Thursday, February 16, 2012

Remaking our outrage over remakes

On last week's Pop Culture Happy Hour they touched on "sacred cows" in pop culture, such as the coming prequel comics to Watchmen. Why is it forbidden to go back to that well, but Batman and Spider-Man can be re-imagined over and over?

Because it was so beloved by the geeks who idolize Alan Moore's creation?

While I understand—because I was one of those who had tremendous reverence for Watchmen (I worked in the comic shop back when it came out, and not only bought the serialized issues but the limited edition hardcover and a bunch of other merchandise; I then went on to write a paper about it in college)—I do see that those who have the rights to the characters can choose to do whatever they want with them. What's important is whether these new works are actually good. The assumption clearly is that they won't, but it does seem worth at least giving them a chance before declaring them unworthy.

Ah, but that's not the way we regard those books or movies or TV shows, etc., that we loved (especially from our formative teen years or early 20's). We put them on such a pedestal that we can only live with them being left alone, like some museum piece to be preserved in a sort of amber where nothing can touch them for the remainder of human history.

We assume ownership of that experience with the work and feel as though any prequel/sequel/remake is stealing what was ours. Or perhaps it's forcing us to have to reconsider what is the definitive work.

Of course, sometimes it's not some heartless corporation but the creator himself who messes with that for us. We're looking at you, Mr. Lucas.

In the end, the nerdery should encourage these new incarnations of the beloved works, because what do they love to do other than assume the position of superior and decry what is not as good as what came before. We're never so happy as when we're complaining about the inferior.

Hollywood and the publishers are merely giving them what they don't realize they want.


  1. I thought the Watchmen movie was lame, but i have never seen the comic. Did you see where Lucas recently claimed the Greedo had always fired first, and he just "clarified" the movie to make it more obvious to his moronic audiences? The man is senile.

  2. The Watchmen movie was reasonably true to the comic book, but that pretty much made it only something fans of the books would really appreciate. The book was something of its time, and the movie should have been made a couple decades ago, before pop culture ultimately embraced the sort of thing that seemed pioneering in the comic back 26 years ago.

    The beauty of fans ownership of their original experience is that what the creator meant or didn't mean (or later deluded himself to think he should have meant) is we don't have to actually pay any attention to what he does or says afterward.

  3. I heard Walt Disney bought up Marvel. Great. Be cafeful you daycare centers with Spider-Man and Thor painted on your walls.


So, what do you think?