DC Reveals ‘Before Watchmen’ Prequels

You knew it was coming. You laughed and kicked and screamed at the thought of DC even considering committing blasphemy by way of doing prequels for this critically acclaimed story. This morning, DC made it a reality. Behold the ‘Before Watchmen’ plans for this summer:

BEFORE WATCHMEN includes:

– RORSCHACH (4 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: Lee Bermejo
– MINUTEMEN (6 issues) – Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
– COMEDIAN (6 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: J.G. Jones
– DR. MANHATTAN (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artist: Adam Hughes
– NITE OWL (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artists: Andy and Joe Kubert
– OZYMANDIAS (6 issues) – Writer: Len Wein. Artist: Jae Lee
– SILK SPECTRE (4 issues) – Writer: Darwyn Cooke. Artist: Amanda Conner

Each week, a new issue will be released, and will feature a two-page back-up story called CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR, written by original series editor Len Wein and with art by original series colorist John Higgins. There will also be a single issue, BEFORE WATCHMEN: EPILOGUE, featuring the work of various writers and artists, and a CRIMSON CORSAIR story by Wein and Higgins.

The covers have also been released, showing off the usage of the new DC logo and its interpretation of how it fits with these particular stories:

 

One would expect Alan Moore to comment right away upon hearing this news and sure enough io9 got the scoop:

“I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago.”

Moore’s artist and collaborator Dave Gibbons put a more positive spin on it:

“The original series of WATCHMEN is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire,” said Dave Gibbons, WATCHMEN co-creator and original series artist.”

And I think Gibbons’ statement is the key thing to take from these announcements. We all get caught up in sacrilege and say that a classic story should be left on its own to stand the test of time. You may think there’s validity to that when Frank Miller decided to do “The Dark Knight Strikes Again” a few years ago, but despite it bombing critically, it has yet to put a dent on the appeal of Miller’s original tale. We don’t know yet what’s going to entail each of these series, but DC once again is doing something they did when they announced the new 52 last year – they’re getting noticed.

And let’s look at it from this perspective – look at the plethora of talent involved in these mini-series! Brian Azzarello alone fits PERFECTLY for Rohrshach and Comedian tales. The name Darwyn Cooke sells alone (that Minutemen cover is amazing). Yes, you can make a case for JMS and whether or not he’ll actually finish the books with good enough quality to them, but one would think DC will keep a close eye on things to assure that everything goes smoothly.

I know you have thoughts. Share those thoughts here.

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3 Responses to “DC Reveals ‘Before Watchmen’ Prequels”

  1. I don’t think it’s blasphemy because it’s fair game and I don’t hold Watchmen up on a pedestal. But I think it does show (again) that DC is completely out of ideas and out of touch with consumers. They’ve announced 35(!) issues to serve as a prequel to a 12 issue maxi-series… and just like all their other big events, there’s going to be another batch of 30 or 40 that they haven’t announced yet. We’ll be seeing all these issues in the quarter bins by 2014.

    I honestly don’t care what Moore has to say about it because he did the work for DC and it’s DC’s property. If he wants ultimate control, he needs to negotiate for ultimate control or self-publish. I do see his point though, and I agree with it. IMO, DC is completely out of ideas (both with this project and in the New 52, sadly).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Let’s look at this from 2 perspectives:

    1) The obvious one of course is a business decision.  It’s been 25 years since Watchmen and DC wants to milk as much cash out of this as they can.  Not only will this pique interest in the mini-series, but also increase sales for the original maxi-series.

    2) I think you mean to say DC is ‘completely out of original ideas’ as opposed to ideas in general.  I don’t question that the big two overall is lacking in originality, but long as the quality is there, I’m willing to go with it.  You definitely can’t say that the talent isn’t rich with guys like Azzarello, Cooke, and Wein involved.

  3. I’ll be interested in some of the titles, The prequels don’t mean anything though to me. The brilliance of the original, not only for story, but also in timing. In the mid eighties, Watchmen came out and everyone said WTF is this! It was different in character development and story telling, in-cased in it’s own universe. That part is gone now years later and these stories need to stand out on their own. The Azzarello writing Rorschach is going to amazing though.  

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