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!