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.
Around this time last year, we saw many groundbreaking changes occur for the major comic book publishers. Marvel, of course, grabbed the bigger spotlight with the news of their purchase by Disney for $4 billion.
DC, however, had made it a point to slowly show its hand by first unveiling the new division known as DC Entertainment. Rumors came about the rest of the year of new positions and changes that would involve putting more focus on the creative direction of its TV and movie properties. As 2010 dawned, we then came to learn those changes involved Diane Nelson heading up DCE, Paul Levitz stepping down as president, Dan DiDio and Jim Lee as co-publishers, and Geoff Johns as Chief Creative Officer. DC and Warner Bros. were making it a point to mean business when it came to making the most of the many years of characters and storylines they had under their belt.
Then yesterday, the kid gloves came off:
1) DC first announced a bi-coastal move that involves relocating the multimedia portion of their business to Los Angeles while keeping their comic publishing division in New York City. Says Nelson, “Our two offices will stretch and build their respective areas of focus, while prioritizing and aggressively striving to connect and cooperate more strongly than ever before between them and with their colleagues at Warner Bros.”
2) We then learned that Wildstorm, the long-standing studio that helped get Image off the ground running in ’92 and was then purchased by DC in ’99, would close shop by the end of the year and fold into the DC Comics imprint.
3) Lastly, as one would expect from a big move to LA and shutting down one of its studios, there’s talk of an estimated 20% layoff in DC’s divisions. Whether this includes the predicted current employees who would not want or be able to make the trip to the West Coast remains to be seen.
My two cents? It’s no surprise it would come to this. Re-structuring always involves shifting positions and studios and unfortunately also means layoffs. The minute we heard DC Entertainment was created last year, this was bound to happen. One will only hope this results in a more focused direction for its TV, film, and, of course, the comic properties. TV is definitely not an issue if you look at how well their DC animated offerings have been as of late and you can make a case that Smallville has had somewhat of a mini-revival after Geoff Johns put his influence into play.
Films are a different matter. The Green Lantern film coming next summer might change the perception that DC and Warner Bros. can only do Batman flicks as of late, but we’ve known for the longest time that the focus was lacking on what else they could turn into film properties. Marvel is definitely ahead in that chess match, but if you hear what Nelson has to say about the competition, there doesn’t appear to be one. Probably the best thing to say at this point.
As for Wildstorm? I’ll confess to not being well-versed in that universe, so it’s hard for me to judge whether I’ll be missing out on anything. Its early days gave us Alan Moore’s imprint, America’s Best Comics, which had a great impact in the beginning with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Tom Strong, and Promothea. It also brought The Authority and a more adult tone to the superhero team-up book. Warren Ellis and John Cassady’s Planetary explored a great deal of comic book history and pop culture. In recent years though, I can only recall Ex Machina as the one book that stood out to me. Granted, this doesn’t mean Wildstorm’s characters will go away forever, but it’s hard pressed to say how much can be done to create interest for future generations.
One thing’s for sure – I’m sad to see much amazing talent be let go. I wish them the best in finding future work and hope the gifts and skills they bring to the industry overall will not go unnoticed.
What’s your thoughts on all the changes?
Last week, we devoted an entire podcast to Dragon Con and all its sci-fi, fantasy, and comic geeky goodness. There might have been comics there too, but it was hard to tell with all the Steampunk Elongated Men running around.
Speaking of steampunk, that was all the rage for the many that attended the Steampunk Superheroes panel. Beyond seeing Mike Mignola in the flesh and being amazingly impressed at how they can fit most superheroes into this sub-genre, the panelists gave out a list of comics for us to check out that are either of steampunk or have been influenced by it:
1. Barnum : In Secret Service to the USA – by Howard Chaykin, David Tischman, and Niko Henrichon
2. Batman/Houdini : The Devil’s Workshop – by Howard Chaykin and John Francis Moore
3. Batman : Gotham by Gaslight – by Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola
4. Battle Chasers – by Joe Madureira
5. BPRD & Hellboy – by Mike Mignola and staff
6. Ex Machina – by Brian K. Vaughn
7. From Hell – by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell
8. Ignition City – by Warren Ellis
9. JLA : Age of Wonder – by Adisakdi Tantimedh, P. Craig Russell and Galen Showman
10. JSA : The Liberty Files – by Dan Jolley
11. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill
12. Marvel 1602 – by Neil Gaiman & Andy Kubert
13. Mr. Hero, The Newmatic Man – by Neil Gaiman, James Dance, and Tod Slampyak
14. Planetary – by Warren Ellis
15. Rocketeer – by Dave Stevens
16. Steam Detectives – by Kia Asamiya
17. Steampunk – by Chris Bachalo
18. Superman : Metropolis, Batman : Nosferatu, and Wonder Woman : The Blue Amazon – all by Randy Lofficier and Jean-Marc Lofficier (all part of trilogy, supposedly based on Fritz Lang’s Metropolis film)
19. Tom Strong – by Alan Moore & Chris Sprouse
20. Wonder Woman : Amazonia – by William Messner-Loebs
No surprise that Moore, Gaiman, Mignola and Ellis dominate this list if you know their writing styles and influences. I’m curious to check the ones that have the Big Three at DC involve in this sub-genre – anything to mix things up.
Give your thoughts on any of the books here and let us know if you know of any more.
How can you not get excited for this?
Comicbookmovie.com recently posted about this DVD offering coming this November about the whole history of DC Comics. If they’re really transparent in this documentary (especially about the Alan Moore stuff, though I could understand if there are legal reasons that they would not be), this would put DC on the map and give them great exposure to all the wonderful products they’ve produced and continue to produce today.
Sign off on your thoughts here – one thing’s for sure, it’s a good time to be a DC fan.
Tim and I wrap up (no not rapping, we just talk) our decade in review starting at 2005. We hope you had a great year (and decade) and we’re looking forward to better and more podcasts, comics, movie reviews, videos and giving you our unique (some say odd, very very odd) take on comics.
Happy New Year everyone!
Using Tim’s quick pick from a few weeks ago, we round out the year and the decade with a look at Wizard’s Decade in Review. So what did you think about the last 10 years of comics?
Enjoy part one!