It was The Day Before Comic-Con, a hallowed, solemn time when us media types en route to the DEFCON 1 clusterfuck brewing in San Diego genuflect before our Spawn action figures and Jim Lee-autographed copies of X-Men #1. (On my copy, Wolverine is wearing a scribbled-in top hat, tilted at a rakish angle.)
I was busy festooning my sitting room with popcorn-and-jellybean-bedazzled issues of the Death of Superman, when I heard a mighty thump come from the kitchen. This sudden din was followed by a spate of profanity in an undiscovered language. Perhaps a Lemurian creole? Just who had broken into my home at 5:34 AM?
Editorial Disclaimer: Alan Moore lives in England somewhere, was not consulted for this article whatsoever, and does not possess the supernatural power to teleport down chimneys. This article may have been sponsored by sleep deprivation.
I turned the corner only to discover Alan Moore — chaos magician/the acclaimed author of Watchmen, V For Vendetta, and From Hell (among many other comedy books) — magically emerging through my air conditioning vent. On his foot he wore a thick, supernatural boot, which he had used to supernaturally kick the vent into supernatural scrap aluminum.
"Malan Ore!" I blurted. It was 5:34 AM, after all.
"Where's your chimney? Don't you know I possess the supernatural power to teleport down chimneys?" he huffed.
"Apologies, I just assumed you'd use the door."
"Nonsense," he said. "By transforming my beard into a chariot — not unlike the flying kittens of the Norse goddess Freyja — I traverse the globe every Comic-Con Eve, delivering boons to all those woebegone souls going to San Diego in a professional capacity. I only attended Comic-Con once in 1985, and that was to corral some stray thoughts that had escaped from my grimoire."
"Shut up and open your boon." He produced a tattered potato sack that carried a whiff of Merlin. I peered inside and discovered an undulating orb of boomslangs. Presumably these were some form of herpetological tribute to Moore's snake-puppet god, Glycon.
"Don't spend them all in one place," he beamed.
"I would've preferred an omnibus edition of Top 10," I said. Top 10 is my favorite Alan Moore comic. Nobody talks about Top 10, as Hollywood has yet to make a shitty movie out of it.
Upon my protestations, the threadbare bag of comically venomous boomslangs shuddered violently. Moore tut-tutted. "Oh, these are Before Watchmen boomslangs," Moore quasi-explained, referring to DC Comics' Watchmen prequel project that he had diddly involvement in or approval of. "This is special breed of Dispholidus typus that becomes angry and sexually aroused in the presence of Before Watchmen issues."
He stared a stare that killed the dinosaurs. "Is there Before Watchmen in this house?"
"Uh, yeah. Over there on the end table. The first issues for five of the seven miniseries: Silk Spectre, Nite Owl, Ozymandias, Comedian, and Minutemen. They've been coming out weekly since early June. Can I offer you some Day Before Comic-Con nog? It's spiked with Goldschläger, to look like a hologram cover."
Moore ignored this gesture — and the now wildly gyrating rucksack of serpents — yanked a sizable water moccasin out of his Rasputiny beard, and lei-ed me with this cold-blooded ascot. "This is Marmalade. He feeds on lies. Now tell me — what did you think of Before Watchmen?"
"Marmalade? He looks more like a 'Filbert' to me."
Marmalade ate a POG-sized piece of skin from my Adam's apple.
"Before Watchmen? It blows Pantagruelian balls."
The nape of my neck went extinct without warning.
"Before Watchmen is easily the least enjoyable comic one can ever hope to review. Anyone who's ever read a damn comic feels inexorably compelled to define their stance on BW, even if they haven't given a fig about Watchmen since 1986. All of the participating artists are crazy proficient at what they do, with a special shout-out to Jae Lee's work on Ozymandias and Amanda Conner's on Silk Spectre. Hell, Darwyn Cooke's scripts on Minutemen and Spectre aren't too shabby either.
So far, both of those are stories are giving the first Watchmen a wide berth — which is smart, as it avoids pointless retreads of the original material, like in J. Michael Straczynski's Nite Owl series. But hey, even the lesser, generically superheroic scripts (Nite Owl, Ozymandias) read like quotidian Watchmen fan fiction.
Still, who the hell was the target demographic for this project? Nobody who read Watchmen thought to him-or-herself, 'Goodness, that graphic novel was truly an insufficient amount of Watchmen!' It was a closed-and-shut story. The only person I can imagine who entertained these thoughts was probably marooned on an abandoned oil rig with only a copy of the first Watchmen for company, but 'Before Watchmen - Dehydrated, Hallucinating Castaways Love It!' is a shit pull quote, I suppose."
And with that, Moore removed Marmalade from my neck and shoved his own head up the air conditioning duct. "Was that so hard?" he murmured.
"Yes, it was a giant pain in the ass. What about the bag of snakes?"
"Look down. The boomslangs fucked and ate each other to death. Truly a Day Before Comic-Con miracle."
"Do you want to know my verdict on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century - 2009?"
"Yes. Yes, he is."
Photo: Fimb/Wikimedia Commons.