Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons will be inducted into The Harveys’ Hall-of-Fame this year, and to celebrate, he gave an interview to Entertainment Weekly. There, Gibbons discussed Watchmen and its influence on comics, and he made a point to apologize for the latter.
It is amazing to me that after all this time there is still interest in it. Alan and I thought we’d have a mildly successful series that would have its end and go into the remainder bin and that would be the end of it. The fact it’s kept on for so long and hasn’t been out of print is amazing. If it worked to the detriment of comics at all, it might be the “grim and gritty” approach was taken by other people in the business to mean “ah this is how you must make comics.” So there was a decade of grim, gritty, and nihilistic comics, which wasn’t what we intended at all. In fact, if we’d done anything after Watchmen, we would have done something like Shazam, something with a lighter, more humorous fable feeling to it rather than something dark and grim. I do apologize to the comic-reading public for all that misery.
If anything, Gibbons is being modest in saying that Watchmen’s influence led to only a decade of grim and gritty comics. With Heroes in Crisis around the corner, it could be argued that Watchmen’s influence is still creating misery through grim and gritty comics today.
But it wasn’t all negative. Gibbons did have some kind words to say about Damon Lindelof’s upcoming Watchmen TV show for HBO:
I do know a little about it. I’ve had conversations with Damon, and I’ve read the screenplay for the pilot. I don’t think it’s my place to say too much about it, other than I found Damon’s approach to be really refreshing and exciting and unexpected. I don’t think it’s gonna be what people think it’s going to be. It certainly wasn’t what I imagined it to be. I think it’s extremely fresh. I’m really looking forward to seeing it on the screen.
I’ve been resistant to the comic book prequels and sequels, but what Damon’s doing is not that at all, it’s very far away from that. While it’s very reverential and true to the source material (by which I mean the Watchmen graphic novel that Alan and I did), it’s not retreading the same ground, it’s not a reinterpretation of it. It approaches it in a completely unexpected way.
Sure, but will it feature lots of exposed blue penises? That’s really all we’re interested in, and HBO had better deliver.
Oh well. At least we don’t have to worry about Watchmen creating a decade of misery for TV viewers. Television already has all the grim and grit it needs; it’s called cable news.