DC Announces “Before Watchmen” Prequel Projects

Building on months of rumors and speculation regarding a Watchmen sequel, DC officially announced this morning that they will publish seven all-new, inter-connected prequel mini-series set in the WATCHMEN universe. The official press release, available on DC’s The Source blog, described the mini-series as being “as highly anticipated as they are controversial.”

The seven titles will all fall under the “Before Watchmen” manner, with cover design reminiscent of the original series, the collected edition of which is now hailed as the “bestselling graphic novel of all time.”

The titles and creative teams debuted with the announcement include:

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

The project will release one issue each week beginning this summer, and each will feature a two-page back-up story called CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR, written by original series editor Len Wein with art by original series colorist John Higgins, meant to mirror the TALES OF THE BLACK FREIGHTER story-within-a-story from the original series. The back-up will continue into the BEFORE WATCHMEN: EPILOGUE, a one-shot featuring the work of various artists and writers. It is unknown at this time if the epilogue will have contributions from creators not otherwise involved in the project, or will simply bring together the creators on the individual mini-series.

Dave Gibbons, original series artist and WATCHMEN co-creator, had reserved words of consent for the project. “The original series of WATCHMEN is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell,” Gibbons told The Source. “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.”

Original series writer and co-creator Alan Moore, notorious for his disavowal of the modern comic industry, had fewer kind words for the venture. In an interview with the New York Times, Moore described the project as “completely shameless” and an “eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago.”

DC, aware of the controversy of the project, referenced the comic book medium itself as a sort of justification for the prequels. “Comic books are perhaps the largest and longest running form of collaborative fiction,” DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee told The Source. “Collaborative storytelling is what keeps these fictional universes current and relevant.”

To find out more about the project, head over to The Source, and check out art from the project below:

From Comic Book Resources

from USA Today

From Entertainment Weekly

From Wired

From LA Times

From The Hollywood Reporter

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