Original Watchmen artist felt guilty for ushering in darker comics

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012

Watchmen really changed the way the world thought about comic books, but original artist Dave Gibbons said he does have one regret about the shift the landmark work created: It made black leather cool, and that wasn't the point.

Speaking to Hero Complex, Gibbons apologized to readers worldwide for ushering in the dark, gritty style that everyone has seemed to ape for decades, with varying degrees of success.

Talking about comic writer Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted), Gibbons said he has a great respect for the way the young(ish) writer has turned that paradigm on its head.

"When I look at Mark's work, what I see is his ability to tap into basic psychological truths. If that sounds a little pretentious, what I mean to say is he has a really good grasp of character and a grasp of heroes and what it means to be seen as a hero," he said. "And what's really refreshing for me is that he sees that in a way that is separate from that post-Watchmen and post-Dark Knight way. For many, many years, [Watchmen writer] Alan Moore and I felt guilty that we inflicted this kind of misery [of tone] on the comic book industry. And Mark's work is in contrast to that; he's very much in touch with the upbeat sides of what it means to be a hero. That's something I hope we tap into on this project as well."

Gibbons even hints that he and original Watchmen creator Alan Moore had hoped to team up again for a "brighter" project, but it just wasn't meant to be.

"If Alan and I had done another major project together after that, the thing we had talked about was doing something bright and dreamlike, a Captain Marvel kind of thing that was kind of mythic and close to a fairy tale in a way," he said. "Watchmen sprang out of a love of superheroes too; we wouldn't have spent so much time on it if we didn't love the whole thing in the first place. But something was lost in the translation and some people thought, 'Ah, black leather, stubble and a bad attitude, that's the future of superhero comics.'"

(via Hero Complex)

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