watchmen, the highly influential graphic novel.
And any discussion of Watchmen would incomplete without talking about who owns the rights to its characters — i.e., not Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the artists who created them. But if Moore and Gibbons signed a contract giving up those rights, why is the ownership of Watchmen such a controversial notion?
It all has to do with the revolution in marketing, printing and audience that was happening in American comics in the mid-’80s. And it’s about whether a company whose characters are all about obeying a higher notion of justice should let the spirit of a contract rule over the letter of its law.
That’s just one of the reasons why a person might have been skeptical of Watchmen’s characters being used in a DC Universe story like Doomsday Clock. So imagine my bewilderment and frustration when the first issue actually turned out to be pretty good.