DC Comics Announces "Before Watchmen"

Posted by Grey Thursday, February 2, 2012

Like it or not, we all knew this is inevitable. After years of rumors, brace yourself for the prequel of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' all-time classic 1986 comic series "Watchmen."

After years of debates, rumors and in recent months, leaks of purported official images online, Watchmen, the seminal 1986 twelve-issue comic book series that have inspired a generations of creators (notwithstanding spawning the 2009 Zack Snyder's live-action film adaptation) will be getting a prequel courtesy of DC Comics and an intriguing collective of some of the most acclaimed comic creators currently in the industry come this Summer.

Technically, we should calling it prequels instead of a single prequel. Branded as "Before Watchmen", the prequel will be focusing on the six main protagonists of the ground-breaking original comic series that have inspired a generation of creators, as well as the Minutemen, a team whose exploits took precedence ahead of the timeline of the series. Starting this Summer, issues of these seven series will be published weekly over 35 weeks, concluding with a one-shot epilogue.

And of course, we would have receive this news with the fanatic enthusiasm you can imagine a fan might have, had the project were to involved either Dave Gibbons or even Alan Moore himself. As the world stand shell-shocked at DC Comics' somewhat surreptitious announcement today, one has to ask the most simple question known to man: Why?

With no further ado, hit the jump to check out the covers of all seven prequels as well as the creators of each respective series:

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 ConnerWritten by original series editor Len Wein with art by original series colorist John Higgins, CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR, a two-page back-up story will be featured in each issues of the series.
Here's the official press release from DC Comics's The Source Blog:

This summer, DC Entertainment will publish all-new stories expanding on the acclaimed WATCHMEN universe. As highly anticipated as they are controversial, the seven inter-connected prequel mini-series will build on the foundation of the original WATCHMEN, the bestselling graphic novel of all time. BEFORE WATCHMEN will be the collective banner for all seven titles, from DC Comics.

“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant,” said DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. “After twenty five years, the Watchmen are classic characters whose time has come for new stories to be told. We sought out the best writers and artists in the industry to build on the complex mythology of the original.”

Stepping up to the challenge is a group of the comic book industry’s most iconoclastic writers and artists – including Brian Azzarello (100 BULLETS), Lee Bermejo (JOKER), Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL), Darwyn Cooke (JUSTICE LEAGUE: NEW FRONTIER), John Higgins (WATCHMEN), Adam Hughes (CATWOMAN), J.G. Jones (FINAL CRISIS), Andy Kubert (FLASHPOINT), Joe Kubert (SGT. ROCK), Jae Lee (BATMAN: JEKYLL AND HYDE), J. Michael Straczynski (SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE) and Len Wein (SWAMP THING).

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 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.

“Comic books are perhaps the largest and longest running form of collaborative fiction,” said DiDio and Lee. “Collaborative storytelling is what keeps these fictional universes current and relevant.”


With the controversial move officially announced, DC has took to the press with exclusive interviews with the writers of the seven mini-series, as well as the CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR back-up story. For those who are interested in what these creators have to say about their involvement, just hit the links below accordingly.

USA Today: RORSCHACH – Interview with writer Brian Azzarello
LA Times Hero Complex: MINUTEMEN – Interview with writer/artist Darwyn Cooke
The New York Times: THE COMEDIAN – Interview with writer Brian Azzarello
Entertainment Weekly: SILK SPECTRE – Interview with writer Darwyn Cooke
The Hollywood Reporter: NITE OWL – Interview with writer J. Michael Straczynski
Wired: OZYMANDIAS – Interview with writer Len Wein
Comic Book Resources: DR. MANHATTAN – Interview with writer J. Michael Straczynski
Associated Press: CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR – Interview with writer Len Wein and artist John Higgins

While co-creator Dave Gibbons has seemingly retracted on his early stance of resistance of the notion of a prequel to the original series, Alan Moore has unsurprisingly expressed his distaste at the project, calling it "completely shameless" in an interview with The New York Times:

"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."

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