Thursday, February 02, 2012

DO IT MOORE? I DID IT 35 MINUTES AGO. DC Names New Watchmen Comics

Watchmen - it's the comic book equivillent of a bank. An establishment of reknowned high-class, whose legion of followers have all invested heavilly within it's CMYK printed stocks. While corporate shenanigans of those at a senior level stalled Watchmen's movement, those on the ground floor did not waiver.

Some believed the 'bank' should become a vault, untouched for all time. Others dreamed its riches, now the basis for decades of accrued interest, would eventually deliver an equally high-point of return. For the latter, that point is now officially on the horizon.

DC Comics have announced seven Watchmen prequels for the middle of the year (plus a one-shot special), that while untouched by the original creative team of Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore, do explain where many of comics best have been recently (Amanda Conner, I'm looking at you). The rundown of Before Watchmen is as follows;

RORSCHACH (4 issues) Story: Brian Azzarello. Art: Lee Bermejo
MINUTEMEN (6 issues) Story/Art: Darwyn Cooke
COMEDIAN (6 issues) Story: Brian Azzarello. Art: J.G. Jones
DR. MANHATTAN (4 issues) Story: J. Michael Straczynski. Art: Adam Hughes
NITE OWL (4 issues) Story: J. Michael Straczynski. Art: Andy and Joe Kubert
OZYMANDIAS (6 issues) Story: Len Wein. Art: Jae Lee
SILK SPECTRE (4 issues) Story: Darwyn Cooke. Art: Amanda Conner
BEFORE WATCHMEN: EPILOGUE (One-Shot) Various creators.

One new issue released weekly, each comic will feature a back-up two-pager Curse of the Crimson Corsair, written by Len Wein and illustrated by John Higgins (editor and colourist of the original super-hit respectively).

While Moore has already told The New York Times the project is proof DC is "still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago" adding "As far as I know, there weren’t that many prequels or sequels to ‘Moby-Dick.’ ”, me I'm of two minds.

One part of me sees Watchmen as as close to a 'creator owned mainstream comic' as you can get, with a defined beginning, middle and end. The way the characters come on stage, and how they reveal themselves and their pasts adds so much to the experience of the book, to alter that seems pretty dangerous ground.

On the flipside, who doesn't want to see Azzarello take a crack at Rorschach or Cooke on Minutemen? Adam Hughes drawing Silk Spectre in Dr Manhattan? Should today and tomorrow's creators be denied such a rich cast, when they possess the skills needed to both pay homage and tell a great tale at the same time? 

Sure Star Wars didn't help the word 'prequel' gain any fans, but Dark Horse continually puts out a multitude of great comics from all points on the far, far, away timeline, and what's more they have done so for years, on a monthly basis!

Watchmen has been a household name in comic circles since before many of today's newest fans were first brought home from the hospital. Should we limit their Watchmen experience to something even the most capable spoiler avoider becomes aware of before they turn the first page, or should we be aloud to enjoy fresh, respectful Watchmen adventures alongside them? As the Doomsday Clock of fandom moves one more minute to midnight on the back of today's press, we'll all know the answer soon enough.

 What do you think? 


  1. You summed it up pretty good. Watchmen works as a stand alone. With that said the comparison to Star Wars comics is valid. And Marvel started the Star Wars comics when the movies were still in the theater. Dark Horse started the Star Wars comics when Lucasfilm started a new line of novels.DC starts a new Watchmen arc 3 years after the feature film?!?! While I'll enjoy looking at Adam Hughes' Silk Spectre and Darwyn Cooke's Minutemen, I won't be buying or reading these titles. Pass.

    The Irredeemable Shag

  2. Hey Shag!!

    You know what, I went back and re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-read my copy of Watchmen the night the news broke and really thought about the move in allot of ways.

    Pretty much what I've decided is to stay away from it too. What is Watchmen if we already know some of the inter-relationships of the main cast?. Finding out how they all tie together drip by drip feed is what made the original work. Predating this with prequels I just can't see working.

    Case in point; my all time favourite scene in Watchmen is Dr Manhattan's talk with Silk Spectre on Mars. Why would listening to his life story here be as important after a prequel? What would a prequel be if it didn't retell the beats of this tale?

    I used Star Wars above to try and present a level perspective, but I think that was pretty clearly set up to be an ongoing mission, where Watchmen was not.

    I feel bad, I like a lot of the characters and creators at play here - hell, Lee's cover for Rorschach is the best image I've ever seen of the character. Knowing I'll be turning down 20 odd pages of the same - written by Azzarello no less - down is a hard pill to stomach.

    The final pill was in when I remembered I used to think of Watchmen as Days of Future Past done right. Marvel's milked that cow so much over the years its collapsed from exhaustion. You used to look over and see DC's Watchmen locked off secure and think that's a classic story being respected.

    Regardless of the rights of the talent that created it or the ones working on what's ahead, I just don't think that respect holds true anymore, so to keep my Watchmen as I personally like the experience to be and remain with it's original plotting and clear beginning, middle and end for all involved, I'll be leaving future developments alone too.

  3. Well said! I wish I could add more, but you hit all the right notes!

    The Irredeemable Shag