In the most recent CBR poll, we asked readers if the continuing controversy and discussion surrounding "Before Watchmen" has had any effect on their decision to buy DC Comics' upcoming prequels. (Note: These poll results are only representative of CBR readers and should not be taken as a scientific representation of the entire comic book readership and community.) Over 3000 people voted in the poll, and the results are in.
35.7% of all voters said the controversy and discussion hasn't affected their interest at all, whether it was an interest with intent to purchase or disinterest with no intention to buy. And, while 8.3% of voters noted they were more interested in "Before Watchmen" as a result of the discussion and controversy, over half the poll's participants (56%) voted they were less inclined to buy the prequels due to the controversy surrounding the series.
Although discussions about the controversy surrounding "Before Watchmen" have been rampant since the series was announced, beginning with creator Alan Moore's acerbic comments on the idea, much of the public debate has come up more recently, sparked not only by J. Michael Straczynski's comments about Alan Moore's initial contract at the C2E2 "Before Watchmen" panel, but also by a recent opinion piece by David Brothers on creator rights and Chris Roberson's declaration that he would no longer write for DC Comics followed by the writer's subsequent dismissal from future issues of the "Fables" spinoff, "Fairest," by the publisher. Roberson recently spoke with CBR about creators' rights and the controversy over the prequels.
"The only thing creators can do is take their creations elsewhere or refuse to take contracts that don't stipulate in every possible specific how they would like them to be exploited," Roberson told CBR. "The only thing that readers can do is vote with their dollars. If there's a thing that you think reflects the way you want comics to be, you should support it with your money, and if there is a thing that does not reflect the way things should be, you should not. Far be it from me to tell anyone how they should exercise their talents and spend their money, but I think the use of talent/money is the only thing that's going to influence the decisions of a large company."
Interestingly enough, in a poll taken shortly after the announcement of "Before Watchmen," about 4000 people voted with 33.14% saying the creative teams on the prequels had sold them on the idea while about 41% expressed dissatisfaction with continuing the franchise. As for whether the controversy surrounding the prequels has had an effect on the retail success of "Before Watchmen," one retailer has said they won't stock "Before Watchmen" in their store, while anecdotal reports from many retailers around the country generally indicate a high interest in the prequels.
Stay tuned to CBR News for more on "Before Watchmen."