DC Unveils Watchmen Prequels

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DC Unveils Watchmen Prequels

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After swarms of rumors and rampant speculation, DC has officially revealed the details and cover art for seven new Watchmen comics.

It would be difficult to discuss the history of comics and graphic novels without someone bringing up Watchmen, a work of the 1980s which has been long hailed by fans and critics alike as the best comic series ever written. While arguably maintaining that throne for over twenty years now, the property has also survived its share of controversy. At its heart, lies writer Alan Moore, who, in all of his hirsute wisdom, is unequivocally opposed to anyone doing anything with his work other than reading it. Too bad for him that he no longer holds the rights. Needless to say, he's not thrilled at DC's recent announcement: DC Comics will be releasing seven Watchmen prequels (creatively titled Before Watchmen) over the course of Summer 2012.

Here's a full list of what to expect, straight from the official announcement:

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.

Many of the creatives involved with the franchise have chimed in with their thoughts on the matter and, as was to be expected, it's a decently mixed bag. Before Watchmen series editor Len Wein had to following to say: "To me, a reboot is what DC is essentially doing with the New 52, which is changing costumes, origins, relationships, essentially looking at old characters through new eyes. What we're doing is filling in a lot of the blank spaces in a story that has already, to some degree, been told. There were still a lot of gaps in the histories of Watchmen's characters, and events only mentioned in passing or touched on briefly in the original story. We're filling in those gaps in the most creative and inventive ways we can."

Writer/Artist Darwyn Cooke originally wasn't interested in the project, but eventually changed his tune when they offered him a ton of money some new ideas came into his head. "I said no out of hand because I couldn't think of a story that would measure up to the original - and let's face it, this material is going to be measured that way - and the other thing is, I frankly didn't want the attention [...] This is going to generate a lot of a particular type of attention that's really not my bag. But what happened is, months after I said no, the story elements all just came into my head one day; it was so exciting to me that, at that exact moment, I started seriously thinking about doing the book."

Alan Moore, who remains stonily uninvolved, simply remarked, "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." Zing! Plus ten points to the man with an Amazonian bird's nest attached to the bottom half of his face!

Source: io9

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I'll wait to see what Moore thinks of them. They aren't canon and I'm not reading them if he disapproves of them.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
I'll wait to see what Moore thinks of them.

I think I can answer that.

Purely from the point that prequels have almost never been a good addition to a story. (With a possible exception of OotS), that DC has no idea how to handle a female superhero sympathetically, the characters themselves are rips of actual DC characters, and just...

"To me, a reboot is what DC is essentially doing with the New 52"

Insert ANY picture from the latest Starfire or Powergirl comic.

Now do that to the only GN to ever appear in TIME's top 100.

The_root_of_all_evil:

RedEyesBlackGamer:
I'll wait to see what Moore thinks of them.

I think I can answer that.

Purely from the point that prequels have almost never been a good addition to a story. (With a possible exception of OotS), that DC has no idea how to handle a female superhero sympathetically, the characters themselves are rips of actual DC characters, and just...

I predict that that will be his response, but in the magical case that he likes them, I'll give them a go.

People just don't know when to leave damn well alone.

RedEyesBlackGamer:

I predict that that will be his response, but in the magical case that he likes them, I'll give them a go.

If he likes them, I will leave the internet and become a nun.

I'm was all for complaining about this, but Brian Azzarello writing Rorshach and the Comedian? Well played.

Edit: Also

The perception that these characters shouldn't be touched by anyone other than Alan is both absolutely understandable and deeply flawed. As good as these characters are and they are very good indeed, one could make the argument, based on durability and recognition, that Superman is the greatest comics character ever created. But I don't hear Alan or anyone else suggesting that no one other than Shuster and Siegel should have been allowed to write Superman. Certainly Alan himself did this when he was brought on to write Swamp Thing, a seminal comics character created by Len Wein.

Leaving aside the fact that the Watchmen characters were variations on pre-existing characters created for the Charleton Comics universe, it should be pointed out that Alan has spent most of the last decade writing very good stories about characters created by other writers, including Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), Dorothy (from Wizard of Oz), Wendy (from Peter Pan), as well as Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Jeyll and Hyde, and Professor Moriarty (used in the successful League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). I think one loses a little of the moral high ground to say, "I can write characters created by Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle and Frank Baum, but it's wrong for anyone else to write my characters."

The whole point of having great characters is the opportunity to explore them more deeply with time, re-interpreting them for each new age. That DC allowed these characters to sit on a shelf for over two decades as a show of respect is salutary, but there comes a time when good characters have to re-enter the world to teach us something about ourselves in the present.

- J. Michael Straczynski

The_root_of_all_evil:

RedEyesBlackGamer:

I predict that that will be his response, but in the magical case that he likes them, I'll give them a go.

If he likes them, I will leave the internet and become a nun.

What are we putting the odds at? 5,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1?

WolfThomas:
I'm was all for complaining about this, but Brian Azzarello writing Rorshach and the Comedian? Well played.

Edit: Also

The perception that these characters shouldn't be touched by anyone other than Alan is both absolutely understandable and deeply flawed. As good as these characters are and they are very good indeed, one could make the argument, based on durability and recognition, that Superman is the greatest comics character ever created. But I don't hear Alan or anyone else suggesting that no one other than Shuster and Siegel should have been allowed to write Superman. Certainly Alan himself did this when he was brought on to write Swamp Thing, a seminal comics character created by Len Wein.

Leaving aside the fact that the Watchmen characters were variations on pre-existing characters created for the Charleton Comics universe, it should be pointed out that Alan has spent most of the last decade writing very good stories about characters created by other writers, including Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), Dorothy (from Wizard of Oz), Wendy (from Peter Pan), as well as Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Jeyll and Hyde, and Professor Moriarty (used in the successful League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). I think one loses a little of the moral high ground to say, "I can write characters created by Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle and Frank Baum, but it's wrong for anyone else to write my characters."

The whole point of having great characters is the opportunity to explore them more deeply with time, re-interpreting them for each new age. That DC allowed these characters to sit on a shelf for over two decades as a show of respect is salutary, but there comes a time when good characters have to re-enter the world to teach us something about ourselves in the present.

- J. Michael Straczynski

I'm making an exception for Watchmen. It is as close to perfect as a comic can get. It was also a contained story and the ambiguity at the end was part of what made it great. A bad comic could fuck it all up.

The book was standalone and i stand by that BUT i don't think DC is the devil on this front. It can make some money and that's what it comes down to; Money. At the end of the day DC needs to keep in business. As long as these projects are well handled and not just GrimDark for the sake of it i can get behind this.

Let me explain; Sometimes IP mining (and this is blatant IP mining) goes O.K.. In a best case scenario DC uses the exstablised Watchmen name to do something a bit more out there creatively whilst updating the forumla and universe of the series to be more relevant to modern day, or at least bypass some of the worst excesses of the "Dark Age". New Watchmen comics are going to make money and i think if they can really get behind making something of high quality that has some balls and is not as afriad as a less established IP to take risks then we could be in for somthing decent.

RedEyesBlackGamer:

The_root_of_all_evil:

RedEyesBlackGamer:

I predict that that will be his response, but in the magical case that he likes them, I'll give them a go.

If he likes them, I will leave the internet and become a nun.

What are we putting the odds at? 5,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1?

Events with astronomical odds of occurring, like oxygen turning into gold.

Yeah it's going to be complete shit, especially because Alan Moore will have nothing to do with it. It's kind of ironic that the comic was originally written as a post-modern deconstructionist view of superheros and comics and now is getting what every other comic gets, a reboot with new continuity.

Watchmen was good enough without some suits deciding there needed to be more (money) to be taken out of the story. Personally I'd be interested in what happened with the Minutemen and all that but not if Alan Moore isn't writing it because Alan Moore thinks there is another story there...that might involve rape...again...

I don't know much about Alan Moore, but I do know that he's ridiculously critical on his own works, let alone those of others. I do not see this whole thing ending well, and the idea that they can pull this without his consent is a little saddening.

The_root_of_all_evil:

RedEyesBlackGamer:

The_root_of_all_evil:

If he likes them, I will leave the internet and become a nun.

What are we putting the odds at? 5,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1?

Events with astronomical odds of occurring, like oxygen turning into gold.

I think I love you. :)

The very idea of this will cause Moore to turn in his future grave so fast that it creates a turbine effect, powering a nearby city for decades.

I can't see anything good coming from this honestly. Moore will despise the very idea of it while fans will disown it.

Scrumpmonkey:

Let me explain; Sometimes IP mining (and this is blatant IP mining) goes O.K.

I'm gonna have to ask for an example on this one. Sorry, but I can't think of a single example where something is mined without the express permission of the author that doesn't turn against everything the author has worked for.

Consider me cautiously optimistic. Watchmen remains the only graphic novel I've ever really read an enjoyed to any extent (coincidentally picked it up about a year before the film came out, which I suppose was lucky). I don't think it would be that hard to write some good prequel stories, half the plots and frameworks are provided. I'd love to read some tales of the Comedian and Rorschach kicking ass with questionable morals and sanity in their younger days. If it sucks? Then I guess we shall never speak of it again.

I'm sorry, I was too overwhelmed with images of the Saturday Morning Watchmen video to finish the article.

But J. Michael Straczynski? Haven't seen his comic stuff but he's certainly not a hack.

Haha! You almost had me there escapist, you rascals! What's next? A fourth Halo game being announced! Hahhaha. Haha. Ha....hehe...

The_root_of_all_evil:

RedEyesBlackGamer:

I predict that that will be his response, but in the magical case that he likes them, I'll give them a go.

If he likes them, I will leave the internet and become a nun.

I like what you did there... but to truly drive that point home I would also add "and travel back in time" due to that impossibility factor. That's how likely it is for Moore to even contemplate the idea of a work, based off of his own, to be in any way worth his time.

Heck, 2 arguably great movies adapted from his works (V for Vendetta and Watchmen) are, apparently, still unseen by Moore. He is so convinced that they are an insult to his work, he refuses to even acknowledge them with his eyes or ears.

Besides, that "new 52" quip definitely kills it for me. I'm all for recycling and reinvention, but what DC has done to it's roster is borderline (read: complete) heresy and almost entirely devoid of innovation (read: is shit).

The_root_of_all_evil:

Scrumpmonkey:

Let me explain; Sometimes IP mining (and this is blatant IP mining) goes O.K.

I'm gonna have to ask for an example on this one. Sorry, but I can't think of a single example where something is mined without the express permission of the author that doesn't turn against everything the author has worked for.

I have VERY relevant exaple; The Watchmen Movie. Alan Moore said; 'I will be spitting venom all over it' yet the film was, if anything, TOO faithful to the comic. It basically filmed as much as the comic pannel for pannel as was humanly possible.

So there.

Well, on the bright-side, I can at-least say that i respect that they aren't going to be making actual sequels to the watchmen series. It had a good ending, so the fact they are leaving that alone is good.

Still, that said, I'm a bit...iffy about this. It might be good, but there is a heavy chance that, especially after the film and original graphic novels, it's going to be damned hard to match up to what the original offered us. I wish the writers luck, but I'm not holding my breath..

Raping the corpse.

When this done they can all team up with the JLA. You think DC wouldn't?

Scrumpmonkey:

I have VERY relevant exaple; The Watchmen Movie. Alan Moore said; 'I will be spitting venom all over it' yet the film was, if anything, TOO faithful to the comic. It basically filmed as much as the comic pannel for pannel as was humanly possible.

So there.

I'll have to think on that one. It's a good one, I'll grant you...but it's a single spoon of pickle in a barrel-full of gherkins.

The creative teams here are really really good, and they'll all hopefully bringing their A-game to this. Even if you don't want to see Watchmen characters written again, you have to appreciate that we're going to get some good writing and art out of this.

WolfThomas:
I'm was all for complaining about this, but Brian Azzarello writing Rorshach and the Comedian? Well played.

Edit: Also

The perception that these characters shouldn't be touched by anyone other than Alan is both absolutely understandable and deeply flawed. As good as these characters are and they are very good indeed, one could make the argument, based on durability and recognition, that Superman is the greatest comics character ever created. But I don't hear Alan or anyone else suggesting that no one other than Shuster and Siegel should have been allowed to write Superman. Certainly Alan himself did this when he was brought on to write Swamp Thing, a seminal comics character created by Len Wein.

Leaving aside the fact that the Watchmen characters were variations on pre-existing characters created for the Charleton Comics universe, it should be pointed out that Alan has spent most of the last decade writing very good stories about characters created by other writers, including Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), Dorothy (from Wizard of Oz), Wendy (from Peter Pan), as well as Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Jeyll and Hyde, and Professor Moriarty (used in the successful League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). I think one loses a little of the moral high ground to say, "I can write characters created by Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle and Frank Baum, but it's wrong for anyone else to write my characters."

The whole point of having great characters is the opportunity to explore them more deeply with time, re-interpreting them for each new age. That DC allowed these characters to sit on a shelf for over two decades as a show of respect is salutary, but there comes a time when good characters have to re-enter the world to teach us something about ourselves in the present.

- J. Michael Straczynski

I think that quote sums it up perfect. Moore is all to happy to writer other peoples works, but has until now steadfastly refused to allow anyone touch his. I understand they're his creation but there's such a hit of double standards off it.

Will this be any good? I don't know. I probably wont pick up the single issue, but wait until the collected volumes come along and cherry pick the ones I'm interested in.

What I do see though, is a chance for something to expand. And for those who don't want it expanding, ignore it. Pretend in your own little world that Watchmen stopped when Moore stopped it. It's kinda what a lot of people do with things like Indiana Jones, Star Wars and other IP extenders.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Scrumpmonkey:

I have VERY relevant exaple; The Watchmen Movie. Alan Moore said; 'I will be spitting venom all over it' yet the film was, if anything, TOO faithful to the comic. It basically filmed as much as the comic pannel for pannel as was humanly possible.

So there.

I'll have to think on that one. It's a good one, I'll grant you...but it's a single spoon of pickle in a barrel-full of gherkins.

Im still calling it a win XD

image

But yes to be honest i think we just get to used to the really awful examples which i agree are the massive majority. But i do think a lot of remakes/un-authorised sequels get a lot more fan-rage then they often derseve, its a self defeating cycle; Fan expectations are too high so companies can never meet them, fans get pissed off, alot of effort seems wasted, other cash-in shite sells just as well so they just don't try anymore.

We need to give people at least room to TRY and do something good without dimissing them out of hand. As long as someone cares deeply about a project it can still be good even if the original creator is not on board.

WolfThomas:
snip

I think JMS's point is kind of flawed, in that classic super-heroes such as Spider-man and Superman were from the beginning franchises, the stories was always serialized and meant to continue. Were as Watchmen is a stand-alone story, all of the characters have been wrapped up, they have gone through all of their character developement. We know everything that we need to know, their motivations, their flaws, everything.

Meaning, these prequels will either shit on the characters, or be totally inconsequential to the Watchmen universe and therefore unnecessary. Despite the talent of some of these writers, none of them ever try and do what Alan Moore did, namely, exploring the medium and experimenting with the narrative. Grant Morrison is probably the only one who tries what Alan Moore did throughout his career and the only one I would ever feel satisfied with writing a prequel for Watchmen.

Oh and not to mention the Crimson Corsair, the whole point of it was that it mirrored what happened in the story, so treating him as a character in an isolated story would be completely missing the point of it.

I know it's one thing to want people to respect your work but from my perspective Moore seems more self-centered dick than protective artist.

Alan Moore:
"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."

Can the writer of the league of extraordinary gentlemen really come out with a statement like that?

I can't wait to see them.

please, DC please, do not do this. Oh god! For the sake of art don't. Watchmen does not need any kind of retcon what so ever. Its the perfect standalone story of all time. Don't ruin this.

And WHY!? Aren't you guys making enough money with the new 52?

Also, i really don't think the internet can withstand an another Star Wars case

RedEyesBlackGamer:
I'll wait to see what Moore thinks of them. They aren't canon and I'm not reading them if he disapproves of them.

Concuring Toombs concurs. Watchmen was fantastic, but if the Watchmen prequels aren't Moore approved then there's no point. (You know, except for the Rorshach one. I MUST see that one...)

While quite a few of DC's new relaunches have been good, I have to wonder if they're running out of material with this one. If these are just here to provide back story to the Watchmen characters, then these comics will be totally unnecessary. If you read the various articles and stories in between the chapters, then you got all the back story you need. The Minutemen rose and fell with the public's opinion of superheroes, Comedian's war on crime caused him to see humanity as a joke, Nite-Owl was a legacy hero who went into retirement with dignity, and Dr. Manhattan lost touch with his humanity as his powers evolved. The only one that looks kind of interesting is the "Crimson Corsair" title, which I assume is a expansion on the "Tales of the Black Freighter" sub-plot.

So...we're getting a prequel. To a story that did much of its exposition in the form of flashbacks. And the prequel will likely be set in large part during those flashbacks. For characters for whom we have already seen the beginning, rise and tragic fall. And whose secret lives, relationships, inner feelings about each other throughout their careers and ultimate agendas have already been revealed.

I'm seriously beginning to think somebody down at DC saw the Saturday Morning Watchmen cartoon and did NOT get the joke.

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