Peter: The question of ‘Why?’ has come up a lot with the Before Watchmen project. The biggest why has got to be around the Crimson Corsair story. The Crimson Corsair is really the oddest duck in the brace of ducks that is Before Watchmen. Unlike the Tales of the Black Freighter, it plays no real role in the storyline as a whole, which is a loss connection anyway, but also it just doesn’t flow like the Black Freighter did. It’s just gets 2 pages stuck on the end of each issue, and is very out of place. It’s also just difficult to keep up with, because of the way it’s published and spread out. It’s to the point for me really, where I just skip it over it.
Patrick: If there’s one part of the original Watchmen I never quite got behind, it was the whole “Marooned” story. I’ll concede its many virtues: 1) that Moore envisioned what the comic book industry would look like in a world where actual superheroes were common place; 2) that the darkness of the story provided chilling barometer for the global psychology under the threat of nuclear war; 3) that the artist for the books was conscripted to help design Ozy’s squid monster, thus unifying horrors expressed both within the story and the story-within-the-story; and 4) that the protagonist’s decision to sacrifice the bodies of crew to achieve his goals parallels Adrian Veidt’s decision to murder half of New York City to spare the world from nuclear annihilation (with a similar loss of humanity as a result). I CONCEDE ALL THOSE POINTS. Still, I find those portions of Watchmen remarkably dull. Turns out “Pirate Comic Loosely Related to Watchmen: The Next Generation” inverts that formula. The results aren’t great.