The Watchmen Prequel’s
Yesterday DC announced an upcoming project, Beyond Watchmen, which is a series of of prequel comics based on the famous Alan Moore series, Watchmen.
The project has proved controversial as fans of the original series want their memories of the original series untouched and unsullied, and the writer Alan Moore’s condemning of a prequel.
It seems that DC is finding new ventures in the past in more than one way. Last year they launched The New 52, a group of old characters and comics re-invented for these modern times.
The acclaimed 1986-1987 epic will be revisited this year with a seven prequel miniseries titled “Before Watchmen”.
The list 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
To sweeten the deal DC announced a “two-page back-up story” titled “Curse of the Crimson Crosait”, writen by the original Watchmen editor, len Wein.
Watchmen co-creator, Dave Gibbons, has even been brought to the virtual microphone, saying in part that though he and Alan Moore had told their complete “Watchmen” story.
“I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work.”
Moore on the other hand had harsher words and described the DC gambit as “completely shameless.”
J. Michael Straczynski, who’ll write the “Dr. Manhattan” and “Nite Owl” books, had something to say about Moore’s feeling that “these characters are sacred, nobody else should write them.”
“Alan has spent most of the last decade writing some very, very good stories about characters created by other writers, including Alice (from Wonderland), Dorothy (from Oz), Wendy (from Peter Pan), as well as Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Jekyll and Hyde and Professor Moriarty. I think one loses a little of the moral high ground to say, ‘I can write characters created by Jules Verne, HG Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle and Frank Baum, but it’s wrong for anyone else to write my characters.’
To many devotees, Watchmen is a sacred text and testament to comics’ highest literary powers. To these worshipers, DC has just become a defiler of the script. Many are of the opinion that the move is not for fans of the original series. DC may very well alienate many readers that helped make the series a classic.
On the other hand DC is doing whatever any comic book company in the digital age should do. They trying to get noticed with bold moves, like The New 52 and logo change, and stay in the headlines.
Anyway you look at it there will be fans keen on seeing what the new creators come up with and there will be the fan boy rage associated with messing with something people love and cherish. Watchmen will always be a classic, a prequel can’t change that, just look at the Star Wars franchise.