DC Comics will publish a series of “Watchmen” prequels in the summer, which for comics fans is either the greatest news since Mylar bags or an affront to one of the great graphic novels of the last 30 years.
The “Before Watchmen” series will consist of four- or six-issue miniseries following Rorschach, Nite Owl, the Comedian, Dr. Manhattan, Silk Spectre, Ozymandias and the Minutemen. All will take place before the events shown in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons‘ landmark 1986-87 work. Each issue will also contain a two-page backup story, “Curse of the Crimson Corsair,” echoing the “Tales of the Black Freighter” story in the original.
“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant,” DC Entertainment publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee say. “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.”
Among the writers and artists for “Before Watchmen” are Bryan Azzarello, J. Michael Straczynski, Darwyn Cooke and Len Wein, who edited the original “Watchmen.”
Gibbons has given his blessing to the prequels, but Moore, unsurprisingly, is not pleased to hear about the new works, calling DC “completely shameless.”
“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,” Moore tells the New York Times.
“Before Watchmen” will go on sale in the summer.