When Alan Moore Helped Write A Series Of Watchmen Prequels

Alan Moore wrote Watchmen with Dave Gibbons. And that was that.

Or was it? Because, as well as making suggestions about writing a Minutemen prequel or a Tales Of The Black Freighter spinoff with Joe Orlando, he also helped out with the Watchmen DC Heroes Role Playing games from Mayfair, in both Who Watches The Watchmen, Taking Out The Trash and the Watchmen Sourcebook.

Role playing writer Dan Greenberg talked to Tim Callahan for CBR about how he dealt with the original creators, and how the roleplaying games worked as prequels to the main Watchmen story.

“RPG gamers would be able to play through the first and only Crimebusters mission months before they would be able to read the ending of the ‘Watchmen’ comic. That way, players would have experienced Captain Metropolis committing a terrible act in the name of a greater cause before they read Ozymandias’s terrible act for a greater cause. But where Captain Metropolis makes a mess of it in the RPG, Ozymandias learns from him and figures out how to make it work. This deepens the implication in the comic that Ozymandias begins to formulate his ideas about how to ‘save the world’ after Captain Metropolis’s abortive attempt to form a team of heroes. So the game not only grows out of the ending of the comic, but also foreshadows the ending of the comic.”

And that Alan Moore was “particularly generous with his time and patience in giving detailed answers to my inexhaustible questions. I was especially honored when he started calling me to talk about his latest ideas.”

Writer Ray Winninger added “I don’t recall him ever vetoing anything. I certainly wouldn’t have used anything he didn’t like. He and I riffed together on some of the new stuff — backgrounds for some of the Minutemen is one detail I remember.”

“The idea to have Captain Metropolis engineer a plot to force the characters to work together popped into my head in the middle of my first phone call to Alan Moore. I blurted out the idea while we were brainstorming, and he approved the plotline on the spot. He even made helpful suggestions which I adopted — like using Moloch as the logical fall guy for Captain Metropolis. Making Moloch a double patsy — first for Metropolis and then again for Ozymandias — could lend another layer of poignancy to the Moloch-Comedian scene in the comic.”

This was of course, a different time, during the creation of the comic itself, and well before Alan Moore realised that the contract he’d signed with DC Comics would never revert rights back to himself and Dave Gibbons, as promised, as the trade paperback would always stay in print. A situation that has not only made the Before Watchmen prequels possible, but has also ensured that they will be mired in controversy.

But they do stand as the only official DC prequel comics work to Watchmen. Until the summer that is…